A handful of senators were seen dozing off throughout the week, including Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who was caught snoozing by The New York Times sketch artist. Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Pat Leahy of Vermont were also briefly spotted, ahem, resting their eyes.
Sen. Richard Shelby, meanwhile, spent much of the trial leaning back in his chair, eyes fixed on the speaker, without even a notebook on his desk. In front of him, a stack of papers sat in a neat pile, untouched. Occasionally, the Alabama Republican would pick at and bite his nails.
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Freshman Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has long been known for flouting the unspoken business-wear-only rules that govern Capitol Hill. And since the Arizona Democrat graduated from the House to the Senate last year, she’s continued to show off her splashy, modern style in the staid chamber, rocking everything from a fur stole to knee-high boots.
The impeachment trial is no exception. Sinema received kudos from Twitter fashionistas for her style on the first day of the trial — a bright red dress with a cape attached. She’s also been spotted in a knee-length fuzzy pink coat and studiously jotting down notes in the chamber in — what else — a sparkly pink notebook.
Barely an hour went by in the Senate chamber without whispered chatting in the row of Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Cassidy and David Perdue of Georgia. The group — all seated in the back of the chamber — are among the GOP’s most visibly restless senators. (At one point, Scott removed his shoes while he sat watching the speeches.)
At the start of the trial, Sasse, Scott and sometimes Cassidy were quietly exchanging notes. By Thursday afternoon, though, all four senators were caught chatting, even chuckling out loud, during the presentations.
GOP Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Tom Cotton of Arkansas — two rising GOP stars who are seated next to each other — were also repeatedly whispering and laughing quietly on the floor. And Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Barrasso of Wyoming, all top Republicans, were often seen exchanging smiles and making gestures toward one another.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) shuffled into the chamber after dinner on Thursday wearing a full-length dark pea coat, as well as a bright scarf. Hours earlier, Feinstein used one of the trial breaks to seek warmth, walking into a third-room lounge room where she immediately asked, “Is it warm in here?” Feinstein is the oldest sitting senator, at age 86. Several other female senators were also bundled up: Murkowski and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) both wore shawls throughout the week.
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Rumors have spread of senators with an iPad on their desk or sneaking in a phone — a violation of the trial rules, which bans all electronics on the floor. Cornyn, who had an Apple watch strapped around his wrist, was spotted glimpsing at the device, though he didn’t appear to tap. But he did go into the cloakroom at one point and come back with a giant book and began reading for several minutes, starting on page one. Only reading materials relevant to the trial are permissible on the floor.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), meanwhile, boasted on Twitter about reading a book during the trial on “how the Trump haters are breaking America,” according to the book’s title. She also did a live TV hit on Fox News at another point during the trial.
In a sea of restless bodies, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s perfectly still frame stood out. The majority leader spent hours sitting up like a statue — with his hands folded neatly in his lap and a blank expression on his face — as he stared down the Democrats who were making the case to remove Trump from office. It was a fitting stance for McConnell’s buttoned-up personality; after all, as one colleague once described McConnell, “He’s got ice in his veins.”
Jesse Naranjo contributed to this report.