Impasse broken as Pelosi announces plan to release Trump impeachment articles amid pressure
An impasse between Democrats and Republicans over the arrangement of a Senate trial of US President Donald Trump's impeachment was broken on Friday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a plan for the delivery the articles of impeachment.
In a letter to her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said she has asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the House 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," the House's top Democrat said.
The Democrat-led House impeached Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, charges the White House has refuted.
Pelosi, who initiated an impeachment inquiry into Trump in September 2019, has been withholding the articles of impeachment and refused to name impeachment managers, who will make the House's impeachment case in a Senate trial.
Pressure is building up on Pelosi, who is trying to give Democrats more leverage in setting rules for the trial in the Senate, where Republicans have a narrow majority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters at the Capitol that he's "glad" the standoff is over.
"We've been anxious to get started for the last - how many weeks has it been now? And we'll get about it as soon as we can," the Kentucky Republican said.
It remains unclear how the Senate trial will play out as McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer haven't been on the same page.
McConnell, who has criticized Pelosi's moves, has said that the Senate should model Trump's impeachment trial after that of former President Bill Clinton's case in 1999 by dealing with potential witnesses after the trial begins.
Schumer, however, has stated that he wants to make sure certain witnesses would be called upon for the trial before it starts, which McConnell has so far rejected.
"Senate Democrats are ready for the trial to begin and will do everything we can to see that the truth comes out," Schumer tweeted on Friday.
As part of a pressure campaign on Pelosi, McConnell on Thursday signed on to a resolution backed by over a dozen GOP senators that would alter Senate rules to dismiss articles of Trump's impeachment.
In her letter on Friday, Pelosi accused McConnell of engaging in "tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people's interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts."
"Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges," Pelosi wrote. "A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday accused Pelosi of hypocrisy.
In an anonymous complaint last summer, a whistleblower raised concerns about the White House's interactions with Ukraine, resulting in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against Trump.
The president was alleged to have pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, into launching investigations that could politically benefit him. Furthermore, the White House allegedly tried to cover it up.
Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoings and called his impeachment case a "witch hunt" or a "hoax."
According to the nation's Constitution, the House shall have the sole power of impeachment, while the Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.
Conviction can only happen in the Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favor after a trial. Currently, the Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two independents.
The timeline for the Senate trial mostly depends on the House's actions next week.
Senators could be sworn in as soon as Thursday for the impeachment trial, according to CNN, citing Senate aides.
But the trial, with arguments on the floor, probably won't begin until days after that.