January 26, 2020

Here’s what happens next on impeachment | TheHill

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Senate GOP leaders say opening arguments in the impeachment trial for President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoalition forms to back Trump rollback of major environmental law Canadian CEO blasts Trump over downed plane in Iran: ‘I am livid’ Business groups worry they won’t see a Phase 2 Trump-China trade deal MORE will likely kick off early next week. But several procedural steps need to happen first before the meat of the trial begins.

Here’s what to watch for in the coming days as the impeachment process finally shifts from the House to the Senate:

The action starts Tuesday. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats scramble to rein in Trump’s Iran war powers Pelosi: Trump is ‘impeached for life’ Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial MORE (D-Calif.) will huddle with her rank-and-file Democrats on Tuesday morning to discuss “how we proceed further” on sending the pair of impeachment articles to the Senate. 

Pelosi hasn’t publicly stated when exactly the House will vote, but the expectation is the vote on the resolution naming impeachment managers and shipping articles to the Senate will take place Wednesday or Thursday. That’s before the House departs for its week-long recess in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Before that House vote, Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump bemoans ‘stigma’ of impeachment Schiff: House Intelligence Committee ‘considering’ Bolton subpoena Esper: Gang of 8 ‘did not think’ further intelligence on Iranian threat should be shared with Congress MORE (D-Calif.) also could decide to publish dozens of documents, recordings, photos and text messages from Lev Parnas, a Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiEnes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE New Jersey golf course earns backlash for trying to expand on public land Pompeo limits US diplomats’ contact with Iranian opposition groups MORE business associate, that may be relevant to the impeachment trial. The move to publish could up the ante for Senate Republicans as they debate whether to call witnesses in the trial.

After the House vote, it’s the Senate’s turn. Once the House formally names its House managers — Democratic prosecutors handpicked by Pelosi herself — the Senate must then pass a resolution informing the House it’s ready to receive the articles of impeachment.

After that happens, Pelosi’s impeachment managers — there were 13 GOP managers for the Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton’Trade is Not a Four-Letter Word’: Fred Hochberg shows why bipartisanship is the answer Congressional leaders have been shadow boxing on impeachment Ex-White House press, military officials call on Grisham to restart regular briefings MORE impeachment trial in 1999 — will physically hand deliver the articles from the House chamber, through Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda, to the Senate chamber. 

The “march” will take about a minute and a half. Among those who could be named managers and make that historic march across the Capitol: Schiff and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Voters see slightly more GOP partisanship on impeachment: Poll The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week MORE (D-N.Y.), as well as Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate The real threat to civil rights? Trump haters Republicans, Democrats offer support after John Lewis cancer diagnosis MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate House panel opens investigation into immigrant detainees’ medical care McCarthy says impeachment ‘has discredited the United States House of Representatives’ MORE (D-Md.), a former constitutional law professor.

Next, the Senate will need to take up an impeachment rules package. What’s unclear right now is whether the resolution governing the rules and procedures of the Trump impeachment trial will allow senators to call witnesses like former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPelosi: Trump is ‘impeached for life’ Trump bemoans ‘stigma’ of impeachment Schiff: House Intelligence Committee ‘considering’ Bolton subpoena MORE later in the process. 

Moderate Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats scramble to rein in Trump’s Iran war powers Five lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Collins says she’s working with other GOP senators to allow impeachment witnesses MORE (R-Maine) said she is working with “a small group” of GOP colleagues on a plan to at least give the Senate the option to have witness testimony in the trial phase. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: Trump is ‘impeached for life’ Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial Trump bemoans ‘stigma’ of impeachment MORE (R-Ky.) has said he sees no need for witnesses and has been pushing for a swift acquittal of the president.

Senate GOP leaders said they are expecting their rules package to be finalized soon.

There are other housekeeping matters, too. Under the chamber’s rules, the 100 senators, who will ultimately decide whether to convict or acquit Trump, will each raise their hand and take a special impeachment oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.” That image could make for poor optics for some GOP senators who have already said they will vote to acquit Trump before hearing any evidence.

The Senate will also need to notify Trump’s defense team, as well as summon Chief Justice John Roberts to preside over the Trump impeachment trial. That avoids a conflict of interest for Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceUS troops knew about attack on al-Asad airbase, were able to take shelter: report Pence: Intelligence shows Iran directing militias not to attack U.S. targets Trump takes off-ramp in Iran crisis MORE, the president of the Senate, who would succeed Trump in the event he is found guilty of the impeachment charges.

Formal arguments could start as early as Jan. 21. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell tells GOP senators to expect impeachment trial next week How Congress can help curb skyrocketing prescription drug prices Grassley urges McConnell to take quick action on USMCA ahead of impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas), a member of GOP leadership and a close McConnell adviser, told reporters on Monday that opening arguments from the Pelosi impeachment managers and Trump defense team could come a week from Tuesday, which would be a day after the MLK federal holiday.

That is “what it’s feeling like,” Cornyn said.

Jordain Carney contributed.

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Scott Wong
The Hill

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