Impeachment Manager Ted Lieu had just begun making the case for Donald Trump’s lack of remorse for his role in the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol on Thursday afternoon when Republican members of the Senate jury began slipping out of the chamber. Despite being jurors literally sitting at their own crime scene, they seemed to feel no need to revisit the evidence of that day, especially since it would incriminate all of them who continue to support Trump.
As reports of the exodus began hitting Twitter, users were outraged at the level of disrespect for the process, as well as for the dead. Most of the vitriol was aimed at the primary instigators from the Senate, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who were each dragged for their immature antics regarding the trial.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul were both away from their desks, while Senator Jim Risch was in the basement on his phone, CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted. Even Trump’s lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce Castor, were reportedly not taking notes, and Schoen left the chamber to speak to reporters and participate in several TV news interviews.
Just popped into the chamber and in my time there I saw 15 empty GOP seats. (Didn’t see Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul. Also saw Jim Risch in the basement on his phone.) Thom Tillis was visible in the GOP cloakroom reading his phone.
Bernie Sanders was slumped over.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 11, 2021
Many within the chamber were preoccupied with other activities: Senators Tom Cotton and Chuck Grassley were reading papers, while Senator Rick Scott had a blank map of Asia on his desk and was writing on it like he was filling in the names of the countries.
As the impeachment trial proceeded today, Republican Rick Scott "had a blank map of Asia on his desk and was writing on it like he was filling in the names of the countries," according to a Capitol Hill pool report.https://t.co/ISIcszu5Ji
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2021
Twitter users were enraged by the disrespect and began tweeting demands for consequences for the 15 who left the chamber and the rest who acted as though they would rather be anywhere else.
In criminal trials, jurors cannot get up and leave the courtroom. If they do, they would be held in contempt of court, face a possible fine, and if bad enough, jail time.
Today, 15 GOP Senators chose not to attend the trial. They should be held in contempt of Congress.
— Aaron Parnas (@AaronParnas) February 11, 2021
Why are 15 GOP Senators even constitutionally allowed to miss the impeachment trial??
That should forfeit their right to vote on conviction!See Also
— Jake Lobin (@JakeLobin) February 11, 2021
If you skip out on Jury Duty, as a citizen, there is a Bench Warrant issued.
Why are these "jurists" allowed to NOT show up.
— Zoe Is Fully Vaccinated (@DeepInTheHills) February 11, 2021
Trump’s defense team will be presenting their arguments without their client present on Friday.