Trump’s lawyers weighing their options as Pelosi delays sending articles of impeachment to the Senate: 'POTUS doesn’t want it to be left hanging'

Trump’s lawyers weighing their options as Pelosi delays sending articles of impeachment to the Senate: 'POTUS doesn’t want it to be left hanging'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi CSPAN Screengrab

With President Donald Trump having been indicted in the U.S. House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress — it would take a conviction in a Senate trial for him to actually be removed from office. An acquittal is almost certain, as the Senate is controlled by pro-Trump Republicans; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi realizes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, by his own admission, is hardly impartial. And the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman is reporting that Trump’s lawyers are weighing their options should Pelosi hang on to those articles instead of sending them to the Senate.

“POTUS lawyers are looking at various options for proceeding if House doesn’t send articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Haberman reported on Twitter. “POTUS doesn’t want it to be left hanging that he was impeached and nothing was done by Republicans to defend him in the Senate.”

Acquittal by the Senate would give Trump and his supporters a talking point: he stood trial and was found not guilty.

Pelosi, as of early Thursday afternoon, December 19, had yet to send the two articles to the Senate — and the House speaker has made it clear that she doesn’t trust McConnell to weigh the evidence fairly. The House speaker described McConnell as a “rogue leader in the Senate” and told reporters, “We will make our decision as to when we are going to send it when we see what they are doing on the Senate side. So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us.”

McConnell has admitted that he wouldn’t be an “impartial juror” in a Senate trial. And Pelosi, referring to McConnell, asserted, “This is what I don’t consider a fair trial.”

The U.S. Constitution specifically states that the House has “the sole power of impeachment” and that the Senate “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” But it does not specify how soon articles of impeachment should go to the Senate after they have been approved by a full House vote. Pelosi’s decision to hold onto the two articles for now is a departure from President Bill Clinton’s impeachment: after Clinton was impeached in December 1998, a Senate trial got underway in January 1999.

A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate would be required in order for Trump to be removed from office.

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