But many Democrats have said that part of Pelosi’s calculations is waiting for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to strike a power-sharing deal in the Senate 50-50, something they are still negotiating about.
Pelosi told reporters in the Senate on Thursday, “They tell us now that they are ready to receive,” noting that there are “other questions about how the trial will proceed.”
She added, “I will not tell you when it is due,” refusing to provide further details.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on January 13, with one week remaining in his term as every Democrat and nearly a dozen Republicans have warned that he represents a clear and present danger to the country.
But Pelosi has so far stopped referring the article to the Senate, a process that involves House accountability directors handing papers through the Capitol dome. It is a similar step to Pelosi’s handling of Trump’s first impeachment trial in December 2019, when Democrats waited weeks during their winter recess in Congress to send in articles as they sought to carefully plan the start of the Senate trial.
This time, the process is more complicated as the Senate impeachment trial will begin as Trump leaves office and newly installed President Joe Biden tries to shut down his government amid multiple national crises.
The Senate is moving quickly to approve key national security posts this week, but the trial – which requires senators to sit in the House six days a week throughout its term – is almost certain to slow the process down for some Biden candidates at least.
To complicate matters further, Schumer and McConnell have yet to reach an agreement to rule the Senate, which many Democrats have said will have a major impact on when Pelosi sends the article and the trial begins. The biggest obstacle to reaching an agreement is McConnell Schumer demanding that the legislative blockage be maintained, which The Democrats refused.
Unlike in 2019, when nearly all Republicans supported the acquittal of Trump, his fate in the Senate remains uncertain. It’s unlikely that 17 Republicans will vote to convict their former president, but key Republican senators, including McConnell, say they are still hesitant and Republican convention accounts could change quickly.
Some Republicans have questioned the constitutionality of an impeachment trial now that Trump is no longer in office. Some also complained that the Democrats ’move to impeach Trump – regardless of his involvement in the Capitol riots on January 6 that left five people dead – would undermine Biden’s calls for national unity at his inauguration on Wednesday.
But Pelosi told reporters on Thursday that she was “not concerned” about that argument.
“The president of the United States committed an act of incitement to insurrection,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think it’s very uniform to say, let’s forget it and go ahead. That’s not how it is united.”
Just because he’s gone now – thank God – don’t tell a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration. You will get a free jail exit card because “people think you should be nice and kind and forget that people died here on January 6th”