House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she will take steps next week to send articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate after failing so far to secure any concessions on the trial procedure from Republicans.
“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, referring to a top Democratic lawmaker from New York. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”
The impasse over Trump’s impeachment that has persisted since Dec. 18. That’s when the Democratic-led House voted to impeach the president, but Pelosi delayed transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Republican-run Senate, saying that her party wanted to see that the Senate’s process looks fair.
Pelosi — who said Thursday that the articles would probably be transmitted soon — reportedly has said she believes the delay has put pressure on the Senate to provide a more thorough trial.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t given any indication that he’ll acquiesce to repeated Democratic requests that he commit to having new witnesses and documents in the Senate’s impeachment trial. The Kentucky Republican has said Democrats “may be too afraid” to “transmit their shoddy work product,” and he has said it’s a “nonstarter” for Pelosi to try to “hand design the trial proceedings in the Senate.”
In her letter on Friday, Pelosi said McConnell has been showing “disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.”
“The American people have clearly expressed their view that we should have a fair trial with witnesses and documents, with more than 70% of the public stating that the president should allow his top aides to testify,” the California Democrat added.
The Democrats’ impeachment push centers on Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, as well as into a theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has frequently criticized Democratic lawmakers for their efforts to remove him from office, saying in a letter to Pelosi last month that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
Trump, charged with abuse of power and obstructing Congress, is only the third American president to have been impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before an impeachment vote could take place.
But impeachment by the House doesn’t necessarily mean removal from office. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was found guilty in impeachment trials in the Senate, and the same outcome is widely expected in the impeachment of Trump, whose Republican Party occupies 53 of the chamber’s 100 seats. That helps explain why the stock market DJIA, -0.19% SPX, +0.00% hasn’t reacted much to impeachment-related developments.
The Senate had been getting ready to try the president in January, with its legislative calendar for this month cleared to make way for the proceedings. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to preside over the Senate trial, and Trump is expected to be asked to address the charges.
House Democrats are set to serve as the prosecutors in the trial, and in this role are called impeachment managers, while the president’s lawyers defend him. A two-thirds majority of senators would be required to vote to convict Trump to remove him from office.