As many as 15 seats of Republican senators were empty during the first few hours of the trial Thursday, compared to just a handful of Democrats who were outside of the chamber, according to pool reports.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were both away from their desks, for instance, while Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) was in the basement on his phone, CNN’s Manu Raju reported.
Many within the chamber were preoccupied with other activities: Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) were reading papers, while, according to CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) “had a blank map of Asia on his desk and was writing on it like he was filling in the names of the countries.”
On both sides of the aisle, a general malaise was setting in, with many senators reportedly appearing to struggle to stay awake, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
Even Trump’s lawyers were checked out, with David Schoen and Bruce Castor reportedly not taking notes and Schoen even leaving the chamber to speak to reporters and participate in several TV news interviews.
Asked by Raju why he was breaking from the trial to do interviews, Schoen said impeachment managers’ arguments are “more of the same thing,” labeling their use of footage of Capitol rioters citing Trump as their inspiration, “offensive, quite frankly.”
Cue the meltdown from democrats…