After weeks of delay, damning new revelations, and the distraction of a near-war with Iran, the House will officially transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate next week.
In a letter to colleagues, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote: “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.”
The House voted on December 18th to impeach President Donald J. Trump on two charges: abuse of power — specifically, withholding military aid and diplomatic reassurance from Ukraine until that country committed to investigate his political rivals — and obstruction of Congress.
But Pelosi held the articles in the House for weeks, seeking to get Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to commit to measures ensuring a fair trial in that chamber. Pelosi said she could not choose impeachment managers — the House members who serve as the prosecution in an impeachment trial — until McConnell showed his cards. “We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi said following the impeachment vote. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
McConnell, who has said openly that he is working hand-in-glove with the White House on impeachment, did not budge in committing to any specific process in the Senate. But the delay has served a purpose. Damning new information has continued to come to light, and a key witness has volunteered to testify should the Senate subpoena him.
Pelosi outlined the new revelations in bullet points in her letter:
- On December 20, new emails showed that 91 minutes after Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, a top Office of Management and Budget (OMB) aide asked the Department of Defense to “hold off” on sending military aid to Ukraine.
- On December 29, revelations emerged about OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s role in the delay of aid, the effort by lawyers at the OMB, the Department of Justice and the White House to justify the delay, and the alarm that the delay caused within the Administration.
- On January 2, newly-unredacted Pentagon emails, which we had subpoenaed and the President had blocked, raised serious concerns by Trump Administration officials about the legality of the President’s hold on aid to Ukraine.
Just this week, former National Security Adviser John Bolton — who had decried the pressure campaign on Ukraine as a “drug deal,” according to impeachment witnesses — declared his willingness to buck the White House and testify at the Senate impeachment trial.
Senate procedure will be determined by simple majority votes. Democratic House leadership plainly hopes this new information will prompt a handful of moderate Senate Republicans to join with Senate Democrats to insist on trial procedures that include calling key witnesses, over the objections of McConnell.
McConnell this week signed on to a resolution seeking to dismiss the articles of impeachment if Pelosi did not transmit them promptly to the Senate. In her letter to colleagues, Pelosi said McConnell “showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial,” accusing him of attempting a “cover-up” that “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,” wrote Pelosi.