Pelosi Stops Short Of Threatening Impeachment Delay While Bashing McConnell

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, December 5, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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January 3, 2020 4:26 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) bashed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) refusal to commit to Senate impeachment trial witnesses, with a statement Friday that stopped short of suggesting she’d withhold the impeachment articles until he did.

“The American people deserve the truth. Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the statement. “The GOP Senate must immediately proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses.”

Since the House adopted impeachment articles alleging President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, the Senate’s Republican and Democratic leaders have publicly feuded over whether the Senate should agree to call additional witness for its trial when it hashes out a preliminary deal for the other trial procedures.

McConnell, in floor remarks Friday, reiterated his position that the Senate should follow the model of the Clinton impeachment trial, during which the senators did not come to an agreement on witnesses until after the initial stages of the trial were completed.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) meanwhile has accused McConnell of pushing off the witness decision so Republicans could make an end-run around it, and the Democrat is seeking the testimony top administration aides that the White House refused to make available for the House impeachment proceedings.

The night of the House impeachment vote, Pelosi wouldn’t rule out withholding the transmission of the articles until McConnell agreed to a fair trial. She has since downplayed the possibility that she’d delay the articles’ transmission as leverage for securing procedural concessions from McConnell.

Nonetheless, McConnell whacked Pelosi Friday for even flirting with the idea of delaying the transmission, claiming in his floor remarks that the House had developed “cold feet” about its impeachment case after for weeks touting an urgency in the allegations that required the House to move quickly.

Pelosi shot back in her statement that McConnell had “made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up.”

Missing from the blistering statement, however, was any hint that she would hold off on sending the impeachment case to the Senate until McConnell gave in to the Democrats’ demands.

Read the full statement below:

“In December, the House upheld its Constitutional duty to defend democracy For The People, honoring the vision of our Founders for a Republic. In an impeachment trial, every U.S. Senator is required to take an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’

“For several months, the House has subpoenaed documents and witnesses which the President stonewalled. These cases are now in the courts. While the House nevertheless was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, Leader McConnell knows full well that the President’s obstruction of the House impeachment inquiry is unprecedented and in defiance of our system of checks and balances.

“Today, Leader McConnell made clear that he will feebly comply with President Trump’s cover-up of his abuses of power and be an accomplice to that cover-up.

“Leader McConnell is doubling down on his violation of his oath, even after the exposure of new, deeply incriminating documents this week which provide further evidence of what we know: President Trump abused the power of his office for personal, political gain.

“The American people deserve the truth. Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution. The GOP Senate must immediately proceed in a manner worthy of the Constitution and in light of the gravity of the President’s unprecedented abuses. No one is above the law, not even the President.”

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