Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell promised Thursday the U.S. Senate will now provide stability after “radical faction” Democrats in the House bowed to “partisan rage” and impeached President Donald Trump.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, McConnell said Wednesday’s historic impeachment “did not reflect what has been proved” and said it showed “only how [Democrats] feel about the president.”
“The Senate must put this right,” he said.
The Republican-held Senate, he promised, will fill the “fever-breaking role” intended for the chamber by the nation’s founders to answer two “constitutionally incoherent” articles of impeachment adopted Wednesday night.
McConnell called the House proceedings “rushed” and the evidence “slapdash,” and accused Democratic leaders of setting their sights on impeachment before Trump was even inaugurated.
McConnell and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the two members of Congress most responsible for where the impeachment goes next — had both indicated they would lay out their plans Thursday.
After the House voted to impeach, Pelosi was noncommittal about when she would name case managers and send the articles to the Senate for trial. Traditionally, in the only two other cases of impeachment, the articles moved to the upper chamber almost immediately.
Pelosi, however, indicated House Democrats might not be in any rush to send them over — a possible play to highlight McConnell’s declaration that he doesn’t plan to be impartial at trial and that he’ll work closely with Trump and White House counsel on their defense. It might also aim to motivate him — as most Americans want — to agree to include a handful of witnesses from the Trump administration at the Senate proceeding.
Pelosi’s refusal to commit to sending the articles over to the upper chamber came as a major surprise Wednesday night.
The Senate cannot begin its trial of Trump until it receives the articles, which can remain active for years. And the Democrats could conceivably hold onto them for as long as they want, as the U.S. Constitution doesn’t specify a timetable for turning them over.
Pelosi, House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff and judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler all said they aren’t holding onto the articles as much as they’re just trying to get an idea of the Senate’s plan so they can name managers for the next step.
McConnell questioned in his remarks Thursday whether Pelosi may be “too afraid” to send them over. The House speaker will address the issue at 10:45 a.m.
Democrats have been highly critical of McConnell’s admitted impartiality, which would conflict with the oath he must take as a member of the Senate trial, and his virtually guaranteeing an acquittal for Trump at the end of it.
“The Republicans are united like never before!” Trump tweeted Thursday.
“I got Impeached last [night] without one Republican vote being cast with the Do Nothing Dems on their continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history. Now the Do Nothing Party want to do nothing with the articles & not deliver them to the Senate, but it’s Senate’s call!
“If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by default!”
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