Donald Trump has officially become the third President of the United States to be impeached following the House vote approving the articles of impeachment this past Wednesday (December 18th). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump will be fully removed from office, it still is being recognized as a historic day.
Now, the vote is up to the Republican-controlled Senate on whether or not Trump will remain in office for the rest of his term. However, they are facing some delays after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she would not commit to sending the articles of impeachment against the president to the Senate.
“That would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there,” Pelosi said at a post-impeachment news conference when asked about the articles.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
The withholding comes as a response to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s rejection of Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to allow four witnesses who work, or formerly worked, as Trump’s officials to testify as witnesses at the Senate’s impeachment trial. Two of the witnesses include Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Both of these witnesses were working closely with Trump around the time of the phone call to the Ukrainian President, making their role in the trial relevant.
Pelosi is holding the articles until McConnell agrees to Schumer’s initial request. This withholding also means that it’s unclear as to the timeline of when the Senate’s trial will take place. However, both the Democrats and Republicans seem to be rather relaxed about it. Republicans and McConnell have argued that they’re in “no hurry” regarding receiving the articles and that there’s no advantage in delaying a trial the Senate doesn’t really want anything to do with anyway. Democrats are also taking their time in regards to how to go about the situation, and will be meeting Thursday morning (December 19th) to further discuss the matter.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The main goal regarding the withholding is to ensure that the Republicans will be offering a fair and thorough trial, and with a Republican-controlled Senate, it’s unclear as to what type of reassurance that would be. James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat House member, stated that they will be holding the articles “as long as it takes, even if [McConnell] doesn’t come around to committing a fair trial, [we’ll] keep those articles here.”
McConnell is expected to address the press about the impeachment and the future of the trial Thursday morning as well, and it’s likely that he will discuss the withholding of the letters as a sign that the Democrats are “too afraid to even submit their shoddy work product to the Senate.” He is also expected to announce the date of the Senate trial by the end of the week. However, with Pelosi’s last-minute decision to hold the articles, it’s unlikely that he will make that announcement during his Thursday morning speech.
Additionally, Pelosi threw another wrench into the trial’s plans by delaying the naming of impeachment managers for the Senate’s trial; the House is likely to make that decision within the next few days as well.
“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and we hope that will be soon. So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully it will be fair,” Pelosi said.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.