In an Op-Ed written by a Harvard Law professor called upon as a Witness by Democrats Trump isn’t actually impeached until the house tells the senate.
Feldman writes in Bloomberg:
The Constitution doesn’t say how fast the articles must go to the Senate. Some modest delay is not inconsistent with the Constitution, or how both chambers usually work.
But an indefinite delay would pose a serious problem. Impeachment as contemplated by the Constitution does not consist merely of the vote by the House, but of the process of sending the articles to the Senate for trial. Both parts are necessary to make an impeachment under the Constitution: The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial.
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.
That’s because “impeachment” under the Constitution means the House sending its approved articles of to the Senate, with House managers standing up in the Senate and saying the president is impeached.
As for the headlines we saw after the House vote saying, “TRUMP IMPEACHED,” those are a media shorthand, not a technically correct legal statement. So far, the House has voted to impeach (future tense) Trump. He isn’t impeached (past tense) until the articles go to the Senate and the House members deliver the message.
The Harvard law professor who appeared as a Democratic witness before the judiciary committee impeachment hearing says impeachment hasn’t been concluded until the House delivers the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.
Noah Feldman indicated in an op-ed published by Bloomberg that the Articles of Impeachment, approved in a House vote Wednesday night, need to be delivered to the Senate in order to actually impeach President Donald Trump.
“The House must actually send the articles and send managers to the Senate to prosecute the impeachment. And the Senate must actually hold a trial,” Feldman wrote.
That poses something of a problem for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is being coy about when, if, or how she plans to move impeachment forward. The Democratic California congresswoman says she might sit on the articles until she is assured of a “fair” trial in the Senate. House Majority Whip James Clyburn has even suggested the Democrats might never advance the impeachment process.
That’s a position that Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called “incredibly dangerous” and “uncharted waters — constitutionally,” on Thursday.