Reporters on Capitol Hill voiced their displeasure at the new security restrictions that have been put in place for the Senate impeachment trial into President Trump. The new restrictions were put in place on Tuesday as the trial began its first day in the upper chamber.
Including metal detectors, reporters are now unable to walk and talk with senators as they leave the Senate floor. They are in designated areas, or press pens, and can ask questions if senators decide to stop by and talk.
Reporters criticized the metal detectors and designated areas, saying there are not animals and the new policies are an "ominous moment for the press and democracy." They say being placed in an area and are unable to follow senators is making it easier to avoid answering questions.
REPORTERS AREN’T SHEEP: View from the print/radio reporter press pen to the photographer’s pen just off the Senate floor. They’ve severely restricted our access during the impeachment proceedings pic.twitter.com/xdj6Ym3dQ1— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) January 21, 2020
Reason why press restrictions need to be reversed. You’re not allowed to walk with senators by floor as usual. We can only talk to them if they stop by our penned areas. I just asked Susan Collins and Cory Gardner about McConnell resolution - and they both ignored the questions— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 21, 2020
Hello, was just yelled at by security for taking impeachment video/photos from my pre-designated media “pen.” Here are the pictures! ?? (Adam Schiff and crew entering Senate) pic.twitter.com/eK0sHARvPZ— Harry Cramer (@HarrisonCramer) January 21, 2020
The press has had the right to walk, unfettered, through those doors and others to witness public sessions of the Senate since the 18th century. Tomorrow, there will be a police officer and a magnetometer in our way for the 1st time ever.— Andrew Taylor (@APAndrewTaylor) January 21, 2020
This is a bad idea pic.twitter.com/dfqpb1pMCy
Four senate police officers just marched into the Senate Press Gallery to begin manning the metal detector that reporters will be required to pass through if we want to watch the impeachment proceedings. An ominous moment for the press and democracy.— Michael D. Shear (@shearm) January 21, 2020
Before the trial officially started, Leader McConnell made some changes to his proposed trial rules. 24 hours are now allotted to both sides for opening statements over three days, instead of two, and evidence will be automatically admitted unless a senator objects.