Senate Democrats calling on Pelosi to send over articles of impeachment
A growing number of Senate Democrats say it’s time for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send over the articles of impeachment, passed three weeks ago in the House, to the Senate, which would trigger a trial of President Donald Trump.
“We are reaching a point where the articles of impeachment should be sent,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters Wednesday.
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein also on Wednesday told reporters, “If we’re going to do it, she should send them over,” adding, “I don’t see what good delay does.”
Patience is seemingly wearing thin among Senate Democrats after negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the parameters and rules of a Senate trial collapsed earlier in the week.
“I think getting the trial started sooner rather than later is, you know, probably important, and my guess is that that is going to be what happens, will probably open up this process next week,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut told ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics podcast Wednesday.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also added on Tuesday: “I think it needs to start, I really do … Let us do what we have to do over here.”
Sen. Angus King of Maine, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, told the Washington Post on Tuesday: “…I do think we need to get this thing going.”
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana told POLITICO on Wednesday: “I don’t know what leverage we have. It looks like the cake is already baked.”
But Pelosi on Tuesday held her position in the impeachment standoff with the GOP-led Senate, telling colleagues she would not transmit the articles to the Senate to kick off the trial until McConnell shares more details about how proceedings would work.
In a letter to colleagues Tuesday night, Pelosi called on McConnell publicly to outline the trial and release the resolution the Senate would approve to begin the process.
The Kentucky Republican on Tuesday announced Trump’s impeachment trial would begin without deciding on witnesses, as Democrats had demanded, claiming they lacked the four GOP senators needed to give them the 51-vote majority required to subpoena witnesses.
McConnell doubled down on Wednesday and said he would not negotiate with the House on the parameters of the Senate trial.
“There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“I fully expect the parties will raise questions about witnesses at the appropriate time. I would remind my friends on the other side: I strongly suspect that not all the potential witnesses would be people the Democrats are eager to hear from,” he added.
“So the Senate will address all these questions at the appropriate time. That is for the Senate, and the Senate only, to decide. Period,” McConnell said.
His Democratic counterpart, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, slammed him on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“I’ve asked Leader McConnell repeatedly, to sit down and negotiate a plan where we would have witnesses and documents and he has refused. Instead, Leader McConnell, by his own admission, took his cues from the White House when it came to setting the parameters of the trial,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“Rather than engaging in any serious negotiation with the Senate minority, he only spent time trying to convince his caucus that we should punt the questions of witnesses and documents to a later date,” he added.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment inquiry late last year, told reporters Wednesday that it was up to Pelosi on when she plans to send over the articles of impeachment.
“I’m going to let the speaker discuss the timing, but I think that the pause in transmitting the articles has already had a very salutory effect in flushing out what Mitch McConnell intends to do, which is that he intends to do everything he can to help the president participate in covering up his misconduct,” Schiff said.
“He is giving lip service to the idea of witnesses and the idea of the Clinton precedent, which is really not applicable here,” he added.
“Any senator who takes an oath of impartiality should want to hear the full record and that means the documentary record as well as the witnesses,” he said.
ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.