Ahead of the first impeachment attempt against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wound up sitting on the related articles passed by her chamber for nearly a month before sending them to the U.S. Senate so a trial could commence.
It appears that a similar situation might be repeating itself, with Pelosi thus far declining to reveal when an article of impeachment passed earlier in the week would be forward to the upper chamber.
“When we announce we’re going over there”
According to the Washington Times, reporters asked the speaker when she planned to deliver the article to the Senate, prompting her to skirt the issue.
“You’ll be the first to know when we announce we’re going over there,” she said.
For what it is worth, Fox News has reported that members of Pelosi’s Democratic caucus — including second-highest-ranking Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — have called for the immediate delivery of the article in hopes of seeing a Senate trial get underway “as soon as possible.”
Given the impending inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Pelosi’s timeline might be important on one hand but essentially moot on the other.
When the Senate receives the impeachment article, much of the other business in the upper chamber will largely grind to a halt until the trial has concluded, meaning potential trouble for Biden and his efforts to have his top-level nominees confirmed in an expedited manner.
“There will be an impeachment trial”
Regardless of when Pelosi decides to act, however, any decision in the Senate will not be reached until well after Trump has left office.
At some point or another, therefore, Biden’s agenda is sure to be stymied by the Senate’s business of determining whether his predecessor should be convicted of the impeachment article filed against him.
In any case, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), his party’s leader in the Senate, has made it clear that there will be a trial — whenever he finally receives the article.
“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
For his part, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said senators will not reconvene early in order to address the issue, stating this week: “Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency.”