House prosecutors faced fidgeting senators as they rolled out their case against President Donald Trump on Wednesday after the trial's opening session had lasted a fatigue-inducing 13 hours.
And, also, literal fidget spinners. North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr handed them out.
Democrats argued Thursday that Trump sought a phony investigation of a political rival and pursued a discredited conspiracy theory about Ukraine.
Democrats said there was no evidence that former Vice President Joe Biden did anything improper in dealings with Ukraine. Republicans outside the chamber challenged Democrats' argument and pledged to find out more about Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine.
There's more on the way though: Democrats will continue arguments through Friday under rules approved by the Senate. Trump's lawyers will then have up to three days to rebut.
Democrats who allege a “corrupt scheme” by Trump involving Ukraine are trying to win over not just fidgety senators but an American public deeply divided by the Republican president's actions. Prosecutors are relying on the same loops of videotaped testimony after Trump's allies in the Republican-controlled Senate blocked new witnesses. The repetition and the long hours in back-to-back days of proceedings haven't been a help.
Senators appear to be done with many of the quaint rules that are making them miserable during the impeachment trial. Many are pacing the chamber, walking out during arguments, napping and openly scoffing.
Bans on that behavior are designed to keep their attention on the grave and rare business of deciding whether to remove a president from office. But they're getting little sleep, and they've heard the story of Trump's pressure on Ukraine before. The ban on cellphones is one rule they haven't apparently flouted, though they often appear to be leaving the floor for a moment with their devices.
Impeachment FAQ: A Guide To Key People, Facts And Documents
Trump was busy himself, returning from an international business conference in Davos but finding time to send 120-plus tweets that included trial commentary and criticism.
Read More: Impeachment Trial Recap: Senators Implored To Consider Magnitude Of The Moment (via NPR.org)
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