As the Senate spent hours and hours on Tuesday debating the rules for President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial, one Republican lawmaker in the chamber appeared to spend some of that time counting sheep.
According to The Washington Post and other outlets, Idaho’s Sen. Jim Risch seemingly fell asleep for about 15 minutes less than halfway through Tuesday’s session. Reporters and a courtroom sketch artist soon noticed Risch, 76, slumped his head into his hands with his eyes closed around 5:30 pm. (His office did not respond to a request for comment.)
There are no photos of Sen. Risch seemingly asleep, as no media cameras are allowed in the Senate during the trial, but sketch artist Art Lien did capture the moment for The New York Times. He depicted Risch leaning on his right arm with his eyes closed.
“Senators Crapo, Risch (catching a few winks) and Blount, 1-21-20,” Lien captioned his sketch.
The Post reported that he “could be seen from the press gallery motionless, with his eyes closed and head slumped against his right hand.”
Rep. Val Demings, one of the impeachment managers presenting the House of Representatives’ case against Trump to the Senate, was reportedly speaking while Risch had his eyes closed but she briefly roused him when she played a video testimony from a key figure in the investigation.
Risch “briefly perked up, but quickly closed his eyes again,” according to the Post.
Later Tuesday, Risch — who like the other senators is bound to silence during the trial, to preserve their air of deliberation — appeared to become annoyed by Rep. Adam Schiff, another impeachment manager.
Schiff, 59, was arguing in favor of an amendment that would subpoena additional State Department documents related to the case when Risch “started tapping on his wristwatch,” according to the Post.
“While it was not clear whether Risch was trying to get the attention of Schiff or Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., in the silent room, the incessant “tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap” was the loudest thing other than Schiff’s voice,” the Post reported.
Roberts eventually hammered his gavel to ask Schiff to stop speaking.
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate spent Tuesday arguing over the rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial. The proceedings lasted into early Wednesday before adjourning.
One surprising agreement they reached was spreading opening arguments out over three days instead of two, in order to avoid parts of the hearings from continuing late into the night.
Trump, 73, who has insisted his impeachment is a “hoax,” has been in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. He will return Wednesday afternoon. Opening arguments also began Wednesday afternoon.
The president has been accused of abuse of power and obstruction in connection with the Ukraine scandal, which has been broadly corroborated by the House’s months-long investigation.
However, Trump says his behavior with Ukraine was “perfect” and his legal team has attacked the impeachment process as constitutionally dubious.