House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing pressure from frustrated Senate Democrats to end the ongoing impeachment standoff with Senate Republicans, as it’s clear Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t going to acquiesce to her demands to hash out terms for the upcoming impeachment trial, according to Bloomberg.
“If we’re going to do it, she should send them over. I don’t see what good delay does,” said California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein – who also told Politico “The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes.”
“So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.“
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) wants to start the trial immediately.
“My expectation is that we’ll be able to start this trial next week,” he said, adding “The leverage over Republicans exists in the votes we take inside the trial.”
Several other Senate Democrats also showed their impatience with the Democratic leaders’ current strategy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday morning that Democrats “should move on” and turn the articles to the Senate and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said he’s “ready” for the trial to start.
“We need to get folks to testify and we need more information … but nonetheless I’m ready,” Tester said. “I don’t know what leverage we have. It looks like the cake is already baked.”
“I respect the fact that she is concerned about the fact about whether or not there will be a fair trial. But I do think it is time to get on with it,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). –Politico
And according to Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), the Senate will get the impeachment articles from Pelosi “sooner rather than later.”
That said, Pelosi continues to dig in.
In a closed-door meeting with fellow House Democrats Wednesday, Pelosi gave no hint that she was ready to set a timeline for sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, according to lawmakers.
“We are waiting to see what the terms are,” Pelosi said afterward. She said she wants McConnell to release a resolution setting out the Senate rules for the trial before she takes the next step. “Then we’ll be able to name our managers. But we can’t do it until we see the arena they’re going into.” –Bloomberg
McConnell – who has promised a speedy acquittal of Trump – has all but told Pelosi to pound sand, saying in a Wednesday speech on the Senate floor: “There will no haggling with the House over Senate procedure,” adding “We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment.”
McConnell, who wants to engineer a quick acquittal of the president, in effect declared victory Tuesday when he announced after meeting with GOP senators that there are enough votes among Republicans to set the terms for the impeachment trial without Democratic support.
The rules, he said, would be similar to those used for then-President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial 21 years ago. That would set up about two weeks for arguments by House managers and Trump’s defense, as well as senators’ questions, before addressing the thorny issue of whether to end the trial without any fresh documents or witnesses. Both sides could then call for more testimony but would need 51 senators to agree.
McConnell said the Clinton precedent doesn’t guarantee witnesses will testify, but it also doesn’t preclude it. Still, the majority leader would be able to pressure GOP senators to stand firm against calling witnesses. –Bloomberg
Pelosi, meanwhile, is arguing that Trump’s impeachment is fundamentally different than Clinton’s because the latter was based on the findings of an independent counsel and a grand jury which had testimony from the former president.
“All of the work that was done leading up to impeachment of Clinton was so dramatically different that there is not really an apples to apples comparison,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI).
Whether that’s true or not, Mitch ain’t budging.