Democrats rally behind Pelosi on delay of articles

House Democrats on Thursday are rallying behind Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms 14 things to know for today about coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Trump, telecom executives talk coronavirus response | Pelosi pushes funding for mail-in voting | New York AG wants probe into firing of Amazon worker | Marriott hit by another massive breach 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 John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says 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 McConnellOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms 14 things to know for today about coronavirus Trump says he wouldn't have acted differently on coronavirus without impeachment MORE (R-Ky.) has said he'll not take.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierHouse Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus The Hill's Morning Report - Can Trump, Congress agree on coronavirus package? Biden rallygoers offered hand sanitizer amid coronavirus concerns 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 NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' 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 HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House 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 KildeeLysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House House passes trillion coronavirus relief bill, with Trump to sign quickly Congressional leaders downplay possibility of Capitol closing due to coronavirus 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."