Washington DC.— The political trial against the president, Donald Trump, has put patience and good manners to the test in the full Senate, where congressmen have as their sole support during the marathon sessions water, milk and a “candy drawer "
The 100 senators, who serve as jurors in the impeachment process, begin each day in the chamber with a prayer from the chaplain of the House, the African American Barry Black.
On Wednesday, before the team of seven Democratic prosecutors began presenting their case, Black raised a prayer for senators to maintain civility and, above all, remember that there are "patriots" in both parties.
The reference to patriotism is important, taking into account that since last year several Republican leaders have suggested - even with sharp words - that the Democrats are not because, in their opinion, they prefer to sink a president who works for the good of the country .
But, in the face of political polarization inside and outside the corridors of Congress, both parties have agreed on clear rules on good conduct and security measures in the full Senate, apart from those governing the debates.
The restrictions for the small group of journalists who enter the room, including those of Noticias Telemundo, apply equally to senators: the use of cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices is prohibited; You cannot speak, clap, or stand, and drinks and meals are not allowed.
Outside the hall, the authorities have banned the free movement of journalists in search of senators' statements, so that interviews can only be conducted in certain areas cordoned off on the second floor, in the Senate press room, or in The insides of the building.
In the case of senators, their presence in the plenary session is mandatory unless there are rest periods, although they can have glasses of water or milk on their desks, and access to the “candy drawer” or sweets, maintaining a tradition dating from 1965.
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Republican senator from Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey, joked with reporters that the drawer "is already running out." Many of the goodies come from stores like Costco, which sell them in family-sized containers and bags.
Despite the restrictions, several journalists have reported on how some senators try to enter unauthorized snacks.
Restlessness, boredom and tiredness
According to the Republican schedule, both the prosecution and the defense will each have up to 24 hours to present their cases, divided into eight-hour days for three days.
If Republicans do not admit new witnesses at the trial, as the Democrats demand, the Senate could vote on January 31 on whether to exonerate Trump, or remove him from office.
Although only two days have passed, journalists have already been able to verify that, for senators, the wait for the verdict is long, boredom threatens their concentration, and patience is on short legs.
The breaks, scheduled by the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, give oxygen to the marathon sessions. On Tuesday, the trial began shortly after one o'clock in the afternoon local time, and concluded almost at two o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, after the vote on the rules of the trial.
Hours later, the California Democratic legislator, Adam Schiff, who leads the prosecutors team, showed up yesterday in front of the lectern at one in the afternoon and spoke non-stop for two and a half hours before the first break of the day.
While Schiff and the Democrats presented their arguments, some senators from both parties could be seen checking their watches, resting their chins on their hands, scratching their hair, nodding, or giving long yawns.
Although some took copious notes or consulted huge folders with documents, others were restless in their seats and, contrary to the rules, stopped to stretch their legs or talked to each other.
Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin explained to reporters that he had to stand at some point to "not lose concentration."
There are no images of these experiences because the rules prohibit video cameras in the room , except those belonging to the Senate, and there are only authorized cameras for some media, also with restrictions.
In the first row of the section for journalists, a professional artist could be seen sketching the current session. But their multicolored graphite pencils did not completely print on the cardboard the senators' challenge to show interest and good manners in the room.