More and more Senate Democrats are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to send articles of impeachment to the Senate –– but she isn’t budging just yet, the Washington Examiner reports.
In response to growing pressure from her party, Pelosi said Thursday that she would send the articles when she’s “ready” — ensuring that a partisan stalemate over witnesses in the Senate trial will continue for now. Democrats in the upper chamber have grown restive with Pelosi’s gambit, saying it will not help Democrats gain leverage over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Dems begin to defect
Pelosi has worked in tandem with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to pressure McConnell to open up a potential trial to include testimony from John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and other witnesses. Bolton gave Democrats a boost when he announced this week that he would testify in the Senate if called, and some Democrats have attributed Bolton’s shift to Pelosi’s strategy of delay.
But there seems to be a dawning sense that further stalling will bring little benefit after McConnell announced that he gathered the 51 votes this week needed to start a trial without any witnesses, following the pattern set by Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial. After three weeks of deadlock, there are signs that the impasse is beginning to break.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are just a few lawmakers who have now said it’s time to move on. While crediting Pelosi for fighting with McConnell for a “fair” trial, there’s a feeling that the battle is over.
“It’s her decision to make,” Blumenthal said. “I’m ready…to try this case, but she will have to make a decision.”
Pelosi not budging
Pelosi has been playing a game of wait-and-see, insisting that McConnell first publish his plans for a Senate trial before she moves forward. In a letter to colleagues this week, she demanded that McConnell “immediately publish this resolution, so that, as I have said before, we can see the arena in which we will be participating, appoint managers and transmit the articles to the Senate.”
But at a press conference Thursday, Pelosi appeared to acknowledge that she was losing momentum even as she declined to budge, NBC reported. The speaker emphasized that she was still waiting to see McConnell’s plans, but intimated that she would make her move “soon.”
“Nonetheless, at some point, we would hope that we would see from them what the terms of engagement will be,” Pelosi said. “We are ready, we are proud of our defense of the Constitution of the United States.”
Trial next week?
Democrats have accused McConnell of a cover-up, but he has blithely dismissed their complaints as little more than partisan noise. The Republican leader has insisted that he will not allow Pelosi to dictate the terms of the trial, which falls under the sole authority of the Senate.
“A majority of this body has said definitively that we are not ceding our constitutional authority to the partisan designs of the speaker. We will not let the House extend its precedent-breaking spree over here to our chamber,” McConnell said Thursday.
With Pelosi’s delay appearing to falter, McConnell told Republicans that the trial could start as soon as next week, The Hill reported. And with even Democrats starting to capitulate, it looks like this delay game may finally end soon.