GOP lawmakers jockey for positions as managers

A number of House GOP lawmakers are quietly expressing interest in being selected to join President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE’s impeachment defense team as Republicans brace for proceedings to move to the upper chamber. 

The president wants a combination of lawyers and three to four vocal defenders in the House GOP to be on his legal team, Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks House Democrats mull delay on spending bill vote Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE (R-N.C.) recently said on the House Freedom Caucus's podcast. 

The GOP members most often mentioned as potential candidates include Reps. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeOvernight Defense: Top admiral says 'no condition' where US should conduct nuclear test 'at this time' | Intelligence chief says Congress will get some in-person election security briefings FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine, masks MORE (Texas), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanSunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election House passes resolution condemning anti-Asian discrimination relating to coronavirus Republicans call for Judiciary hearing into unrest in cities run by Democrats MORE (Ohio) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsTrump, Biden tied in Georgia: poll Loeffler paints herself as 'more conservative than Attila the Hun' in new campaign ad Vulnerable GOP incumbents embrace filling Supreme Court seat this year MORE (Ga.).

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“I don't know the extent of the lobby from Capitol Hill. I think there's a general consensus that there's a small group of members that would be, certainly, in the first tier, and another group would be in the second tier,” one GOP lawmaker told The Hill. “Those people in the first tier, obviously, have been the ones who have been more engaged in this process from the beginning. Certainly, Jim Jordan is one of those.” 

The jockeying on the GOP side comes as Democrats compete for jobs as impeachment managers, who will essentially serve as prosecutors during the Senate trial. 

Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the minority party has not traditionally played a large role during impeachment trials. 

“The president actually picks his personal attorneys, and typically, historically, it's not members, but that’s up to him to decide,” he told The Hill.

Trump has not announced any decisions, but many Republicans think he’d benefit from having members on his team who have been at the forefront of the House fight.

“I think you've seen a lot of our members on the relevant committees do a great job of directly asking Democrat star witnesses, ‘Did you see any crimes? Did you see any bribery?’ And not one, not one person could say they saw it because it didn't happen,” House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP slated to unveil agenda ahead of election House panel details 'serious' concerns around Florida, Georgia, Texas, Wisconsin elections Scalise hit with ethics complaint over doctored Barkan video MORE (R-La.) said on Wednesday. “So you get a lot of really good people to choose from.”

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

He seems like a near certain pick after House GOP leaders temporarily placed him on the House Intelligence Committee to strengthen their team during that panel’s hearings.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy's Democratic challenger to launch first TV ad highlighting Air Force service as single mother Trump asked Chamber of Commerce to reconsider Democratic endorsements: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - White House moves closer to Pelosi on virus relief bill MORE (R-Calif.) said the decision about whether House members should be added to the team should be left up to the president and his advisers and floated the idea of bringing on a constitutional lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court as a potentially good option.

He praised both Jordan and Ratcliffe for their knowledge of the case and the impact they've made while fighting back against the allegations levied against the president in the House, telling reporters that "there are a number of people that I think they can rely on for information."

"The Senate is a different body than the House. I think Jim Jordan has done an amazing job here," McCarthy said at a press conference Thursday, adding that he believes Ratcliffe, who previously served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, has a "good understanding" of the situation, with both members holding knowledge that could be valuable for the defense. 

Ratcliffe, who was tapped by the president earlier this year to become the director of national intelligence by Trump before he withdrew from consideration, is also seen as being on the Trump shortlist.

His questioning during the impeachment hearings received broad praise within the GOP, with his colleagues stating he played a key role in their efforts to dismantle Democrats’ accusation that the president’s dealings with Ukraine were unlawful.  

Ratcliffe said he has not yet been approached by anyone at the White House on the matter.

“I mean, I’ve seen my name in there as someone that might be considered, and it's flattering, but if there's any basis for it, no one's filled me in on it,” he told The Hill on Thursday. 

“You know, the president is surrounded by smart people that will make smart decisions. He ought to do what's best for him to win a legal case against him that's unfair and unjust, and he shouldn't be worried about optics or feelings or, you know, anything other than getting himself surrounded by the right legal team.”

Collins — a top Trump confidant who has been one of the most vocal critics of the impeachment process —  is also seen as a prime candidate.

The Georgia Republican has been a key player in defending the president in the lower chamber.

As the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, he engaged in multiple fiery exchanges with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerSchumer: 'Nothing is off the table' if GOP moves forward with Ginsburg replacement Top Democrats call for DOJ watchdog to probe Barr over possible 2020 election influence House passes bill to protect pregnant workers MORE (D-N.Y.) during the panel’s hearing and markup on the two articles of impeachment. He has also regularly appeared on the cable news circuit to battle with Democrats.

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One senior Republican said rank-and-file members on the Judiciary Committee such as Rep. Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonLWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Mike Johnson to run for vice chairman of House GOP conference Republicans call for Judiciary hearing into unrest in cities run by Democrats MORE (R-La.), a constitutional lawyer, are interested in taking on roles on Trump’s team, while another source said the ranking members of the relevant impeachment committees should be under consideration. 

“The good news is we have a very deep bench, and we have a lot of people who would be very capable, and can handle it very well,” another GOP lawmaker said. 

In addition to the discussion of House members joining the team, it is anticipated that White House counsel Pat Cipollone will play a large rule in arguing the president’s case during the Senate trial. 

Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowNow, we need the election monitors Judge denies Trump's request for a stay on subpoena for tax records Judge throws out Trump effort to block subpoena for tax returns MORE, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, has been named as a strong contender to join the defense team. The White House is reportedly considering adding famed lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: War over the Supreme Court Dershowitz suing CNN for 0 million in defamation suit Bannon and Maxwell cases display DOJ press strategy chutzpah MORE — who is known for his previous work as an appellate adviser for O.J. Simpson's defense team and joined Harvey Weinstein's defense team earlier this year — in what could be a controversial move due to recent allegations that he sexually assaulted a victim of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

Dershowitz strongly denies the accusations, which he cited as the reason he was not called to be one of the constitutional scholars who testified during the House Judiciary Committee's impeachment hearing held earlier this month.  

The two articles of impeachment — one that pertains to abuse of power and the other charging the president with obstruction of Congress — are expected to pass along party lines on the floor next week.