Senators bring Apple Watches to Trump's impeachment hearing, breaking no electronics rule
Senator Mitch McConnell leaving the first day of Trump's impeachment trial alongside a woman apparently wearing an Apple Watch. Image: Oliver Douliery / AFP via Getty Images By Amanda Yeo2020-01-22 02:38:44 UTC Trump's impeachment trial has...
Trump's impeachment trial has only just begun yet some senators have already broken the rules, bringing electronic devices into proceedings despite being specifically told not to.
As spotted by Roll Call, six Republican senators and one Democratic senator wore Apple Watches during the trial's first day on Tuesday, as did an aide to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Usually, this wouldn't be an issue.
However, days before the trial began, senators were given a document outlining a few simple decorum guidelines for the proceedings. Among them was a rule that "No use of phones or electronic devices will be allowed in the Chamber. All electronics should be left in the Cloakroom in the storage provided."
Just to be clear, the Apple Watch is an electronic device.
Reading these decorum rules for Senators during the impeachment trial. It's like grammar school all over again. Only thing missing is a rule to raise your hand for permission to use the lavatory
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) January 15, 2020
The decorum guidelines were clearly laid out in plain English, and didn't even take up an entire A4 page. Senators could conceivably read the whole bullet-pointed list while dropping a deuce between hearings. You'd hope they'd give it at least that much attention, considering that this impeachment trial is a momentous occasion which will mark U.S. history forever.
It isn't unreasonable to presume senators in attendance should be cognizant of the document's fifth rule. Which means we have a bunch of delinquents on our hands.
One of these rebels was Republican senator John Cornyn, who definitely knew about the rules as evidenced by his statement on Jan. 13. "We will not have our electronic devices [in the impeachment trial]," said Cornyn, one week before bringing his electronic device into the impeachment trial.
Senator McConnell's aide should have known better as well, considering that it was his office that released the decorum guidelines alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office.
The rest of the Republican Apple Watch posse was comprised of senators Mike Lee, John Thune, Jerry Moran, James Lankford, and Tim Scott, while Democratic senator Patty Murray stood alone in letting her team down.
Though small, the Apple Watch's functions include messaging, tweeting, and emailing. The decorum guidelines didn't state exactly why electronics are banned, however it was likely intended to curb distraction and live-tweeting.
"Paying attention is significant and important and I'm glad that we can put these devices down," Republican senator Lisa Murkowski said after the rules were first released. "I think it's important, it's beautifully old fashion, and I think we should stick to it."
It seems some of her colleagues disagree, though. Let no-one ever say that kids are addicted to their devices again.
No penalty was laid out in the decorum guidelines, so maybe it'll be allowed to slide if they promise not to do it again.
The historic Senate impeachment trial will decide whether to remove U.S. President Donald Trump from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Both are serious charges, despite his lawyers' attempts at arguing otherwise.