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C-SPAN, Networks Ask Senate for Impeachment Access

C-SPAN says current plan would provide a restricted view of the proceedings.

WASHINGTON—The House has officially sent over the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, setting up for the trial to start in the coming days. However, C-SPAN and other broadcasters are worried that the current arrangement for covering the trial will be less than adequate.

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Dec. 19, 2019, C-SPAN President and Co-Chief Executive Susan Swain asked that C-SPAN be allowed to place its own cameras in the Senate Chamber to cover the proceedings. As it stands now, trial coverage will be based on video feed provided by the Senate Recording Studio, which offers a restricted view of Senate floor debates.

“There are few duties more significant or historic than when the Senate exercises its constitutional role of impeaching a president,” wrote Swain. “We believe, and hope you will agree, that the American public deserves a more comprehensive view of the Senate trial.”

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, ABC, CBS,NBC, Fox News and CNN supported C-SPAN’s request in a joint letter sent on Jan. 10, saying that it would be beneficial to their coverage as well. The LA Times story said McConnell’s office had yet to respond to either letter.

While impeachment proceedings were still in the House, C-SPAN made a similar request for improved coverage to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), which was ultimately rejected.

Other media organizations are also attempting to ensure coverage abilities for the trial, including the Standing Committee of Correspondents, which sent its own letter to McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), arguing against restrictions on press access.

The Senate’s impeachment trial is expected to begin the week of Jan. 20-24.