CNN anchor John Berman lectured the U.S. senators who didn't stay in their seats for every minute of Wednesday's opening arguments in the impeachment trial against President Trump. While impeachment managers Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler presented their case against the president and how he supposedly tried to coerce Ukraine to boost his re-election chances, several lawmakers left their chairs. Berman found that unacceptable.
"In fact, many of the senators of both parties were not at their desk at different times despite the rules which will require the apparently herculean task of sitting down for a few hours," Berman said. "This isn’t digging ditches, this isn’t manning a fox hole, this isn’t working an assembly line. This is sitting in a chair and enjoying all the milk you can drink."
"Those cushy six-year terms, which apparently aren’t long enough for some to spare a few minutes to sit down," he continued.
Berman confronted his guest Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) about it on Thursday, and the Democrat defended his colleagues and their need for physical comfort, considering some breaks are three hours apart.
"I don't see it as any dereliction of duty to stand instead of sit in the chamber as long as you're standing quietly in the back, and not interfering with anybody's view," Whitehouse added.
Other people go in and out from the cloakroom for a variety of reasons.
"Sometimes nature even calls senators," he noted.
One senator, Rand Paul, was caught doing a crossword puzzle.
Parkinson said he noticed Paul was using a piece of paper to cover up a crossword puzzle. The answers were uncovered to the left.
When Paul was prepared to write an answer, Parkinson said the senator briefly moved the paper concealing the crossword, revealing the breach in decorum.
A spokesman for the senator told him on Wednesday that "all smart people do crossword puzzles." (ABC News)
The CNN anchor was especially frustrated by Paul's exercise. When he mentioned it to Whitehouse, the senator chuckled. Berman didn't like that either.
"I'm glad he thinks it's funny," Berman said. "The president of the United States is on trial today."
Yet, lost on the CNN anchors was how Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) was watching the President's Club golf tournament while the Judiciary Committee was debating the articles of impeachment during one of last month's hearings.
Zoomed in.— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) December 13, 2019
Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond is watching golf. pic.twitter.com/Qu0Npl8RrD
Surely watching sports during such a "solemn" process is a bit more egregious than a word game?
Berman's co-anchor Alisyn Camerota noted how the senators took an oath and wondered how many of them could be facing prison time for leaving the proceedings.