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

The White House announced Monday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill 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 JordanTop conservatives pen letter to Trump with concerns on fourth coronavirus relief bill Justice IG pours fuel on looming fight over FISA court The relief bill and public broadcasting: A missed opportunity MORE (Ohio), John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Acting director of National Counterterrorism Center fired: report Acting director of national intelligence begins hiring freeze: reports MORE Texas), Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonTop conservatives pen letter to Trump with concerns on fourth coronavirus relief bill Lawmakers ask Trump administration to help Gulf oil and gas producers Roberts wrestles with abortion law in high-stakes Louisiana case MORE (La.), Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump shakes up WH communications team Kayleigh McEnany to take over as White House press secretary Grisham leaves role as White House press secretary MORE (N.C.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Sanders: 'Unfair to simply say everything is bad' in Cuba under Castro Trump allies blast Romney over impeachment vote: 'A sore loser' MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikBottom line Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors MORE (N.Y.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Internal Collins poll suggests he holds huge lead over incumbent Sen. Loeffler in Georgia special election Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in 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 Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' 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 GrahamGraham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill UN biodiversity chief calls for international ban of 'wet markets' Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets 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 SekulowMeadows joins White House in crisis mode What the impeachment vote looked like from inside the chamber Senate votes to acquit Trump on articles of impeachment 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 BidenTrump shakes up WH communications team The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic The Intercept's Ryan Grim says Cuomo is winning over critics 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 PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash MORE (D-Calif.) announced on Wednesday she tapped House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Schiff calls on DNI Grenell to explain intelligence community changes READ: Schiff plans to investigate Trump firing intel watchdog MORE (D-Calif.), Nadler, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Pelosi says House will draft its own coronavirus funding bill MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenHillicon Valley: Coronavirus tracking sparks surveillance concerns | Target delivery workers plan Tuesday walkout | Federal agency expedites mail-in voting funds to states | YouTube cracks down on 5G conspiracy videos House Republican pushes for bipartisan cooperation on elections during coronavirus crisis Hillicon Valley: FCC chief proposes 0M telehealth program | Twitter takes down posts promoting anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus| Whole Foods workers plan Tuesday strike MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsBiden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search Biden confirms he's considering Whitmer for VP MORE (D-Fla.), Rep. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaTexas House Dems ask governor to issue stay-at-home order The Hill's 12:30 Report: House to vote on .2T stimulus after mad dash to Washington Overnight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers MORE (D-Texas), and Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowPentagon gets heat over protecting service members from coronavirus Here are the lawmakers who have self-quarantined as a precaution Trump set to confront his impeachment foes MORE (D-Colo.) as impeachment managers, which essentially play the role of prosecutors during the Senate proceedings.