Talk about your quid pro quos. After ramrodding through the tissue-thin impeachment articles in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now threatening to withhold the Democrats’ case unless she can dictate the terms of the Senate trial. The Majority Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, hasn’t weighed in on Pelosi’s plan to take over his domain.
Pelosi, Congressman Adam Schiff, and Senator Chris Van Hollen have now all floated the idea of freezing the House vote where it is and not sending the impeachment articles to the U.S. Senate, where President Trump would undoubtedly go down in history as being vindicated.
Pelosi said, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us” and vowed to withhold naming the House Managers (the prosecutors) of the impeachment case until McConnell gives her the kind of “fair trial” that she demands:
NEW: Pelosi says she won't name impeachment managers until there's a "fair trial" in Senate — essentially holding up the process.
"So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us," Pelosi said, without detailing exact demands.
"But right now, the president is impeached."
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) December 19, 2019
The prevent-defense by the Democrats would, in the words of Fox News host Laura Ingraham, allow Pelosi to “say ‘we’ve impeached the president’ [but not] let him say he was acquitted.”
Ingraham asked former Whitewater independent counsel Chris Ray about such a move. He shut it down: “Even as Speaker of the House, she doesn’t get to tell the United States Senate what to do, period.”
Constitutional law expert John Eastman was stunned that Pelosi would break with yet another precedent:
There’s certainly no precedent for withholding articles of impeachment. When the House passes a resolution or a bill it necessarily must go to the Senate for consideration. This is not a single House resolution, this is something that requires the participation of both houses of Congress. Again, completely uncharted territory. But if she doesn’t send them over there, it just proves that … this is a sham…
Even Kellyanne Conway weighed in on Pelosi’s late-stage gambit, saying Pelosi would do anything to “mollify the …hater, detractors and distracters in her conference”:
[Pelosi] wants to go on and on so she can gather more ‘evidence.’ First, they were rushing through it because because, as Doug Collins so deftly says, ‘the clock and the calendar,’ now they want to wait. And you know who is probably hopping mad? The 2020 Democratic presidential field! They have a debate tomorrow night. They can’t get a word in edgewise.
Ray made a prediction and gave an admonishment to senators about the impeachment:
I predict that this impeachment today will, in the eyes of history, live in infamy and, if that’s what she intends to do, that will only prove that case conclusively. I do think that the articles will make their way, one way or another, to the Senate and I do think … this does not deserve a trial, in the Senate I think that I would hope that the Republican senators unanimously show some courage and, for the benefit of the country, for an early termination of this. This is has become ridiculous. This has got to stop.
Democrats have been triggered since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s been talking with the White House – the defendant – about how to proceed. McConnell says he wants a fast trial. Undoubtedly, Republicans don’t want a protracted trial to prevent another Kavanaugh goat rodeo.