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Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday that she expects to send the articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments 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 NadlerHouse to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month A historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court 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 McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' 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 HawleyCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? 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 ManchinJoe ManchinManchin touts rating as 'most bipartisan senator' Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' It's Joe Manchin vs the progressives on infrastructure MORE (W.Va.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterAmericans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform 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 FeinsteinSenate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Lawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' Senate Democrats call on Biden to restore oversight of semiautomatic and sniper rifle exports 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 SmithInfrastructure should include the right investment in people Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill F-35 cockpit upgrade has 4 million cost overrun 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 BoltonRepublicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process Trump pushes back on Bolton poll Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions 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 BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE and his son, among others.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHow to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan MORE (D-N.Y.) has also been calling for testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' 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 SchiffTrump backs Stefanik to replace Cheney Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama Senate Intel vows to 'get to the bottom' of 'Havana syndrome' attacks MORE (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month A historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court 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 WarrenHillicon Valley: Broadband companies funded fake net neutrality comments, investigation finds | Twitter rolls out tip feature | Google to adopt 'hybrid work week' Warren: Trump is 'a danger to democracy' Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden campaign promises will struggle if Republicans win back Congress Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers MORE (I-Vt.), Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? Republicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court MORE (D-Minn.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats vow to push for permanent child tax credit expansion Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE (D-Colo.) and Cory BookerCory BookerBush testifies before Congress about racist treatment Black birthing people face during childbirth, pregnancy Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Never underestimate Joe Biden 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.