House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested on Sunday that he would choose Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Doug Collins of Georgia and John Ratcliffe of Texas to represent President Trump in his looming Senate impeachment trial.
“These are individuals I would actually pull in at the White House,” McCarthy said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “You want people that have been through this, understand it, been in the hearings even when they were in the basement.”
“The basement” is a reference to the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, where House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., held the initial closed-door testimonies in the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Jordan, Collins and Ratcliffe – all staunch Trump allies in the House – played vocal roles in the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees’ inquiries into the president. Jordan was temporarily assigned by McCarthy to the Intelligence Committee to defend Trump and lambaste Democrats, while Collins is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee and spent hours in the House floor criticizing the impeachment vote.
It is currently unclear when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The House voted last week to impeach Trump, who became only the third president in U.S. history to be formally charged with “high crimes and misdemeanors." Pelosi has declined to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until Republicans provide details on witnesses and testimony.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. D-N.Y., have been at an impasse over the issue, leaving open the possibility of a protracted delay until the articles are delivered.
McConnell has all but promised an easy acquittal of the president. McConnell appears to have united Republicans behind an approach that would begin the trial with presentations and arguments, lasting perhaps two weeks, before he tries drawing the proceedings to a close.
That has sparked a fight with Pelosi and Schumer, who are demanding trial witnesses who refused to appear during House committee hearings, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.