House Democrats' drama on delivering Trump's impeachment articles
Some House Democrats are pushing to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate — a potentially powerful weapon that could delay President Trump's trial.
Why it matters: It's leverage to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to agree to provisions, such as witnesses, that Senate Democrats want and McConnell initially rejected.
- More controversially, it could be a mechanism to keep an open impeachment — with no acquittal — hanging over Trump.
There are risks, including a backlash by undecided voters in swing states.
- But some Democrats argue that once acquitted, he could be even more unleashed.
After last night's votes, reporters sprinted from the floor to the Rayburn Room for a press conference where Speaker Pelosi did not commit to a timeline.
- Pelosi said she was waiting until the Senate determines what the trial rules will be so she can get a sense of "the arena."
- "We’re not sending them tonight," Pelosi said.
- She said it would be difficult for the House to name impeachment managers until it's clear how the Senate intends to conduct the trial.
- But she cited McConnell's comment that he's "not an impartial juror" as an example of what she doesn't consider a "fair trial."
The big picture: The trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump is expected to be acquitted (as President Clinton was after his impeachment), is expected to begin in January, and could be as short as two weeks.
What's next: McConnell tweeted that at 9:30 a.m. today, he'll speak on the Senate floor "about House Democrats' precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States" — a sly hint that the wily McConnell may be considering breaking precedent himself.
- Pelosi will be holding her own weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m.