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Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday that she expects to send the articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE over to the Senate next week, breaking the standoff that had delayed the trial over his dealings with Ukraine.

The move, which came amid increasing pressure on the Speaker to drop her hold on the articles, means Democrats will move forward in appointing impeachment managers who will make their case that Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors in Phase Two of the trial, which will weigh whether the president should be removed from office. 

"I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win MORE [D-N.Y.] to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats.

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"I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further," she added.

The Senate trial could begin as early as Wednesday, according to Pelosi’s timeline.

The announcement comes more than three weeks after the House passed two articles of impeachment, largely along party lines, alleging that Trump abused his power while pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents and obstructed Congress in Democrats’ inquiry.

Shortly after Trump became the third U.S. president in history to be impeached, Pelosi said she planned to withhold the impeachment articles until she was sure Trump would receive a fair trial, a condition she said included the ability for senators to call in witnesses.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAs Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE (R-Ky.) held firm in his stance that any decisions on witnesses should come after the Senate trial begins, in what he described as the same standard for former President Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.

McConnell deflated much of Pelosi’s leverage earlier this week when he announced that he had enough votes within his GOP conference to vote to begin the trial without acceding to Democrats’ demands to commit to witness testimony first.

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“A majority of this body has said definitively that we are not ceding our constitutional authority to the partisan designs of the Speaker. We will not let the House extend its precedent-breaking spree over here to our chamber,” he said on the Senate floor on Thursday.

McConnell also on Thursday signed onto a resolution from Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Rush Limbaugh lauds Hawley: 'This guy is the real deal' MORE (R-Mo.) that would change Senate rules and allow GOP senators to dismiss articles of impeachment before the House sends them over.

“Leader McConnell’s tactics are a clear indication of the fear that he and President Trump have regarding the facts of the President’s violations for which he was impeached,” Pelosi wrote in Friday’s letter.

The Speaker also faced calls among Democrats for her to end the deadlock, particularly in the Senate, and pass the two articles to the upper chamber.

Several Senate Democrats, including vulnerable Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (W.Va.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Senate Democrats press VA for vaccine distribution plan President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE (Mont.), said earlier this week that it was time for Pelosi to send over the articles.

One of Pelosi’s home-state senators, Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Calif.), also said this week that “the longer it goes on, the less the urgency becomes.”

And on Thursday morning, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithThe pandemic and a 'rainy day fund' for American charity House Democrat accuses Air Force of attempting to influence Georgia runoff races US national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration MORE (D-Wash.) said on CNN that he believed it is “time to send the impeachment articles to the Senate.”

But in a sign of the power Pelosi wields over Democrats, Feinstein and Smith later reversed themselves and said that they deferred to the Speaker on how to proceed.

Still, just moments before the announcement, Pelosi dismissed reports of Democratic divisions over her impeachment strategy, characterizing them as false narratives manufactured by an obsessed media. She has, she said, "absolutely total cooperation" from within her caucus.

"It cracks me up to see on TV, 'Oh, pressure. Where's the pressure?'" she said. "I have news for them: You don't have a story." 

And Pelosi did reap some new revelations while postponing the delivery of the articles, which she highlighted in her letter.

Former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE publicly announced Monday that he would be willing to testify if the GOP-controlled Senate subpoenaed him for testimony about what he witnessed.

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His statement immediately sparked a renewed wave among Democrats — as well as some Republicans — saying they want to hear from the former senior official, particularly since Bolton is believed to have key insights on whether Trump withheld a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid in order to pressure Kyiv to open politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE and his son, among others.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) has also been calling for testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE; Robert Blair, an adviser to Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget.

Pelosi and Schumer have pointed to a report from Just Security last week showing emails between Duffey and the Pentagon discussing the direction from Trump to hold the military aid to Ukraine, with one official questioning the legality of the delay.

But McConnell remained unswayed by the pressure, as Democrats called for the new witnesses and revelations to be examined in the Senate.  

The episode between the two political powerhouses has also further revealed that both the House and Senate leaders had waded into uncharted waters as it relates to impeachment under the Constitution, with both sides seeking to use the ambiguity of the law to their strategic advantage.

But the delay also foreshadowed what to expect in the coming weeks: Democrats attacking the Senate for holding an unfair trial, particularly McConnell for saying he would be in “total coordination” with the White House on every step. 

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Republicans allies of the president, meanwhile, will continue to blast the impeachment as a partisan sham designed to hurt Trump in an election year. 

But some factors remain unclear as next week comes into focus.

Pelosi has not yet indicated which House lawmakers will serve as impeachment managers, who essentially act as prosecutors in a Senate trial.

But some of the names floated in recent weeks include top lawmakers involved in the impeachment inquiry, such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Trump pardons Michael Flynn MORE (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win MORE (D-N.Y.), and other members of their respective committees. 

The expected timeline also means that a Senate impeachment trial is unlikely to conflict with the scheduled Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night and force any candidates to remain in the Senate.

The five senators who are running for the Democratic presidential nomination — Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Disney laying off 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters theme parks Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Hickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Lobbying world MORE (D-Colo.) and Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE (D-N.J.) — will have to sideline any expected time on the campaign trail ahead of the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 once the impeachment trial begins.

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The Senate will move swiftly to the trial once Pelosi sends over the articles. An impeachment trial will trigger a grueling Senate schedule, with the chamber in session six days a week starting at 1 p.m., excluding Sundays.

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi wrote.

—Updated at 1:02 p.m. Mike Lillis contributed.