View from the gallery: Senators suffer through sniffles and sleepiness at Trump trial

Todd Ruger, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, one of the president's fiercest defenders in the Senate, chuckled, bowed his head slightly and rubbed his left eyebrow.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein laughed and met the eyes of their knowing Democratic colleagues.

It was just after 6 p.m. Friday, just before a dinner break, and House managers were playing a montage of over-the-top statements by President Donald Trump on the Senate chamber's temporary televisions.

"Nobody knows the system better than me," Trump said in one clip. "I am the chosen one," he said in another.

This was the fourth long day in the Senate chamber of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and the 100 senators were finding ways to make the best of the stretch of time they had to spend with each other.

Ahead of dinner, a number of senators had their heads down reading or writing on paperwork that didn't appear to have any connection to the House managers' presentation.


Florida Republican Marco Rubio kept his head down and worked persistently on papers on his desk in the back row.

At one point, Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander left his seat to stand and lean against a railing in the back of the chamber. In front of him, GOP colleagues Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana turned from some paperwork on their desks to greet him briefly, then turned their attention back to their papers.

As House manager Val B. Demings of Florida spoke in the afternoon, Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn held a stack of papers that she read through her bright orange glasses.

Others during the day appeared to be drafting letters, reviewing documents, or holding folded newspapers, including Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Georgia Republican David Perdue.


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