Report: More Than One-Third of GOP Senators Left Room During Schiff’s Speech
More than one-third of the 53 Republican senators reportedly skipped large portions of Wednesday’s impeachment trial, despite Senate rules requiring them to remain in their seats at all times during the proceedings, according to Law & Crime.
“Just counted 21 empty seats on the GOP side of the Senate, 2 on the Dem side, a couple hours into [Adam] Schiff’s presentation. Some are just stretching their legs, but most are not in the chamber. Some of them have been out of there for a while,” said journalist Michael McAuliff.
Among those absent “for a long time” were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
Graham publicly stated his belief that the impeachment proceedings were a sham and backed a plan to have the charges against President Donald Trump dismissed with a pretrial motion. Yet, Sen. Cassidy on Tuesday said he planned to “listen to both sides with an open mind” before reaching a decision.
Wednesday marked the second time Sen. Risch missed a significant portion of the proceeding -- he was the first senator to fall asleep during the trial on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-Calif.) last week outlined the rules for the proceeding, writing that “Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings,” and should “remain in their seats at all times they are on the Senate floor during the impeachment proceedings.”
“Regardless of where one stands (or sits) on the matter, it is a sad state of government that any Senator, absent some legitimate reason of course, is shirking their legislative/constitutional duties which they have been elected by the people to uphold,” wrote national security lawyer Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the Ukraine whistleblower whose complaint initiated the impeachment inquiry.