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McCarthy suggests Pelosi delayed impeachment trial to kneecap Sanders

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyTrump to attend private RNC donor retreat Former RNC chair to Republicans looking for new Trump party: 'There's the door' Lawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission MORE (R-Calif.) on Tuesday suggested that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Curator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line MORE (D-Calif.) has been withholding the articles of impeachment to prevent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders has right goal, wrong target in fight to help low-wage workers Democrats in standoff over minimum wage Sanders votes against Biden USDA nominee Vilsack 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 TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident 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 BidenHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears 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 WarrenYellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFive big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings Top cops deflect blame over Capitol attack Ex-Capitol Police chief did not get FBI report warning of violence on Jan. 6 MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDemocrats plan crackdown on rising drug costs Overnight Health Care: Biden officials announce funding to track virus variants | Senate Dems unveil public option proposal | White House: Teacher vaccinations not required for schools to reopen Senate Democrats unveil health care proposal with public option 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 JeffriesPelosi, lawmakers denounce violence against Asian Americans House Democrat says adopting GOP relief proposal would be 'unconditional surrender' House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories 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.