Impeachment Briefing: Working on the Weekend

For all of the talk of history and solemnity, the senators looked tired, their attentiveness sagging. It was the end of a long trial week, and many of them seemed to have given up on careful note taking, with at least a couple exceptions: Kelly Loeffler, the newest member of the Senate, and Marco Rubio, who wore an aggressive Windsor tie knot and wrote at a rate faster than the pace of the presentation.

Others tried their best. Sherrod Brown appeared to at least begin dozing off, despite a focused expression on his face. Cory Booker stood in the back of the room, intent. Tim Scott occasionally glanced at the notes that the senator to his right, Rob Portman, was taking, like an anxious student.

The empty space abutting on the Senate subway, where reporters typically catch lawmakers on their way to vote, served as a kind of impeachment lounge.

After the trial adjourned this afternoon, a group of Mr. Trump’s most TV-prone supporters — Representatives Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Lee Zeldin, Mike Johnson and Elise Stefanik — politely waited there behind Senator Tim Kaine, near a cluster of microphones, as dozens of reporters crowded around. They soon took turns delivering short talking points.

“Anything else?” Mr. Meadows asked the reporters at one point, searching for more questions. None came.

On my way out of the Capitol, the tiny elevator I was in stopped on the way down, the doors opened, and Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Cipollone were waiting to get in, smiling and offering well wishes to a new group of Senate pages, the high school student helpers who had been busy refilling water glasses in the chamber today.

The two Trump lawyers soon jumped into a waiting black van and sped away — past protesters, a senator catching a ride with an aide in a red SUV, and tourists in line to enter the Capitol, where a normal weekend quiet had returned.


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