GOP lawmakers jockey for positions as managers

A number of House GOP lawmakers are quietly expressing interest in being selected to join President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix 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 MeadowsTrump to Pence on Jan. 6: 'You don't have the courage' Trump said whoever leaked information about stay in White House bunker should be 'executed,' author claims 'Just say we won,' Giuliani told Trump aides on election night: book 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 RatcliffeUFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Texas), Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Maryland's GOP governor slams 'whitewashing' of Jan. 6 riot MORE (Ohio) 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 (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 ScaliseDemocrats question GOP shift on vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel McConnell pushes vaccines, but GOP muddles his message 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 McCarthySunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? 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 NadlerHere's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer Activists see momentum as three new states legalize marijuana Supreme Court expansion push starts to fizzle 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 JohnsonGOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Republicans divided on how hard to push vaccines McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee 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 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, 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 DershowitzIf you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you Sunday shows preview: Biden defends troop withdrawal in Afghanistan; COVID-19 impacting unvaccinated pockets Trump's Big Tech lawsuit: Freedom of speech vs. the First Amendment 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.