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Democratic senators growing impatient with Pelosi on impeachment

Democratic senators are growing impatient over the delayed start of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE’s impeachment trial and some say it’s time for Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVoters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Democratic lawmakers in the upper chamber say Pelosi has achieved her goal of putting a spotlight on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFeinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Voters want a strong economy and leadership, Democrats should listen On The Money: Biden to nominate Yellen for Treasury secretary | 'COVID cliff' looms | Democrats face pressure to back smaller stimulus MORE’s (R-Ky.) opposition to witness testimony and they’re ready to start hearing House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team make their arguments.

“Time plays an unknown role in all of this, and the longer it goes on, the less the urgency becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, it should come over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over,” said Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDurbin seeks to become top-ranking Democrat on Judiciary panel Feinstein to step down as top Democrat on Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE (Calif.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

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Asked if colleagues are starting to get impatient, Feinstein said, “If it’s going to happen, yes,” referring to the likelihood of a trial actually taking place.

“I’m not a big fan of impeachment but I think there’s enough to take a good look, and we should,” she said.

Feinstein said she doesn’t have “any sense” when the trial may start and neither do her colleagues.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterPresident is wild card as shutdown fears grow Repealing the Affordable Care Act: Too big a price to pay for veterans Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE (D-Mont.) said he’s ready to get the trial started.

“As far as I’m concerned, she can send them over at any time. I’m fine with that,” he said.

Tester said it’s “unfortunate” that Republicans have not agreed ahead of the trial to call key witnesses such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit King of Jordan becomes first Arab leader to speak with President-elect Biden Central Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention MORE and acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney 'concerned' by Giuliani role in Trump election case On The Money: Senate releases spending bills, setting up talks for December deal | McConnell pushing for 'highly targeted' COVID deal | CFPB vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency Consumer bureau vet who battled Trump will lead Biden plans to overhaul agency MORE.

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But he’s ready to get going.

“I’m ready to study it,” he said.

Other Democrats have also weighed in.

“I think it needs to start. I really do,” said Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinVoters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (D-W.Va.). “Let us do what we have to do over here.”

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Biden decides on pick for secretary of State Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (D-Conn.) told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the time has come for Pelosi to act.

“I think the time has passed. She should send the articles over,” he said.

A growing number of Senate Democrats think it doesn’t make much sense for Pelosi to keep holding on to the articles of impeachment because McConnell has already announced he has enough votes to pass an organizing resolution that would set up phase one of the trial without witnesses.

Democratic senators say Pelosi has successfully put a spotlight on McConnell’s opposition to requiring key witnesses and documents, which they say is essential to holding a fair trial.

“I think she’s achieved her goals of both making sure Mitch McConnell just couldn’t move to dismiss [the articles of impeachment] right before Christmas and also to flush out what McConnell’s posture will be,” said another Democratic senator who requested anonymity to discuss party strategy.

The senator said it’s not clear why Pelosi is continuing to hold onto the articles. 

“We’re ready to receive them,” the lawmaker said, speculating that Pelosi hasn’t yet initiated the Senate trial because she is still choosing the team of House prosecutors.

“She has to make decisions about House managers. She just can’t send them over and have selected them,” the source said. 

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Once Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment, the Senate trial will begin immediately.

The Senate’s impeachment rules require it to convene at 1 p.m. the day after the presentation of the articles by the House managers and senators will be required to continue in session six days a week — except for Sunday — until the final judgment is reached.

Before proceeding to the articles of impeachment, Chief Justice John Roberts, the presiding officer, will administer the oath of office to all senators.

The Senate’s rules require that the president be immediately notified with a writ of summons that shall ask his defense team to appear before the chamber at a day fixed by the Senate to file its answer to the articles of impeachment.