White House: Trump wants Senate trial ‘sooner rather than later’

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The White House says President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE is hoping a Senate impeachment trial begins “sooner rather than later” as senators indicate the process likely won’t commence until after the holidays.

“The president wants it sooner rather than later. I think that’s pretty obvious as well,” deputy spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters. “But in what form that takes, time will tell.”

Gidley said the White House and Senate are in “constant contact,” but he declined to elaborate on whether the two sides have hashed out the procedures for an impeachment trial.

Top House Democrats earlier Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House is expected to vote next week on the articles, setting the stage for a Senate trial.

Trump has said he favors the House voting quickly so that he can be acquitted by the GOP-controlled Senate, but Republicans have expressed reluctance about staying in Washington during the Christmas holiday to begin proceedings.

Gidley would not rule out the possibility of Trump testifying in his own defense, but cautioned it would require rules the White House deems acceptable.

“The president always has encouraged or wants the administration to testify because the president’s done nothing wrong,” Gidley said.

“The process has to be fair… and it doesn’t look like the Democrats are too keen on fairness,” he added.

Trump said last month he would “strongly consider” giving in-person or written testimony in the impeachment inquiry into whether he abused his office and pressured a foreign government to investigate his domestic political rivals.

But White House aides quickly threw cold water on the idea, saying that while they understood Trump’s desire to defend himself, he was unlikely to testify.

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