KEY POINTS

  • Trump is accused of abuse of power and obstructing Congress
  • Pelosi has been holding on to articles of impeachment in hopes Senate would agree to call witnesses
  • Sending the articles to Senate opens the way for only the third such trial in U.S. history

Update 2:50 p.m. EST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects President Trump's impeachment trial to begin next Tuesday and at the same time knocked down calls for additional witnesses.

"If the existing case is strong, there's no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation. If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place," McConnell, R-Ky., said from the Senate floor.

McConnell said the Senate would get some preliminary matters out of the way this week after the articles of impeachment are walked over by members of the House.

Earlier, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he would like to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, one of four key administration officials from who Democrats have been seeking testimony.

Original story

The House is planning to vote Wednesday on sending the articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of abuse of power and obstructing Congress to the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats Tuesday.

Pelosi held a closed-door meeting House Democrats early Tuesday to detail her plan, the New York Times reported. She declined, however, to reveal who will be appointed to prosecute the case against Trump in only the third such trial to be held in the history of the United States.

The speaker had been holding on to the two articles adopted Dec. 18 to try to secure a deal with Senate Republicans that would include witness testimony at the trial. The House opted to vote on the articles without waiting for the courts to rule on whether key administration officials could be forced to testify before impeachment investigators.

Democrats are now demanding to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and his adviser Robert Blair, and Michael Duffey, the associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget. Trump had ordered administration officials not to cooperate with impeachment investigators, claiming executive privilege.

Bolton, who has said he has direct knowledge of the events around which the impeachment allegations revolve, said last week he would be willing to testify if subpoenaed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been resisting a lengthy trial, saying there’s “no chance” Trump will be convicted and removed from office. He said senators will hear the case laid out and then decide whether to call any witnesses.

Trump is accused of attempting to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden in exchange for $391 million in military aid and then blocking Congress from investigating his conduct. He has disparaged the impeachment process as a “witch hunt” and “hoax,” and hurled insults against Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment investigation.

Trump has suggested the Senate dismiss the articles without a trial. That suggestion, however, was rejected.

“We’ve a constitutional duty to perform, and we’re going to try to do our best and try not to get too distracted by all the chatter,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told The Hill.

Only former presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton have been impeached and tried in the Senate. Neither was convicted. Richard Nixon resigned his office before a formal vote on impeachment could be taken.