Nancy Pelosi has essentially put impeachment at a standstill by not sending the articles to the Senate or committing to a timeline as to when it will happen.
It’s unclear whether this tactic will help Democrats get a more favorable trial but it does appear that impeachment will be left up in the air until at least January.
WashingtonExaminer reports lawyers for President Trump on Friday quietly scoped out the Senate, seeking possible locations for the trial that will weigh two articles impeaching the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
But the timing of the trial, or whether one will take place, has been left in limbo for the next several weeks because of partisan fighting over witnesses.
Republicans and Democrats aren’t going to resolve immediately when, or if, the Senate will hold a trial to consider the articles, which leaves the president’s fate dangling until at least early January.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he doesn’t have immediate plans to meet with his Democratic counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to try to reach a compromise on major differences in how each party wants to set the terms governing a trial.
The Senate and House are not scheduled to return for votes until Jan. 6 and 7, respectively, so any resolution will likely have to wait until well after the holidays.
McConnell and Schumer met privately on Thursday to try to work out a deal on how the trial would proceed. Schumer wants McConnell to agree to subpoena four witnesses who are former and current Trump administration officials. McConnell rejected the offer. He wants the Senate to agree to a bipartisan “first step” that would allow both the House Democratic impeachment managers and the White House lawyers defending Trump to present their arguments. At that point, lawmakers could decide whether they have heard enough to vote on the matter.
McConnell said all 100 senators agreed to a similar arrangement in 1999 when the Senate held a trial weighing two impeachment articles against President Bill Clinton.
“We remain at an impasse, because my friend, the Democratic leader, continues to demand a new and different set of rules for President Trump,” McConnell said. “He wants us to break from that unanimous bipartisan precedent and force an all-or-nothing approach.”
The articles haven’t made it over to the Senate yet, and perhaps they never will.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, is under pressure from her liberal base to hold onto the articles to increase Schumer’s leverage in getting testimony from the four Trump witnesses.
Democrats want former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, as well as two other officials, to testify about Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and to look into whether Democrats in 2016 worked with Ukraine to undermine his campaign. Democrats are also seeking documents related to Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine, when he asked for help with those investigations.