Hawley watches trial from visitor's gallery

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks The GOP's post-1/6 playbook is clear — and it's dangerous MORE (R-Mo. ), who has come under fire for objecting to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes in the 2020 election, watched the afternoon’s opening arguments from the visitor’s gallery above the Senate floor, where he was spotted with his feet propped up on the seat in front of him, intently reading something.

Hawley, who angered some of his Senate colleagues by voting to throw out the electoral votes of states where former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE claimed, without evidence, that there was widespread election fraud, said it felt “claustrophobic” on the floor sitting in close proximity to other senators.

“For me, it’s a little less claustrophobic,” he said. “So we’re not all jammed together” on the floor.

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“Not that I don’t like my colleagues,” he explained, adding that he sat apart so “we’re not elbow-to-elbow.”

“Also, for me it’s a better viewpoint because I can look right at the impeachment managers and see them,” he added. “When I’m sitting in the chamber, I kind of look at the back of their head, which I did for three weeks last year,” referencing Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Hawley disputed a report that he was reading non-related material.

“I've got the trial briefs with me and I've also got my notes that I'm taking during the —during the proceedings,” he told reporters during a break in the action.

NBC reporter Garrett Haake said earlier in the day that Hawley “has been sitting up with his legs up on the seat in front of him essentially reading non-related material.”

Haake said Hawley appeared to make “his feelings about these entire proceedings pretty clear.”

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MSNBC contributor Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE, whom Hawley defeated in the 2018 midterm election, criticized Hawley’s body language as “very disrespectful.”

“He's proud to pull himself apart from everyone else and be the only guy. This is all political for him. It's all political theater. That's why he's up there with his feet over the chair. He's probably working on his book manuscript,” McCaskill said during an MSNBC appearance around 2 pm.

But McCaskill predicted Hawley wouldn’t suffer from expressing disinterest or skepticism about the trial.

“It remains to be seen whether or not it hurts him politically in a state that voted for Trump by 15 points,” she said.