Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn has been accused of breaking Senate rules by giving a live television interview while proceedings for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial were still ongoing.
Blackburn spoke to Fox News' Laura Ingraham Tuesday while her colleagues were sat in the Senate chamber, apparently breaking the rules governing the proceedings.
Justin Goodman, the communications director for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, was among the first to notice the transgression.
He tweeted a photograph of Blackburn speaking to Fox, writing alongside the picture: "It appears Republican Senator Marcia Blackburn was just caught doing a live interview on Fox News instead of sitting in the Senate chamber."
One of the rules for the impeachment trial reads: "Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings." It appears Blackburn—a staunch Trump ally who will vote to acquit the president—violated the guidelines within hours of the process starting.
The rules governing the behavior of Senate jurors are strict. Though members are allowed to speak with the media during breaks between sessions, they are not allowed to bring any phones or electronic devices into the chamber. They are also only allowed reading material pertaining to the trial.
UCLA political scientist Miranda Yaver wrote on Twitter than breaking the rules is "punishable by imprisonment." Chief Justice John Roberts—who is overseeing the president's trial—could, in theory, punish Blackburn for the offense.
"No one—not the President, not Senator Marsha Blackburn—can be treated as above the law," Yaver added. Newsweek has contacted Blackburn's office for comment.
Yaver told Newsweek that if Blackburn did indeed break the rules, it would be "problematic" but in keeping with the "vast array of norm-breaking" from GOP senators.
"It contributes to a pattern of the Senate majority coalition treating themselves as above the rules, and serves as a reminder of the extent to which our nation's governance relies more heavily on norms than laws," she added.
Senators spent Tuesday debating the rules for the coming trial. One of the key points of contention is whether to allow witnesses to testify in front of the Senate.
Democrats are keen to hear from key administration officials like former National Security Advisor John Bolton and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, but Republicans have resisted their demands and are seeking a quick acquittal of Trump.
Blackburn is staunchly supportive of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to quickly wind up the trial. "If the Democrats feel they need to hear from more witnesses, they should've done so in the House," she wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
"Instead, they rushed through their sham process," Blackburn added. "The Senate will not encourage their bad behavior by holding an impeachment do-over."
The Tennessee senator has also accused several Democratic colleagues of a conflict of interest because they are running for the party's 2020 presidential nomination.
Earlier this month, she said that Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Michael Bennet should all recuse themselves from the trial.
This article has been updated to include comments from Miranda Yaver.