The White House has just announced that eight House Republicans will be on his impeachment defense team as the trial gets underway in the Senate:
THE HILL – The White House announced Monday that President Trump appointed several prominent Republican House members to advise his impeachment defense team ahead of the Senate trial set to begin this week.
GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), John Ratcliffe Texas), Mike Johnson (La.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Lee Zeldin (N.Y.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) and Doug Collins are set to play leading roles.
A statement from the White House said the lawmakers “have provided guidance to the White House team, which was prohibited from participating in the proceedings concocted by Democrats in the House of Representatives” throughout the House proceedings and would continue to do so in the Senate.
The only name on that list I’m not terribly familiar with is Debbie Lesko from Arizona. As far as the others, they don’t surprise me in the least as they’ve been hard on Trump’s side since the beginning of this.
Interestingly enough, there were some concerns about these House appointments from Senate Republicans:
Johnson noted ahead of the announcement that there was some reluctance to have House members participate in the Senate trial, with GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber citing concerns the optics of adding House members could be detrimental to the seriousness of the trial.
“There was some resistance or concern in the Senate that it would become more of a show than a trial and I tried to make very, the people that have been involved in the discussion on this are very serious about this, I mean I was a litigator for 20 years in federal court on constitutional law cases, so this is within my wheelhouse and something I have great interest in,” Johnson said. “And the others that I have mentioned feel the same way, so it would be exactly the opposite of the concerns that’s been expressed on the other side.”
The Hill also notes that Lindsey Graham himself isn’t fond of the idea:
Key Republican allies in the Senate have also warned against such appointments, warning that the addition of Republican House members would cast the Senate trial in a partisan light.
“I don’t think it’s wise. I think we need to elevate the argument beyond body politics, beyond party politics and talk about the constitutional problems with these two articles,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters earlier this month.
Honestly, I get their concerns, but I think McConnell will ensure that the Senate runs the trial as seriously as possible. My biggest concern, of course, is more about getting through this trial and ending it. I like that McConnell has not been generous thus far in allotting time for opening arguments and I hope he keeps the pedal to the metal so the country can be done with this shame and get back to normal business.