Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has joined forces with 12 other Republicans to co-sponsor a resolution introduced Monday by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to dismiss the articles of impeachment approved by House Democrats last month.
A press release issued by Hawley’s office Thursday revealed that the Senate majority leader has signed on to the resolution “to allow for the dismissal of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for failure to prosecute,” adding:
The Hawley rule has gained momentum since its introduction on Monday. Leader McConnell joins 12 other co-sponsors including Senators Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
In a move described as unprecedented by Republican lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is holding hostage the two articles impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — approved nearly exclusively along party lines on December 18. No Republican voted in favor of the articles.
Hawley’s resolution states:
If, following adoption of such articles, the House of Representatives does not so notify the Senate or otherwise provide for such articles to be exhibited to the Senate within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of such articles, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, such articles shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate and it shall be in order for any Senator to offer a motion to dismiss such articles with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles. Such motion shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Senators, duly chosen and sworn, without debate by the yeas and nays, which shall be entered on the record.
Asked how long she is planning to hold onto the articles of impeachment during her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi proclaimed, “I’m not holding them indefinitely. I’ll send them over when I’m ready. That will probably be soon.”
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.
By refusing to hand over the articles, the Speaker has halted the impeachment process that she, along with other House leaders, repeatedly argue was a matter of urgent national interest.
Some Senate Democrats are urging Pelosi to hand over the articles of impeachment.
Hours after telling Pelosi it was time to hand over the papers, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) walked back his comments, writing on Twitter that he “misspoke.”
Republicans have accused of Pelosi of trying to dictate how the GOP should conduct the trial of President Donald Trump in the Republican-controlled Senate.
On Tuesday, McConnell announced that all Senate Republicans support an impeachment procedure that would allow the chamber to move forward with a trial framework that would ignore Democrat requests.
The Senate majority leader did acknowledger that they will still need to receive the articles from Pelosi before beginning the trial.
In a December 8 letter to her caucus, 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.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding more depositions and the introduction of additional evidence.
Until this impeachment, the House had handed over the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial soon after lawmakers voted to impeach.
Pelosi has thrown a wrench into that historical process. Last month, Trump became the third president to be impeached.