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Democrats rally behind Pelosi on delay of articles

House Democrats on Thursday are rallying behind Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate MORE (D-Calif.) after she said she'll delay the delivery of impeachment articles to the Senate in an effort to ensure a fair trial.

President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE has urged a speedy trial in the upper chamber, and Pelosi's allies argue that delaying the delivery of the articles will put pressure on Senate GOP leaders to call witnesses and seek more evidence surrounding the president's dealings with Ukraine — steps Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Ky.) has said he'll not take.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierGlobal Gag Rule is just the tip of the iceberg: Why Repealing the Helms Amendment matters Democrats press to bar lawmakers from carrying guns in the Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again MORE (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Pelosi's delay strategy made for "a very wise decision on her part."

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"I think it gives her leverage; it gives the House leverage in terms of making sure that it's not going to be a kangaroo court over there," she told reporters in the Capitol. "If, in fact, they intend to not be an impartial reviewer of the facts, then it becomes a joke. And we're not party to a joke."

McConnell has shown no indication he's ready to budge. Aside from refusing new witnesses, he's also announced that he'll work closely with the White House as the trial proceeds, a stance that has infuriated Democrats who say as an impeachment juror he should be taking steps to be impartial.

But McConnell has rejected that argument. 

“I’m not impartial about this at all,” he told reporters Tuesday in the Capitol.

Rep. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi names 9 impeachment managers Republicans gauge support for Trump impeachment Clyburn blasts DeVos and Chao for 'running away' from 25th Amendment fight MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Thursday that those comments should make McConnell ineligible to oversee the impeachment trial.

"Mitch McConnell has a problem. Mitch McConnell has said that he's going to work hand-and-glove with the White House. He has said that he's not a fair juror. I don't understand how he can possibly take the oath that he's required to take," Nadler said.

"Mitch McConnell, I think, has disqualified himself from taking the oath of participating."

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The debate arrives the morning after House Democrats passed two impeachment articles through the lower chamber: one accusing the president of abusing his power in his dealings with Ukraine, the other alleging that he obstructed Congress as Democrats sought to investigate the affair.

Shortly afterward, Pelosi said Democrats would not send those articles to the Senate immediately, citing an "unfair" process being prepared by GOP leaders in the upper chamber.

"So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” she added.

That strategy was not new: House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerGOP divided over Liz Cheney's future Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Colorado officials pen letter requesting probe into Boebert's actions MORE (D-Md.) had said as much on Tuesday. But Pelosi also left open the possibility that the delay could be extensive, even permanent, as some liberals in her caucus are promoting the idea of preventing the Senate trial from ever happening at all.

Yet most Democrats on Thursday dismissed the idea that the House would delay the deliver forever.

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"I would doubt that," said Nadler, quickly deferring the decision to Pelosi.

"I don't think there's anything that the Speaker said last night [to] suggest that this it's permanent," echoed Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).

Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Biden's Pentagon pick puts Democrats in a bind CDC studies impact of 'forever chemical' exposure on COVID-19 antibodies MORE (D-Mich.) agreed, suggesting there are political risks if Democrats wait too long.

"I don't think it's something we would want to drag out forever," he said, "but obviously it makes sense."