It’s Tuesday, January 28. Mitch McConnell reportedly said during a private meeting that GOP members don’t have the votes to block impeachment-trial witnesses.
In the rest of today’s newsletter: This is surely not how Kamala Harris or Cory Booker had planned to spend their January. Plus: Fearing the moderate.
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(SAUL LOEB / JOE RAEDLE / GETTY / THE ATLANTIC)
From the Trail to the Trial
The president’s legal team concluded its defense today. The impeachment trial now enters the questioning phase, and may involve new witnesses.
While historic and momentous, the trial is in no way a glamorous opportunity for the senators. But the proceedings are likely especially dispiriting for the crop of lawmakers who, after dropping out of the 2020 race, find themselves sitting silently as one among 100.
At least one senator was spotting dozing off last week. Another brought a fidget spinner to manage boredom. Another was spotted filling out a crossword puzzle.
The plight of two wannabe presidents—Cory Booker and Kamala Harris—both of whom had the resume of a proper 2020 heavyweight, is especially stark, my colleague Todd Purdum writes:
This is surely not how either big-name Democrat had planned to spend the third week of January: in the political equivalent of their parents’ basement, having flunked out of the presidential race they’d approached with such high hopes last year.
Their backbench neighbor, Michael Bennet, who is still running but has long struggled for traction, languished in the same psychic dunce’s row, listening listlessly.
Todd also caught up with Booker himself last week:
Booker was waylaid in the Senate subway by the veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz and a group of 11 international students. When I asked the senator how it felt to be stuck in Washington and not in Iowa, he fixed me with a mock-hurt gaze and said, “Really? You trying to poke my sadness?”
Booker went on, “Look, it’s definitely heartbreaking that things had to end, but at the same time, I cannot escape my gratitude for the experience. It’s been really wonderful.”