On Friday morning, the Speaker of the House announced that she will initiate the process to transmit a pair of articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump to the Senate, beginning the process of putting him on trial for crimes of office.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a “Dear Colleague” letter informing the House that a resolution to transmit the articles will go to the House floor next Tuesday, and impeachment managers will be named to prosecute the case.
The House of Representatives passed articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18th, 2019. While it was well known at the time that Speaker Pelosi planned to withhold them for a couple of weeks to allow the Senate to take its pre-planned recess before beginning the trial, she elected to hold them longer than expected in an attempt to force Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to agree to terms that would ensure a fair trial.
Now, it appears that the Speaker got what she wanted, which was a series of very public and increasingly desperate showings of fealty by the Republican Senate majority leader to President Trump. While she was unable to wrest an agreement to call four new witnesses before the trial began, she did successfully bait the Majority Leader into exposing his contempt for the constitutional process.
Pelosi began her letter:
“For weeks now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.”
“Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges,” wrote the Speaker. “A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth. Leader McConnell’s tactics are a clear indication of the fear that he and President Trump have regarding the facts of the President’s violations for which he was impeached.”
“The Speaker’s letter today comes against the backdrop of a series of revelations regarding the shape of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s testimony, as well as other nonpublic information,” says a well-placed source on The Hill to Occupy Democrats on the condition of anonymity. “House leaders are keenly aware that the president’s impeachment lawyers are also fact witnesses in the case. That point doesn’t seem to bother Senator McConnell now, but that could bother his colleagues.”
“It was the consensus decision of the House Democratic caucus that led Speaker Pelosi to choose today to begin the process of delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate,” a top House Democratic leadership aide told Occupy Democrats on background. “Now that everyone is on board, we can move forward.”
In late July, when Speaker Pelosi laid out the roadmap to impeachment after having secretly learned a week earlier that the President was illegally withholding $400 million in congressionally appropriated military assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, she said: “The stronger our case is, the worse the Senate will look for letting the President off the hook.”
Since then, Trump turned the Camp David presidential country retreat into an “adult playground” for Republican Senators, whose leader promised total coordination with the White House and an unfair trial.
Republican plans to obstruct President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial came to a head this week when Sen. “Moscow” Mitch McConnell signed on to a desperation plan by the Senate GOP caucus that would circumvent the upper chamber’s rules on impeachment entirely to dismiss the case without a trial.
While it takes a 2/3rds vote that Republicans don’t have with their slim, 53-47 vote majority, the Kentucky Republican threatened to use the “nuclear option” to obliterate the rules on impeachment trials that date back to 1868.
Legal experts have opined that an unfair trial cannot exonerate President Trump, so a pre-trial dismissal would definitely leave the question of his guilt hanging forever.
In addition to the information presented at public hearings in November, Speaker Pelosi cited four major developments after the House’s articles impeachment passed against President Trump as crucial to their prosecution of the case.
First, she highlighted the contents of a cache of damning emails obtained two days after the impeachment vote between the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)—the White House agency that manages the actual transmission of funds— and the Pentagon asking them to hold security aid to Ukraine.
Second, Pelosi indicated the importance of the New York Times‘ late-December in-depth report showing the key role played by Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who is concurrently the senate-confirmed head of the OMB, and the rising concerns that Trump was breaking the law which were flooding the administration.
Third, the Speaker noted a report by Just Security in early January which exposed the redacted portions from the above-described emails. This was information that should have been provided to the public, but which the Trump Administration hid for the sake of stonewalling a federal court order in addition to its refusal of any cooperation with Congress.
Lastly, she pointed to the announcement that former National Security Advisor John Bolton has agreed to testify to the Senate if he is subpoenaed after previous testimony indicated that he has a very low opinion of Trump’s personal lawyer and private international emissary Rudy Giuliani, whose machinations he called a “drug deal” before directing his subordinates to inform National Security Council lawyers
“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” concluded Speaker Pelosi’s letter. “No one is above the law, not even the President.”