McCarthy suggests Pelosi delayed impeachment trial to kneecap Sanders

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Mark Mellman: A failure of GOP leadership MORE (R-Calif.) on Tuesday suggested that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Social Security emerges as flash point in Biden-Sanders fight | Dems urge Supreme Court to save consumer agency | Trump to sign USMCA next week Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-Calif.) has been withholding the articles of impeachment to prevent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Human Rights Campaign president rips Sanders's embrace of Rogan endorsement 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 John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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 BidenSchiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Conservative reporter on Sanders: He's not a 'yes man' Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment 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 Ann WarrenKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Warren pledges to release Trump records if elected MORE (Mass.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar plans campaign rallies across Iowa despite impeachment trial Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa MORE (Minn.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetImpeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators Sanders says it's 'disappointing' he's not on campaign trail in Iowa CNN to host two straight nights of Democratic town halls before NH primary 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 JeffriesHakeem Jeffries tells Senate in impeachment proceedings they should subpoena Baseball Hall of Fame after Jeter vote Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump Female impeachment managers say American public know a 'rigged' trial when they see one 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.