Dec 19, 2019

House Democrats' drama on delivering Trump's impeachment articles

Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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.

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Pelosi confirms House will vote to send impeachment articles on Wednesday

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the House will vote Wednesday on a resolution that would name impeachment managers and transmit the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate.

Why it matters: The vote would end Pelosi's pressure campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow additional documents and witnesses in the Senate's impeachment trial. McConnell said at a press conference that the trial will likely begin next Tuesday, with "housekeeping" measures like the swearing-in of senators taking place this week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 14, 2020

Pelosi downplays delaying delivery of impeachment articles to Senate

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she plans to name House managers for President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate after that chamber's leaders set the parameters for what the trial will look like, suggesting that the newly passed articles of impeachment will be transmitted to the Senate soon after.

Why it matters: Some House Democrats floated delaying the delivery of the articles in an effort to buy more time and potentially more favorable terms for the Senate trial. However, Pelosi signaled that she doesn't plan for there to be a long standoff with the Senate.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Trump impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump is now the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The big picture: The legislative ending seems clear — he's headed for acquittal in the Senate as early as next month and won't be removed from office. But this seals his place in history.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 19, 2019