An abbreviated Senate impeachment trial is reportedly on the table for several Republican senators and senior White House officials.
According to a Washington Post report, multiple officials said that a group of Republican senators and senior White House officials discussed limiting the Senate trial to about two weeks during a private meeting Thursday — which runs counter to the Post’s report last week that several Republicans mulled delaying and extending the Senate impeachment trial to force Democratic senators who are running for President to stay in Washington and out of the early primary states.
Officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post that the Senate trial could kick off as early as January if the House votes to impeach President Trump next month.
The Post also reported that people familiar with Trump’s sentiments said that the President has privately expressed how “miserable” he finds the impeachment inquiry and has pushed to dismiss the proceedings right away. According to an official familiar with the private Thursday meeting, White House counsel Pat Cipollone is getting ready to fully defend Trump for an impeachment trial.
“I don’t want them to believe there’s an ability to dismiss the case before it’s heard,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who attended the meeting, told the Post. “I think most everybody agreed, there’s not 51 votes to dismiss it before the managers get to call the case.”
Officials familiar with the discussions at the private meeting Thursday told the Post that in addition to Graham, the meeting was also attended by Republican Sens. Mike Lee (UT), Ron Johnson (WI), John Neely Kennedy (LA), Ted Cruz (TX) and Tom Cotton (AR); Cipollone; acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner; and counselor Kellyanne Conway.
The Post’s report comes just a day after top White House officials and Senate Republicans have reportedly agreed to hold a full trial if the House votes to impeach Trump and to not dismiss articles of impeachment outright, despite how some on the right attempted to push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to ditch the notion of a fair trial.
On Monday, McConnell doubled down on his prediction that a Senate impeachment trial wouldn’t lead to the President’s ouster. McConnell’s remarks came shortly after Trump response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) suggestion that he testify before the House committees probing impeachment — that he’s mulling providing written testimony.
Read the Washington Post’s report here.