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

The White House announced Monday that President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care 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 JordanHillicon Valley: Biden, Putin agree to begin work on addressing cybersecurity concerns | Senate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees | Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show The tale of the last bipartisan unicorns MORE (Ohio), John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five things to know about the new spotlight on UFOs Extraordinary explanations for UFOs look increasingly plausible MORE Texas), Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonRepublicans target Trump critic's role at DOJ GOP votes to dump Cheney from leadership Cheney GOP conference deputy has complained about 'coronation' of Stefanik: report MORE (La.), Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show MORE (N.C.), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinAndrew Giuliani to run for New York governor The US has a significant flooding problem — Congress can help GOP lawmakers ask acting inspector general to investigate John Kerry MORE (N.Y.), Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Canadian ambassador calls for close coordination in handling of US border Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (N.Y.) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor 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 NadlerSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists 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 GrahamCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Graham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle 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 Biden 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll Philadelphia shooting leaves 2 dead, injures toddler Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin 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 PelosiGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post Trump against boycotting Beijing Olympics in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) announced on Wednesday she tapped House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Cyber concerns dominate Biden-Putin summit Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas MORE (D-Calif.), Nadler, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats seek staffer salary boost to compete with K Street Congress tiptoes back to normality post-pandemic White House to Democrats: Get ready to go it alone on infrastructure MORE (D-N.Y.), Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenPelosi floats Democrat-led investigation of Jan. 6 as commission alternative Democrats plot next move after GOP sinks Jan. 6 probe This week: House to vote on Jan. 6 Capitol attack commission MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor Demings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries MORE (D-Fla.), Rep. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rights Biden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip MORE (D-Texas), and Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense: Biden, Putin agree to launch arms control talks at summit | 2002 war authorization repeal will get Senate vote | GOP rep warns Biden 'blood with be on his hands' without Afghan interpreter evacuation GOP rep: If Biden doesn't evacuate Afghan interpreters, 'blood will be on his hands' Pelosi floats Democrat-led investigation of Jan. 6 as commission alternative MORE (D-Colo.) as impeachment managers, which essentially play the role of prosecutors during the Senate proceedings.