Articles of impeachment not headed to Senate imminently

Speaker says she wants to see parameters of Senate trial

Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks back to her office after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The speaker appeared to leave open the possibility the House might never send the articles to the Senate. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi walks back to her office after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The speaker appeared to leave open the possibility the House might never send the articles to the Senate. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Posted December 18, 2019 at 9:43pm

The House will not transmit the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate until senators determine a process for a trial, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday night just after the House voted to impeach the president.

 The California Democrat said she cannot name impeachment managers to present the House case to the Senate until she knows what that process will look like. The impeachment managers, once named, are the ones who will transmit the articles to the Senate.

“It’s difficult to determine who the managers will be until we see the arena in which they’ll be participating,” she said.

Pelosi seemed to leave open the possibility the House may never send the articles to the Senate if the two parties there don’t agree to a fair process for a trial. But she pushed back on reporters’ suggesting she raised the notion of an indefinite hold.

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“We’re not having that discussion,” Pelosi said when asked if the House may never send the articles.

Pushed on whether she can guarantee the articles will be transmitted to the Senate at some point, the speaker said, “That would’ve been our intention but we’ll see what happens over there.”

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, speaking before Pelosi, said a fair process would involve the Senate calling witnesses.

The trial should feature such figures as former National Security Advisor John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer are expected to talk about impeachment trial procedures on Thursday, but the Senate is not expected to consider any resolutions setting out the process until January.

“I’m in no hurry,” McConnell said earlier Wednesday when asked what he thought of the possibility that the House might hold back the impeachment articles.

Pelosi expressed concerns about McConnell’s ability to ensure a fair trial after he made comments that he would not be an impartial juror and he’d be taking his cues on the process from the White House.

“This is serious matter even though the majority leader of the United States Senate says it’s OK for the foreman of the jury to be in cahoots with the lawyers of the accused,” she said. “That doesn’t sound right to us.”

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.