This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 20, 2019:
Following the House vote to pass two articles of impeachment on to the Senate for final adjudication, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put a hold on the process: “We cannot name managers [to present our case to the Senate] until we see what the process is on the Senate side. So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a stall and a comedy:
Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work to the Senate. The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country and [are] second-guessing whether they even want to go to trial.
They said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even wait for due process but now they’re content to sit on their hands.
It is comical.
Editors at the Wall Street Journal said Pelosi’s stall has moved the impeachment process “from folly to farce.”
McConnell said Democrats were now suffering from “buyer’s remorse”:
I am glad that leading Democrats seem to have buyer’s remorse about the least fair, least thorough, and most rushed impeachment in American history. They should. But for the sake of the country I wish this understanding had dawned on them yesterday.
The Constitution gives the House the sole power of impeachment, and the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments. It’s similar to an indictment handed to a grand jury to hear the evidence and rule on guilt or innocence. The House indicted Trump under two articles and the Senate will conduct a hearing of the evidence before voting to acquit or affirm. It’s a two-step process.
But the process can’t continue until the Senate receives the articles and hears the evidence supporting them.
According to Noah Feldman, one of the four lawyers who testified during the House impeachment hearings, “if the House does not communicate its impeachment to the Senate, it hasn’t actually impeached the president. If the articles are not transmitted, Trump could legitimately say that he wasn’t truly impeached at all.”
McConnell thinks Pelosi’s delay in transmitting the articles to the Senate is a ruse, seeking leverage over the Senate: “Some House Democrats imply they are withholding the articles for some kind of leverage. I admit, I’m not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want. Alas, if they can figure that out, they can explain.”
Following weeks of pronouncements about the urgency of the situation … the prosecutors appear to have developed cold feet. Democrat prosecution seems to have gotten cold feet, and to be unsure about whether they want to proceed to the trial — like I said, a very unusual spectacle. So we’ll see whether House Democrats ever want to work up the courage to actually take their accusation to trial.
If the articles are transmitted, the Senate has two options: to vote to dismiss them out of hand and move on to other matters, or to hold a trial and acquit the president.
The president wants a trial:
So after the Democrats gave me no Due Process in the House, no lawyers, no witnesses, no nothing, they now want to tell the Senate how to run their trial.
Actually, they have zero proof of anything; they will never even show up. They want out. I want an immediate trial!
The Wall Street Journal summed up the present situation: “The House raced to an impeachment vote to please swing-district Members who wanted it over by Christmas. Democrats barred GOP witnesses and truncated questioning. Representative Adam Schiff even said speed was essential and the House couldn’t wait for court rulings on witnesses, lest Mr. Trump steal the 2020 election.… This … trivializes the impeachment power that the Pelosi Democrats have already done so much to diminish.”
The impeachment process has reached an impasse, with each side waiting for the other to make the next move.