GOP senators turn to fidget spinners during Trump impeachment trial

Richard Burr, R-N.C., handed out the popular toys to several of his fellow senators.

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By Garrett Haake, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Heidi Przybyla and Adam Edelman

Restless senators, sitting through endless hours of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, now have an outlet: fidget spinners.

Richard Burr, R-N.C., handed out the toys to several of his fellow senators in the chamber before Thursday's trial proceedings got underway.

A fidget spinner is a small toy with a ball bearing at its center that can be used to play with between the fingers.

Sen. Richard Burr R-N.C., holds a stress ball as he walks to the Senate chamber before the day's session of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.Steve Helber / AP

The toys could be a sign of some Republicans' disdain for the Democratic presentation against Trump.

Fidget spinners have become especially popular in recent years, and they have prompted a collection of YouTube videos on how to perform tricks. The fidget spinners, which are sold for a couple of dollars each, have been promoted as toys that can reduce anxiety and help users focus.

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Burr played with a blue one while listening to arguments by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., one of the impeachment managers.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC., spins a fidget spinner during the impeachment hearing on Jan 23, 2020.Bill Hennessy

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., was spotted with a purple one on his desk, and later Thursday he was seen playing through the entirety of arguments against Trump from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., frequently making gestures and playfully chuckling with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., had a white one on his desk, although he wasn't seen playing with it.

Other senators kept busy in different ways.

Rand Paul, R-Ky., appeared to be drawing or tracing a sketch of the U.S. Capitol, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., was spotted reading a book and underlining a passage in it.

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Twiddling with fidget spinners might be a violation of Senate rules that senators must sit silently and listen to arguments during an impeachment trial, but it wouldn't be the first time during the first days of the trial that senators have appeared to break the rules.

During Wednesday's proceedings, some senators milled around during arguments by the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Paul was spotted with a crossword puzzle hidden in his papers. There also appeared to be a Sudoku game on the page. Others, however, paid close attention and took careful notes.