McCarthy suggests Pelosi delayed impeachment trial to kneecap Sanders

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level McCarthy laments distractions from far-right members Ruth Bader Ginsburg Women of Leadership Award given to Queen Elizabeth MORE (R-Calif.) on Tuesday suggested that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) has been withholding the articles of impeachment to prevent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE (I-Vt.) and other White House hopefuls in the Senate from campaigning during the upcoming trial.

McCarthy, speaking at a press conference in the Capitol, alleged that there were questions among Democratic leaders "about why she held them."

“If there's anyone who gained from this, it would be anybody who's running for president that's not in the U.S. Senate,” McCarthy said.

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Pelosi has consistently said since mid-December that she wanted more clarity on the how the GOP-controlled Senate would conduct President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE's impeachment trial before sending over the two articles.

The trial is expected to start next week and may last several weeks, possibly bumping up against the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary the following week.

McCarthy went on to say that Sanders “actually has a chance to win [the Democratic presidential nomination] but not now that Nancy Pelosi has held these documents."

Sanders has been climbing in nationwide polls, where former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE is the front-runner, and leads in some surveys of early voting states.

McCarthy said "if you look at the true political nature" of Pelosi's decision to withhold the two articles of impeachment, it was "to harm one campaign and give a benefit to another."

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Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, tweeted a response to McCarthy's remarks.

"Impeachment has nothing to do with politics or the presidential race. As usual, the Minority Leader has no idea what he’s talking about," Hammill wrote.

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McCarthy also called on Biden to pause his campaign during the impeachment trial that Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBiden should seek some ideological diversity House passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHickenlooper: Law preventing cannabis business banking 'a recipe for disaster' Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall Sununu exit underscores uncertain GOP path to gain Senate majority MORE (Colo.) will also be expected to attend instead of campaigning.

"The only rightful thing of Joe Biden is to make a pledge not to campaign while Bernie Sanders cannot,” McCarthy said Tuesday.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesMcCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP Pelosi: Democrats can't allow 'indecent' Boebert comments to stand With Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps MORE (D-N.Y.), a member of Democratic leadership, rejected McCarthy’s comments.

“We will not take campaign advice from Kevin McCarthy,” Jeffries said at a press conference shortly after McCarthy's remarks.

The House is expected to vote on a resolution to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday.

Updated at 12:55 p.m.