House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she is asking Democratic leaders to appoint House impeachment managers and will transmit President Donald Trump’s long-delayed impeachment articles to the Senate next week.
Pelosi made the announcement in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.
“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,” Pelosi said.
The speaker’s announcement comes in the wake of increasing Democratic pressure to move Trump’s impeachment forward.
Read Pelosi’s letter here.
“By joining a resolution to dismiss, [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell showed his true colors,” Pelosi said. “Americans have now seen what is at stake in a fair trial with witnesses evidence, and new evidence has emerged.
“Every senator will have to vote: is their loyalty is to the president or the Constitution?”
On Thursday, Pelosi told reporters in her weekly news conference she would transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate “soon.”
″I’m not holding them indefinitely,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol, according to The Associated Press. “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. That will probably be soon.”
Despite Democrats’ professed sense of urgency in passing House impeachment articles against the president last month, Pelosi has delayed sending the charges over, or name the trial’s House managers, until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announces how the trial will proceed.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other House Democrats have been demanding additional witnesses be called during a Trump trial, thus stalling any scheduling of a trial.
On Wednesday, Democratic senators joined Republicans in calling on Pelosi to send over the articles. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told CNN, “My hope is that we'll be able to get the trial started next week.
“I think if we're trying to create leverage on the Republicans, that leverage really exists when we put them on the record on motions to call witnesses,” he said.
Another Connecticut Democrat, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, told the network he’d like to “begin the trial tomorrow. As a former prosecutor, I'm ready to go to court.”
Even U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is eager to get underway, telling Politico, “the longer it goes on, the less urgent it becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”
McConnell already has enough votes to defeat any Democratic notions of calling witnesses who did not testify during Trump’s House impeachment hearings. Two GOP moderates, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, agree with McConnell that a Trump impeachment trial should follow the guidelines of Bill Clinton’s 1999 trial.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News Pelosi’s impeachment dam “is about to crack.
"You said it was urgent," Graham said. "If you believe it to be urgent, send it to the Senate for disposition.”
McConnell told GOP senators at a lunchtime meeting this week to expect the trial next week, according to two people familiar with his remarks. The people requested anonymity to discuss the private meeting.
He had signed on to a resolution from Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to change Senate rules to allow for the dismissal of articles of impeachment if the House doesn’t transmit them in 25 days. That now appear unlikely.
In the weeks since Trump was impeached, Democrats have focused on new evidence about Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and they pushed the Senate to consider new testimony, including from former White House national security adviser John Bolton.
Republicans are just as focused on a speedy trial with acquittal.
Republicans have the leverage, with a slim 53-47 Senate majority, as McConnell rebuffs the Democratic demands for testimony and documents. But Democrats are using the delay to sow public doubt about the fairness of the process as they try to peel off wavering GOP senators for the upcoming votes. It takes just 51 senators to set the rules.
“When we say fair trial, we mean facts, we mean witnesses, we mean documents,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promising votes ahead. “Every single one of us, in this Senate, will have to have to take a stand. How do my Republican friends want the American people, their constituents, and history to remember them?”
Trump had weighed in from the White House suggesting that he, too, would like more witnesses at trial. They include former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination now, and his son Hunter, as well as the government whistleblower whose complaint about the president’s pressure on Ukraine sparked the impeachment investigation.
It’s still unclear who Pelosi will appoint as impeachment managers to prosecute the case in the Senate.
Nadler, D-N.Y., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will most likely lead the team.
Trump is only the third sitting president in American history to be impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Clinton.
The two articles of impeachment by House Democrats — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — point to Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden while withholding as leverage military aid the country relies to counter Russia as well as his efforts to block the House investigation.
The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict in an impeachment trial, thus making Trump’s actual removal from office highly unlikely in the GOP-controlled Senate.
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