McConnell, White House lawyer huddle on impeachment strategy

Greg Nash
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and White House lawyer Pat Cipollone met Thursday to discuss the looming Senate impeachment trial. 

The meeting, which took place in McConnell’s office, comes as Republicans are increasingly trying to game out what a trial would look like with lawmakers floating a relatively short proceeding with no witnesses. 

White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland, who exited McConnell’s office with Cipollone, said they were having “good, close communication with Senate Republicans” ahead of a House vote on impeachment articles, expected to take place next week. 

“We continue to work closely with Senate Republicans as well as other members of Congress on the questions and continue to be very cooperative, very collaborate with our friends up here on the Hill,” Ueland said. 
Ueland reiterated that the White House views the House process as “fatally flawed” and that there were “great, open, clear” lines of communication with the Senate. 

The meeting between Cipollone and McConnell is the latest sign that Republicans are ramping up for an impeachment trial that would start in January. 


Cipollone huddled with Senate Republicans during a closed-door caucus lunch earlier this month. Jonathan Turley, who testified during a House last week, took part in the Senate GOP lunch on Tuesday.

McConnell has offered few details about what to expect from the trial, aside from the fact that there will be one. 

“It could go down the path of calling witnesses and basically having another trial or it could decide and again 51 members could make that decision that they have heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment sent over to us by the House. Those are the options. No decisions have been made yet,” McConnell told reporters during a weekly press conference.

McConnell has also shot down suggestions that Republicans would try to quickly dismiss the articles of impeachment against Trump. GOP senators expect the trial will end when the chamber votes on the charges against Trump, either convicting or acquitting him. 
The White House has publicly said Trump wants to call witnesses as part of a Senate impeachment trial, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Hunter Biden. 
Ueland sidestepped when asked if the meeting with McConnell resolved the question of witnesses, saying “we are having a lot of good conversations.” 
“I think the president’s been pretty clear on priorities that he’s laid out when it comes to this,” he added, asked again if a trial needed witnesses. 

McConnell, during an interview on Fox News on Thursday night, pledged that he would coordinate with Cipollone on impeachment trial strategy.

“Everything I do during this I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this,” he said.

Tags Adam Schiff Impeachment Mitch McConnell

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