The reserved nature of Republicans like Alexander, who is retiring, and the moderate Collins suggests some in the president’s own party are legitimately open to Democrats’ arguments — an ominous sign for Trump as he faces a possible impeachment trial in the Senate. It also has the added side benefit of excusing senators from the noisy, day-to-day chaos of the president’s investigation by Congress.

Many Senate Democrats are almost certain to back their House counterparts if Trump is impeached but are wary of appearing eager to oust the president. So some, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, say they aren’t rushing to make any predictions about how the impeachment inquiry might end.

“We’re jurors,” said Schumer said in a brief interview. “We can push as hard as we can to get all the facts out but … we should wait until we see all the facts to make a determination.”

By citing their role as jurors, senators can appear above the rancorous House proceedings — and demonstrate that they are taking their constitutional responsibilities seriously.