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Senators expect to be sworn in as impeachment jurors on Thursday

Senators expect to be sworn in as impeachment jurors on Thursday
© Greg Nash

Senators expect to receive the articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE from Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Conspiracies? Let's investigate this one FBI investigating whether woman took Pelosi laptop, tried to sell it to Russians MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday and then to be sworn in as jurors on Thursday ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Pelosi says the House will vote Wednesday to send the two articles across the Capitol to begin the trial, and Senate rules require the trial to begin at 1 p.m. the day after the articles are presented to the chamber. 

GOP leaders also hope to pivot on Thursday to votes on a bipartisan resolution to limit Trump’s ability to escalate hostilities with Iran and to approve the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal.

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It would, however, require cooperation from all 100 senators to complete action on the war powers resolution and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this week.

“All that preliminary stuff could happen this week, we’re going to try to deal with war powers and USMCA this week, so I hope that there’s a window to do that. The sooner we get the articles, the more we can kind of do the formality-type stuff,” Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneImpeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP For platform regulation Congress should use a European cheat sheet Streamlining the process of prior authorization for medical and surgical procedures MORE (S.D.) said Tuesday.

“I suspect that what will happen is we’ll do the swearing in and all that [on Thursday] and probably start the trial next week,” Thune added.

The majority whip said whether the trial gets wrapped up by Trump’s State of the Union address, scheduled for Feb. 4, “depends entirely on what the Senate decides to do.”

He said if the Senate holds the trial six days a week, as required by the chamber’s rules, and moves quickly through the opening arguments of the House prosecutors and Trump’s defense team, it could finish the trial by the first week of February.

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But Thune acknowledged the Senate will vote on the question of calling witnesses such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonNSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order After insurrection: The national security implications McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender MORE, which could prolong the proceedings by another week or more.

“I think it’s going to depend, like I said, on 51 senators want to do at any point in time,” he added.

Senate leaders expect to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day and not return to session until Tuesday of next week.

Thune said one possible scenario is for senators to be sworn in as jurors on Thursday “and then pivot to some of the other business with consent,” citing the war powers resolution and the trade deal.

A vote on the organizing resolution, which would set up time for the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team to present their opening arguments, as well as time for senators to ask questions in writing to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, will happen next week, Thune said.

The organizing resolution will not call for additional witnesses such as Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump allies, Washington insiders helped plan rallies before Capitol breach: reports Author: Meadows is history's worst White House chief of staff The Hill's Morning Report - House to impeach Trump this week MORE to testify, but will likely make it in order at a later date for the Senate to debate and vote on the issue.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBiden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party Impeachment trial tests Trump's grip on Senate GOP MORE (R-Maine) is negotiating with GOP colleagues to include a vote on witnesses in the organizing resolution.

Thune on Tuesday that several Republicans are interested in having witnesses.

"We're having conversations among our members are and we kind of know generally where most people are on some of those key issues," he said. 

"This is sort of a fluid situation where we don't know exactly where people are going to be at the end of the opening arguments but I think people have expressed an interest" in hearing from witnesses, he added. 

One scenario is for the Senate to vote on calling additional witnesses and then to consider separate motions on subpoenaing specific witnesses.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Legislatures boost security after insurrection, FBI warnings Former Missouri senator says backing Hawley was 'worst mistake of my life' MORE (R-Ky.) has said if the Senate votes for witnesses, he will force a vote on calling Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE’s son, to testify at the trial.