The president had been excited about the event for days, more focused on that and trying to overturn the Electoral College vote count than anything else. Heading into Wednesday, some advisers privately said Mr. Trump appeared to believe that Mr. Pence could legally hand him the election in his role presiding over the vote count.
At one point, Mr. Trump told the vice president that he had spoken with Mark Martin, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, who he said had told him that Mr. Pence had that power. Mr. Pence had assured Mr. Trump that he did not. Mr. Trump made the vice president defend his rationale in a meeting with lawyers whom Rudolph W. Giuliani had helped line up.
Both parties conceded they had no clear picture of how many Republican senators might ultimately vote to convict Mr. Trump.
Mr. Toomey said Mr. Trump had âspiraled down into a kind of madnessâ since the election and had effectively âdisqualified himselfâ from ever running for office again. But a day after he called Mr. Trumpâs conduct âimpeachable,â Mr. Toomey argued an impeachment would be impractical with Mr. Trump already headed for the exit.
âI think the best way for our country, Chuck, is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible,â he told the host Chuck Todd on NBCâs âMeet the Press.â âI acknowledge that may not be likely, but I think that would be best.â
In speaking with associates about the prospect of another impeachment, Mr. Trump was hit with the reality that few people from his defense team in last yearâs Senate trial would be part of any new proceeding.
Jay Sekulow, who has served as his lead personal lawyer, and two other private lawyers, Marty Raskin and Jane Raskin, will not participate in a future impeachment defense, according to a person briefed on the planning, nor will Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, or Patrick F. Philbin, his deputy.