The White House has two big strategic questions on its plate as the Senate trial on Donald Trump’s impeachment nears, the Washington Post writes in its curtain-raiser today. How does its legal team deal with witness demands from the Senate in the second phase of the trial, assuming that it goes that far? And how does everyone else in the West Wing deal with Trump himself?
The Post takes the tougher question first, although the two are inevitably intertwined:
White House lawyers are trying to engineer the fastest impeachment trial in American history, aiming to have President Trump acquitted by the Senate without witnesses and after just a few days of proceedings, according to senior administration officials.
Trump’s desire for a short trial has solidified over the past few weeks, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delayed transmitting two articles of impeachment to the Senate because of concerns about how the trial would be structured. The White House, which previously supported a more expansive trial in the GOP-led Senate, has now accepted the idea that senators should make quick work of acquitting Trump. …
White House aides are also gaming out how to manage Trump during the trial, which they expect him to watch and possibly tweet about while it is underway, as he did during the House impeachment hearings, according to the officials. Trump allies plan to have several surrogates on television defending the president during the trial. Republican House members, many of whom jockeyed for official roles on the defense team for the Senate trial, will instead fan out across television networks to ensure that the president’s message gets out and that Trump feels he is receiving a robust defense, the officials said.