After House Democrats voted to impeach President Donald Trump last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suddenly halted the process, withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate in what appeared to be a futile bid to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to craft rules for the impeachment trial that would be more favorable to Democrats.
Pelosi’s delays eventually wore down the patience of even some of her fellow Democrats. By early this week, a number of Democrats in both the Senate and House had broken ranks, publicly stating that it was time for Pelosi to end her gambit and move on, NBC reported.
Democrat senators call for end of delay
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told reporters on Wednesday, “We are reaching a point where the articles of impeachment should be sent” to the Senate.
On Tuesday, liberal-leaning Sen. Angus King (I-ME) told NBC that “it is time for the speaker to send” the articles to the Senate so a trial could begin.
Clearly implying that Pelosi’s gambit had failed in its ambitious goal, King added, “I don’t think her holding them puts any particular pressure on” McConnell to change the Senate trial rules to her liking.
Meanwhile, other Democrat senators like Doug Jones (AL), Chris Murphy (CT), and Joe Manchin (WV) also suggested in recent days that the time had come for Pelosi to stop stalling and forward the articles to the Senate so a trial could get underway as soon as possible.
House member breaks ranks
Breitbart reported that one Democrat member of the House even seemed to break ranks with the Speaker — albeit only temporarily — by echoing the sentiment of the Democrat senators with regard to Pelosi’s continued delay on sending the articles to the Senate.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) told CNN on Thursday that while he understood what Pelosi had been hoping to achieve through the delay, it was time to concede her requests would not be fully met, and as such, it was time to simply go ahead and proceed with the matter.
“But at the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate,” Smith said. “I think it was perfectly advisable for the speaker to leverage that to get a better deal. At this point, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. And yes, I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is.”
Pelosi caves under pressure
Granted, Smith walked back those remarks a short time later on Thursday with a tweet signifying his support for Pelosi’s leadership, but the damage may have already been done.
On Friday, Speaker Pelosi released a “Dear Colleague” letter to all members of her caucus which, intermingled with plenty of spin claiming victory, clearly stated, “I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate.”
Pelosi thought her delay in transmitting the articles to the Senate would force McConnell to cede to her will, but her plan appears to have backfired. McConnell remains unmoved and it looks like Pelosi is ending her stalling tactic without having achieved her initial goals.