McCon­nell says ‘no hag­gling’ as im­peach­ment stand­off deepens

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - As­so­ci­ated Press

By Lisa Mas­caro, Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram and Lau­rie Kell­man

WASH­ING­TON >> Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell said Wednesday there will be “no hag­gling” over the process for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­peach­ment trial in a deep­en­ing stand­off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over Demo­cratic de­mands for de­tails and more witnesses.

McCon­nell has in­di­cated Repub­li­cans have the lever­age they need to launch Trump’s trial on his terms, but Pelosi’s re­luc­tance to trans­mit the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment leaves the Se­nate pro­ceed­ings at a stand­still.

A res­o­lu­tion is ex­pected this week in the show

down that is test­ing the ne­go­ti­at­ing skills of the two sea­soned lead­ers as they face off over the rare im­peach­ment trial, only the third in the na­tion’s his­tory.

The House im­peached Trump last month on charges that he abused the power of his of­fice by pres­sur­ing Ukraine’s new leader to in­ves­ti­gate Democrats, us­ing as lever­age $400 mil­lion in mil­i­tary as­sis­tance for U.S. ally as it coun­ters Russia at its bor­der. The fund­ing for Ukraine was even­tu­ally re­leased but only af­ter Congress in­ter­vened.

Trump in­sists he did noth­ing wrong. His trial will be con­ducted in the Se­nate, where Repub­li­cans have a thin ma­jor­ity.

“There will be no hag­gling with the House over Se­nate pro­ce­dure,” said McCon­nell, R-Ky. “We will not cede our au­thor­ity to try this im­peach­ment. The House Democrats’ turn is over.”

But even as McCon­nell spoke from the Se­nate floor, Pelosi, D-Calif., was giv­ing no in­di­ca­tion of her plans. In a closed-door meet­ing with the House Demo­cratic cau­cus, she spoke in­stead about the cri­sis in the Mid­dle East, with Iran’s re­tal­ia­tory bal­lis­tic mis­sile at­tacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral Democrats in the room.

Pelosi wants McCon­nell to “im­me­di­ately” make pub­lic the de­tails of his trial pro­posal, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter to col­leagues. She wants to see how much time will be de­voted to the trial, and other de­tails be­fore she an­nounces her choice of House man­agers to try the case in the Se­nate, ac­cord­ing to Democrats fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion and granted anonymity to dis­cuss it.

“Sadly, Leader McCon­nell has made clear that his loy­alty is to the Pres­i­dent and not the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Pelosi wrote to col­leagues late Tues­day. She said the process he is out­lin­ing “is not only un­fair but de­signed to de­prive Sen­a­tors and the Amer­i­can peo­ple of cru­cial doc­u­ments and tes­ti­mony.’’

The con­tours of a Se­nate trial have been in dis­pute for weeks. But McCon­nell gained ground when he an­nounced Tues­day that he has sup­port from the ma­jor­ity of sen­a­tors to start a trial struc­tured like the last one, against Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in 1999. Those pro­ceed­ings also be­gan without an agree­ment on witnesses.

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