House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday evening wouldn’t commit to delivering two approved articles of impeachment to the Senate amid Democrat worries that Senate Republicans will move swiftly to acquit President Donald Trump.
“We’ll make that decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along,” Pelosi told reporters following the partisan impeachment vote.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” she added.
The speaker’s comments echoed concerns raised by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who said earlier Wednesday that he’s heard chatter about keeping the impeachment articles in the House until the upper chamber agrees to a so-called fair trial.
“People have read that article, discussed it. People have come up to me, discussed it,” Hoyer said, per Politico. “We will talk about it in some point in time. It’s within the speaker’s purview, obviously, she’ll make that decision. And I also think she’ll do it in discussions with McConnell and [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer.”
Democrats have lamented at McConnell’s rejection of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) request to call four current and former White House officials as part of a Senate trial, accusing him of being an “impartial juror.” Democrats have also voiced concern about McConnell’s pledge to conduct the trial expeditiously.
“They were lecturing me about not being able to take an oath for impartiality? Do you think these presidential candidates are impartial? This is a political exercise,” the senator told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “The words in the Constitution, high crimes and misdemeanors, are misleading in the sense that the founders were having a hard time describing what kind of offense would warrant impeachment.”
“It shouldn’t take that long,” he added. “But just one thing that may make senators impatient to get it over with is under the, in an impeachment trial, they can’t speak. They have to sit there quietly and listen. This’ll be good therapy for a number of them.”
After some eight hours of debate, the House voted mostly along party lines on the two articles of impeachment charging Trump with having abused the powers of the presidency and having obstructed Congress.
“Dec. 18, a great day for the Constitution of the United States, a sad one for America that the president’s recluse activities necessitated our having to introduce articles of impeachment,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference after the vote.
On Article I charging Trump with abuse of powers, all but two Democrats voted in agreement with presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting present.
On Article II concerning obstruction of Congress, every Democrat but two voted in agreement.
The White House derided the vote in a statement as “one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our Nation.”
“Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the President through the House of Representatives,” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “Democrats have chosen to proceed on this partisan basis in spite of the fact that the president did nothing wrong.”
The UPI contributed to this report.