House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday that the House plan to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate next week, signaling the start of President Trump’s Senate trial.
Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic members that she has asked House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to be prepared for a vote on a resolution appointing trial managers and transmitting the legislation to the Senate. She promised to consult with her caucus at the House Democratic Caucus meeting next Tuesday to discuss further steps.
Until now, Pelosi has delayed the next move as she struggled with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ensure an actual Senate trial. McConnell provoked this maneuver when he openly sided with Trump, saying he would coordinate every move with White House lawyers.
Although Republicans have pressed Pelosi to send over the articles of impeachment, she has replied that Democrats are “proudly” upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.
With a narrow Senate majority, Republicans can ignore Democratic demands for testimony and documents, as McConnell evidently intends to do. But Democrats are stoking public doubt about the process as they target vulnerable GOP senators for the upcoming votes.
“When we say fair trial, we mean facts, we mean witnesses, we mean documents,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), promising roll-call votes ahead. “Every single one of us, in this Senate, will have to have to take a stand. How do my Republican friends want the American people, their constituents, and history to remember them?”
Trump weighed in from the White House suggesting that he, too, would like more witnesses at trial. They include former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination now, and his son Hunter, as well as the government whistleblower whose complaint about the president’s pressure on Ukraine sparked the impeachment investigation. While there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, Trump insists that no witnesses can testify about his own obvious misconduct.
Trump said he would continue to block former National Security Adviser John Bolton and other officials from testifying in the Senate.
“When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that,” Trump said during an event with building contractors. “So we have to protect presidential privilege for me, but for future presidents. That’s very important.”
Bolton, one of four witnesses requested by Democrats, said this week he would testify if subpoenaed.