‘Pelosi caved’: After 3-week delay seeking leverage, Democrats to finally send impeachment to Senate

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that articles of impeachment will be transmitted to the Senate next week, after Republican leadership rejected her conditions and moved to dismiss the charges unless they were sent over.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Pelosi (D-California) wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Friday.

“Pelosi caves,” declared Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), who authored the motion to change the Senate rules so the charges could be dismissed if the House continued to withhold them.

Having rushed to impeach Trump on December 18, arguing he posed a “clear and present danger” to US national security and the very fabric of democracy, Democrats proceeded to sit on the articles for over three weeks. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) sought to use them as leverage to force the Senate Republican leadership to accept their terms for the trial. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) rebuffed all of their requests and eventually signed up to Hawley’s proposal.

Pelosi and Schumer claimed there was “new evidence” that could come to light during the Senate trial, pointing to a statement by former national security adviser John Bolton that he would be willing to testify if asked. McConnell countered that the rules for the impeachment trial were set in 1999 for President Bill Clinton and that he had no intention of changing them. 

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Republicans pointed to the delays as proof the Democrats were not serious and that the entire process was a partisan attempt to overturn the 2016 election. No Republicans voted in favor of the articles of impeachment, while at least one Democrat dissented on one or both of them.

They also pointed to Pelosi holding a vote to approve the trade deal with Mexico and Canada a day after the impeachment, and inviting Trump to deliver the annual State of the Union address on February 4, as if nothing had happened.

Pelosi did not get “a single one of her absurd demands because her own party got fed up with her games,” said House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana).

The speaker denied there was any dissent in her party, however, telling reporters on Friday that she had “absolutely total cooperation” from fellow Democrats. 

“We have 1,000 flowers blossoming beautifully in our caucus,” she added, using the phrase commonly attributed to Chinese leader Mao Zedong during a short-lived campaign to promote dissent within the Communist party in 1957.

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