WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- An increasing number of Democrats in the Senate are growing impatient with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for withholding the House’s impeachment articles from the Senate.
- The Senate Dems are signaling that they want Pelosi to end the stalemate and begin President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
- Pelosi said she wants to see how the Senate plans to run the trial before she sends the articles charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Democrats in the Senate are signaling their readiness to begin President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) continues to hold off on transmitting the articles of impeachment in her standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over the rules governing the proceedings.
On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told HuffPost: “I think if we’re going to do it, we should do it. I don’t think there’s much more to be gained [by delaying the impeachment trial], but that’s just my view.”
Pelosi wrote a letter to her colleagues on Tuesday, saying she wants to see how the Republican-led Senate plans to proceed with Trump’s trial before she sends the articles charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Pelosi’s action is part of a Democratic effort to ensure that the Senate runs a fair trial. The Senate will call witnesses like John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser.
Kentucky Senator McConnell announced that he has the votes to move forward with the trial without support from Democrats, who demanded that he first commit to including witness testimony and documents in the proceedings. He said a decision on including witness testimony will come after the trial begins.
“Speaker Pelosi wanted ‘leverage’ to reach into the Senate and dictate our trial proceedings to us. I’ve made clear from the beginning that no such ‘leverage’ exists. It’s nonexistent. And yesterday we made it clear it will never exist,” McConnell said in a floor speech on Wednesday.
The weekslong standoff between Pelosi and McConnell seems to be coming to an end, however, and several Senate Democrats said they expected the proceedings to begin shortly.
“My gut tells me we’ll be in an impeachment trial fairly soon,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said.
Sen. Chirs Murphy (D-Conn.) said he believed Democrats’ “greatest leverage exists inside the trial” on motions they will call on producing witnesses and documents. Democrats will need at least four Republicans to vote with them if they are to subpoena witnesses and produce documents pertaining to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine,) who caucuses with Democrats, said: “I think it is time for the speaker to send the articles over. I think ― I don’t think her holding them puts any particular pressure on Mitch McConnell. I think the key vote will come in the middle of the trial,” he said in an MSNBC interview on Tuesday.