It won’t be hard to watch the first public presidential impeachment hearings that start Wednesday at 10 a.m. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and C-SPAN will offer live coverage. The major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS — will preempt regularly scheduled programming to air the hearings. And then there are all the streaming options.
While millions of Americans will no doubt tune in, a handful Republican senators have pledged not to be among them. Their arguments fall into one of two categories: Either they don’t have time to pay attention to the hearings or they think the whole thing is a charade that doesn’t deserve their attention.
The first is a standard evolution from the way many GOP senators responded to the release of a nine-page whistle-blower complaint about a July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. When the complaint was released in September, it seemed like everyone in Washington was reading the complaint, except for some of the people with the most power.
Here’s who won’t be watching the impeachment hearings this week and their reasons why:
John Barrasso — Will the Senate’s third-ranking Republican, from Wyoming, be watching? “Not at all,” he told reporters.
Marsha Blackburn — “They’re kind of on a fishing expedition,” the Tennessee senator told Politico. “So I’ve just got other things I’ll be spending my time on.”
John Cornyn — “It’s a political sideshow and I’ve got more important things to do,” said the Texas senator.
Lindsey Graham — “No, I’ve got things to do,” Trump’s fiercest Senate defender said. Last week, the South Carolina senator said, “I’ve written the whole process off … I think this is a bunch of B.S.”
Chuck Grassley — “I don’t have time to watch that tomorrow,” the Iowa senator told reporters.
Mitch McConnell — The Senate Majority Leader said he’s going to “be paying attention to what we’re doing in the Senate” this week.
Mitt Romney — Utah’s junior senator won’t be watching because, as one reporter put it, “there’s no opposing point of view until it reaches the Senate.”
Some Republican senators aren’t quite so determined to ignore the proceedings. Here’s who will try to catch what they can:
Roy Blunt — The Missouri senator told reporters he’ll be too busy to catch much of the hearings. “But I will watch your coverage. I’m interested in what’s said, sure,” he said.
Joni Ernst — Unlike her fellow Iowan above, Ernst will miss the live coverage but plans on “catching up on it tomorrow night.”
John Kennedy — “If I have time in between committees and votes and those sorts of things,” said the Louisiana senator.
Shelley Moore Capito — The West Virginia senator will “probably watch some of it.”
Rob Portman — While he can’t catch all of the hearings, the Ohio senator said, “My counsel is going to watch all of it but I’ll watch as much as I can. I think we should listen, and I’m a juror, so we should listen to all the information.”