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According to several reports, a significant number of senators on both sides of the aisle refused to sit through Adam Schiff’s ridiculous long, 3-hour speech, ending up in almost 2 dozen empty seats during the impeachment trial yesterday.
Reporter Michael McAuliff tweeted out that he spotted 21 empty seats on the Republican side and 2 on the Democrat side a few hours in to Schiff’s long-winded speech:
You know it's bad when even Dems are leaving!
So, today, Schiff thought he'd address their absence with a little "joke" about imprisoning senators who leave the impeachment trial early!
Needless to say, it fell flat.
Watch Schiff's "bad joke" here:
Politico via Yahoo has more details on senators leaving during Schiff's talking time:
Empty seats in the trial
It was only day two, but the restlessness was palpable on the Senate floor on Wednesday as Democrats made their opening arguments against President Donald Trump.
Senators were expecting their first recess at 3:08 p.m., roughly two hours after the trial got underway. But House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff declared around 3:15 p.m. that he still had 10 minutes left, and several Republicans — including a half-dozen who had been waiting near the door — bolted to the exits.
As Schiff finished up his roughly three-hour presentation, there were as many as two dozen Republican senators out of their seats at once — a clear violation of the rules that bar senators from leaving their seats during the trial.
“The end is in sight,” Schiff quipped on the floor, as senators began shuffling out of the chamber en masse.
Even before that scheduled recess break, a half dozen Republicans had decided to stand in the back — like Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ben Sasse of Nebraska — rather than remain in their seats.
A half-dozen Democrats, too, were in and out of the chamber. That includes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who left the room three times — including once for more than 10 minutes. But nearly all Democrats remained in the chamber to listen to Schiff, even as some, like Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), stood near the back of the room to lean against a railing or wall.
The longer Schiff spoke, the more flagrant the rule violations on the floor. There were several whispered conversations, with several senators going in and out of the chamber every minute or so. The Senate eventually recessed around 3:30 p.m.
Law & Crime also said:
A large bloc of Republican Senators reportedly skipped large portions of Wednesday’s impeachment trial, flouting Senate rules requiring them to remain in their seats at all times during the proceedings, according to journalist Michael McAuliff.
“Just counted 21 empty seats on the GOP side of the Senate, 2 on the Dem side, a couple hours into [Adam] Schiff’s presentation. Some are just stretching their legs, but most are not in the chamber. Some of them have been out of there for a while,” McAuliff said.
Just counted 21 empty seats on the GOP side of the Senate, 2 on the Dem side, a couple hours into Schiff's presentation. Some are just stretching their legs, but most are not in the chamber. Some of them have been out of there for a while.
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) January 22, 2020
That means more than one-third of 53 Republican senators tasked with deciding the president’s fate all missed the same segment of the historic trial. Among those absent from the action “for a long time” were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).
On Schiff's "joking" reminder to senators to stay put during the trial, Deadline said:
Sounding a bit like a parent who doesn’t really believe his own threat of a summer-long grounding, Schiff (D-CA), the lead impeachment manager prosecuting the case against the president, nonetheless made clear that senators have a duty to listen, learn and stop bolting.
Opening with a bit of self-deprecating congressional humor, Schiff noted “how rare it is, how extraordinary it is” for House members to hold the undivided attention of senators “for hours or even for minutes.”
“Of course,” Schiff continues, “it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with a sergeant-at-arms warning you that if you don’t you will be in prison.”
The joke got some chuckles, but Schiff’s point was made.
The friendly reminder follows widespread reports that some senators – mostly Republicans – were leaving the Senate hearing chamber throughout the last couple days, a rule violation.
CNS News added:
Impeachment Manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told senators that he hopes none of them will choose prison over paying attention at the Senate trial.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) says that may have been a joke – but, if so, Schiff didn’t tell it very well.
Schiff first thanked the senators for “their long and considerable attention” during Democrats’ presentations – then, added:
“Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with the sergeant-at-arms warning you that, if you don’t, you will be in prison.”
‘It’s our hope…that you don’t choose imprisonment,” Schiff said