CNN, MSNBC Suggest Republicans Are Not in the Chamber for Trial

Listen to the Article!

During breaks in the trial action happening on the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Democratic senators would make their way to their friends in the liberal media to get some softball questions served their way. A common narrative CNN and MSNBC were trying to get the senators to agree to was a conspiracy theory that suggested Republicans were not taking the trial seriously, with many of them not even present in the chamber. Unfortunately for the media, things didn’t go the way they were expecting.

Amid a reprieve during the 3:00 p.m. hour, Minnesota senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D) was speaking to CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash and was asked about Republican attentiveness. “Do you have a sense that they are listening, particularly, you know, those Republicans who are potentially persuadable, maybe not on, you know, on convicting him but on witnesses,” Bash wondered. The Senator said she felt like moderate Republicans were listening.

A short time later, Bash made another attempt to get the answer she was looking for. “There's a report that there are a lot of empty seats, particularly on the Republican side. You've been sitting there. You've been watching, have there been empty seats,” she asked.

CNN host Jake Tapper posed a similar question to New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D) just over three hours later:

JAKE TAPPER: Senator Menendez, it's Jake Tapper. Let me ask you speaking of your Republican colleagues, the Senate as you know has taken away the ability of C-SPAN to air what's going on in the room other than what the Senate cameras are showing in the House impeachment manager's presentation. When you look around the room, are your Republican colleagues and Democrat colleagues listening? Are they focusing? Are they trying to take in what's being presented to them?

Erin Burnett, the host of CNN’s OutFront, was a bit slyer when querying Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) about who was paying attention and staying in the room:

ERIN BURNETT: Before you go, there's various reports from some of the press who are in the there that some of the chairs are empty, people are short of in the back talking or eating. My question to you is, is everyone in that room paying attention? I mean, it's understandable people may want to get up and getting some to drink or something like that. But do you feel that people are taking this with the sincerity and the seriousness that it deserves?

 

 

Then, in the 10:00 p.m. hour on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes pestered Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the same topic. “There's reporters in the gallery and there's sketch artists, but a notable number of senators not in their seats for long stretches has been reported. And I just wonder if you feel the body is living up to the moment on both sides of the aisle, that there's a level of attentiveness and seriousness that you’d like to see,” he said.

But their questions backfired. “To defend them and our side, I didn't see that,” Klobuchar told Bash the second time. “Everyone's been coming back, and for the most part, it is like 95 percent filled at any one time. So I just didn't see that.”

“I do think that most of my colleagues are doing that,” Hirono stated before suggesting what they were hearing was paining Republicans.

Schumer possibly had the strongest response, declaring “no” before Hayes was able to finish the question. “I’ve rarely seen more than ten members out of their seats at a given time. And we've had all members there for most of the time,” he added. “So no, I just the room is a very, very positive thing.”

In contrast with his colleagues, Menendez took the opportunity Tapper gave him to claim, without evidence, “there are a fair amount of people on the other side who seem to get up and I guess have had enough and don't want to listen to the rest of the testimony.”

Meanwhile, there was contradictory reporting that said there were plenty of Democrats not paying attention and leaving early. According to an Associated Press report, “Within the first hour, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia could be seen at his desk in the back row, leaning on his right arm with a hand covering his eyes.” (On a side note, the AP didn’t identify Democrats by their party but did for Republicans.)

Paul Kane of The Washington Post reported on Twitter that California Democrat Dianne Feinstein had fled the Senate chamber at 8:45 p.m. when there was still almost an hour left in the night’s proceedings.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

CNN Senate Impeachment Trial
January 22, 2020
3:41:55 p.m. Eastern

(…)

DANA BASH: Do you have a sense -- I know you have a lot of relationships across party lines. Do you have a sense that they are listening, particularly, you know, those Republicans who are potentially persuadable, maybe not on, you know, on convicting him but on witnesses?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MS): I hope so. I certainly Senator Romney has said he wants to hear from John Bolton.

BASH: Anything you can tell us about quiet conversations you’re having?

KLOBUCHAR: No.

BASH: Even though you’re not supposed to be talking, we know you’re talking on the floor. [Laughter]

KLOBUCHAR: People talk off the floor, too, and a number of them have said that they are open to witnesses, not many of them. And I just hope they do it.

(…)

3:43:56 p.m. Eastern

BASH: I just have to ask you about what's going on inside the chamber, because the cameras can't see the senators. There's a report that there are a lot of empty seats, particularly on the Republican side. You've been sitting there. You've been watching, have there been empty seats?

KLOBUCHAR: To defend them and our side, I didn't see that. I think it was a two and a half hour opening very well done, so you see people leave to go to the restroom, people maybe leave to drink a cup of coffee or something like that, and so they come back. Everyone's been coming back, and for the most part it is like 95 percent filled at any one time. So I just didn't see that.

BASH: Okay.

(…)

6:52:34 p.m. Eastern

JAKE TAPPER: Senator Menendez, it's Jake Tapper. Let me ask you speaking of your Republican colleagues, the Senate as you know has taken away the ability of C-SPAN to air what's going on in the room other than what the Senate cameras are showing in the House impeachment manager's presentation. When you look around the room, are your Republican colleagues and Democrat colleagues listening? Are they focusing? Are they trying to take in what's being presented to them?

SEN BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): I tell you, I will say that for the most part, the answer is yes. At least they appear to be listening. I mean, we do have a series of our colleagues, particularly on the other side of the aisle who seem to get up quite a bit and often leave the chamber for extended periods of time. I think it's not a great comfort to sit there endless hours. But at the end of the day, I want to hear all the testimony and I can't do that if I'm not in the chamber.

So, I think for the most part the answer is true on both sides, but there are a fair amount of people on the other side who seem to get up and I guess have had enough and don't want to listen to the rest of the testimony.

(…)

7:04:50 p.m. Eastern

ERIN BURNETT: Before you go, there's various reports from some of the press who are in the there that some of the chairs are empty, people are short of in the back talking or eating. My question to you is, is everyone in that room paying attention? I mean, it's understandable people may want to get up and getting some to drink or something like that. But do you feel that people are taking this with the sincerity and the seriousness that it deserves?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): I certainly am. And I'm taking notes. And I would think that -- I do think that most of my colleagues are doing that. But I also think that for the Republicans to hear what the President did is probably a very painful experience for them. It's not painful for me or for us because we know what the President did. And we've been trying to focus the country and everyone else including my Republican colleagues on what he did. But obviously last night they were impervious to any calls for a fair trial and not just a fast trial to protect the lying President.

(…)

 

MSNBC Senate Impeachment Trial
January 22, 2020
10:09:40 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS HAYES: I wanted to ask about the room. We were discussing before obviously we don't have a camera or eyes on it. There's reporters in the gallery and there's sketch artists, but a notable number of senators not in their seats for long stretches has been reported. And I just wonder --

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): No.

HAYES: -- if you feel the body is living up to the moment on both sides of the aisle, that there's a level of attentiveness and seriousness that you’d like to see.

SCHUMER: Well, you know, I’ve rarely seen more than ten members out of their seats at a given time. And we've had all members there for most of the time. The attentiveness that most impresses me is the one I mentioned before, or that might have the greatest impact, that a lot of our Republican colleagues who have never heard the whole story, have never heard a narrative and have gotten so much of their news from Fox News, which is so deliberately biased and leaves out most of the major facts, is really indicative. So no, I just the room is a very, very positive thing.

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Labeling Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Erin Burnett OutFront MSNBC Fake News Video Robert Menendez Dana Bash Erin Burnett Jake Tapper Chris Hayes Amy Klobuchar Chuck Schumer

Sponsored Links