Who’s talking the most during Trump’s impeachment trial

We are seven days, dozens of hours and more than 245,000 words into the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, as of the close of arguments Tuesday.

That’s according to a Washington Post analysis of the trial transcripts, which include 75,736 words from the lead House impeachment manager, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who also led Democrats’ investigation in the House.

Number of words spoken during the impeachment trial

Hover to explore.

Schiff’s prominence, first in the House investigation and now in the Senate trial, has made him a target for Trump and his allies, who have seized on any misstep he makes, real or perceived, to argue that Democrats are impeaching Trump for their own political goals. The more Schiff talks, the more potential ammunition Trump has to make his case.

Trump’s scrutiny notwithstanding, Schiff has emerged as one of Democrats’ most knowledgeable and eloquent communicators on impeachment, which helps explain why he dominated his party’s three days of opening arguments, from Jan. 22 to 24.

The other House impeachment managers — Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Val Demings (D-Fla.), Sylvia Garcia (D-Tex.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) — have each spoken more than 10,000 words.

Senators, meanwhile, have had little to say. Other than a few words to signal their presence and to vote on a pair of amendments, they have listened silently — some more attentively than others — through the opening arguments.

Hover to explore.

Trump’s legal defense team presented a relatively brief first day of arguments on Jan. 25, owing in part to its strategy to avoid presenting the bulk of its defense on a Saturday, when TV viewership would be diminished.

The lawyers who spoke the most for Trump are well known in some conservative circles, such as Jay Sekulow, but others, such as White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, are government lawyers who shun the spotlight.

Trump also gave speaking positions to some of the nation's most well-known lawyers on impeachment, Kenneth W. Starr and Alan Dershowitz, but thus far they have not gotten dominant shares of the speaking allotment.

Harry Stevens

Harry Stevens joined The Washington Post as a graphics reporter in 2019.

Amber Phillips

Amber Phillips analyzes politics for The Washington Post's nonpartisan politics blog and authors The 5-Minute Fix newsletter, a rundown of the day's biggest political news. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from as far away as Taiwan.

About this story

Transcripts were downloaded from FDCH e-MEDIA. Analysis excludes unidentified speakers and those who spoke on video and audio clips.

Share