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 TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary 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 PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 SchiffNewsom says he has already received a number of pitches for Harris's open Senate seat Here's who could fill Kamala Harris's Senate seat if she becomes VP Democrats ramp up warnings on Russian election meddling MORE (D-Calif.) also could decide to publish dozens of documents, recordings, photos and text messages from Lev Parnas, a Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFeehery: Weak mayors destroy America's great cities Coronavirus concerns emerge around debates Giuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group 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 ClintonOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech It's Harris — and we're not surprised The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden picks Harris as running mate 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 NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter MORE (D-N.Y.) as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesTrump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Jeffries on Senate coronavirus bill: 'Totally irrelevant' Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinCongress must enact a plan to keep government workers safe Five takeaways from Fauci's testimony GOP lawmakers comply with Pelosi's mask mandate for House floor MORE (D-Md.), a former constitutional law professor.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 BoltonThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement Ex-Trump adviser, impeachment witness Fiona Hill gets book deal Hannity's first book in 10 years debuts at No. 1 on Amazon MORE later in the process. 

Moderate Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Trump: GOP senators who don't embrace him will 'lose their elections' 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 McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal 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 Hill's Campaign Report: Trump threatens Postal Service funding l Biden proposes national mask mandate l Democratic convention takes shape Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll Pence on debating Harris: 'I can't wait' 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 CornynEnough legal games — we need to unleash American energy Three pros and three cons to Biden picking Harris The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement 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.