House

Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined on Friday to reveal when the House will send its resolution of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, leaving the country — and her caucus — guessing on the timing of the trial in the upper chamber.

Pelosi said the nine impeachment managers she tapped to lead the Democrats’ case against Trump “are now working on taking this to trial.”

“And … you’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there,” she told reporters in the Capitol.

The comments arrive amid a disagreement within the Democratic caucus over the best strategy for sending the impeachment article to the Senate.

Many Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), want to send it immediately, suggesting that any delay would undermine a central tenet of their argument for impeaching Trump to begin with: that he’s a danger to the country and should be removed as soon as possible.

“My expectation is we will send it as quickly as it’s ready to go,” Hoyer said Wednesday.

Yet others, such a Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), have advocated for holding the article on the House side for enough time to allow President-elect Joe Biden to seat key personnel when he takes office on Wednesday. That process of filling out his Cabinet and national security team requires confirmation from the Senate, and it would almost certainly be bogged down by an impeachment trial.

Pelosi has a few days of wiggle room to make her decision. The Senate, which is currently on recess, cannot accept the article until it is back in session, currently scheduled for Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls this week for the upper chamber to return to Washington early, saying “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial” could be accomplished before Biden is sworn in.

The Democrats’ break-neck effort to impeach Trump came just one week after he urged thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol to block the vote to formalize Biden’s election victory.

Hundreds of those protesters charged into the building, storming into the Senate chamber — and attempting to access the House floor — while terrified lawmakers, staffers and journalists scrambled for cover. At least five people died during the melee, including a Capitol Police officer and a protestor who was shot by another officer.

The Democrats’ impeachment article charged Trump with inciting violence against the U.S. government through his actions surrounding the attack, including his refusal to call off the violent protestors immediately, despite pleas from his Republican allies.

In the wake of the riot, a number of House committees have launched investigations into the dearth of security that allowed the breach in the first place. A number of Democrats are also calling for probes into allegations that some Republican members of Congress had assisted the rioters in the attack, including suggestions that some lawmakers had given tours to mob members the day before.

Pelosi on Friday said those allegations are being looked into and suggested there would be criminal charges brought against any lawmakers found to have helped facilitate the assault.

“If, in fact, it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to this insurrection — if they aided and abetted the crime — there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress, in terms of prosecution,” she said.

Tags Biden inauguration Capitol breach Capitol Riots Donald Trump Efforts to impeach Donald Trump Impeachment Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steny Hoyer Trump impeachment

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