In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walks to the podium to speak during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)
UPDATED 6:53 AM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020
As the impeachment trial continues it’s hours-long sessions in the Senate, members of the jury are reportedly bending some of the rules in order to keep their sanity.
One rule, which has been repeatedly dismissed from senators on both sides of the aisle, is staying seated for the duration of arguments. At least 20 seats were reportedly counted as empty during Adam Schiff’s speech Wednesday night. Many senators were seen walking around to stretch their legs, but some reporters alleged many were not even present in the chamber.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Cory Booker (R-N.J.) were allegedly spotted in their respective party’s cloak rooms on their smart phones amid rules of no phones or devices of any kind on the Senate floor. Other lawmakers were seen still wearing their Apple watches while the proceedings were underway.
Another rule which is being overlooked is only water, milk and candy are allowed during the proceedings. Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed to reporters that she snuck in a cup of yogurt.
A former Senate parliamentarian told CNN the practice of consuming milk began in 1966 after one presiding Senate officer said, “Senate rules do not prohibit a senator from sipping milk during his speech.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is also a doctor, told reporters the milk precedent goes to lawmakers health. He said milk was used as a home remedy for peptic ulcer disease when there was no treatment for the condition back in the 1950’s.
Meanwhile, one Senate lawmaker is taking full advantage of the rule allowing candy. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) set up what he calls “the candy desk.” Toomey’s spokesperson said the candy desk is bipartisan and is even open to independents. “The candy desk” actually dates back to 1965 when former California Republican George Murphy reportedly enjoyed a candy bar now-and-then when it was convenient.
There’s also the unspoken rule of being bored. With no foreign objects allowed during oral arguments, one lawmaker has gone the extra mile to ensure fellow senators stay awake. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) handed out so-called “fidget spinners” and other toys to his Republican colleagues during Thursdays GOP lunch. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was later seen twirling a purple spinner at his desk, while distracting other Republicans.
Sen. Richard Burr R-NC., displays a stress ball as he walks to the Senate Chamber prior to the start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Others are passing the time by either drawing or reading books.
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. All persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment.”
— Michael Stenger, Sergeant at Arms – U.S. Senate
While some of the conduct may be considered petty and small, it is unknown if the Senate sergeant at arms will enforce any of the alleged violations.