Pelosi says she'll send impeachment articles when 'ready,' but predicts it could be 'soon'

During her weekly news conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn't commit to when she would send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate saying, "we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers."

Posted: Jan 9, 2020 7:10 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 7:10 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled a possible end to the standoff over the impeachment articles, saying Thursday she would send them over "when I'm ready" — and suggesting it would likely be soon.

Pelosi's comments came after key House Democrats piled on the push from the speaker's allies to end the impeachment articles holdout.

Frontline Democrats facing difficult races and even one key House committee chairman said Thursday that Pelosi should send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate so President Donald Trump's trial can begin, though the chairman, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, walked back comments made on CNN Thursday morning.

"I think it's time" to send the articles over to the Senate, said Rep. Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat in a key seat.

At her weekly news conference, Pelosi did not back down from the delay on sending the articles, though she said she would not keep them indefinitely.

"I'll send them over when I'm ready. That will probably be soon," Pelosi said. "We want to see what they're willing to do and the manner in which they're willing to do it."

Pelosi's comments underscored the sentiment from within her caucus that the time for withholding the impeachment articles was nearing an end, three weeks after the House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said Thursday there won't be an indefinite delay.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Judiciary committee, defended Pelosi's strategy, but also said: "There can't be an indefinite delay. Obviously there's a constitutional and political clock ticking at this point. We're very eager to see that things move forward. Our report accompanying the articles of impeachment says the president constitutes a clear and present danger to American constitutional system ... We have to move forward on a basis that does justice to what the Constitution provides."

At a closed meeting in Pelosi's office with the six committee chairs who are investigating the President, the speaker did not tip her hand about her timeline on sending the articles to the Senate, according to two sources.

"The articles will be sent when they'll be sent," said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, declining further comment.

At a separate meeting with her top messengers on impeachment, sources indicated that Pelosi was still insistent on seeing the details of the Senate procedures before sending the articles over. They discussed polling from six battleground states on the public supporting a "fair trial" in the Senate, according to sources.

The push from House Democrats comes after Senate Democrats earlier in the week expressed impatience with Pelosi to keep withholding the impeachment articles after Congress returned to Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shown no willingness to change his charted course on the Senate impeachment trial in the face of Pelosi's delay, saying on Tuesday he had the votes — without Democrats — to begin the trial.

McConnell on Thursday rejected Pelosi's demand that he must first unveil the resolution detailing Trump's trial procedures before she sends over the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

"No, we aren't going to do that," he told CNN.

McConnell added he's at a loss when the Senate trial will start. "Haven't heard a thing," he said, adding that speculation that the trial could start next week is based on the "same thing you've been hearing."

McConnell's statement is the latest indication that the ball remains in Pelosi's court about when she'll appoint her impeachment managers and send over the articles, which will start the trial.

The dispute between McConnell and Democrats all comes down to witnesses. Democrats say that the Senate trial must include witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, neither of whom testified during the House impeachment inquiry. But McConnell has insisted that the Senate should begin the trial with opening statements, and then move to a decision about whether to call any witnesses.

Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues Tuesday saying she wanted to see McConnell release the resolution laying out the rules of the trial before sending the impeachment articles.

"As I said right from the start, we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?" Pelosi said Thursday.

But McConnell has rejected Pelosi's request, saying Wednesday there would be no "haggling" with the House.

Democrats say that Pelosi's strategy has been effective, pointing to Bolton's statement this week that he would testify in a Senate trial if subpoenaed. But a growing number of Democrats see diminishing returns in an extended delay, amid concerns that such a move would look like a political ploy.

Smith, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, told CNN's John Berman Thursday morning "it is time" to send the articles.

"I think it is time to send impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is," Smith said.

A few hours later, however, Smith walked back his comments on Twitter, saying he misspoke.

"I misspoke this morning, I do believe we should do everything we can to force the Senate to have a fair trial," Smith tweeted. "If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision."

Smith said he issued the clarifying statement because of constituent calls, not due to pressure from Pelosi.

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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