Fresh off the floor from the historic House impeachment vote against President Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded that the Senate conduct a fair trial and bashed Senate Majority Leader’s promise that he’ll handle it in coordination with the White House. But she wobbled on the question of whether she would hold back transmitting the impeachment articles until the Senate process is clear.
“We have legislation, approved by the Rules Committee, that will enable us to decide how we will send over the articles of impeachment. We cannot name [House impeachment managers] until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and I would hope that that will be soon,” Pelosi said, when she was first asked whether the House still had a role to play in ensuring a fair Senate trial.
Asked several times whether she was considering withholding the articles until the Senate commits to fair trial procedures, Pelosi appeared to dodge the question.
“We’ll decide what that dynamic is,” Pelosi said, gesturing to the committee chairs who joined her for the press conference.
Pelosi elaborated on what she’d consider not to be a fair trial, when she was asked what would constitute a fair impeachment trial in the Senate.
“This is what I don’t consider a fair trial: That Leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his ‘cues,’ in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House Counsel’s office,” Pelosi said, referring to public remarks McConnell has made in the last week.
However, she backed away from an opportunity to make any particular demands of the Senate’s procedures.
“Look, it’s up to the senators to make their own decisions, working together,” Pelosi said. She added that “we would hope” the Senate would call the witnesses the White House blocked from testifying in front of the House.
She was asked again about the timing of transmitting the articles and whether they could be withheld indefinitely.
“We’re not having that discussion. We have done what we have set out to do,” Pelosi said.
One last time, however, she left the door open on withholding the articles as leverage for a fairer Senate trial, when she was asked for a guarantee that they would be transmitted.
“That would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there,” she said.
She then claimed that the prospect of withholding the articles has “not been part of our conversation.”