Is California Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi losing her grip on impeachment or her sanity? The septuagenarian lawmaker has been clinging to two articles of impeachment passed in December like a life raft.
She made the unprecedented decision to use them as leverage to influence the conduct of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. The time has come for the Senate to stop playing footsie with Pelosi.
She said Thursday, “I’m not holding them indefinitely,” during a press briefing in the Capitol. “I’ll send them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon.”
Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gates appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News Wednesday quipping, “I just hope to find a woman that will hold me as tight as Nancy Pelosi is holding on to those impeachment articles, Sean.”
The president tweeted Thursday, “Pelosi doesn’t want to hand over The Articles of Impeachment, which were fraudulently produced by corrupt politicians like Shifty Schiff in the first place, because after all of these years of investigations and persecution, they show no crimes and are a joke and a scam!”
Pelosi has been insisting that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky agree to demands for more witness testimony and documents before she sent them over, but now she has even worn out the patience of Senate Democrats with the prolonged delay.
The speaker’s attempt to stretch her wrinkled hand over into the Senate to play puppeteer has not gone down well. She has no constitutional mandate authorizing her to dictate rules in that chamber.
Democratic House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith of Washington said Thursday that it is time for Pelosi to transmit the articles to the Senate, joining another leading voice, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, who blasted Pelosi on Wednesday.
“But at the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, McConnell controls it in the Senate,” said Smith. “I think it is time to send the impeachment articles to the Senate, and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is.” McConnell has already locked up votes with at least 51 Republican senators empowering him conduct the trial as he sees fit.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham spoke to Pelosi directly during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show Wednesday. “You said it was urgent; if you believe it to be urgent, send it to the Senate for disposition,” he said. “She’s losing Democrats in the Senate. The impeachment dam of Nancy Pelosi is about to crack,” he predicted.
He disclosed plans to introduce a resolution Thursday which outlines that Pelosi lacks “the power to effectively veto a resolution passed by a duly elected majority of the House of Representatives by refusing to transmit such a resolution to the Senate.”
It describes her actions as “a flagrant violation of the separation of powers expressly outlined in the bicameral impeachment process under the Constitution of the United States.”
McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he hopes Pelosi will send over the articles this week. Democratic senators are also optimistic that the issue will be resolved in days, paving the way for the trial to start soon.