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 TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' 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 PelosiDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle 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 SchiffDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Schiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Trump defenders argue president can't be removed for abuse of power MORE (D-Calif.) also could decide to publish dozens of documents, recordings, photos and text messages from Lev Parnas, a Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' 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 ClintonImpeachment trial will need a 'Perry Mason moment' Meet Pelosi's 7 impeachment managers Trump lawyers attack House impeachment as 'brazen and unlawful' effort to overturn 2016 results 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 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.) as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesSchiff huddles in Capitol with impeachment managers Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Jeffries: Calling new witnesses for Senate trial part of following the 'Clinton model' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinCongressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Jayapal endorses Sanders Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial questions; civil Democratic debate 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 BoltonGOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE later in the process. 

Moderate Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate Murkowski wants senators to 'really hear the case' before deciding on impeachment witnesses Republicans will pay on Election Day for politicizing Trump's impeachment 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 McConnellDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial GOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles 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 PenceJFK's grandson calls Pence op-ed a 'total perversion' of Kennedy's legacy Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Is Mike Pence preparing to resign, assume the presidency, or both? 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 CornynDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cornyn disputes GAO report on withholding of Ukraine aid: It's 'certainly not a crime' 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.