McConnell: Senate Won’t Act Until Pelosi Musters Courage to Send Articles of Impeachment

Mitch McConnell
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Friday said that the Senate will continue to conduct “ordinary business” until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) musters the courage to send the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber.

McConnell spoke on the Senate floor on Friday, berating Democrats for rushing through a “slapdash investigation” and warning that a trial cannot be held until House Democrats turn over the articles. The majority leader said the Senate will “continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder.”

“Their turn is over. They have done enough damage,” McConnell said of House Democrats. “It’s the Senate’s turn now — to render sober judgment as the framers envisioned.”

“But we can’t hold a trial without the articles. The Senate’s own rules don’t provide for that. So, for now, we are content to continue the ordinary business of the Senate while House Democrats continue to flounder,” he warned. “For now.”

McConnell warned, however, that — in the event that they “muster the courage to stand behind their slapdash work product and transmit their articles to the Senate” — the Senate will “fulfill our founding purpose.”

The majority leader also mocked Pelosi, using her own words against her.

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path,” McConnell said, quoting Pelosi, who made the remarks last spring.

“There must never be a narrowly-voted impeachment, or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy,” he continued, quoting the remarks made Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in 1998.

“But ultimately House Democrats cared more about attacking President Trump than keeping their promises. So they rushed through a slapdash investigation,” he continued.

“They decided not to bother with the standard legal processes for pursuing witnesses and evidence,” he said.

McConnell added that Democrats have “let ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ develop into the kind of dangerous partisan fever that our founding fathers were afraid of”:

He continued:

And then, just before the holidays, this sad spectacle took another unusual turn: As soon as the partisan impeachment votes had finished, the prosecutors began to develop cold feet. Instead of sending the articles to the Senate, they flinched.

‘That’s right: The same people who’d just spent weeks screaming that impeachment was so serious and so urgent that it could not even wait for due process now decided it could wait indefinitely while they checked the political winds and looked for new talking points.

‘This is yet another situation where House Democrats have blown right past the specific warnings of our founding fathers. Alexander Hamilton specifically warned about the dangers of a “procrastinated determination of the charges” in an impeachment. He explained it would not be fair to the accused and it would be dangerous for the country.

‘But Speaker Pelosi does not care. Her conference is behaving exactly like the, quote, “intemperate or designing majority in the House of Representatives” that Hamilton warned might abuse the impeachment power.

Pelosi has yet to signal when she will send the articles to the Senate.

A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released Friday shows that the majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the speaker should send the articles over to the Senate.

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