House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) walked back his call for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to release the impeachment articles, saying he “misspoke” earlier.
“I misspoke this morning, I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial,” Smith tweeted. “If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision.”
The Democrat said he was “concerned” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) wouldn’t have a fair trail “and I am with the Speaker that we should do everything we can to ensure he does.”
“Ultimately, I do want the articles sent to the Senate for the very simple reason that I want the impeachment process to go forward,” he tweeted.
Several hours earlier, Smith said in a CNN that despite Pelosi’s efforts to pressure McConnell into establishing a fair impeachment trial, the GOP leader will ultimately be the one to call the shots.
“I think it was perfectly advisable for the speaker to try to leverage that to get a better deal,” Smith said.
“At this point, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” he continued. “And yes, I think it is time to send the impeachment to the Senate.”
Pelosi and McConnell have been playing a sustained game of tug-of-war ever since the House impeached Trump in December. The Democratic leader has refused to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, saying she wants to see McConnell arrange an impartial trial process after he bragged about working with White House lawyers on impeachment.
In turn, McConnell has repeatedly indicated that he will not allow witnesses at the trial, as Democrats have requested, and accused Pelosi of playing politics.
Watch Smith below:
House Armed Services Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) says Pelosi should send the impeachment articles to the Senate. pic.twitter.com/xjNWoJoZV0
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 9, 2020