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

Todd Ruger, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

Cory Booker was one of four senators who began the day with two glasses of water on his desk instead of one, and he must have been thirsty. The New Jersey Democrat dispatched both glasses within 10 minutes of the opening prayer and pledge. A Senate page promptly arrived with two more glasses.

While in the midst of jotting down copious notes, Jon Tester was handed a piece of paper from Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, eliciting a chuckle from the gregarious Montana Democrat.

Tester glanced back at Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar -- from whom the note originated and whose desk abuts Coons' on the other side -- resulting in the two sharing a smile.

Democratic manager Jerrold Nadler caused a mild stir on the Republican side of the chamber in the late afternoon as Democrats turned their attention to the impeachment article accusing the president of obstructing Congress.

"He is a dictator," Nadler said of Trump, after a long speech outlining the president's unprecedented "blanket defiance" of subpoenas and information during the impeachment inquiry.

Multiple GOP senators murmured to one another at the New York Democrat's statement. Graham and Kansas Republican Jerry Moran exchanged a brief exchange and chuckle.


Several senators appear to be suffering from apparent colds. Among the afflicted are North Dakota Republican John Hoeven, Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey and New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich, who let loose a handful of hearty sneezes into the crook of his left elbow.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prefers an old-school cleanup: After a particularly jolting sneeze early in the day's proceedings, the Kentucky Republican recovered a handkerchief, wiped himself clean, folded the hanky into a foursquare, and slid it back into his right pocket.

New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand flagged down a page, who scurried off and returned 20 seconds later with a small tan envelope noticeably bulging at its belly.

Gillibrand concealed the envelope in her desk drawer and fumbled around inside it with both hands. In one swift, sweeping motion, she discreetly deposited a blue-green gum stick into her mouth and tossed the wrapper in the waste bin separating her desk from Hawaii Democrat Mazie K. Hirono's.


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