Sergeant-at-Arms

Do chatty senators really face jail time during impeachment?

Former Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood was arrested in 1988 after barricading himself inside his office, locking one door and blocking another with a chair in an attempt to prevent a quorum so that Republicans could stall debate on campaign finance legislation. The sergeant-at-arms escorted Packwood to the Senate chamber, and he was physically carried onto the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Despite a dramatic daily warning, if senators fail to stay silent during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it’s unlikely that they’ll end up arrested. And no, there is not a Senate jail.

At the beginning of each trial day, Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger will declare, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment.”

Impeachment articles’ path to Senate governed by rules and precedent
Before trial starts, expect pomp, circumstance and ceremony

The articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton lie on the desk of Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco on Dec. 19, 1998, after House Judiciary Chairman Henry J. Hyde delivered them from the House floor after the impeachment votes. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Correction appended Jan. 14, 2:10 p.m. | The expected House vote this week to name impeachment managers for the Senate trial and authorize them to spend House funds will set in motion a set of established steps that will guide the articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate.

The resolution, which won’t be released until Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with her caucus Tuesday morning, will appoint managers who will act as prosecutors during the Senate trial that will determine whether the impeached President Donald Trump is removed from office. They will present the case for the House impeachment articles, approved in December, which charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Jim Jordan: impeachment inquiry has ‘finally reached a boiling point’

Republican members of Congress call for access to depositions related to the House's impeachment inquiry at a news conference on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Several House Republicans, who gathered outside a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor’s Center Wednesday made a public attempt to force themselves into a secure area of the House they had been barred from entering.

The area, known as the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), is where Republican and Democratic Members of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees heard testimony from Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Cooper is the latest witness to provide testimony to the panels leading the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump.

Just where is this secret House jail located?
A Capitol basement investigation yielded some answers

The Lincoln catafalque is seen Wednesday through bars in a chamber below the Capitol Crypt. Contrary to many a rumor, this is not the House jail. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi resurfaced one of the Capitol’s most enduring mysteries when answering a question about whether Democrats might imprison Trump administration officials who defy Congress: the House jail. But where is this mysterious cell?

“We do have a little jail down in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation. And I’m not for that,” Pelosi said Wednesday at a Washington Post live event.

Senate staffers told ‘What not to do...’ Mar-a-Lago USB-edition
Staffers got an email after a Secret Security agent put the intruder’s flash drive in a computer, and it began installing files

Senate staffers were issued a cybersecurity warning Monday evening. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate staffers received an email Monday evening with the subject line “What not to do...” 

An image of the message, obtained by Roll Call, shows that a Senate IT Security listserve sent staffers a message pointing out some don’t-try-this-at-home (or work) cybersecurity behaviors. 

Chris Murphy says ‘double standard’ exists between physical and cybersecurity in the Senate
Connecticut Democrat pressed sergeant-at-arms on securing senators' personal devices

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., calls how the Senate handles cybersecurity a "double standard." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators want to fix what they’re calling a “double standard” between how physical and cyber security are handled by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.

At a Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy pressed Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger on threats to lawmakers and staff’s personal digital devices, including smartphones.

These lawmakers want to know when the Senate gets hacked
The bipartisan duo of Sens. Wyden and Cotton called for more disclosure of Senate cyber attacks

Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., called on Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger to reveal cyber attacks against the Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan Senate duo wants to know about any successful hacks of Senate devices and networks.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton wrote to Senate Sargent of Arms Michael Stenger calling for an annual report on when Senate computers and smartphones have been compromised, and when hackers have otherwise gained access to sensitive Senate data.

Not OkCupid: Staffers urged to tell sweethearts to skip the Capitol Hill deliveries
Otherwise, Capitol Police will be peeking at notes from your sweetie ... and they will probably be late

Security procedures might squash Valentine’s Day treats for staffers. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s a well-known fact of life on Capitol Hill: It’s nearly impossible to get packages delivered in a timely manner. That includes Valentine’s Day.

Senate staffers are being urged to tell their sweethearts to skip romantic gestures that include deliveries to congressional office buildings this week.

Downloadable Guns Would Pose Unique Risk to Capitol, Gainer Says
‘Even the most technologically advanced security cannot neutralize all possible threats,’ Ex-Senate sergeant-at-arms writes

Former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance W. Gainer says not permanently stopping downloadable plastic guns “will increase the challenges of protecting the security of members of Congress, their staffs and visitors to the Capitol.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 3:26 p.m. | The only person to hold both top law enforcement roles at the Capitol says downloadable plastic guns would pose an added challenge of “detection and defense” for those who protect Capitol Hill.

Terrance W. Gainer, who served as Senate sergeant-at-arms for seven years and before that as the chief of the Capitol Police, said he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but elected officials must recognize the “unique threat downloadable firearms pose to public safety.”

Senators Working to Reinstate Mandatory Cyber Training
House mandated all staff training in 2015, while Senate lapsed in requirements

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Roy Blunt and his colleagues on the panel are working to reinstate mandatory cybersecurity training for the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate staffers are not required to undergo information security or cybersecurity training, even as hackers target Congress.

“The cybersecurity threat is very real, and frankly we haven’t stepped up and done what I think we should do to deal with it — which should be an all government response,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said when asked Tuesday about attempted hacks of Senate networks.