Trump indicates White House counsel Cipollone will play lead role in Senate trial

Trump indicates White House counsel Cipollone will play lead role in Senate trial
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE on Thursday indicated White House counsel Pat Cipollone would serve as his lead defense attorney in an upcoming Senate impeachment trial.

"It looks like that, yeah," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "We have a couple of others that we're going to put in, but Pat's been fantastic as White House counsel."

The president's comments confirmed that his defense strategy was falling into place as the White House gears up for a likely Senate trial after the House voted to impeach him on Wednesday night.

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The White House has discussed bringing Harvard law professor Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzMoussaoui says he now renounces terrorism, bin Laden The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Frist says Manhattan Project-like initiative necessary to fight virus; WH to release plan for easing lockdowns The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden faces tough task of uniting Democrats MORE on to serve some role on the defense team, and the president's personal attorney, Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowAppeals court rejects Trump effort to throw out emoluments case Supreme Court divided over fight for Trump's financial records   Meadows joins White House in crisis mode MORE, may also work in some capacity.

A few of Trump's fiercest defenders in the House are also under consideration to play a role in the Senate trial.

The House on Wednesday night voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Two Democrats voted against the abuse of power article and three voted against the obstruction article. No Republicans voted for either article.

"It doesn’t feel like impeachment," Trump said Thursday. "And you know what? It’s a phony deal, and they cheapen the word. It’s an ugly word, but they cheapen the word impeachment."

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol MORE (D-Calif.) has indicated she may wait to submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate in an effort to secure more favorable terms for a trial. House Democrats rallied behind the Speaker on Thursday over the idea, even as Republicans scoffed at it as a political tactic.

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The president claimed that Democrats were "playing games" and suggested what they were doing was "unconstitutional," though there is no indication that is the case.

The White House is seeking a relatively brief trial that concludes with Trump's exoneration, and several Republican senators have indicated they'd prefer a quick process to acquit the president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters House Democrat demands answers from Secret Service about role breaking up White House protests Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' MORE (D-N.Y.) were scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss parameters for a trial.