Put 100 highly partisan lawmakers into a coffee-free, phone-free room for 10 hours a day and chaos is bound to ensue. Here are some of the strangest things witnessed so far during the impeachment hearings.
Senator Rand Paul worked on a crossword puzzle.
On Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, ABC News’ John Parkinson spotted Senator Rand Paul working on a crossword puzzle, which was not allowed inside the chamber. Parkinson tells Washingtonian that Paul was “obviously trying to conceal” the puzzle. A Paul spokesperson told Parkinson “all smart people do crossword puzzles.”
— John R Parkinson (@jparkABC) January 22, 2020
Actually, Rand Paul did everything but take notes
ABC News reported that Paul was seen Wednesday trying to make what looked like a paper airplane, though he did not appear to finish it. Paul showed little more interest in proceedings on Thursday, as he used his legal pad to sketch the Capitol instead of taking notes.
Inside the chamber, Sen. Paul has drawn a very impressive sketch of the U.S. Capitol (Though it appears he is tracing it.) It’s the only thing he’s written on his legal pad so far.
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) January 23, 2020
Senator Ben Sasse brought chewing tobacco
The Hill’s Al Weaver tweeted Wednesday that Senator Ben Sasse had been caught with a pouch of Red Man chewing tobacco on his desk. We could not confirm whether or not he actually made use of the Senate’s decorative spittoons.
A bit of color from Senate floor, per a Sasse aide:
"At about 5:00pm the Sergeant at Arms asked Sasse to put away a pouch of Red Man chewing tobacco that was on his desk. Sasse asked whether or not the four remaining spittoons are decorative. We’ll see.”
— Al Weaver (@alweaver22) January 23, 2020
Senator Patrick Leahy did a Gollum impression
Cell phones are not allowed inside the chamber, which led to some serious technological separation anxiety among the lawmakers. Politico’s Melanie Zanona reported Tuesday that Senator Patrick Leahy was so excited to have his phone back that he did an impression of the Lord of The Rings character Gollum, cooing, “my precious,” as he stroked his phone.
Senator Leahy, retrieving his cell phone during the recess break, just did an impression of Gollum in order to convey what it’s been like when senators get back their phones: “Ohhhh my precious!”
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) January 21, 2020
Senators drank way too much milk
Journalist Matt Laslo tweeted Tuesday about a Senate rule that allows only water and milk to be drunk on the Senate floor. Which led to a weird amount of dairy consumption during the hearings. Though Senator Ted Cruz technically started the trend late Tuesday night, Senator Tom Cotton enjoying two full glasses with a Hershey’s is likely what led Senator Richard Burr, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Senator Elizabeth Warren to follow suit.
Sen. Rick Scott tells me the rules only allow senators to drink water and milk on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) January 21, 2020
Senator Marco Rubio had a quill pen
Huffington Post’s Igor Bobic tweeted Wednesday that Senator Marco Rubio had a quill pen on the Senate floor. Though Bobic said Rubio was using a normal pen for notes, courtroom artist Bill Hennessy’s sketch of the Florida Senator depicts him with quill in hand.
Spotted on Senate floor: Marco Rubio holding a quill pen!
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 22, 2020
Senator Richard Burr gave out fidget spinners
CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski reported that Burr gave GOP colleagues fidget spinners at his “Carolina Cookout” lunch Thursday. The spinners were spotted on the desks of Burr and Senator Tom Cotton, and got some use during the hearings.
Update: Burr is spinning
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 23, 2020