WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “unusual” for her counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to back a resolution aimed at dismissing the impeachment case against President Donald Trump.
“Dismissing is a cover-up,” Pelosi said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
McConnell on Friday was the 13th co-sponsor of a resolution by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to alter Senate rules and dismiss Trump’s impeachment if Pelosi didn’t send over the impeachment articles within a specified time.
The California Democrat on Friday told House Democrats to prepare for sending the articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week, ending a three-week standoff with McConnell over the terms of the trial. She told ABC she would be “consulting” with her members on Tuesday morning.
Pelosi won no concessions from McConnell, who said he was prepared to set out Senate rules for the trial using only Republican votes. He’s insisted that the Senate would follow the template for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. That would defer a vote on calling witnesses — one of the main demands of Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer — until after the House managers and Trump’s lawyers make their cases.
Asked if said she had second thoughts about holding onto the articles for three weeks, Pelosi on Sunday said, “No, no, no,” adding that the delay “produced a positive result.”
While some Democrats have expressed frustration over Pelosi delaying the trial by withholding the articles of impeachment, the speaker and her closest allies said the emergence of emails among administration officials they consider crucial to the case and former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton’s offer to testify justified the strategy.
The looming prospect of the start of the Senate trial is triggering a new, more serious phase of the battle over witnesses. Shortly after Pelosi’s announcement on Friday, Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she’s talking with her GOP colleagues about agreeing to hear testimony, and Trump vowed to invoke executive privilege to limit Bolton if he appears as a witness.
Democrats also want to hear from other administration officials, including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Democrats would need only four GOP senators to side with them to call witnesses or present evidence. They’ve been focusing efforts on several GOP senators who are either facing tough re-election fights this year or have shown willingness to act independently in the past, including Maine’s Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Utah’s Mitt Romney.
Trump was impeached on Dec. 18 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and Democrats justified the relatively speedy investigation by arguing that Trump’s continued actions threaten the 2020 election.
Only two other U.S. presidents have been impeached and tried in Senate — Clinton and Andrew Johnson in 1868. Both were acquitted.
Trump on Sunday tweeted at “This Week” correspondent George Stephanopoulos minutes before he started his interview with Pelosi. “Ask why hearing was most unfair & biased in history?”
“I don’t like to spend a lot of time on him,” Pelosi said when asked about the tweet and Trump’s regular characterization of her as “crazy.” “Everything he says about someone else is a projection.”
Pelosi said Trump continues to violate the Constitution. Asked if it was possible the House might file additional articles of impeachment, she said, “Well, let’s just see what the Senate does.