Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appears to have buckled under pressure and has finally agreed to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, Fox News is reporting.
In a letter to lawmakers Friday, Pelosi wrote, “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. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”
“I am very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution,” she added.
On Thursday, she told reporters that she would send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate “when I’m ready.”
“I’m not withholding them indefinitely,” she said during a press conference. “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon. . . . documentation, witnesses, facts, truth. That’s what they’re afraid of.”
But rather than appear fearful of a Senate trial, Republicans have only demonstrated a desire to abide by past precedent.
McConnell has repeatedly said the resolution to govern the impeachment trial in the Senate would mirror the one used for then-President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999—setting a timeframe for the trial to begin, with the opportunity for lawmakers to determine how to proceed on potential witness testimony and additional documents later, after both the defense and the prosecution make their opening statements.
Pelosi has been under increasing pressure from Republicans and Democrats alike to stop playing games with the impeachment process.
“The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes,” Senator Dianne Feinstein told Politico. “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send them over.”
Pelosi, Time reported, had gotten the bright idea to refuse to send the articles of impeachment to a Senate from disgraced Watergate felon John Dean, Nixon’s former White House lawyer.
Dean reportedly floated the idea on CNN on December 5. An aide told Time’s Molly Ball that Pelosi said in a committee hearing that she believed McConnell would be motivated to move if the House withheld the articles.
“Somebody said to me today that he may not even take up what we send. [But] then [Trump] will never be vindicated,” she said, according to the aide in the room. “He will be impeached forever. Forever. No matter what the Senate does.”
But McConnell was unmoved. “There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure,” he said on Twitter Wednesday. “We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision. This is for the Senate, and the Senate only, to decide.”
There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision. This is for the Senate, and the Senate only, to decide.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 8, 2020
Meanwhile, fellow Democrats including Senators Angus King (D-Maine), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), and Feinstein all called for Pelosi to speed up the impeachment process.
Senior Democrat Rep. Adam Smith of Washington also broke ranks with Pelosi on Thursday, but was quickly whipped back into line.
Oops! This morning senior House Dem Adam Smith broke ranks with Pelosi, said time to send impeachment articles to Senate. Now: Total reversal, full humiliating climbdown. https://t.co/bKQmWhNPJn
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 9, 2020
“This is a challenging time to create bipartisan agreement” McConnell quipped on Twitter. “But the Speaker Pelosi has managed to do the impossible. She has created growing bipartisan unity — in opposition to her own reckless games with impeachment.”
This is a challenging time to create bipartisan agreement. But the Speaker Pelosi has managed to do the impossible. She has created growing bipartisan unity — in opposition to her own reckless games with impeachment.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) January 9, 2020
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) further tweaked the speaker on Friday:
Faced with our motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute her case, Pelosi caves https://t.co/1uG8Mkxx0e
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 10, 2020
The moral of the story, according to oil CEO Dan Eberhart: “Don’t base your entire impeachment strategy off something someone said on CNN once.”