The House of Representatives is expected to transmit articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate Wednesday, setting the stage for a trial next week that will decide whether the 45th United States president is forced from office.
On Tuesday Democrats released newly-acquired documents that showed Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani working with Ukrainian-born American Lev Parnas early a year ago to pressure Kiev to investigate Biden. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress' ensuing probe.
Following the approval of articles of impeachment, Pelosi took the unprecedented step to withhold sending the articles to the Republican-held Senate, saying she wanted to know more about the Senate trial parameters, creating uncertainty over the timeline for a trial and how it would unfold. After the articles are sent over to the Senate, the President's legal team, which I am part of in my capacity as one of his outside counsel, will have a period of time to file an answer to those articles.
In addition to Schiff, the prosecution team will include Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, and four other senior Democrats, a lot of them with prosecutorial experience in the U.S. justice system. They are considering whether to allow a vote on such a motion to dismiss and another to subpoena testimony from new witnesses. McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial.
The case against Trump will be led by California Rep. Adam Schiff, who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee led the initial impeachment inquiry against Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the substance of the trial is likely to get underway on Tuesday, January 21. CNN reports Giuliani is lobbying to join Trump's trial team as he continues to push the Ukraine scheme that got Trump impeached. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the chamber would begin trying Trump next week, starting with a debate over the trial's rules. "He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated".
"Sen. Sanders actually has a chance to win, but not now that Nancy Pelosi has held these documents", said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said he believes the Democrats already have the support of Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah, on witnesses, which puts them one vote short of the simple majority needed to make decisions about the trial, including whether to call witnesses.
It isn't clear yet how long the trial will last, with some Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham, pushing for a no-witness trial and quick acquittal and others claiming they want to hear from witnesses.
During the trial, Mr Trump will be defended by White House lawyers, including Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow. Rand Paul of Kentucky warned that if witnesses are allowed, defense witnesses could also be called.
Pelosi posted several tweets calling out McConnell after the House released Parnas' new evidence. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening to demands for a fair trial.