The Democrat House Managers for the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump have senators in “agony” and “bored out of their minds”, with many nodding off, walking around and even leaving the chamber for extended periods of time according to reports. The boredom was exacerbated by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) forcing debates and votes on eleven doomed motions that dragged out Tuesday’s opening session until almost 2 a.m. EST.
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) January 22, 2020
The boredom set in on the first day, Tuesday, and carried on in to Wednesday as Lead House Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) droned on for hours.
CBS News reported Tuesday evening mid-way through the opening session that senators were already bored to death, “Chip Reid reports on how Senators are faring so far in the impeachment hearing – without phones or snacks. “It’s a bit like a college lecture hall. Some of them are busily taking notes, some of them look bored out of their minds.”
Chip Reid reports on how Senators are faring so far in the impeachment hearing – without phones or snacks.
“It’s a bit like a college lecture hall. Some of them are busily taking notes, some of them look bored out of their minds.” pic.twitter.com/qn2PuogXd5
— Norah O’Donnell🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) January 21, 2020
Courthouse News reported on the opening of Wednesday’s session with this headline:
Sleepy, Hungry, Bored: Senators Pay for Late Night at Impeachment Trial Open
…Senator Rand Paul glued his eyes on a crossword puzzle hidden under his desk during opening arguments from Schiff, the House Intelligence chairman from California. Senator Bernie Sanders could be seen nodding off, slouched deep in his wooden desk with his chin bobbing on his chest.
…Clocking in at more than two and a half hours, Schiff’s opening argument left dozens of empty chairs on the Senate floor as Republicans – and a few sleepy Democrats – left the room to converse in the halls or grab a snack.
When the California Democrat said, “Now let me turn to the second article of impeachment,” McConnell crumpled in his chair.
“The end is in sight,” Schiff assured, as exasperation boiled on the Republican side of the chamber and more senators trickled out.
Even Democrats strongly backing impeachment drifted to the back of the room to stretch their legs as Schiff’s opening drew to a close. Booker, towering at 6 feet 2 inches, leaned up against a marble pillar at the back end of the room, still focused on Schiff’s remarks.
Absent from the room for more than 30 minutes, Sanders and Senator Amy Klobuchar — both pulled from the 2020 campaign trail to judge the impeachment case — cruised back in together to take their seats as Schiff concluded by urging senators to preserve the republic with a fair trial.
The AP reported Wednesday night on the boring trial:
“Many senators _ of both parties _ have walked out at different times during the proceedings…and taken their time returning to the chamber”
Many senators _ of both parties _ have walked out at different times during the proceedings…and taken their time returning to the chamber https://t.co/LFAgpqERHC
— Eric Tucker (@etuckerAP) January 23, 2020
Almost immediately after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in Wednesday’s session of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, bored and weary senators started openly flouting some basic guidelines in a chamber that prizes decorum.
A Democrat in the back row leaned on his right arm, covered his eyes and stayed that way for nearly a half-hour. Some openly snickered when lead prosecutor Adam Schiff said he’d only speak for 10 minutes. And when one of the freshman House prosecutors stood to speak, many of the senator-jurors bolted for the cloak rooms, where their phones are stored.
“I do see the members moving and taking a break,” observed freshman Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, one of the House prosecutors, in mid-speech at the center podium. “I probably have another 15 minutes.”
The agony of the senator-jurors had begun to show the night before, with widespread but more subtle struggles to pay attention to opening arguments. Gum-chewing, snacking, yawning and alleged napping could be seen throughout the cramped chamber.
…Factoids aside, the novelty of the impeachment trial had clearly worn off Wednesday. Senators had heard the Trump-Ukraine story before, many times. Their boredom, one Republican senator suggested, had become a challenge to the prolific House managers’ strategy. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said the less wordy president’s legal team had “read the Senate” better.
“It was a long day and the House managers did a lot of repeating the same material,” Rounds told reporters. “I’ve got 20 pages of notes, and towards the end, we were basically hearing the same thing over again. It was a diatribe.”
Trump-hater Chris Hayes of MSNBC is livid that senators are bored with the Democrats’ show trial, “The sheer entitled whininess on display here. We ask every citizen to serve on juries! And this is literally your job, to just show up and listen. I’m so sorry this is so hard for you. Go get another gig.”
The sheer entitled whininess on display here. We ask every citizen to serve on juries! And this is literally your job, to just show up and listen. I’m so sorry this is so hard for you. Go get another gig. https://t.co/JbKnwnbjbv
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 23, 2020
UPDATE: News of the Democrats’ boring trial traveled around the world. Australia’s Sky News reports: “Sky News Contributor Cameron Stewart says “even the senators are bored” of the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump.”
Sky News Contributor Cameron Stewart says “even the senators are bored” of the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump. https://t.co/9AE4CQeOj8
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) January 22, 2020