Top White House officials and Senate Republicans on Thursday agreed that a full trial should be conducted if the House impeaches President Donald Trump, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.
A group of Republican senators met Thursday morning with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to discuss impeachment strategy.
Two attendees said that the White House wants the Senate to hold a trial of some length and not immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment with the GOP's majority, as some Republicans have suggested.
The White House and Trump's GOP allies decided instead "they want some kind of factual affirmative defense on the merits," said one attendee.
One attendee noted that the White House wants to show a commitment to due process, particularly since Republicans have criticized House Democrats for how they've conducted their impeachment proceedings.
Senators also informed the White House that there simply aren't the votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial; it would take just three Republicans to block any impeachment vote on the Senate floor.