WASHINGTON, DC – Top White House officials met Thursday with Republican senators to discuss strategy for a widely expected Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump but made no decisions about its length or other tactics, two people familiar with the session said.
Participants expressed more interest in voting as soon as they have the 51 votes needed to acquit Trump than in setting a specific timetable for the proceedings, according to one Senate GOP aide.
That aide and a senior White House official said a trial lasting two weeks was discussed but not agreed to. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.
Thursday’s White House meeting, which one aide said lasted about an hour, came as the House Intelligence Committee held its latest public hearing on whether to impeach Trump over his attempts to pressure Ukraine to help his 2020 reelection campaign.
Trump also had lunch Thursday with a different group of GOP senators, the latest of several such lunches he’s had since the House impeachment inquiry started in September. Senators said Trump brought up impeachment briefly but did not directly ask them for their support and was in a good mood.
“I think he feels understandably unable to defend himself” because the information surfacing in the House hearings has been “useless,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
The Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote to impeach Trump in coming weeks.
A trial in the GOP-run Senate on whether to remove him from office seems likely to follow. That chamber seems unlikely to produce the two-thirds majority vote needed to oust him.