Impeachment news roundup: Jan. 10

Collins says she’s working to make sure Senate trial rules would allow sides to call witnesses

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters the House won’t take floor action Friday on appointing its impeachment managers for a Senate trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters the House won’t take floor action Friday on appointing its impeachment managers for a Senate trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted January 10, 2020 at 9:55am

Republican Sen. Susan Collins told reporters in Maine that she’s been working all week with a “fairly small group” of Republican senators and party leaders to ensure trial rules would allow House impeachment managers and President Donald Trump’s lawyers to call witnesses.

The Bangor Daily News reports Collins declined to detail how large the group was, but she said, “we should be completely open to calling witnesses.”

“I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for both the House and the president’s counsel if they choose to do so,” she said.

Here’s the latest on impeachment:

Dear Colleague: Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated Friday that the House will name impeachment managers and transmit the two articles charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress to the Senate next week — but first she wants to gather input from her caucus on Tuesday. 

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”

Earlier Friday, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said there would not be action on the floor today to name impeachment managers, a measure needed before the House transmits the impeachment articles to the Senate.

The Maryland Democrat otherwise declined to comment on when the articles would be sent to the Senate, saying that’s Pelosi’s decision to make. Hoyer said Pelosi has communicated with him about her thinking on the matter but he would not share details of those conversations.

Stay loose: Republican senators were told by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday to keep their schedules flexible for the end of next week when they might take up impeachment.

Congress is scheduled to leave Washington for a weeklong break at the end of next week that includes the MLK Day holiday Jan. 20.

An attendee at Thursday’s lunch said McConnell told GOP senators that with the possibility that Pelosi could soon send over the impeachment articles from the House, senators should be prepared to be at the Capitol for Saturday sessions starting Jan. 18.

Pelosi said Thursday she would send the articles over when she is ready, and that might be in the coming days. 

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McConnell on Thursday signed on to a resolution by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., that would change Senate rules to allow a motion to dismiss articles of impeachment after 25 calendar days if they haven’t arrived from the House.

The House voted Dec. 18 to impeach Trump.

When she’s ready: At her weekly news conference Thursday, Pelosi suggested her hold on the articles of impeachment did not specify the circumstances that would lead to her releasing the articles to the Senate.

“No, I’m not holding them indefinitely,” Pelosi said answering questions from reporters. “I’ll send them over when I’m ready. And that will probably be soon.”

Pelosi reiterated she wants to see the Senate resolution specifying procedures for the impeachment trial before she releases her hold on the articles, although she also acknowledged that McConnell has declined to do so. 

“At some point we hope that we would see from them what the terms of the engagement would be,” she said. “We are ready.”

Although she had little leverage in trying to force the Senate to call witnesses in its trial of Trump, Pelosi cited former national security adviser John Bolton’s willingness to testify in the Senate and new information on the Ukraine aid package at the center of the inquiry since she put her hold on the articles.

“In the past few weeks since we’ve had, shall we say, this impasse since they won’t reveal the terms of engagement, many things have been accomplished,” she said.

Rudy’s take: Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani made the argument in a column in The Daily Caller that called for the Supreme Court to step in and rule Trump’s impeachment unconstitutional.

“House Democrats have put our constitutional government in grave danger by attempting to rewrite the carefully calibrated separation of powers under our Constitution and usurping powers not granted to the House,” Giuliani wrote.

The former New York mayor, who has been implicated in the investigation as running a shadow foreign policy operation in Ukraine, tweeted his assertion, which was roundly shot down and mocked.