After weeks of delay, the House is expected on Wednesday afternoon to send the two impeachment charges passed last month against Trump to the Senate, clearing the way for the trial that will determine whether he is removed from office to start in earnest next week.
But the documents, which were released on Tuesday by House Democrats, appear to bolster House Democrats' claim that Trump was more than aware of Giuliani's efforts to find dirt in Ukraine on political rival Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress' ensuing probe. The official was asked about the prospect that President Trump would postpone his plans to give the the State of the Union on February 4 if the trial was still ongoing at that time.
The speaker initially made the announcement about Wednesday's vote during a closed-door meeting Tuesday morning of House Democrats, according to three officials who requested anonymity to share details of a private meeting.
The other impeachment managers include: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), and Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX).
"We want the truth", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday as the chamber opened.
McConnell, who is negotiating rules for the trial proceedings, is under competing pressure from his party for more witnesses, from centrists who are siding with Democrats on the need to hear full testimony and conservatives mounting Trump's defense.
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on January 9, 2020. All the senators present will act as the jury at the trial, which will be overseen by the head of the US Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has resisted the idea of calling witnesses at all, saying his chamber should only consider evidence that has been dug up by the House. Susan Collins of ME is leading an effort among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska for votes on witnesses. However, several Republican Senators have objected to the notion of dismissing charges before hearing from witnesses. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose solid Republican majority in the body will set the rules for Trump's trial, has refused to agree to invite witnesses to the trial before the opening statements and arguments are delivered. The new documents, they said in a statement, 'demonstrate that there is more evidence relevant to the president's scheme, but they have been concealed by the president himself.' 'There can not be a full and fair trial in the Senate without the documents that President Trump is refusing to provide to Congress, ' they said.
His sentiments echo comments from GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky warned that if witnesses are allowed, defence witnesses could also be called. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening to demands for a fair trial.