- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she wasn’t sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate until she knows what the trial will look like, and then she cut off questions about impeachment at her weekly press conference.

A day after impeaching President Trump in a party-line vote, the speaker said she was putting the breaks on the process and didn’t want to talk about it.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said the House cannot name impeachment managers, which is the next step for Democrats, until the Senate firmly sets its own rules for the trial.

“We’re ready. When we see what they have we’ll know who and how many we’ll send over,” the California Democrat said. “We’ll see what they have, and we’ll be ready for whatever it is.”

The speaker refused to provide more details on the issue, urging reporters to ask about the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and other legislation.

Her comments appeared to downplay the suggestion that House Democrats could refrain from sending the articles in an attempt to pressure the Senate into holding a more fair trial with witnesses.

However, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat, said that he would support holding on to the articles indefinitely.

“The delay is necessary because the majority leader in the Senate has made it very clear that he’s not going to be impartial,” the South Carolina Democrat said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Until we can get some assurances from the majority leader that he’s going to allow for a fair and impartial trial to take place, we will be crazy to walk in there knowing he set up a kangaroo court.”

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Democrats were “admitting defeat” by delaying the articles, noting “I don’t think she has the constitutionality to keep them.”

“Now we have the Speaker of the House who is so embarrassed that she admits the failure of this impeachment that she will not even send it to the Senate,” the California Republican said. “She’s so embarrassed by that she won’t even take your questions.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell taunted the speaker Thursday morning, accusing Democrats of being “too afraid” of sending the articles to the next phase.

The Constitution says the Senate “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

In the Senate, there’s a battle brewing between the Republicans and the Democrats over how the trial will unfold.

Mr. Trump has signaled he remains open to calling witnesses in his defense, surprisingly aligning himself with Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, who also wants to call more witnesses to testify in an extended process in the Senate.

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham have shot down those demands in favor of a more streamlined process.

Democrats impeached Mr. Trump on two counts — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — late Wednesday night on a party-line vote, the first time in American history that articles were approved without bipartisan support.

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