House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested over the weekend that Speaker Nancy Pelosi held onto the articles of impeachment for several weeks to hurt the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.
“Remember what happened in the last nomination process, where the DNC chairman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had to resign the night before the nomination convention started because they had found out they had cheated Senator Bernie Sanders from the opportunity to become the nominee,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“They are doing the exact same thing right now,” he said, calling it the “dirty little secret” about why Mrs. Pelosi did not immediately send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate after the House approved them.
“This benefits Joe Biden,” Mr. McCarthy said, referring to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, also a Democratic presidential candidate. “This harms Senator Sanders, who is in first place and could become their nominee, because he will be stuck in a chair, because Nancy Pelosi held the papers, different than what she said to the American public why she had to move so urgently.”
If and when there is an impeachment trial in the Senate, the proceedings could require senators to be in the chamber — and off the presidential campaign trail — for six days per week as long as the trial goes on.
In addition to Mr. Sanders, four other U.S. senators are still actively running for president: Michael Bennet of Colorado, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Mrs. Pelosi and House Democrats are set to meet this week to determine exactly how and when to send the articles to the Senate.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, had said she wanted to see the “arena” into which she was sending impeachment managers.
House Democrats are accusing President Trump of improperly pressuring Ukraine into opening up politically beneficial investigations, including into Mr. Biden and the 2016 election.