GOP Senator James Risch Appears to Fall Asleep During Opening Day of Trump's Impeachment Trial

The opening day of the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump appeared to have not brought enough excitement to one Republican senator, who was spotted apparently sleeping in the press gallery during proceedings.

James Risch (R-ID), was reported to have nodded off around four hours into the trial while Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) was speaking.

The Washington Post noted how the Democrats' case to subpoena the State Department "didn't make much of an impression" on Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Risch and that he appeared to be asleep for a "significant portion" of it.

The Post described how Risch had his eyes closed and "head slumped against his right hand" at around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The senator reportedly "perked up" briefly while Demings set up a video of the testimony of U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, before closing his eyes again for around 15 minutes more.

Risch was also described as being "most definitely sound asleep" for the majority of Demings' presentation by NBC News in their live blog of the trial, while also noting there were many yawns from other people during the lengthy proceedings, including from senators Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) Amy Klobuchar, (D-MN) Roy Blunt, (R-MO) and Richard Shelby (R-AL).

Unfortunately for Risch, while media cameras are not allowed in the Senate chambers during the hearings, sketch artists still are.

Art Lien, a courtroom sketch artist currently covering the trial for The New York Times, sketched Risch with his head in his hands and "capturing a few winks" while sitting in between Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO).

"Throughout the day, the C-Span cameras were primarily trained on those speaking at the podium, which allowed some members to rest their eyes out of view," The Times wrote underneath the sketch in an article about Lien covering the first day of the trial.

NYT has a sketch artist covering impeachment, catching moments like Sen. Risch sleeping

— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) January 22, 2020

As reported by The Idaho Statesman, Risch has repeatedly supported Trump prior to the start of the impeachment hearing.

"The transcript of and whistleblower report related to President Trump's call with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy were not compelling to me, after reviewing both," he said about the phone call in which Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate potential 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden.

"We heard all kinds of allegations of arm-twisting and bullying, and it's just not there," Risch added in September. "I know evidence when I see it, and the Democrats are going to need more than this if they want to build an impeachment case. But, don't take my word for it—every American should read the report, which is easily understood, and make up his or her own mind."

Risch's office has been contacted for comment.

James Risch
James Risch (R-ID) listens to testimony during a hearing about U.S.-Russia relations in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill December 03, 2019 in Washington, DC. Risch was apparenty spotted asleep for around 15 minutes during President Donald Trump's impeachment trail. Chip Somodevilla/Getty