If the House officially sends the articles on Wednesday, a Senate trial could begin soon after.
Senators are expected to work through a number of housekeeping issues including swearing in Chief Justice John Roberts and passing a rules package before the trial really begins. Senate Republicans expect the trial to begin in earnest on Tuesday following the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend.
My guess is well observe the holiday and be back the day after, Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said Tuesday.
Thune added that the organizing resolution the rules governing the trial would receive a vote next week.
Pelosi on Tuesday also encouraged House Democrats to push back on Trump’s recent call for an outright dismissal of the trial, something several Senate Republicans also said they would be against.
“Dismissal is a cover up,” Pelosi told the caucus, according to Democrats present.
Pelosi faced criticism from Republicans and even some Senate Democrats for withholding the articles, first demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) compromise on the rules of the trial.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on McConnell to agree ahead of time to call witnesses and request documents related to the Ukraine investigation that had been blocked by the White House for months.
McConnell rejected their requests and refused to relent, announcing last week he had enough Republican support to push through a trial framework that would allow senators to force votes on witness and document requests later in the trial but not ahead of time.
McConnell taunted Pelosi last week, arguing she had no leverage and should send the articles over so the chamber can begin its trial. But Pelosi and her allies maintain the strategy was a success, pointing to the evidence that has come out in the weeks since the House impeached Trump.
Senate Democrats are expected to force votes on witnesses during the trial, including former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would testify if subpoenaed.
Despite being unified on how to start the trial, Senate Republicans are divided over whether to call witnesses later. Some moderate Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah, have already said theyre open to hearing from witnesses during the trial.
But McConnell gave his clearest indication yet on Tuesday that hes opposed to the idea.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation. If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached, McConnell said on the Senate floor.
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