WASHINGTON (AP) — Hear ye, hear ye: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hitting the send button on President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
That’s after she paused the whole constitutional matter, producing a three-week standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and complicating the campaigning picture for the five Democratic senators in the White House race.
By Friday, three weeks before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, what leverage Pelosi, D-Calif., had possessed was in question.
She wanted McConnell to allow witnesses and documents. He answered that those decisions would be made later — by the Republican-controlled Senate, not anyone in the Democratic-run House. With 51 votes for that plan, McConnell never budged. Yet it now appears at least a few Republicans are open to witness testimony once the trial begins.
Here’s what to watch as the impeachment charges make their slow-motion journey to the Senate this week.
Pelosi insisted for weeks that she would send the articles when she was ready.
“Probably,” she said Thursday. “Soon,″ she added.
Before noon the next day, after House members stampeded out of session for the weekend without acting on impeachment, a grinning Pelosi made her way toward her office. She paused at the threshold, casting Democrats as “a thousand flowers blossoming beautifully in our caucus.” Then, still smiling, Pelosi disappeared into her suite.
It was 11:43 a.m. At that precise moment, Pelosi’s “Dear Colleague” letter saying she would send the impeachment articles this coming week landed in hundreds of congressional inboxes.
Pelosi said she was directing the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., to write a resolution naming House members — “managers,” in the official parlance — to prosecute the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress at Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Whoever wins the plum assignments is a white-hot topic in the Capitol, and Pelosi has held the number of managers and their identities close.
The speaker also said she would discuss the process “further” at a caucus meeting Tuesday.