Sekulow to Join Trump Trial Defense Team: Impeachment Update

Jordan Fabian and Billy House
Sekulow to Join Trump Trial Defense Team: Impeachment Update

(Bloomberg) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to delay in sending two impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate for a trial.

Here are the latest developments:

Sekulow to Join Trump Trial Defense Team (6:06 p.m.)

Attorney Jay Sekulow will be a member of Trump’s defense team for the Senate impeachment trial, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Sekulow, who became one of Trump’s private lawyers in mid-2017, specialized in constitutional issues during the Robert Mueller investigation. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone will lead Trump’s legal team for the trial.

Separately, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio -- one of the most nationally recognizable House Republican defenders of Trump -- is being recommended by some of the president’s allies to the White House as a potential member of his defense team.

Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who has the president’s ear and is another one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, said he recommended Jordan.

“That’s totally up to the White House,” said Jordan, on whether he has expressed interest in such a role.

Feinstein, Manchin Say Time to Send Articles (11:52 a.m.)

Senate Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Joe Manchin say it’s time for Pelosi to send the impeachment articles to the Senate.

“If we’re going to do it, she should send them over,” Feinstein of California said Wednesday. “I don’t see what good delay does.”

Manchin of West Virginia said, “Now that we have John Bolton saying he wants to testify, she’s accomplished something.”

Manchin said he “most certainly” wants to hear from Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, who said Monday he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. Bolton’s lawyers have said he has new, relevant information about Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine. -- Laura Litvan

Pelosi Wants ‘Terms’ Before Sending Articles (10:45 a.m.)

Pelosi said she needs to see what the Senate process looks like before she sends the impeachment articles to that chamber for a trial.

“We are waiting to see what the terms are,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday. “How we choose our managers depends on what the arena is that we are going into.”

“We can’t do it until we see the arena they’re going into,” she said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, criticized House Democrats for “dragging their heels and refusing to proceed to a Senate trial” and said Pelosi has “no leverage” to influence his chamber’s trial procedures.

“There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedures,” McConnell said. “We will not cede our authority “to control Trump’s impeachment trial, he said. “The Senate is not a creature of the House.”

McConnell announced a day earlier that he has enough Republican votes to set the impeachment trial rules without support from Democrats. A decision on whether to call witnesses won’t come until after each side presents its case, the majority leader said.

“Not all witnesses are people the Democrats are eager to hear from,” McConnell said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said McConnell is preparing to run “the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment trial” in American history. That would amount to participating in a “coverup” of the president’s actions, Schumer said.

House Democrat Jamie Raskin told reporters, ”All we’re asking is that the Senate does its constitutional duty the way the House did.”

”We’re behind the speaker and we think that she will have the best sense of when the Senate will stop their threats at nullifying the whole process,” said Raskin. -- Laura Litvan, Billy House

Pelosi Still Holding On to Trump Charges (6 a.m.)

Pelosi said she still isn’t ready to send the two impeachment articles until she learns more details about the Senate’s plans for a trial, according to a lawmaker who attended a private meeting with the speaker and other Democrats on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier in the day that he has enough Republican votes to start a trial without the witnesses sought by Democrats.

McConnell and other Republicans support using the same process as in President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial. That would delay decisions on witnesses until after Trump’s lawyers and House impeachment managers make their arguments and answer senators’ questions. -- Billy House

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events

The House impeachment resolution is H.Res. 755. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.

--With assistance from Erik Wasson and Laura Litvan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jordan Fabian in Washington at jfabian6@bloomberg.net;Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo

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