Democrats rally behind Pelosi on delay of articles

House Democrats on Thursday are rallying behind Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' White House not optimistic on near-term stimulus deal Sunday shows - Stimulus debate dominates 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 TrumpOklahoma City Thunder players kneel during anthem despite threat from GOP state lawmaker Microsoft moving forward with talks to buy TikTok after conversation with Trump Controversial Trump nominee placed in senior role after nomination hearing canceled 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 McConnellGOP scrambles to fend off Kobach in Kansas primary Meadows: Election will be held on November third Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency MORE (R-Ky.) has said he'll not take.

Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocrats demand Esper explicitly ban Confederate flag and allow Pride, Native Nations flags Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier House passes amendment barring funding for transgender troops ban 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 NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter 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 HoyerThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Fauci gives his COVID-19 vaccine estimate Congress rightfully rejects dangerous effort to cut defense budget by 10 percent GOP hunts for 'Plan B' as coronavirus talks hit wall 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 set to hold out for big police reform More than 100 Democrats press Trump to extend jobless benefits Pelosi makes fans as Democrat who gets under Trump's skin 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."