Moments after the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was in no hurry to transmit the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, according to a report by The Washington Post.
As long as the House hangs on to the articles — accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the Senate may not initiate a trial. Under the Constitution, it will take 67 senators voting to convict the president and remove him from office.
But even though all Senators must take an oath to act as “impartial” jurors in an impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already frankly admitted that he has no intention of complying with the requirements of that oath, according to a Vanity Fair report.
“I’m not impartial about this at all,” McConnell said, calling the impeachment a “political decision” rather than a “judicial” one.
McConnell has also declared that he will not allow witnesses to be called by either side in the Senate trial, guaranteeing that it will be short, and will have a predetermined outcome — with Trump acquitted.
But Pelosi on Wednesday said that before she allows the trial to take place, Democrats must be certain that it will give a fair hearing to both sides.
Though Pelosi would not answer a question about when the articles would be transmitted, she said that the House would not select impeachment “managers” — that is, the House members who will effectively serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial — until “we see what the process” will be.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said, commenting shortly after the impeachment vote on Wednesday.
There have been 45 U.S. presidents since the first, George Washington, took office in 1789. But though the Constitution gives Congress the power of impeachment over any president, Trump is only the third to actually be impeached.
But with McConnell repeatedly stating that he will not be “impartial,” and even declaring that he will make sure that he will coordinate with Trump over how the trial will run, a growing number of Democrats have put pressure on Pelosi to hold back the articles from the Senate.
If the Senate trial is delayed, the House will likely continue its investigation into Trump’s possible offenses. According to a court filing by House Democrats on Monday, still-sealed grand jury documents from the Robert Mueller investigation into the president’s alleged Russia ties during the 2016 campaign could even lead to a second impeachment.