Update with Sen. Hawley response He said it with a smile, but he said it: Rep. Adam Schiff opened Day 3 of the Trump Impeachment Trial with a reminder-slash-warning for senators to keep their seats or go to jail.
Sounding a bit like a parent who doesn’t really believe his own threat of a summer-long grounding, Schiff (D-CA), the lead impeachment manager prosecuting the case against the president, nonetheless made clear that senators have a duty to listen, learn and stop bolting.
Watch the video below.
Opening with a bit of self-deprecating congressional humor, Schiff noted “how rare it is, how extraordinary it is” for House members to hold the undivided attention of senators “for hours or even for minutes.”
“Of course,” Schiff continues, “it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with a sergeant-at-arms warning you that if you don’t you will be in prison.”
The joke got some chuckles, but Schiff’s point was made.
The friendly reminder follows widespread reports that some senators – mostly Republicans – were leaving the Senate hearing chamber throughout the last couple days, a rule violation.
On CNN last night, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez confirmed the reports: “We do have a series of our colleagues, particularly on the other side of the aisle who seem to get up quite a bit and often leave the chamber for extended periods of time. Listen, it’s not a great comfort to sit there for endless hours, but at the end of the day I want to hear all of the testimony, and I can’t do that if I’m not in the chamber….There are a fair number of people on the other side who seem to get up and I guess they’ve had enough, and they just don’t want to listen to the rest of the testimony.”
With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow even C-SPAN to film the Chamber activity, elected officials are more or less on the honor system to obey the rules and stay in their seats. Last night, Missouri’s Republican Sen. Josh Hawley – a former clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts – set off a social media barrage of brickbats when he appeared to ditch the hearing to give an interview to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who said on air that Hawley “stepped out of the trial” to “talk to us briefly.”
Hawley’s office later said the interview had been pre-recorded during a Senate dinner break, and that Hawley had not left the trial. The senator himself tweeted about the accusations, “Flatly false…”, ending with “But thanks for watching!”
Here are the videos (Menendez’ comments about the disappearing Republicans arrives at about the 2:30 mark in the CNN segment):