For weeks, President Trump’s advisers have been preparing for the eventuality of an impeachment trial in the Senate, a process that could begin as soon as Wednesday.
Some aspects of how Mr. Trump’s team will approach the trial have yet to be determined, including whether it will seek witnesses and how much time it will ask for to argue its case. But the basic configuration of the team defending the television-savvy president in a made-for-TV congressional event has been established.
“The truth is, we’ve been prepared to proceed as soon as the articles were adopted,” Mr. Sekulow said on Sunday. “We’ve been prepared, we are prepared and we will be prepared for any contingencies.”
This will be the first outing by Mr. Trump’s team during the impeachment process after the White House chose not to mount a traditional defense during the House proceedings.
For Mr. Cipollone, the trial will be a high-profile appearance for the typically low-profile lawyer, who has stayed well below the radar during more than a year in the job. Mr. Sekulow, who hosts a daily radio show and is a frequent television commentator, is more accustomed to being in the public eye.
There will be other lawyers involved, primarily Mr. Cipollone’s two top deputies, Patrick F. Philbin and Michael M. Purpura, two people familiar with the plans said. Neither was authorized to speak publicly about the formation of the president’s defense.
Others may have discreet roles with the team, including the famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz, whose appearances on television have impressed Mr. Trump, and other members of the White House counsel’s staff.
It remains undetermined whether three of Mr. Trump’s closest allies among House Republicans — Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Doug Collins of Georgia and John Ratcliffe of Texas — will play a role. They had been expected to, at Mr. Trump’s urging, until the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, advised against it, according to people close to the president.
Some close to Mr. Trump say that having Mr. Ratcliffe involved would be particularly helpful. The congressman helped lead the Republican defense in the House and has told people he is familiar with all the evidence that was presented.
Last week, Mr. Trump’s lawyers met at the White House with Stephen R. Castor, who served as the Republican counsel in the House impeachment hearings, according to people briefed on the discussions.
Mr. Castor was also at the White House before the final impeachment hearings, along with Republican members of the House, the people briefed on the discussions said. He did not meet privately with the president, but Mr. Trump wanted to thank him for his role in the hearings, they said.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers may also decide to expand the team, depending on how the trial unfolds.
The shaping of Mr. Trump’s defense team is playing out against a backdrop of contradicting signals from the president. On Sunday, Mr. Trump suggested that instead of holding a trial, the Senate should dismiss the House’s articles of impeachment that charge him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I agree!”
Hours earlier he seemed to endorse a trial, tweeting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat and Intelligence Committee chairman who led the impeachment inquiry, should be called as witnesses.
Indeed, for Mr. Trump, who is eager to be cleared and is angered by the fact that the impeachment vote ever happened, there is still a desire to see witnesses called, according to people close to him.
But he has also told advisers that he would follow Mr. McConnell’s advice on the best way to proceed. Mr. McConnell has told colleagues that witnesses can only complicate matters, and that they open up an avenue of uncertainty.
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