House GOP leaders in recent weeks have advocated for Trump’s most aggressive defenders — Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), John Ratcliffe (Tex.) and Douglas A. Collins (Ga.) — to cross the Rotunda and help White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone rebut the two charges that the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.
Trump, partial to bare-knuckles tactics and top-rated TV performances, loves the idea, according to four administration and congressional officials familiar with his thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly…
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his fellow GOP senators have expressed concerns to Trump that a House-led defense could offend moderates, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Trump, they argue, has already won the backing of the GOP base, so he and his team need to focus on ensuring Republican unity on an acquittal.
McConnell, who discussed the trial with the president at the White House on Wednesday, has been advising Trump and his legal team not to think of the trial as a “made-for-TV-type House setting,” said one individual familiar with the leader’s thinking, “but rather one where ultimately your audience is senators in the middle on both sides, who are actually listening to the arguments here.”