At 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, CNN displayed a countdown clock to mark the minutes until the start of former President Donald J. Trump’s second impeachment trial.
On MSNBC, the prime time anchors, Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace, took their places to lead viewers through an afternoon of special coverage.
On cable news channels that have been largely supportive of the former president, the coverage had a different tone. On Fox News, panelists were offering a grim view of President Biden’s economic agenda. And on Newsmax, commentators were weighing whether or not a Republican could become the governor of California.
And even as Fox News started to home in on the proceedings, it did so with a twist: “As we await the second Trump impeachment trial in the Senate, which is now less than 30 minutes away, thousands of National Guard troops remain stationed in our nation’s Capitol,” said the anchor Harris Faulkner.
She added that the cost of the troops, who have been in Washington since a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol in deadly riot on Jan. 6, was “reaching stunning, eye-popping levels. Of course it is. It’s our money. They’re spending our money.” After a commercial break, a Fox News panel convened to discuss that very topic.
At 1 p.m., Fox News and Newsmax started broadcasting from the Senate floor. The trial opened with a video featuring scenes from the siege on the Capitol, footage that did not bleep out several profanities used by the mob. Roughly 45 minutes into the opening arguments, Newsmax cut away, and the anchor John Bachman offered viewers an apology.
“The video was played on the onset — we apologize if folks were tuning in,” he said. “Obviously, some strong language there. But that was video evidence presented by Democrats.”
At 2:15 p.m., as the major cable news networks, including Fox, stuck with uninterrupted coverage of the trial, the Newsmax anchor Heather Childers teased an segment before breaking to a commercial: “Coming up: What is President Trump doing today?”