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White House appoints GOP House members to advise Trump's impeachment team

The White House announced Monday that President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE 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 JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House MORE (Ohio), John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFormer Trump officials eye bids for political office Grenell congratulates Buttigieg on becoming second openly gay Cabinet member Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE Texas), Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonCassidy defends vote to proceed with Trump trial after GOP backlash Cassidy calls Trump attorneys 'disorganized' after surprise vote House Democrats renew push for checks on presidential pardons MORE (La.), Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHow scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses Kinzinger calls for people with info on Trump to come forward MORE (N.C.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinSunday shows preview: Lawmakers weigh in on Trump impeachment trial; Biden administration eyes timeline for mass vaccinations NY Republicans want Justice Department to subpoena Cuomo over nursing homes Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Cuomo job approval drops 6 points amid nursing home controversy: poll House Democrats request documents from DHS intelligence office about Jan. 6 attack MORE (N.Y.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Perdue rules out 2022 Senate bid against Warnock Loeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock MORE 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.

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The lawmakers served as some of the president’s strongest allies during the House’s impeachment proceedings, adamantly defending the president’s dealings with Ukraine.  

Jordan, a firebrand conservative who serves as the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a leading member of the House Freedom Caucus, has garnered a reputation for being one of Trump’s most aggressive attack dogs on impeachment.

Ratcliffe, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas before being elected to Congress, was previously tapped by the president last year to become the director of national intelligence before he withdrew from consideration. His line of questioning during the public hearings was widely praised by his GOP colleagues in the House. 

Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and confidant to the president, played a key role in pushing back against Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House Nadler presses DOJ to prosecute all involved in Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.) during the final hearings. And Johnson, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee who also sits on the House Judiciary Committee, practiced constitutional law.

Stefanik, Zeldin and Lesko rose to be leading voices in the push back against impeachment during the public hearing in the House. And Meadows, one of Trump’s top confidants in the House, has been at the forefront on pushing back against Democrats’ allegations against the president. 

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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.”

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 GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters earlier this month.

House lawmakers sent two articles of impeachment to the Senate earlier this month, accusing the president of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Trump and his allies have largely dismissed the impeachment inquiry as a partisan effort by Democrats to overturn the 2016 election.

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White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his team of lawyers in the counsel’s office and the president’s personal attorney Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - New video of riot unnerves many senators Trump legal switch hints at larger problems Trump, House GOP relationship suddenly deteriorates MORE have been preparing their defense for weeks. 

The House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump largely along party lines in December, accusing the commander-in-chief of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. House Democrats launched their probe into the president’s handling of foreign policy in Kyiv following a whistleblower complaint alleging Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure the county to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Biden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot MORE, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, and his son Hunter for political gain. 

After weeks of withholding articles — arguing she needed more details on how the Senate will conduct its trial — Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Budget Committee chair pledges to raise minimum wage: 'Hold me to it' Capitol review to recommend adding more fencing, 1,000 officers: report MORE (D-Calif.) announced on Wednesday she tapped House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing US intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.), Nadler, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHarris holds first meeting in ceremonial office with CBC members Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Congressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism Demings on possible Senate, Florida governor run: 'I'm keeping that door open' Lawmakers remember actress Cicely Tyson MORE (D-Fla.), Rep. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip K Street navigates virtual inauguration week MORE (D-Texas), and Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowManagers seek to make GOP think twice about Trump acquittal The GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration MORE (D-Colo.) as impeachment managers, which essentially play the role of prosecutors during the Senate proceedings.