“She wanted to get rid of me for a week and, you know, I wanted to do this,” said Tracy Molfino, who noted the trip had the advantage of also visiting a daughter and grandkids who lives in the D.C. area. “I’ve got plenty of time.”

So did many of the other members of the public whose attendance at the impeachment proceedings meant sitting sandwiched among a line of television cameras and scores of hunched up reporters pecking away at their laptops. It takes a certain kind of person to make the trek to Capitol Hill and sit through a congressional debate packed not just with partisan jabs but also a plethora of delays, interjections, points of order and requests to strike words from the record. It also means dodging the Capitol Police, who seemed to be lurking everywhere and quickly moved to shut down any apparent violations of their policies against picture-taking, eating or sleeping.

“I’m not sleeping!” snapped an elderly man who on multiple occasions could be seen with his eyes closed as the Judiciary panel methodically debated yet another never-going-to-pass amendment that would have removed one of the two impeachment articles against Trump.