- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is under increasing pressure to send the Senate the articles of impeachment against President Trump, with a group of Republican senators introducing legislation Monday that would allow the Senate to dismiss the impeachment charges altogether if she doesn’t turn them over in five days.

The effort to force Mrs. Pelosi to hand over the articles of impeachment came as former national security adviser John Bolton announced he is willing to testify in the impeachment trial if he is subpoenaed by the Senate.

“Since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study,” he wrote in a statement. “I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.”

House Democrats had requested Mr. Bolton testify during their investigation of Mr. Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he requested a corruption probe into Mr. Biden, whose son Hunter landed a high-paying post on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings while his father, now a 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner, spearheaded Obama White House policy in that graft-riddled country.

Democrats argue that Mr. Trump was using his Oval Office power to influence the 2020 election.



Mr. Bolton could provide a first-hand account of some of the events central to the impeachment case, including meetings with Ukrainian officials.

He had declined to cooperate with the investigation, citing a court case that weighed a congressional subpoena for fellow White House official Charles Kupperman against executive privilege.

That case was dismissed last week.

Shortly before leaving for the Christmas recess, the House voted Dec. 18 to impeach Mr. Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

But as of Tuesday, Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, will have withheld from the Senate the two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump for 20 days.

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the measure that would change Senate rules allowing the upper chamber to dismiss the impeachment charges after 25 days if the House doesn’t hand over the articles of impeachment.

“Now when it’s time to put up or shut up — actually put the evidence forward to be judged — now Speaker Pelosi is saying she may withhold the articles indefinitely,” the Missouri Republican said on the Senate floor.

Mr. Hawley accused the speaker of obstructing a Senate trial, which is to occur after the House votes to impeach a sitting president under the U.S. Constitution.

“We now have the longest delay in American history,” he said.

The resolution would deem articles of impeachment transmitted to the Senate if the House fails to do so within 25 days, according to the text of the measure. A senator then could introduce a motion to dismiss the articles “with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute.”

The full Senate would have to vote on dismissal, which would require a majority 51 votes.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not signaled if he’s inclined to support Mr. Hawley’s resolution.

The Kentucky Republican, though, did express frustration with Mrs. Pelosi’s delay.

“House Democrats are treating impeachment like a political toy,” Mr. McConnell said. “These bizarre stunts do not serve our Constitution or our national security. They erode both.”

But not all Republicans are eager to alter the chamber’s rules.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, backed away from the push during an interview with Fox News.

“I doubt Senate Democrats would join us in this effort to start this trial and I think the ball is in Speaker Pelosi’s court,” Mr. Cornyn said.

No Republicans joined House Democrats on the impeachment vote, making it the first impeachment in the nation’s history without bipartisan support.

Mr. Trump said Mrs. Pelosi’s delay is an attempt to impact the 2020 election.

“I think what they’re trying to do is affect the election, illegally,” Mr. Trump told radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday.

Mr. Trump also vented about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which failed to find a criminal conspiracy between his campaign and Russia.

He said Democrats decided to double down by digging into his interactions with Ukraine.

“They come up with two articles that aren’t even a crime,” Mr. Trump said.

Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, have insisted that Senate Republicans agree to a fair trial and allow witnesses to be called.

Mr. Schumer has said he wants to hear from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Mr. Bolton, as well as two others from the president’s inner circle.

The House, during its 12-week impeachment inquiry, did not subpoena either Mr. Mulvaney or Mr. Bolton, and Senate Republicans have charged they shouldn’t be responsible for cleaning up Mrs. Pelosi’s work.

But now that Mr. Bolton has said he is willing to testify, Mrs. Pelosi suggested that Senate Republicans have no choice.

“The President & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses. They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves,” she wrote on Twitter. “The Senate cannot be complicit in the President’s cover-up.”

Most Senate Republicans, however, back Mr. McConnell’s plan for a trial that would hear the case presented by the House before deciding if additional witnesses are needed, which is the same process followed in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.

Mr. Schumer hopes at least four Senate Republicans join Democrats in calling for Mr. Bolton’s testimony. That would give him the 51 votes needed to call a witness during an impeachment trial.

Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate. Democrats hold 45 seats and can count on the chamber’s two independent senators who caucus with Democrats.

“Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover-up,” Mr. Schumer said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested the Senate should take control during the impeachment impasse as Mrs. Pelosi holds out.

Mr. Graham is not listed on Mr. Hawley’s measure as an original co-sponsor, but he said he believes he’s on the same page.

“We are talking about the same thing, but from my view, I think we should urge the speaker to send over the articles. If she doesn’t, I would like to change the rules,” he told The Washington Times.

“I don’t want to turn the Senate over to Nancy Pelosi,” Mr. Graham added. “You can’t let her use the rules against us.”

Mr. McConnell has bucked Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer’s demands, saying his chamber should stick with the same rules and procedures as the senators unanimously agreed to in 1999.

The issue of whether to call witnesses during Mr. Clinton’s trial was decided after senators heard from both House prosecutors bringing the charges and the president’s legal team’s response.

Mr. Hawley’s measure has 10 original co-sponsors: Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe and Georgia Sen. David Perdue.

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide