Democrats end­ing stall tac­tics with Se­nate GOP

Pelosi says House will send the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment next week

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick

WASH­ING­TON >> House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Fri­day the House will take steps next week to send ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment to the Se­nate end­ing Democrats’ block­ade of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Se­nate trial.

In a let­ter to her Demo­cratic col­leagues, Pelosi said she was proud of their “courage and pa­tri­o­tism” and warned that sen­a­tors now have a choice as they con­sider the charges of abuse and ob­struc­tion against the pres­i­dent.

“In an im­peach­ment trial, ev­ery Sen­a­tor takes an oath to do ‘im­par­tial jus­tice ac­cord­ing to the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws,” Pelosi wrote. “Ev­ery Sen­a­tor now faces a choice: to be loyal to the Pres­i­dent or the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Pelosi has been in a stand­off with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell that has con­sumed Capi­tol Hill and scram­bled the po­lit­i­cal dy­nam­ics more than three weeks af­ter the House im­peached Trump.

She said she has asked House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jer­rold Nadler to be pre­pared to bring to the floor next week a res­o­lu­tion to ap­point man­agers and trans­mit the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment to the Se­nate.

“I will be con­sult­ing with you at our Tues­day House Demo­cratic Cau­cus meet­ing on how we pro­ceed fur­ther,” Pelosi wrote. She did not an­nounce a date for the House vote.

The move eases for now the pro­tracted show­down be­tween Pelosi and Mc­Connell over the rare im­peach­ment trial, only the third in the nation’s his­tory.

The pres­i­dent faces charges of abuse and ob­struc­tion over his ac­tions to­ward Ukraine.

Trans­mit­tal of the doc­u­ments and nam­ing of House im­peach­ment man­agers are the next steps needed to start the Se­nate trial.

Yet ques­tions re­main in the Se­nate on the scope and du­ra­tion of the trial.

Mc­Connell wants to launch a speedy trial with­out new wit­nesses but Democrats point to new ev­i­dence that has emerged as they press for fresh tes­ti­mony.

Trump mocked Pelosi with his tweets Fri­day and de­rided her and other Democrats late Thursday in Toledo, his first rally of 2020.

The House im­peached Trump in De­cem­ber on the charge 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 the U.S. ally as it coun­ters Rus­sia at its border. Trump in­sists he did noth­ing wrong, but his de­fi­ance of the House Democrats’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion led to an ad­di­tional charge of ob­struc­tion of Congress.

Mc­Connell told GOP sen­a­tors at a lunchtime meet­ing this week to ex­pect the trial next week, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with his re­marks. The peo­ple re­quested anonymity to dis­cuss the pri­vate meet­ing.

He had signed on to a res­o­lu­tion from Sen. Josh Haw­ley, R-Mo., to change Se­nate rules to al­low for the dis­missal of ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment if the House doesn’t trans­mit them in 25 days. That now ap­pear un­likely.

In the weeks since Trump was im­peached, Democrats have fo­cused on new ev­i­dence about Trump’s ef­fort to pres­sure Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals and they pushed the Se­nate to con­sider new tes­ti­mony, in­clud­ing from for­mer White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton. Repub­li­cans are just as fo­cused on a speedy trial with ac­quit­tal.

Repub­li­cans have the lever­age, with a slim 53-47 Se­nate ma­jor­ity, as Mc­Connell re­buffs the Demo­cratic de­mands for tes­ti­mony and doc­u­ments. But Democrats are us­ing the de­lay to sow pub­lic doubt about the fair­ness of the process as they try to peel off wa­ver­ing GOP sen­a­tors for the up­com­ing votes. It takes just 51 sen­a­tors to set the rules.

“When we say fair trial, we mean facts, we mean wit­nesses, we mean doc­u­ments,” said Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., promis­ing votes ahead. “Ev­ery sin­gle one of us, in this Se­nate, will have to have to take a stand. How do my Repub­li­can friends want the Amer­i­can peo­ple, their con­stituents, and his­tory to re­mem­ber them?”

Trump had weighed in from the White House sug­gest­ing that he, too, would like more wit­nesses at trial. They in­clude for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who is seek­ing the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion now, and his son Hunter, as well as the gov­ern­ment whistle­blower whose com­plaint about the pres­i­dent’s pres­sure on Ukraine sparked the im­peach­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On a July tele­phone call with Ukraine’s new pres­i­dent, Trump asked his coun­ter­part to open an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Bi­dens while hold­ing up mil­i­tary aid for Ukraine. A Ukrainian gas com­pany had hired Hunter Bi­den when his fa­ther was vice pres­i­dent and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s point man on Ukraine. There is no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing by ei­ther Bi­den.

Trump sug­gested that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would con­tinue to block Bolton or oth­ers from the ad­min­is­tra­tion from ap­pear­ing be­fore sen­a­tors. Many of those of­fi­cials have de­fied con­gres­sional sub­poe­nas for their tes­ti­mony.

“When we start al­low­ing na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that,” Trump said Thursday dur­ing an event with build­ing con­trac­tors. “So we have to pro­tect pres­i­den­tial priv­i­lege for me, but for fu­ture pres­i­dents. That’s very im­por­tant.”

Bolton, one of four wit­nesses that Democrats have re­quested, said this week that he would tes­tify if sub­poe­naed.

Mc­Connell has said from the start he is look­ing to model Trump’s trial on the last time the Se­nate con­vened as the court of im­peach­ment, for Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in 1999. Mc­Connell has said there will be “no hag­gling” with House Democrats over Se­nate pro­ce­dures.

“There will be no un­fair, new rule rule-book writ­ten solely for Pres­i­dent Trump,” Mc­Connell said Thursday.

The de­lay on im­peach­ment has also up­ended the po­lit­i­cal cal­en­dar, with the week­s­long trial now ex­pected to bump into pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing con­tests, which be­gin in early Fe­bru­ary. Sev­eral Demo­cratic sen­a­tors are run­ning for the party’s nom­i­na­tion.

It’s still un­clear who Pelosi will ap­point as im­peach­ment man­agers to pros­e­cute the case in the Se­nate.

Nadler, D-N.Y., and House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Chair­man Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will most likely lead the team.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., ar­rives to meet with re­porters fol­low­ing es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions this week be­tween the U.S. and Iran, Thursday on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton.

EVAN VUCCI — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lis­tens as Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior David Bern­hardt speaks on pro­posed changes to the Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy Act, at the White House, Thursday in Wash­ing­ton.

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell, R-Ky., tells re­porters he has se­cured enough Repub­li­can votes to start Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­peach­ment trial and post­pone a de­ci­sion on wit­nesses and doc­u­ments Democrats want, at the Capi­tol in Wash­ing­ton, Tues­day.

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