December 23, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken steps to prevent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from riding roughshod over the Democrats’ requests for a fair impeachment trial—complete with witnesses close to the president, Politico reports.
She refused to commit last Wednesday—the day on which impeachment passed the House—to deliver the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, citing concerns about an rigged, partisan process that would protect President Donald Trump from being embarrassed; let alone, ousted from office.
Indeed, according to Politico, senior Democratic aides said the House was “very unlikely” to take the steps necessary to send the articles to the Senate until at least early January, a delay of at least two weeks and perhaps longer.
Pelosi told reporters at a news conference that, until she was informed by McConnell of the plans for the trial, the House would not name impeachment managers and the articles would not be handed over. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.”
Although the House adopted two articles of impeachment– charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations— it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate.
By delaying passage of that resolution, Pelosi and top Democrats retain control of the articles and hope to put pressure on McConnell to adopt trial procedures they consider to be bipartisan, Politico said.
McConnell has boasted that he has closely coordinated the planning of the trial with the White House and has repeatedly predicted Trump would be acquitted. He’s also suggested Democrats shouldn’t be allowed to call new witnesses as they attempt to present their case.
In response to those words, several members of Congress have said that McConnell should recuse himself from the impeachment process–advice he is unlikely to follow.
The White House lashed out at the move. “House Democrats have run a fatally flawed process with fake facts, and now they want to deny the President his day in court with another procedural maneuver that proves anew they have no case,” said Eric Ueland, Trump’s top congressional liaison to Congress.
Research contact: @politico