Nancy Pelosi says impeachment leaves ‘spring’ in people’s step
The start date for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is up in the air.
Nancy Pelosi has said that people have a “spring in their step” after the US House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump.
But the speaker insisted the Senate must provide more details about the expected trial in that chamber before she agrees to send the House charges over.
Ms Pelosi’s unexpected procedural delay — looking for leverage in trial arrangements — was getting a sour response from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and from Mr Trump himself.
Mr McConnell said Democrats are “too afraid” to send the charges to the Senate, where Mr Trump would be expected to be acquitted by the Republican majority.
Mr Trump tweeted, “Now the Do Nothing Party want to Do Nothing with the Articles.”
He claimed that if the Democrats did not transmit the articles of impeachment “they would lose by Default”, although there is no constitutional requirement to send them swiftly, or at all.
The trial has been expected to begin in January.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2019
“The Senate shall set the time and place of the trial.” If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!
Ms Pelosi was upbeat the morning after the historic vote that made Mr Trump only the third president in US history to be impeached.
The House impeached Mr Trump on two charges — abusing his presidential power and obstructing Congress — stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rival as Mr Trump withheld US aid.
“We’ve been hearing from people all over the country,” Ms Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.
“Seems like people have a spring in their step because the president was held accountable for his reckless behaviour.”
Pressed about next steps, Ms Pelosi would not say.
“The next thing will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate,” Ms Pelosi said.
“Then we’ll know the number of managers we may have to go forward and who we would choose.”
She said the previous night, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
The Democratic speaker and the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer met privately on Thursday at the Capitol after Republican Senate Leader McConnell signalled in the strongest terms yet that his chamber intended to hold a swift trial and acquit the president of both charges.
Mr McConnell denounced the “most unfair” House impeachment and reassured Mr Trump and his supporters that “moments like this are why the United States Senate exists”.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 19, 2019
The impeachment of a president is a solemn and serious moment for our country.
At the start of a trial in the Senate, all senators will swear an oath to render impartial justice.
The American people deserve that the Senate conduct a full and fair trial.
As for what the Senate would do, he said, “It could not be clearer which outcome would serve the stabilising, institution-preserving, fever-breaking role for which the United States Senate was created and which outcome would betray it.”
Mr McConnell described Mr Trump’s impeachment as “the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”
Fighting back and using Mr McConnell’s own words, Mr Schumer said the Republican leader was plotting the “most rushed, least thorough and most unfair” impeachment trial in history by declining to agree to call witnesses including former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who declined to testify before the House.
“McConnell claimed the impeachment was motivated by partisan rage,” said Mr Schumer. “This from the man who said proudly, ‘I am not impartial’.”
Ms Pelosi said that Mr McConnell “says it’s OK for the foreman of the jury to be in cahoots with the lawyers of the accused. That doesn’t sound right to us.”