Here's what happens next on impeachment

Here's what happens next on impeachment
© Greg Nash

Senate GOP leaders say opening arguments in the impeachment trial for President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE will likely kick off early next week. But several procedural steps need to happen before the meat of the trial begins.

Here’s what to watch for in the coming days as the impeachment process finally shifts from the House to the Senate.

The action starts Tuesday. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism' House to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues Eye on gavel, Wasserman Schultz proposes panel on racial inequality in spending MORE (D-Calif.) will huddle with her rank-and-file Democrats on Tuesday morning to discuss “how we proceed further” on sending the pair of impeachment articles to the Senate. 


Pelosi hasn’t publicly stated when exactly the House will vote, but the expectation is the vote on the resolution naming impeachment managers and shipping articles to the Senate will take place Wednesday or Thursday. That’s before the House departs for its weeklong recess in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Before that House vote, Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffStone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to reopening schools MORE (D-Calif.) also could decide to publish dozens of documents, recordings, photos and text messages from Lev Parnas, a Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' MORE business associate, that may be relevant to the impeachment trial. The move to publish could up the ante for Senate Republicans as they debate whether to call witnesses in the trial.

After the House vote, it’s the Senate’s turn. Once the House formally names its House managers — Democratic prosecutors handpicked by Pelosi — the Senate must then pass a resolution informing the House it’s ready to receive the articles of impeachment.

After that happens, Pelosi’s impeachment managers — there were 13 GOP managers for the Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance McCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Facebook ad boycott is unlikely to solve the problem — a social media standards board would MORE impeachment trial in 1999 — will physically deliver the articles from the House chamber, through Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda, to the Senate chamber. 

The “march” will take about a minute and a half. Among those who could be named managers and make that historic march across the Capitol: Schiff and Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTexas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' Nadler wins Democratic primary MORE (D-N.Y.) as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesReparations bill gains steam following death of George Floyd Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court ruling marks big win for abortion rights groups MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats start cracking down on masks for lawmakers Clyburn threatens to end in-person coronavirus committee hearings if Republicans won't wear masks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE (D-Md.), a former constitutional law professor.


Next, the Senate will need to take up an impeachment rules package. What’s unclear right now is whether the resolution governing the rules and procedures of the Trump impeachment trial will allow senators to call witnesses such as former White House national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJudge lifts restraining order on Mary Trump on eve of book's release The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Juan Williams: Trump's silence on Russian bounties betrays America MORE later in the process. 

Moderate Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Maine) said she is working with “a small group” of GOP colleagues on a plan to at least give the Senate the option to have witness testimony in the trial phase. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell in talks with Mnuchin on next phase of coronavirus relief Pelosi: 'We shouldn't even be thinking' about reopening schools without federal aid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K MORE (R-Ky.) has said he sees no need for witnesses and has been pushing for a swift acquittal of the president.

Senate GOP leaders said they are expecting their rules package to be finalized soon.

There are other housekeeping matters, too. Under the chamber’s rules, each of the 100 senators who will ultimately decide whether to convict or acquit Trump will raise their hand and take a special impeachment oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.” That image could make for poor optics for some GOP senators who have already said they will vote to acquit Trump before hearing any evidence.

The Senate will also need to notify Trump’s defense team and summon Chief Justice John Roberts to preside over the Trump impeachment trial. That avoids a conflict of interest for Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump administration extends support for Texas COVID-19 testing sites US testing official: 'Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right' Pence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally MORE, the president of the Senate, who would succeed Trump in the event he is found guilty of the impeachment charges.

Formal arguments could start as early as Jan. 21. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Overnight Health Care: White House goes public with attacks on Fauci | Newsom orders California to shut down indoor activities, all bar operations | Federal judges block abortion ban laws in Tennessee, Georgia Trump administration extends support for Texas COVID-19 testing sites MORE (R-Texas), a member of GOP leadership and a close McConnell adviser, told reporters on Monday that opening arguments from the Pelosi impeachment managers and Trump defense team could come a week from Tuesday, which would be a day after the MLK federal holiday.

That is "what it's feeling like," Cornyn said.

Jordain Carney contributed.