Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just put the Senate Majority leader on blast for his very public determination to hold an unfair trial of impeached President Donald J. Trump. (video embedded below)
Last night, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges with the largest number of impeachment votes against any president in history. In a post-vote press conference, Speaker Pelosi explained that she will withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate until further notice.
Then this morning, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the well of the Senate as its majority leader and delivered a speech filled with a big, steaming load of lies and shameless crocodile tears over her decision. Best known as “Moscow Mitch,” the GOP leader’s disgraceful shilling landed with a thud than a week after both promising total coordination with the impeachment trial with the now-impeached President Trump and pledging to be a biased judge.
In response, the Speaker used her weekly press conference to perfectly pierce the pruned prevaricator who leads the Senate Republicans, saying:
“Our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president. I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
“Moscow Mitch wanted to set up a quick pardon — but what he ended up doing is uniting Americans against the gross culture of corruption among Republicans,” a senior Democratic aide told Occupy Democrats. “The Speaker is 100% correct: our Founders never thought a rouge president would collude with a rogue Senate leader.”
It’s obvious that Speaker was planning on delaying the trial until the start of Senate business early next year anyhow since reports indicated that a trial was likely to start in early January.
But Pelosi is using the rather arcane tactic of withholding the articles of impeachment in an open-ended fashion to gain leverage over the GOP Senate leader because he won’t commit to calling witnesses at the proceeding, in addition to his declaration that he will be interfering in the proceedings on behalf of the President.
Unlike the Clinton impeachment — 21 years ago to this day, when Senators agreed 100-0 on the procedure for trial — McConnell refuses to even sit at a table with Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), so the two have been trading public statements and letters.
According to the Senate rules on impeachment dating to 1986 (which can only be changed with a 2/3rds vote), once the House presents their articles of impeachment and managers, the upper chamber must begin the trial every afternoon, six days a week until a verdict has been rendered.
The end result is that once Speaker Pelosi appoints House managers to prosecute the case against impeached President Trump, then McConnell loses all control over the Senate and hands the gavel to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A Bush-appointee, Chief Justice John Roberts could shape the process of the trial, or he could merely spectate the Senate’s decisions as his predecessor did during the Clinton trial. Either way, only three to four dissenting Republican senators would be able to derail majority leader McConnell’s plan to railroad Democrats and acquit the impeached Trump.
Nancy Pelosi’s tactic is so scorching that it has sent the impeached Trump into a tizzy, consulting with lawyers to see if he can beg a judge to tell the House what to do. Conservative constitutional lawyer George Conway—husband to Trump’s senior advisor—says that any lawsuit that Donald Trump files to impact impeachment will be filed dead on arrival.
No court is ever going to enjoin the House to send managers over to the Senate to exhibit articles of impeachment. https://t.co/ffRMz2PxOR
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 19, 2019
Threatening a delayed trial is also giving more life to the ongoing investigation into Trump’s Ukraine scheme by the House, evidenced by Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) recent letter to Vice President Mike Pence accusing him of thwarting the impeachment inquiry.
That is certainly one of the reasons why the GOP leader is so adamant about keeping potentially a score of high-level administration witnesses off the stand, and weakly complaining that new evidence can’t be introduced at a trial, something that happens literally every day in every state and major city in this country.
Nobody knows exactly when the first-ever impeachment trial of an elected, first-term president will start.
But we do know that House Democrats under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership are prepared to use literally every trick in the book to force the GOP-majority in the Senate to hold a complete and fair trial to reveal the truths that impeached President Trump obstructed Congress from revealing during the impeachment inquiry.
Here are Speaker Pelosi’s press conference remarks:
"Our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president. I don't think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time." – @SpeakerPelosi on GOP leader McConnell.#Impeached45 pic.twitter.com/Olbrk1A3OF
— Grant Stern (@grantstern) December 19, 2019
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.