The Senate is preparing an 'unprecedented crackdown' on Capitol reporters ahead of impeachment

Kathryn Krawczyk

Reporters trying to get into the Senate to cover President Trump's impeachment trial may be better off just watching a livestream.

That's because the Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are orchestrating an "unprecedented crackdown" on the press from the moment the articles of impeachment are walked from the House to the Senate, CQ Roll Call reports. Only one video camera will be allowed to capture that historic moment despite still photographers being allowed to do so during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, and that's far from the only thing that could hinder the reporting.

Under a plan orchestrated by Senate security officials and Senate Rules Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), reporters will pass through magnetometers that ensure they don't bring electronics into the upper galleries of the Senate chamber. Electronics are typically barred from being used in this area, but this will mean they can't even be brought in, and will slow the process of reporters exiting the area to tweet or report news. Impeachment reporters will also be sequestered to a "pen" and barred from approaching senators for comment during breaks in the trial, "meaning only senators seeking out press coverage will get covered," Standing Committee of Correspondents Chair Sarah Wire tweeted.

The Standing Committee of Correspondents isn't, well, standing for these rules. It sent a letter in opposition to the crackdown to Senate leaders, and Wire outlined reporters' grievances in a lengthy Twitter thread as well.

It seems Senate decision-makers aren't backing down so far, likely forcing some reporters to stay out of the chambers altogether and share their instant analyses and coverage while watching the trial on TV.

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