House Poised to Send Trump Impeachment Article to Senate
The House of Representatives will likely send the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate by the end of the week, a top Senate Democrat said Thursday, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House is “ready” to send the article.
“They will be sending it over to us in a day or two, I imagine. We have to decide how to work it into a very busy calendar. But it is a priority,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said during a virtual appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
At the Capitol, Pelosi told a press conference that she wouldn’t disclose the exact day the House will transmit he article.
“I’m not going to be telling you when it is going. We had to wait for the Senate to be in session. They’ve now informed us that they’re ready to receive,” she said. “The question is, are there questions about how a trial will proceed. But we are ready.”
The Senate was out of session until Jan. 19. Democrats gained the majority on Wednesday when three senators were sworn in.
The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 for alleged incitement of an insurrection. They blame him for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Very clear he has been on this path for a while, but just that day, he roused the troops, he urged them on to ‘fight like hell,’ he sent them on their way to the Capitol, he called upon lawlessness. He showed a path to the capital, and the lawlessness took place, a direct connection in one day, over and above all of the other statements he had made before,” Pelosi said.
A timeline shows that Trump had not finished speaking before the violence started at the Capitol, approximately two miles away. In addition, Trump urged supporters during the speech to act “peacefully.”
Republicans have decried the impeachment push, noting that Trump is now out of office.
“My overall question is: Why are we doing this when the president is out of office tomorrow?” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told reporters on Tuesday.
Democrats want to punish Trump, with an eye toward disqualifying him from ever holding office again if they drum up the votes required to convict him in the Senate.
President Joe Biden is facing questions on how he can support a conviction while at the same time saying he wants to unify the country. Trump remains popular among Republicans, and just received a record-high number of votes for a sitting president in the 2020 election.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki ducked that line of questioning both Wednesday night and during a separate appearance on MSNBC early Thursday.
“He’s going to leave it to them to determine what the path forward should be on the pace, on the steps, on the mechanics of holding the president accountable—former president, I should say,” she said.
Biden has asked Democrats in Congress to reserve at least half a day for hearing from and confirming his nominees.
“We are confident that just like the American people can, the Senate can also multitask,” Psaki told reporters.
“You could literally have nomination hearings and nomination votes in the morning. You could have the impeachment trial in the afternoon. And then in the evening you could vote on legislative matters,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told reporters in Washington.
Pelosi also tried rebuffing the idea that trying to convict Trump undermines the message of unity.
“No. I am not worried about that. The fact is the president committed an act of incitement of insurrection. I don’t think it is unifying to say ‘Oh, let’s just forget it and move on.’ That’s not how you unify,” she said.
“Joe Biden said it beautifully: if you’re going to unite, you must remember.’”
Peter Navarro, a former White House trade adviser under Trump, said Wednesday that Biden must pressure Democrats to drop the impeachment effort if he’s serious about unity.
“If not, forget about unity,” he said. “That’s gone, that’s off the table. This will be a 50-50 country. The gap between us will be a chasm. There will be nothing but friction.”