Despite having passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to submit them to the Senate so that they can begin a trial. Her excuse is that “the House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct,” and that the articles need to be used as leverage to get favorable trial rules.
However, in an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, House Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Dan Kildee (D-MI) stabbed Pelosi in the back by questioning the effectiveness of that strategy, stating the articles with “ultimately” be turned over.
“What leverage do you have if you’re saying, well, we’re going to turn them over anyway?” Keilar asked him.
“Well, I’m not sure how much leverage there is,” Kildee conceded.
“But doesn’t it seem as though — that the Constitution ought to be the leverage that Mitch McConnell would be concerned about? The Constitution says he has to conduct this trial.”
Kildee went on to add that if the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “doesn’t feel any pressure to do the job in a way that the Constitution requires him to do, there is nothing we can do about that.”
“But I do accept the point,” the Michigan Democrat continued. “There’s limited leverage that we have as long as he’s willing to not do his job.”
However, while Pelosi has insisted that she is sitting on the articles in order to get “a fair trial,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) suggests that there was another benefit.
Whitehouse tweeted on Saturday that part of the reason why hanging onto them is “a good idea” is because it’s “driving Trump and the Republicans crazy.”
That certainly doesn’t fit with the Democratic narrative before the impeachment vote. Top figures within the party insisted that impeaching Trump was an urgent matter. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler declared on December 9 that “we cannot wait until the next election to address the threat.”
However, it seems that for Democrats, confronting whatever “threat” that was alleged to exist is now less of a priority than hassling their political rivals.