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 TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration 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 PelosiRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Pelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief 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 SchiffPelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign Trump: Democrats 'trying to start a rumor' about 2020 Russian interference MORE (D-Calif.) also could decide to publish dozens of documents, recordings, photos and text messages from Lev Parnas, a Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFormer US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report Kerry responds to Trump accusation he violated Logan Act: 'Another presidential lie' Giuliani worked for Dominican Republic candidate amid Ukraine efforts: report 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 ClintonEx-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community Meghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Enlightening the pardon power 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 NadlerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer MORE (D-N.Y.) as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesLawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts On The Money: Fed chief warns Congress on deficits | Trump blames Powell after Dow dips slightly | Trump withdraws nomination of former US attorney for Treasury post Jeffries: Trump budget is a 'declaration of war on the American dream' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse Democrats launch probe into NIH and FBI suspecting Chinese Americans of espionage Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire 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 BoltonTrump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' Trump swipes at 'little wise guy' Brad Pitt, Korean film 'Parasite' during rally MORE later in the process. 

Moderate Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe new American center Democratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump 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 McConnellWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Russian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat 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 PenceThe Democratic nominee won't be democratically chosen The Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada Rivals worry Sanders building 'insurmountable' Super Tuesday lead 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 CornynOcasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan warnings Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony 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.