The White House is expecting a short Senate trial hearing the articles of impeachment against Republican President Donald Trump, senior administration officials said.
The administration is also expecting no witnesses to testify during the trial in the GOP-held Senate, the officials said in a phone call with reporters.
“These are the weakest articles of impeachment that have ever been passed in any presidential impeachment,” one official said. “They state no violation of a crime, no violation of any law. And the idea that it is obstruction of justice, obstruction of Congress for the president to assert constitutionally grounded privileges that protect the separation of powers is absurd. We think that these articles fail on their face.”
“Were prepared,” the official continued. “We have been ready and are ready to get things moving in the Senate because the facts overwhelmingly show that the president did nothing wrong. And were happy now that were going to have a chance to vindicate the president and get this process behind the country so that the American people can move on and stop having time wasted by House Democrats with their obsession to try and attack the president.”
The Senate is expected to vote on initial guidelines for the trial that are “very similar” to the ones used in the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said. The guidelines would have both sides argue their cases before senators submit written questions. Only then would they vote on whether to call witnesses.
“We dont think that theres going to be any need for witnesses in this trial,” an administration official told reporters. “I think that if the Senate decides to adopt similar procedures to the Clinton trial—which seems to be a possibility and seems to be logical; all 100 senators agreed on it, at that point—it allows the senators to hear presentations and then decide whether they need to hear anything else. And we think, at that point, they wouldnt need to hear anything else because this is an extraordinarily weak case for the House managers.”