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 TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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 MeadowsRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles Trump, Democrats set for brawl on Iran war powers Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers 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 RatcliffeTrump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial Five lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Graham: Not 'wise' for House Republicans to serve on Trump trial team MORE (Texas), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Trump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial Five lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate MORE (Ohio) and Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe five dumbest things said about impeachment so far Pelosi accepts Collins's apology for saying Democrats are 'in love with terrorists' Trump's legal team gets set for impeachment trial 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 ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night 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 McCarthyCalifornia sues Trump administration over fracking Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 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 NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trial Pelosi: Trump's impeachment 'cannot be erased' House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate 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 JohnsonFive lingering questions as impeachment heads to Senate Figures to watch as White House mounts impeachment defense Trump's GOP allies huddle at White House on eve of impeachment vote 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 SekulowHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Trump lawyers attack House impeachment as 'brazen and unlawful' effort to overturn 2016 results 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 DershowitzHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump lawyers attack House impeachment as 'brazen and unlawful' effort to overturn 2016 results Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial 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.