House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to a “fair trial.”
The House voted mostly down party lines to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday. McConnell is pushing for a quick trial without any witnesses while Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling for a weeks-long trial with multiple new witnesses.
“This is what I don’t consider a fair trial,” Pelosi said of McConnell’s demands.
“We will make our decision as to when we are going to send it when we see what they are doing on the Senate side,” she continued. “So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us.”
“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and I would hope that would be soon,” she added.
Democrats rallied behind Pelosi’s decision on Thursday, The Hill reported. Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the chamber, told CNN that if he were in charge he would not send the articles of impeachment to the Senate at all.
McConnell not worried:
McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that Democrats are “too afraid” to send their “shoddy work” to the Senate.
"Prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial," McConnell said. "They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process, but now they want to sit on their hands. This is really comical."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said that withholding the articles was an act of “Constitutional extortion.”
“If House Dems refuse to send Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial it would be a breathtaking violation of the Constitution, an act of political cowardice, and fundamentally unfair to President,” he said.
Schumer blasts McConnell:
Schumer responded to McConnell’s comments by accusing him of “hypocrisy.”
“House Democrats cannot be held responsible for the cravenness of the House Republican caucus and their blind fealty to the president,” he said.
“Leader McConnell accused the House Democrats of an obsession to get rid of President Trump,” he said. “This from the man who proudly declared his No. 1 goal was to make President Obama a one-term president.”
Schumer also pointed to McConnell’s claim that the impeachment vote broke with precedent.
“Will Leader McConnell, breaking precedent, strong-arm his caucus into making the first Senate impeachment trial of the president in history that heard no witnesses?” he asked.