Just moments after impeaching Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stopped the process on a dime.
The House speaker said Wednesday evening that she will not commit to sending articles of impeachment to the Senate until Republicans agree to the Democrats’ terms for a trial, Breitbart reported.
Pelosi’s move is merely the latest extension of a brewing Democrat shame campaign to gain leverage in the Senate, where Trump’s acquittal is virtually certain.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t falling for it. McConnell said that Pelosi is “afraid” to send articles to the upper chamber as he vows to move quickly.
Pelosi won’t commit
After months of investigations that Pelosi wanted to be “expeditious,” Democrats followed through on promises to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday evening in a party-line vote. But as the euphoria of the joyous — or as Pelosi said, somber — occasion passed, the speaker took a sharp turn.
“We’d like to see a fair process, but we’ll see what they have and will be ready for whatever it is,” Pelosi said, explaining that she would not commit to sending articles to the Senate. “So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
The last-minute play invited immediate criticism from Republicans that Pelosi was playing games, and McConnell fired back, saying that “House Democrats may be too afraid…to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate,” according to Fox News. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and President Trump echoed McConnell, accusing the Democrats of getting cold feet because they have no case to prosecute.
“Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!” Trump tweeted.
Impeachment in limbo
Democrats had begun to complain about the trial even before Wednesday’s vote, as it became evident that McConnell planned to conduct a swift affair in “total coordination” with the White House. Pelosi and company say they just want a fair process and that Republicans are trying to protect Trump with a pre-ordained outcome — but Republicans are crying foul after Democrats smothered their complaints about due process throughout the past three months of “the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair” impeachment ever, as McConnell said.
At a separate presser Thursday morning, Pelosi tried to dispel perceptions of bad faith by saying that she is not withholding articles, but simply waiting for the Senate leaders to reach an agreement. But negotiations between McConnell and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been as partisan as the rest of impeachment, with the leaders trading accusations of hypocrisy.
“Will Leader McConnell, breaking precedent, strongarm his caucus into making this the first Senate impeachment trial of a president in history that heard no — no — witnesses?”said Schumer, whose witness requests were shot down by McConnell.
Despite playing up impeachment as “historic” and “solemn,” Democrats are already playing games. Maybe it’s time for McConnell to give dismissal a second look.