WASHINGTON, DC — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), during her weekly press conference Thursday, said she is not holding back the two articles of impeachment approved against Donald Trump last month “indefinitely.”
A reporter asked the Speaker,” Are you holding the articles indefinitely?”
“No. I’m not holding them indefinitely. I’ll send them over when I’m ready. That will probably be soon,” she replied.
By refusing to hand over the articles, approved on December 18, almost exclusively along party lines, with three Democrats voting against, Pelosi has halted the impeachment process.
Pelosi and the House leaders pursuing the impeachment inquiry, primarily House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the chief inquisitor, repeatedly argued that the impeachment of Trump was a matter of vital national interest.
The Democrat Speaker, however, now sits on the articles, preventing the process that began at the end of September from moving forward.
Some Senate Democrats are calling on Pelosi to allow the impeachment proceedings to move on and to hand over the articles.
Hours after following in the footsteps of his Democrat colleagues in the Senate, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) walked back his comments, writing on Twitter that he “misspoke.”
Republicans have described demands that House Democrats say must be met before allowing the Republican-controlled Senate to proceed with impeachment as a ploy to dictate how the GOP should conduct the trial of President Donald Trump.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed on Wednesday from the House floor:
There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision.
Pelosi has no leverage in the Senate, he added.
Referring to holding on to the articles of impeachment during the press conference Thursday, Pelosi declared:
I hear different things [about the looming Senate impeachment trial], I hear that they might want to … dismiss [the charges against Triump]. Dismiss equals cover-up. Dismiss equals admission that you’re afraid of the facts, the truth, the witnesses, and the documentation. … We would’ve hoped that there would’ve been a bipartisan resolution determining how to proceed.
At some point, we would hope that we would see from them what the terms of engagement will be. We are ready.
Pelosi appeared to be saying she will not send the articles to the Senate until an outcome of the impeachment trial that she approves is somewhat guaranteed. The Democrat majority dismissed demands by the Republican minority similar to the ones they are making to the Senate now when the House was in charge of the process, to no avail.
Three Democrats joined all Republicans in voting against impeaching Trump, with one voting only for the first article, rendering impeachment a purely partisan process.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is demanding depositions of more witnesses and the introduction of new evidence before the trial in the Senate.
Consistent with the situation in the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has managed to keep his caucus together amid the impeachment process.
On Tuesday, McConnell announced that all Republicans support an impeachment procedure that would allow the chamber to move forward with a trial framework while ignoring Democrat requests.
McConnell acknowledged, however, that they will still need to receive the articles from Pelosi before beginning the trial.
In a letter to her caucus sent Tuesday evening, Pelosi demanded that McConnell “immediately” publish the resolution outlining the rules for the Senate impeachment trial before she sends the articles to the Senate, CNN reported.
“It is important that he immediately publish this resolution, so that, as I have said before, we can see the arena in which we will be participating, appoint managers and transmit the articles to the Senate,” the speaker wrote.