GOP Senator Says He'll 'Vote Against' Proposed Reporter Restrictions in Senate Impeachment Trial, Calls It A 'Huge Mistake'

Louisiana Republican John Kennedy told reporters Wednesday that plans to restrict members of the press during the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump are a "big mistake."

Some of the restrictions being considered are the lack of press access to senators and the prohibition of electronic devices inside the Senate during the trial.

"There's an effort to limit the press," Kennedy told reporters on Wednesday. "I'm going to vote against that if I'm allowed to vote. I think it's a huge mistake. U.S. senators are grown women and grown men. If they don't want to make a comment, they know how to say 'no comment.'"

"We aren't children," Kennedy continued. "We're grown men and grown women. And if you don't want to talk to the press, you just say no comment. If [reporters] ask 150 times, say no comment 150 times."

Newsweek reached out to Kennedy's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

In a letter to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chair of the Standing Committee of Correspondents Sarah D. Wire voiced the committee's objections to the proposed restrictions.

"The Standing Committee sought to address our concerns with the Sergeant at Arms and with the Senate Rules Committee before final decisions were made," the letter read. "But decisions are being made quickly as plans for the trial are completed and we are hearing that nearly every suggestion has been rejected without an explanation of how the restrictions contribute to safety rather than simply limit coverage of the trial."

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Republican Senator John Kennedy said Wednesday that proposed restrictions on members of the press during the upcoming impeachment trial against President Donald Trump would be a "huge mistake." Getty

Along with only "a single pool camera with no audio to cover the arrival of the articles of impeachment from the house," the Senate is considering placing reporters in pens in order to prohibit members of the media "from freely accessing Senators as they come to and from the chamber."

"Capitol Hill is one of the most accessible places in Washington, but the proposed restrictions exceed those put in place during the State of the Union, Inauguration Day or even during the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years ago," the letter said.

"Currently we can walk with Senators as they enter the chamber, wait for them outside of meetings or lunches," Wire wrote in a clarifying tweet. "It leads to a diversity of voices. Penning us means people across the country might not hear from their senator."

Laptops, currently not allowed within the Senate chamber, were requested by the Committee.

"Not allowing laptops to cover the trial puts any reporter trying to do their job as an eyewitness to history at a distinct disadvantage to those who choose to watch it from a desk," the letter read.

"These potential restrictions fail to acknowledge what currently works on Capitol Hill," Wire continued, "or the way the American public expects to be able to follow a vital news event about their government in the digital age."

GOP Senator Says He'll 'Vote Against' Proposed Reporter Restrictions in Senate Impeachment Trial, Calls It A 'Huge Mistake' | Politics