Senators who say cell phones or other electronic devices will not be allowed at Trump’s trial

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President Donald Trump met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at Capitol Hill in 2017.
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite (AP)

Senators have been told that they have to leave cell phones and all other electronic devices out of the chamber when Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins, according to the “decorum guidelines” obtained by CNN.

The rules have the official intention of keeping senators focused on the ongoing trial, although they would also limit their ability to participate directly in any social media comments such as rebuttals (or, say, theater) According to the guidelines, all cell phones and other electronic devices should be kept in the Senate’s cloakroom during the procedures, which mostly involve ceremonial duties this week, but it starts calmly on January 21. That is when the 100 senators, seven members of the House were responsible for arguing the case against the president, and Trump’s defense team will meet with the president of the court, John Roberts, to determine if he will be removed from office. Instead of electronic communications, senators may use pages to transmit messages, according to the document.

“Paying attention is important and important and I’m glad we can leave these devices, I’m glad we’re sitting in our chairs, I’m glad we’re going to focus on what’s in front of us at that time,” Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski he told CNN. “I think it’s important, it’s a beautiful and old fashion, and I think we should follow it.”

The Chamber voted for 320-197 / 229-198 last month to accuse Trump of two “misdemeanors and crimes,” accusing him of $ 400 million withholding in military aid to Ukraine as part of a plot to force his government to launch a mock investigation against the Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. After a long procedural dispute with the majority leader of the Republican Senate, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Democratic minority of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had the seven members of the House deliver the charges to the Senate, which will have the final vote on whether Trump will be removed from office, on Wednesday.

It is very likely that the Trump presidency will survive the trial: for Democrats to get the 67 votes in favor to condemn Trump, they would need at least 20 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate to turn around. That is not going to happen, except a miraculous change of fortune for Democrats Trump polls only 42.2 percent of public approval, according to a Average FiveThirtyEightbut has constantly probed 90 percent support Among the Republicans. McConnell is expected to use his considerable power establish rules to influence the process in favor of Trump, even when trying to ban witness testimony, and Trump himself has indicated that he will invoke executive privilege to avoid potentially convicting testimonies from former national security adviser John Bolton.

Trump will have the opportunity to testify, but his defense team urged him not to (for reasons that they are more than obvious, as their deranged behavior and the fact that he has already admitted that pressured Ukraine on Biden) It is not clear if the decorum rules would apply to him if he appears, or if he would be allowed to tweet from his smartphone at the trial, as he has done. during witness testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.

Senators are not the only ones facing restrictions in the use of smartphones and other electronic devices during the process. The Republican leadership in the Senate and the Capitol Police have promulgated strict rules on members of the congressional press corps, even restricting their movements to avoid mixing with senators and installing magnetometers at the door of the press gallery where electronic products usually prohibited, according to Roll Call. That would force reporters to enter and exit one by one to send updates, delaying trial coverage. An effort by the rules committee to allow cell phones and laptops to enter the gallery failed, Roll Call wrote.

Journalists strongly protested the restrictions along with Democratic senators and some Republicans, saying they intend to limit the coverage of the trial. Republican Senator from Louisiana, John Kennedy he told Politico“It’s a big mistake. American senators are adult women and adult men. If they don’t want to comment, they know how to say” no comments “… We’re not children.”

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