It has now been five days since House Democrats voted to impeach President Donald Trump, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to transfer the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial and removal.
Before the vote, George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley warned his fellow Democrats in his expert testimony before the House Judiciary Committee that they were in danger of carrying out “the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.”
But Democrats ignored his warnings, arguing that they had to impeach and remove Trump urgently to deter him from inviting foreign powers to intervene in the forthcoming 2020 presidential election. For example, they said:
- “Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts.” – House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Dec. 3, 2019, impeachment report
- “We agree that when the elections themselves are threatened by enemies foreign or domestic, we cannot wait until the next election to address the threat.” – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Dec. 9, 2019, opening statement at committee hearing on House Intelligence Committee impeachment report
- “The threat is urgent. If we do not act — now — what happens next will be our responsibility as well as his.” – Rep. Nadler, opening statement at House Judiciary Committee debate on articles of impeachment, Dec. 11, 2019
- “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.” – Speaker Pelosi, address at opening of House of Representatives debate on impeachment, Dec. 18, 2019
The House passed two articles of impeachment on Dec. 18, but Pelosi has refused to transmit them to the Senate since then, arguing that she awaits arrangements guaranteeing a “fair trial” in the upper chamber.
The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.
President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2019
Other Democrats have applauded her for slowing down the prices, arguing that it is making Republicans “crazy”:
Why Pelosi holding the Articles a bit is a good idea:
1) She can send them over whenever she wants.
2) It’s driving Trump and the Republicans crazy.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 21, 2019
It is not clear what, constitutional authority she has to withhold the articles; the Constitution provides (Article I, Section 3) that the Senate has sole power over trials of impeachments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has mocked Pelosi’s idea of using the articles as leverage, criticizing the impeachment and noting that Republicans are not interested in removing the president from office anyway.
He has suggested that the Senate will move to dismiss the impeachment on constitutional grounds.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.