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Live Mic: During impeachment trial, senators only get milk or water

According to arcane rules, senators' beverage choices during the impeachment trial are limited to milk or water only. Photo: Getty Images

“Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silence, on pain of imprisonment,” the Senate sergeant-at-arms cries out at the start of each day of the impeachment trial of President Donald John Trump.

And they can’t drown their silent sorrows in coffee, either. The only beverages allowed on the Senate floor, during the impeachment trial or any other time, are milk and water.

No talking allowed

Harsh! Senators acting as jurors-judges in the trial can’t make a peep — or it’s slammer time.

The Senate has been governed by this arcane, draconian rule since the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.

And don’t think about calling a bail bondsman, either. No cellphones allowed.

Well, then, how about email? Sorry, no electronic devices of any kind are permitted in the august chamber.

However, senators are allowed handwritten notes conveyed in and out of the Senate by a single staffer.

senate impeachment milk water

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 22: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) (R-KY) leaves the Senate chamber with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (R) (D-MN) during a break in the impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Welcome to 1868.

Finding ways around the rules

But some rebel senators have found loopholes, according to ABC News’ Serena Marshall who joined Lee Lonsberry on his show “Live Mic.”

She reported that these mutineers are playing “paper games and crossword puzzles underneath briefing documents.”


The senators slogged through 13 hours of debate on day one, so they’re feeling a tad burned out.

Oh, sorry, no caffeine on the Senate floor. It’s a real rule.

Beverage choices: milk and water only

So what can a parched senator drink during the impeachment thing?

Milk* and water — that’s it. Which is enough to make a hardened senator shed real tears.

(According to Marshall, milk and water are the only beverage options on the Senate floor at all other times as well, so it’s not just an impeachment thing.)

Sniff, sniff, Kleenex is NOT allowed on the Senate floor  — use your sleeve or a gentleman’s handkerchief, sir.

That’s enough to make a proud federal lawmaker get up and walk out. Good riddance!

Sit down. All senators must remain seated.

Thems the rules.

Have a tall glass of milk, sir, you’ll feel better.

*The milk option dates to a 1966 hearing when then-Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.), requested a “tall glass of milk” for “lunch.”