Pelosi caves, sends letter to Dems on ‘next steps’ for impeachment, will ‘transmit articles’ to Senate

(Image: NBC News screenshot)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the standoff is over and she will be transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week.

After a delay since last month in what appeared to be a political ploy to manipulate Republicans, the California Democrat finally announced Friday that steps will be underway to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats Friday after resisting calls for action since December.

Republicans had criticized Pelosi’s refusal to deliver the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate where an impeachment trial could begin, pointing to the hypocrisy of how the process was pushed through as so critical in the last few weeks but then sat as the speaker refused to move ahead until a fair trial was guaranteed.

“You will keep asking me the same question. I will keep giving you the same answer,” Pelosi told reporters during her weekly press conference on Thursday morning. “As I said right from the start, we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?”

Ahead of Friday’s announcement of her letter, Trump had tweeted that Pelosi would “go down as perhaps the least successful Speaker in U.S. History!”

“I am very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi wrote in her letter, again urging the Senate to conduct a “fair trial” with witnesses and documents.

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or to the Constitution,” she wrote. “No one is above the law, not even the President.”

Despite her push for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to divulge the terms for the trial, the Kentucky Republican would not give an inch, accusing Pelosi Thursday of playing “irresponsible games.”

On Thursday he informed Republicans that a Senate trial would begin next week with, or without, the articles of impeachment Pelosi has been sitting on.

The Democrat leader began to see the cracks in her own caucus as pressure mounted from Democratic lawmakers, even as she told reporters Friday that she had “absolutely total cooperation” in her decision to withhold the articles, according to Politico.

“We have 1,000 flowers blossoming beautifully in our caucus,” she said while other Democrats appeared to disagree.

Rep. Adam Smith of Washington broke ranks with many of his colleagues and publicly said that “it is time” for Pelosi to send the articles. He quickly walked back his remarks to CNN, tweeting that he “misspoke.”

“I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial. If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision,” the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee tweeted.

“The longer it goes on, the less urgent it becomes,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California told Politico. “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”

“I respect the fact that she is concerned about the fact about whether or not there will be a fair trial,” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said this week. “But I do think it is time to get on with it.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham had introduced a resolution on Thursday condemning Pelosi for not transmitting the articles of impeachment in December, following the House vote to impeach Trump on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

“It is our job as Senators to dispose of the articles that were lawfully passed. The Speaker’s attempt to shape or delay the trial is unprecedented. It cannot stand,” Graham said in a statement. “What the Speaker has been doing is inconsistent with the Constitution and unfair to the President and the American people.”

It now remains to be seen if Pelosi’s political gamble has caused Democrats, especially those seeking reelection, any lasting damage.


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