WASHINGTON >> Speaker Nancy Pelosi today once again rebuffed growing calls to send the House’s articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial and refused to provide a timetable for doing so, saying only that after weeks of delay, she would probably move “soon.”
Pelosi reiterated a call for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and the majority leader, to detail the rules for a Senate trial so she could choose a team of lawmakers to prosecute the House’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress case.
“I keep giving you the same answer,” the speaker said at her weekly news conference. “As I said right from the start, we need to see that the arena in which we’re sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?”
The Democratic-led House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the days before Christmas. But the speaker elected not to immediately send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, in a bid to pressure the Republican-led chamber into allowing additional witnesses and documents Trump blocked during the House’s three-month inquiry.
Without them, Democrats have argued, the trial will be fundamentally tainted and effectively continue a cover-up they said Trump has directed from the start.
But McConnell said this week he had secured the votes necessary to begin a trial on his own terms, without an agreement on hearing from witnesses or admitting new evidence. McConnell has said he will work in concert with Trump’s legal team to bring about a speedy acquittal in the Senate.
On Twitter, Trump accused Pelosi of balking because she had no case against him, saying the articles “show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!”
Pelosi, though, is under mounting pressure to deliver the charges. Some Democrats in the House and Senate have begun to voice impatience with the delay.
Earlier today, a senior Democrat from Washington became the first House chairman to publicly urge the speaker to move on.
“I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial,” Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, who leads the House Armed Services Committee, said on CNN.
But Smith soon walked backed the comments in a message on Twitter.