House chairman walks back comments urging Pelosi to send impeachment articles to Senate

 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall House Armed Services chairman exploring options to stop Trump from taking .2B in DOD funds for wall Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (D-Wash.) on Thursday quickly walked back comments urging Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Hillicon Valley: FBI to now notify state officials of cyber breaches | Pelosi rips 'shameful' Facebook | 5G group beefs up lobby team | Spotify unveils playlists for pets Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' MORE (D-Calif.) to send President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE's impeachment articles to the Senate. 

Earlier in the morning, Smith said on CNN's "New Day" that it is "time to send the impeachment articles to the Senate and let [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' Trump says impeachment trial should move 'very quickly' MORE (R-Ky.)] be responsible for the fairness of the trial."

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Just hours later, Smith tweeted that he "misspoke" and that he would "wholeheartedly support" Pelosi if she feels continuing to withhold the articles would "help force a fair trial in the Senate."

"I am concerned that Senator McConnell won’t have a fair trial and I am with the Speaker that we should do everything we can to ensure he does," he added in a separate tweet. "Ultimately, I do want the articles sent to the Senate for the very simple reason that I want the impeachment process to go forward."

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The reversal comes as Pelosi faces increasing pressure to transfer the House-passed articles to the upper chamber for a trial. Pelosi has so far refused in an attempt to gain more details about what the proceedings would look like. 

The House in December voted to impeach Trump, making him just the third president in U.S. history to face removal. The lower chamber voted on articles alleging Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress. 

Pelosi has said that Democratic leadership needs to "see what the process is on the Senate side" before it turns over the impeachment articles. In a "Dear Colleague" letter earlier this week, she warned that she would not turn over the articles until McConnell released a resolution detailing the rules of the trial. 

The move frustrated McConnell, who said Wednesday that he would not "haggle" with Democrats over the articles. 

"I've made clear from the beginning that no such leverage exists. It's nonexistent, and yesterday we made clear it will never exist. ... There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

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Multiple Democratic senators, including Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate opens Trump impeachment trial Democrats ask if US citizens were detained at border checkpoints due to Iranian national origin Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (D-Calif.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim US citizen dies in Egyptian prison after hunger strike President Trump's strike of choice MORE (D-Conn.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer Poll: West Virginia voters would view Manchin negatively if he votes to convict Trump Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (D-W.Va.) have said that it is time for Pelosi to send the articles to McConnell. 

“I think it needs to start. I really do,” Manchin said. “Let us do what we have to do over here.”

—Updated at 10:48 a.m.