The jury is still out on whether Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nearly month-long delay in transmitting the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial was a major tactical blunder or a stroke of political brilliance.
According to Susan Ferrichio of the Washington Examiner, Pelosi’s gambit has received mixed reviews even from Democrats. Some supported the California congresswoman’s futile strategy to force concessions from the Republican-controlled Senate, but others think what Pelosi did will only backfire on the party and hurt Dems’ case for Trump’s impeachment, Ferrichio reported.
Pelosi’s partisan game
Ahead of House Democrats’ Dec. 18 vote to pass two articles of impeachment against Trump, Pelosi and her caucus stressed the urgency of such affairs, insisting that Trump posed a threat to democracy and needed to be removed swiftly, The Washington Post noted at the time.
But as soon as the partisan vote went their way, Pelosi backtracked, opting to hold onto the articles until she could be guaranteed a “fair” trial by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
That never happened, however, and Pelosi caved Friday with an announcement that the House would move forward with their obligations ahead of a Senate trial. Now, according to Ferrichio, it appears to some that Pelosi was simply stalling, hoping more evidence or witness testimony would come to light that would strengthen the Dems’ weak case.
“There is no way to spin it,” Republican Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) said Friday, according to Ferrichio. “Speaker Pelosi and her Democrat Caucus spent weeks playing games with what is effectively their attempt at overturning an American election.”
Caving to McConnell
To be sure, the vast majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate have issued public statements in support of what Pelosi was attempting to do with her delay — but some were saying something different behind the scenes, Ferrichio reports.
“If we’re going to do it, she should send them over,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said of Pelosi and the articles early last week, according to ABC News. “I don’t see what good delay does.”
Indeed, while Pelosi was hoping that withholding the articles would earn her some leverage with McConnell, the majority leader made it clear from the start that Pelosi has no power over the Senate. Pelosi’s announcement on Friday that she would end the delay and send the articles to the Senate next week effectively served as notification that she had conceded defeat on the issue.
“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 wrote in a letter to Democrats, according to Politico.
How Pelosi’s party treats her once Trump’s trial is settled remains to be seen. But for his part, McConnell is relieved that Pelosi’s gambit is over so he can get back to business.
“We’ve been anxious to get started… How many weeks has it been now?” the majority leader said, according to Politico. “It’s been a long wait, I’m glad it’s over.”