- Citing security concerns, the Senate will force credentialed reporters to remain inside a single press pen and won't allow them to walk up to and interview senators in the hallways, as is custom.
- Political reporters slammed the restrictions, with some suggesting Senate Republicans want to limit press coverage of the trial as much as possible.
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The Republican-controlled Senate will subject the press to unprecedented restrictions during President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial, which is set to begin next Tuesday.
Citing security concerns, the Senate will force credentialed reporters to remain inside a single press pen and won't allow them to walk up to and interview senators in the hallways, as is custom. It will also require reporters to pass through an additional security check, which will make reporting from the events onerous, Roll Call reported Tuesday .
Just one camera and no photographers or audio recorders will be permitted to document the historic delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The decisions were made following negotiations between the Capitol Police, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, the Senate Rules Committee, and the Standing Committee of Correspondents.
The Committee of Correspondents, a group of journalists that represents their credentialed colleagues in the House and Senate press galleries, condemned the crackdown and said their input was ignored by the Senate and Capitol Police.
"The Standing Committee of Correspondents vigorously objects to restrictions being considered on press access during the upcoming Senate trial of President Trump," the Committee chair, Sarah Wire, tweeted.
She added, "Our suggestions were rejected without an explanation of how the restrictions contribute to safety rather than simply limit coverage of the trial."
Political reporters similarly slammed the restrictions, with some suggesting Senate Republicans simply don't want the events covered by the press.
"Excessive restrictions like these only hurt the public who are rightfully seeking up-to-date information on an incredibly historic event such as the third impeachment trial of a US president in history. I am floored," tweeted Washington Post White House reporter Seung Min Kim.
"Pretty much an outrage," tweeted Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times. "Either Senate Republican leadership has no interest in recording history or perhaps they just want to play down the coming events altogether."
Pelosi has delayed sending the impeachment articles to the Senate in an attempt to pressure Republicans, who control the upper chamber, to call witnesses during the trial and otherwise compromise with Democrats on procedure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced last week that he had the votes to move forward with the trial without guaranteeing witnesses will be called.
Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House will cast a vote on impeachment managers and on whether to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday.
- White House reportedly expects several GOP senators to break ranks and call for witnesses in Trump's impeachment trial
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will send Trump articles of impeachment to Senate next week
- Trump's impeachment trial could start as soon as next week