- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday that the articles of impeachment against President Trump will be transmitted to the Senate next week, backing down from the unprecedented standoff with the Senate without winning concessions that Democrats demanded from the GOP-controlled upper chamber.

After holding on to the articles for more than three weeks, Mrs. Pelosi appeared to fold to bipartisan pressure and hand a win to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

Democratic lawmakers had pushed Mr. McConnell to guarantee more witness testimony, but he insisted on sticking with the same process used in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, where witness testimony was debated later in the proceedings.

According to a letter Mrs. Pelosi sent to House Democratic members, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler is tasked with preparing a resolution naming impeachment managers for the articles to be sent over to the other chamber, which the House will vote on sometime next week.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, refused to send over the articles of impeachment after a party-line House vote Dec. 18 that impeached Mr. Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The charges stem from a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president where Mr. Trump requested a probe into his political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

In a press conference on Thursday, she said the Republicans hadn’t made clear what the process will be for the trial.

“I said from the start, we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?” Mrs. Pelosi said.

Mr. McConnell announced this week that he secured the votes needed to move ahead with a process like that in the Clinton trial.

In that 1999 proceeding, House prosecutors and a White House defense team presented their cases and answered questions from senators before the chamber decided whether or not to hear from additional witnesses.

Those rules were decided unanimously in 1999.

It takes 51 votes to call a witness. Republicans hold 53 seats and the Democratic caucus holds 47.

A few Republican senators, while onboard with Mr. McConnell’s approach, are also interested in hearing from key witnesses such as former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton.

House Democrats have been arguing the Republicans aren’t actually honoring the Clinton model in this situation because the Democratic president was investigated by a special counsel for more than a year, whereas some officials who House Democrats called for their investigation did not cooperate. Mrs. Pelosi and her colleagues refused to go to court to enforce subpoenas.

Despite announcing she will send the articles over to Mr. McConnell’s chamber without a guarantee of more witness testimony, Mrs. Pelosi presented her standoff as a win.

She said more evidence against the president was revealed during the three-week impasse, such as new emails related to the withholding of military aid after Mr. Trump’s request to the Ukrainian president and an announcement from Mr. Bolton, who said he was willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate, suggesting he has new information.

“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,” Mrs. Pelosi wrote in her letter to Democrats.

“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,” she added.

Mrs. Pelosi also slammed Mr. McConnell for signing on to a resolution, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, that would have dismissed the trial altogether if the articles weren’t submitted by Friday — 25 days from the impeachment vote.

“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,” she wrote.

Mr. Hawley responded on Twitter to the news that Mrs. Pelosi folded from the Democrats’ demands.

“After a week of strong pressure & just before the 25-day deadline in our rule Senate change, Pelosi caves,” he tweeted.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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