House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House will vote Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.
"The House will now proceed with a vote on transmitting the articles of impeachment and naming impeachment managers on Wednesday," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. "The president and the senators will be held accountable."
Sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate is necessary to begin the trial, which lawmakers expect could begin Tuesday.
Pelosi has held onto the articles for weeks, saying she would not submit them to the Senate until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., outlined the trial rules and process.
McConnell, who pledged "total coordination" with the White House on impeachment last month, has called for a two-step procedure similar to that of President Bill Clinton's trial in 1999. That process included an initial resolution to hear opening arguments, followed by a vote on whether to call witnesses.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the Senate to call four witnesses, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, who said this month he would testify if subpoenaed. Trump suggested last week he might block Bolton's testimony.
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The House passed two articles of impeachment against Trump last month. The first charged the president with abusing his power by pushing Ukraine to announce investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Democrats as the president withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to the country and an official White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The second article charged Trump with obstructing Congress' investigation into the matter.
Speaking to reporters outside the caucus meeting on Tuesday, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said that "everything" will be done by the House on Wednesday, including naming impeachment managers and voting on the resolution to approve them and send the articles to the Senate.
"The resolution will be done tomorrow, the managers will be named, and the resolution will have take about a 10-minute debate, and we'll vote on it and then send it, send everything over," he said.
Lawmakers who emerged from the closed-door meeting said that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., walked through the upcoming process step by step, outlining what a trial might look like.
"Without going word for word as to what he said, basically the House will present its case — they have 24 hours to do so," Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., said. "And then the president will have 24 hours to respond."
The impeachment managers essentially act as prosecutors during the Senate trial. Though Pelosi's picks have yet to be revealed, several lawmakers who left the meeting said they expect that Schiff will be chosen, and potentially House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. Lawmakers said, however, they still don't know who the managers are or how many there will be.
Pelosi is free to name an unspecified number of House members as managers. Clinton's had 13, while the House sent seven case managers in former President Andrew Johnson's trial.
"The caucus has great confidence in Adam and in Jerry (and) both of those committees played a major role," Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., said, calling Schiff the "face of impeachment."
Nadler also spoke during the meeting and declined afterward to say whether he will serve as a manager but he did emphasize that the trial must include witnesses and documents.
"The American people understand that to have a trial — whether the trial was of a bank robbery or the impeachment of the president of the United States — you can't have a trial without witnesses and documents," Nadler said. "Anyone who tries to say, 'we're gonna have a trial without permitting witnesses,' is saying, 'We want to have a cover-up. We don't want to have a trial.'"
"Does the Senate Majority, the Republicans, want to carry out a cover-up? I think they do," Nadler added. "Certainly Mitch McConnell has said he wants to do a cover-up."
Speaking from the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell said it was "bizarre-o-world" to think the Senate trial amounts to a "cover-up" if no additional witnesses or documents are presented.
"Here's how deep we have come into bizarre-o-world," he said. "The latest Democratic talking point is that if the Senate conducts a trial based on what the House itself looked at, we'll be engaged in a cover-up. Did you get that? Unless the Senate steps outside our lane and takes it upon ourselves to supplement the House case, it's a cover-up?"
Some Republicans have signaled that they are open to hearing from additional witnesses after the case has been presented to the Senate.
"I want to make sure I have a chance to vote on whether we need additional witnesses or additional documents, and I’ll decide whether we do after I hear the case and ask my questions," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told reporters Tuesday.