Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said on Monday that he expects the opening arguments for President Trump’s impeachment trial to start next Tuesday.
Asked if Tuesday, Jan. 21, was the “likely” start date, he told reporters that is “what it’s feeling like.”
“We’d actually be glued to our chair starting Tuesday, I think,” he said when asked if he was talking about the opening arguments.
The timeline comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to send the articles to the Senate this week, ending a weeks-long standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Pelosi has not said when she will send the articles. House Democrats are expected to discuss it at their Tuesday caucus meeting, potentially allowing a trial to start as soon as Wednesday.
Under the Senate’s impeachment rules, the trial starts the day after Pelosi transmits the articles, unless that day is a Sunday.
Cornyn noted that once the two articles are sent to the Senate, the chamber will likely take a few days to deal with housekeeping matters, including swearing in Chief Justice John Roberts and all senators, sending a summons to Trump’s team, and passing a resolution establishing the trial rules.
But he added that he expected opening arguments to start Tuesday of next week, telling reporters, “That’s what it feels like right now.”
Senate Republicans have not unveiled the impeachment rules resolution, with GOP aides saying they expect it to be unveiled after the articles are sent over.
McConnell said last week that he has the 51 votes needed to establish the trial rules and delay a decision on potential witnesses until midtrial.
But Republicans are still negotiating over the specific language in the resolution. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said last week that she’s working with a small group of GOP senators to ensure there is language in the resolution that would allow for both sides to request to call witnesses.
Republicans are also discussing what to do with a motion to dismiss, which was built into the rules resolution for the Clinton trial. A GOP aide noted last week that the caucus was discussing either moving it to a different point in the trial or removing it all together.
Cornyn added he hadn’t seen the rules resolution but said his “impression” was that it would be “finalized” on Monday.