GOP senators keep breaking their own impeachment trial rules


Impeachment trial rules require senators to remain at their desks while proceedings are going on.

More than 20 Republican senators violated Senate rules on Wednesday by leaving the chamber while House Democrats made their case for why Donald Trump deserved to be impeached, according to reporter Michael McAuliff.

Rules for the trial require senators to remain at their desks while the trial is taking place, and are banned from bringing in electronics such as cellphones or computers. Senators are also not allowed to talk while arguments are being made.

However, multiple Republicans violated those rules, getting up for extended periods of time while the House Democratic impeachment managers made their case for why Trump should be removed from office.

Democrats spent hours on Wednesday laying out the case against Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff spoke at length as he pointed to evidence that Trump abused the office of the presidency by withholding military aide to Ukraine to coerce the country into investigating Trump's political rivals. Schiff also said his case would be even more convincing if Republican senators simply agreed to allow witnesses and documentary evidence that Trump has thus far blocked or withheld.

"President Trump solicited foreign interference in our democratic elections, abusing the power of his office by seeking help from abroad to improve his reelection prospects at home," Schiff said. "And when he was caught, he used the powers of that office to obstruct the investigation into his own misconduct."

Not paying attention to Democrats' arguments is the latest signal that Republicans plan to acquit Trump.

A number of Republicans have made clear they do not plan to be impartial witnesses, despite taking an oath of impartiality. And have complained that they have to sit through the arguments at all.

"So far we haven't learned anything new," Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told Politico's Jake Sherman. Cornyn, of course, was one of 53 Senate Republicans to block multiple Democratic attempts to subpoena witnesses Trump forbade from testifying, as well as documents that Trump refused to turn over — which led to the second impeachment charge of obstruction of Congress.

Democrats, for their part, said that the GOP senators who left the room during the arguments was proof of the fact that they are in the tank for Trump.

"They want it to end," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told McAuliff. "They want to move on, get it done, without witnesses and documents, taking cues from the White House, shut it down and get beyond."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.