Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatens to delay Trump’s Senate impeachment trial
(P0litico) WASHINGTON — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to commit Wednesday to delivering articles of impeachment to the Senate, citing concerns about an unfair trial on removing President Donald Trump from office.
Senior Democratic aides said the House was “very unlikely” to take the steps necessary to send the articles to the Senate until at least early January, a delay of at least two weeks and perhaps longer.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters at a news conference just moments after the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstructing congressional investigations. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.”
Pelosi’s comments, which echo suggestions raised by other Democrats throughout the day, inject new uncertainty into the impeachment timetable and send the House and Senate lurching toward a potential institutional crisis.
Though the House adopted two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations, it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate.
(Business Insider) Democrats have criticized comments by McConnell in a recent Fox News interview, in which he said he was not impartial and was working closely with the White House to set the terms of the trial.
"Everything I do during this, I'm coordinating with the White House counsel," he said. "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can."
…"This is what I don't consider a fair trial," she (Nancy Pelosi) said. "That Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he's working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."
McConnell, when asked about a delay, shrugged it off.
"I'm in no hurry," he said, according to David Drucker of the Washington Examiner.
(The Week) "We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side," Pelosi said. "So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we'll send our managers." She added that she and her lieutenants aren't having "that discussion" about indefinitely withholding the articles of impeachment, denying Trump his trial and presumptive acquittal, but "we're not sending it tonight because it's difficult to determine who the managers would be until we see the arena in which we will be participating."
Pelosi has no time constraints to pick the managers under the House impeachment rules adopted Wednesday, and the House is expected to go on recess as soon as Thursday, with no plans to return until Jan. 7.
The idea of keeping the articles of impeachment as leverage to shape the Senate trial, or even collect new evidence, gained traction after constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe advocated for the strategy in a Washington Post op-ed, arguing "the public has a right to observe a meaningful trial rather than simply learn that the result is a verdict of not guilty." And House Democrats began pressing Pelosi to consider the move as McConnell confirmed he's coordinating trial strategy with the White House and signaled he plans to conduct a swift trial and get a swift acquittal.
(Washington Post – Lawrence Tribe) For some time now, I have been emphasizing the duty to impeach this president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regardless of what the Senate might end up doing. Now that President Trump’s impeachment is inevitable (written before the impeachment vote), and now that failing to formally impeach him would invite foreign intervention in the 2020 election and set a dangerous precedent, another option seems vital to consider: voting for articles of impeachment but holding off for the time being on transmitting them to the Senate.
This option needs to be taken seriously now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced his intention to conduct not a real trial but a whitewash, letting the president and his legal team call the shots.
Such an approach could have both tactical and substantive benefits. As a tactical matter, it could strengthen Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) hand in bargaining over trial rules with McConnell because of McConnell’s and Trump’s urgent desire to get this whole business behind them. On a substantive level, it would be justified to withhold going forward with a Senate trial. Under the current circumstances, such a proceeding would fail to render a meaningful verdict of acquittal. It would also fail to inform the public, which has the right to know the truth about the conduct of its president.