It was only a few days ago that Democrats were delivering emotional speeches about the urgency and importance of impeaching President Trump.
So much for that.
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi appeared to undercut her own claims that Dems had a constitutional duty to impeach President Trump (or risk allowing him to tear down our constitutionally protected institutions…or something like that) when, on Thursday, she refused to allow the next step in the process to move forward, by delaying the handing over of the House’s impeachment case to the Senate.
Pelosi blamed a political disagreement with Mitch McConnell as the reason behind her decision (she claims to be waiting until she can secure a ‘fair’ Senate trial), though many speculate that this is a cynical ploy, and that Pelosi is really looking for an excuse to delay the start of the next round of proceedings until after the new year, when the public will be more attentive.
Bloomberg reported that it’s likely Pelosi and McConnell will resolve the issue early next year.
But that won’t save Democrats from having to defend Pelosi’s decision, which seemed to undercut the Dems’ entire case for impeachment, as well as their claims that the impeachment process should transcend typical partisan politics. Fortunately for Pelosi, there’s nothing in the Constitution dictating a timeline for a handover to the Senate after an impeachment vote, meaning she could, in theory, quash the process by simply never handing over the materials to the Senate.
For those who are confused about what’s happening, here’s a simplistic breakdown: For the next phase in the process to begin, the House must actually send the articles of impeachment and several managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment case. Then the Senate is required to hold a trial of the president.
President Trump wasted no time seizing on Pelosi’s apparent hypocrisy to slam the entire impeachment process as a hoax.
Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up! The Do Nothings are so bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
According to Reuters, Trump has dismissed his impeachment as a partisan effort to undo his surprise 2016 election, saying he did nothing wrong.
“I don’t feel like I’m being impeached, because it’s a hoax,” he told reporters.
It’s worth noting that Trump and McConnell don’t see eye-to-eye about how the impeachment trial should go. Trump has expressed a preference for a lengthy trial with a parade of defense witnesses, guaranteeing a political circus for the ages. McConnell and other GOP senators, on the other hand, have been trying to convince Trump to accept a short proceeding, limited to arguments by House impeachment managers and the president’s counsel, followed by a swift vote that will almost certainly result in the president’s acquittal.
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday, fewer than half of Americans want Trump removed from office.
Whatever the outcome, the trial will kick off what’s guaranteed to be a politically charged election year.
Though we thought impeachment wasn’t about politics, Nancy?