Trump on trial: The view from inside

Must Read

WhatsApp: how to send photos and videos without losing quality

We are going to show you how you can send photos and videos on WhatsApp without losing quality. Every time we send a file...

The Realme V5 5G will arrive with its MediaTek processor in Europe, according to XDA

More and more manufacturers are launching local versions of their mobile phones for regions such as India or China, and which later do not...

WhatsApp will limit the use of stickers in chats

WhatsApp will soon begin to limit the animated stickers used by chats with your friends. Discover here the real reason for this decision. The stickers...

5 reasons why you should use WhatsApp Business

We tell you what can be done with WhatsApp Business, and five reasons why you should use this tool if you have a business. 5...
Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.

In the history of the United States only three presidents have gone on trial in the Senate, so it is no surprise that there is high demand for passes to gain entry to Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

As a journalist who regularly covers events on Capitol Hill, I usually just show my Congressional ID to enter the complex but getting into the impeachment proceedings is a lot more complicated.

I was told I would have to obtain additional accreditation and arrive 90 minutes before the trial was due to begin. 

My name was then taken and added to a list.  Eventually I was called and handed my press pass. 

It reminded me of the coveted ‘golden tickets’ in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the passes are similar in appearance, although pale yellow in colour.

Inside the Senate chamber, we were a million miles from Willy Wonka’s wonderland but interestingly chocolate is the only food on offer for senators.

As the jurors in this trial, they have to operate under strict rules when it comes to eating and drinking but if they require a ‘sugar fix’ they can help themselves to something from the ‘candy desk’ on the Senate floor.

Coffee is banned in the chamber, only water and milk are permitted.  They are also not allowed to speak or use their phones. 

The press gallery is located on a balcony facing the senators, giving us the reverse angle of what is shown on TV and allowing us to observe the jurors in great detail.

Perhaps it was the lack of caffeine or the detailed evidence but I witnessed lots of yawns, eye-rubbing and arm stretching.

Senators are allowed to get up and walk around, and many of them did.  Others remained seated taking notes, reading documents or sitting back and listening.

Like on the Senate floor, devices are not allowed in press gallery.  I was flanked by two courtroom artists who were busily sketching scenes that would never be captured by the cameras.

We had a perfect view of the jurors in the biggest trial in the world.  Among them, household names and presidential candidates past and present like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

In case any reporter would overdo their efforts to get a better view, a sign on the balcony’s edge instructed us not to lean over the side.

Inside the Senate chamber the air is cool, perhaps too cool.  Maybe this is done intentionally to keep everyone alert.

If that is the case, it is not a bad idea.  The evidence was slow and repetitive at times, a rehashing of the testimony heard during the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives last month.

Video clips and slides helped to break the monotony and senators visibly perked up when the visual aids appeared on the screens.

Democrats, who are the prosecutors in this trial, went through their evidence in excruciating detail as they tried to sell their two articles of impeachment, or charges, against Donald Trump; abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Mr Trump has been accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into opening an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden.

The president’s defence team argue that he has not committed any impeachable offences and that Democrats are trying to overthrow the results of the last election and secure victory in the upcoming election.

Many Republican senators have complained that they are not hearing anything new.  Democrats have responded by saying that they could hear ‘something new’ if they allowed witnesses to be called.  So far those efforts have been blocked.

Right now, Democrats are just hoping to win over four Republican senators.  If they could do that, they may be able to win a simple majority vote to call witnesses.

Democrats know it is highly unlikely they will get 20 Republican senators to change their minds and vote with them.  This is the number that is needed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to remove Donald Trump from office.

Right now, Democrats are just hoping to win over four Republican senators.  If they could do that, they may be able to win a simple majority vote to call witnesses.

Three Republican Senators; Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney have said they may vote to hear witnesses.  While opinion polls show Americans are split on whether or not to remove Donald Trump from office, a clear majority thinks witnesses should be allowed testify at this trial.

Testimony from the likes of the former National Security Advisor John Bolton could be very damaging for President Trump.  Mr Bolton apparently described the campaign of pressure on Ukraine as a ‘drug deal’.

Witnesses would also extend the length of the impeachment trial, possibly by weeks, but if there is no new testimony the proceedings could be over within a matter of days and Donald Trump will be acquitted.

The Senate will then resume its normal business. There will be fewer reporters in the press galleries but I’m assured the ‘candy desk’ is there to stay.