Pelosi Tries To Calm Storm Over Threat She’d Hold Back Impeachment Articles

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 19, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
December 19, 2019 11:43 a.m.

After a striking and at times rocky post-impeachment vote press conference Wednesday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried Thursday to douse the flames ignited by the suggestion she might hold back transmitting the impeachment articles until she sees that the Senate trial is fair.

Pelosi still acknowledged that there would be at least some delay in the House sending to the Senate its impeachment case, which alleges President Trump abused his power in a Ukraine pressure campaign for investigations into his political rivals and also obstructed Congress.

However, on Thursday, she stressed that waiting to see how the Senate trial was shaping up would help the House decide who to tap as House impeachment managers and how many managers to send over.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward and who we will choose,” she said, downplaying the idea of using the transmission timing as leverage to demand certain Senate trial procedures, such as witnesses and document subpoenas.

She reiterated her hope that the Senate would come to a bipartisan agreement on those questions, while implicitly rebuking the idea that Democrats were demanding new witnesses for the Senate trial because their House case was weak.

“We would hope they would come to some conclusion like that. But in any event, we’re ready. When we see what they have, we will know who and how many we will send over. That’s all I’m going to say about that now,” she said.

The comments were a shift in tone from her remarks on Wednesday night, when she refused to guarantee that the House would not withhold the articles indefinitely and slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for how he’s bragged about not being an impartial juror.

She still had a shot for McConnell Thursday morning, after McConnell made a floor speech aggressively critiquing the House’s impeachment case.

“Our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, I think they expected that there could be a rogue President,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think they expected that we could have a rogue President, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”

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