“We respectfully request that when the Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Trump on February 9th, you allow C-SPAN to position our camera in the Senate Chamber to cover these proceedings,” Susan Swain, President, and CEO of C-SPAN wrote on behalf of the network to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Swain said that it is quite significant to cover the impeachment process in Senate. Under the Senate guideline, Senate Recording Studio normally provides the feed of Senate floor debates in a restricted view. But Swain said she hopes Schumer agrees with her and many others’ belief that the “American public deserves a more comprehensive view of this historic Senate trial.”
The Senate impeachment trial of the former president is a first-of-its-kind and controversial proceeding, as legal scholars have expressed mixed opinions about its constitutionality.
It is common that private news media cameras are allowed to cover speeches at some significant events, such as the State of the Union Address and Joint Meetings of Congress. But the second impeachment is so historical, millions of Americans are so interested in it, greater media access is definitely necessary, the C-SPAN CEO said.
Many constitutional scholars are arguing that the trial is unconstitutional, because impeachment is for current officeholders, and since Trump had already left office, the Senate’s jurisdiction—or authority—to hold an impeachment trial expired on Jan. 20. Some others think the Constitution only implies, but does not state, that impeachment is for current officeholders.
Swain said C-SPAN has been covering congressional events for over 40 years, they are willing to work for congressional staff in any aspect, and C-SPAN would provide feed to any Congress accredited media who are in need of the feed.
Many expected the impeachment not to succeed in the Senate, as in a vote on constitutionality last Wednesday, only 55 senators said it’s constitutional. It requires 67 votes to convict a president.
Swain hopes Schumer will consider her request, or grant the Senate Recording Studio permission to provide C-SPAN a separate feed if Schumer decides not to have C-SPAN’s cameras on the floor of the Senate.
Senator Schumer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Janita Kan contributed to this report