Reporters on Capitol Hill are facing a security crackdown that limits their ability to question US senators during the impeachment trial of President Trump.
Sarah Wire, the chair of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, a group that represents reporters on Capitol Hill, told CNN Business that several measures that curtail reporters’ access were implemented today.
One measure prohibits reporters from walking with senators and questioning them as the lawmakers are in transit from the Capitol Hill basement to the elevator, a common practice in the US Capitol. Another measure forces reporters behind roped off lines and into pens, hindering their ability to approach senators and ask questions, another common practice.
Such restrictions, which aid senators who wish to avoid the press, were not communicated to journalists ahead of time as typically expected, Wire told CNN Business.
“Reporters [are] learning about the restrictions in real time,” Wire said.
Some more context: In a letter sent on Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Standing Committee of Correspondents, said it “vigorously” objected to such restrictions.
“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.