Jim Jordan Rounds Up a Rapid-Response Squad for Trump’s 2nd Impeachment Trial
By Newsmax Team | Bloomberg
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and several like-minded House colleagues are looking to reprise an impeachment trial rapid-response group to advise former President Donald Trump’s legal team and speak to the media, according to multiple people involved.
A similar effort was mounted during Trump’s first impeachment trial by eight House Republicans, acting apart from Trump’s formal impeachment defense lawyers.
Jordan didn’t respond Monday to requests to talk about efforts to revive such a squad, or how that might dovetail with the trial strategies of Trump’s new post-presidency legal team, to be headed by South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers.
There had been some uncertainty over whether such a team was wanted, and whether lawmakers wanted to participate.
But people familiar with the plans said efforts to organize the squad are underway, with Jordan and several colleagues planning to look for opportunities during the trial to highlight what they see as a rushed impeachment and political overreach.
Some of the House Republicans who participated in the earlier team are no longer in Congress. Mark Meadows of North Carolina went on to serve as Trump’s White House chief of staff, and John Ratcliffe of Texas became director of national intelligence.
Doug Collins of Georgia, who was the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, is no longer in Congress.
Others on that team who remain in the House, and had no immediate comment, include Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin of New York, Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Debbie Lesko of Arizona.
This time around, with a trial expected to begin in early February, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy will preside, rather than Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Trump is no longer a sitting president.
Leahy, a Democrat, has promised fair rulings as he presides over Trump’s politically charged impeachment trial.
“I’m not presenting the evidence. I am making sure that procedures are followed,” he told reporters. “I don’t think there’s any senator who over the 40-plus years I’ve been here that would say that I’ve been anything but impartial in ruling on procedure.”
But his ability to be impartial was questioned by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who asked on Twitter, “How does a Senator preside, like a judge, and serve as juror too?”
Leahy, 80, is the longest-serving sitting senator, having been elected in 1974 in the wake of Watergate. He’s a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee and is the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.