After the House voted to impeach President Trump on Dec. 18 (+), there was not a smooth handoff to the Senate.  Instead Democrats and Republicans locked horns over how the trial would be conducted or if it would be conducted at all (+). There was much discussion about whether there would be witnesses, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement. On Jan. 10, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would move to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
January 10, 2020

Dear Colleague on Next Steps on Impeachment

Dear Democratic Colleague,

For weeks now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people’s interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.

Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges.  A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth.  Leader McConnell’s tactics are a clear indication of the fear that he and President Trump have regarding the facts of the President’s violations for which he was impeached.

The American people have clearly expressed their view that we should have a fair trial with witnesses and documents, with more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify.  Clearly, Leader McConnell does not want to present witnesses and documents to Senators and the American people so they can make an independent judgment about the President’s actions.

Honoring our Constitution, the House passed two articles of impeachment against the President – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to hold the President accountable for asking a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections for his own political and personal gain. 

While the House was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, which is enough for removal, new information has emerged, which includes:

  • On December 20, new emails showed that 91 minutes after Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, a top Office of Management and Budget (OMB) aide asked the Department of Defense to “hold off” on sending military aid to Ukraine.
  • On December 29, revelations emerged about OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s role in the delay of aid, the effort by lawyers at the OMB, the Department of Justice and the White House to justify the delay, and the alarm that the delay caused within the Administration.
  • On January 2, newly-unredacted Pentagon emails, which we had subpoenaed and the President had blocked, raised serious concerns by Trump Administration officials about the legality of the President’s hold on aid to Ukraine.
  • And on January 6, just this week, former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton announced he would comply with a subpoena compelling his testimony.  His lawyers have stated he has new relevant information. 
I am very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution.  I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate.  I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further. 

In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.”  Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution. 

No one is above the law, not even the President.

Thank you for your leadership For The People.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
January 9, 2020

While House Democrats’ Games Hurt the Country, Senate Will Focus on the People’s Business

‘There is real business for the American people that the United States Senate needs to complete. If the Speaker continues to refuse to take her own accusations to trial, the Senate will move forward next week with the business of our people. We will operate on the assumption that House Democrats are too embarrassed to ever move forward. We will get back to the people’s business.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding impeachment:

‘First this morning, I want to associate myself with a statement made yesterday by one of our distinguished colleagues about the House Democrats treating impeachment like a political toy.
‘Here’s what the senator said: “If it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t.” 
‘That was our Democratic colleague the senior senator from California, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

‘And she wasn’t alone. Quote: “It is time to get on with it.” That’s our Democratic colleague the junior senator from Delaware. Quote: “At some point it’s appropriate to send them and… pass the baton to senators.” Our Democratic colleague the senior senator from Connecticut. Quote: “I think the time has past. She should send the articles.” Our Democratic colleague the junior senator from Connecticut.

‘Now, this is a challenging time to create bipartisan agreement in the Senate. On any subject. But the Speaker of the House has managed to do the impossible.

‘She has created this growing bipartisan unity in the United States Senate… in opposition to her own reckless behavior.

‘Senators may not agree on much, but it appears most of us still recognize a threat to our institution when we see one.

‘Article I, Section 3 says: “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.” Period. The House can begin the process, and Speaker Pelosi’s majority has certainly done that. But the Senate alone can resolve it.

‘And yet for weeks now, the House majority has blocked the Senate from fulfilling our constitutional duty. In a precedent-breaking display of partisanship, the Speaker has refused to let her own allegations proceed normally to trial unless she gets to hand-design various elements of our Senate process.

‘In other words, the House Democrats already spent 12 weeks undermining the institution of the presidency with an historically unfair and subjective impeachment… and now, for the sequel, they’ve come after the institution of the Senate as well. That’s where we are.

‘The dwindling number of our Senate Democrat colleagues who remain complicit in this must realize what they are doing. Should future House majorities feel empowered to waste our time with junior-varsity political hostage situations? Should future Speakers be permitted to conjure up this sword of Damocles at will and leave it hanging over the Senate unless we do what they say?

‘Of course not.

‘This week, a majority of the Senate stepped forward to make it perfectly clear that this conversation is over. A majority of this body has said definitively that we are not ceding our constitutional authority to the partisan designs of the Speaker. We will not let the House extend its precedent-breaking spree over here to our chamber.

‘There will be no unfair new rulebook written solely for President Trump. The basic organization of the first phase of this trial will track with phase one of the Clinton trial -- which all 100 senators voted for in 1999. I’ve said for months that this is our preferred route.

‘By the way, that is exactly what the American people want. Seventy-seven percent told a Harvard/Harris survey that the basic outline of the Clinton trial — reserving the witnesses question until later in the proceedings — ought to be good enough for this president as well.

‘Fair is fair.

‘In the same survey, 58 percent of Americans said they want Speaker Pelosi to do her job and send the articles to the Senate rather than continue delaying.

‘And it makes sense that American families have lost patience with this act just like we senators have lost patience with it. Because this is not just some intramural tiff between the two houses in our bicameral legislature. This recklessness affects our entire country.

‘When you take a step back, what has really happened over the past three weeks?

‘When you step back from the political noise and the pundits discussing “leverage” that never existed, what have House Democrats actually done?

‘This is what they have done: They have initiated one of the most grave and most unsettling processes in our Constitution and then refused to allow a resolution.

‘The Speaker began something that she herself predicted would be “so divisive to the country”... and now she is unilaterally saying it cannot move forward towards a resolution.

‘It is bad enough that House Democrats gave in to the temptation of subjective impeachment that every previous House for 230 years had managed to resist. However unwise, that is their constitutional prerogative. They get to start this, if they choose.

‘But they do not get to declare that it can never be finished. They do not get to trap our entire country into an unending “Groundhog Day” of impeachment without resolution.

‘Alexander Hamilton specifically warned against a procrastinated resolution of impeachments. 
‘In part that is because our duly-elected president deserves a verdict, just like every American who is accused by their government deserves a speedy trial.

‘But this goes deeper than fairness to one individual. This is about what is fair to the entire country.
‘There is a reason why the framers did not contemplate a permanently unsettled presidency. That is true under any circumstances -- but consider especially the circumstances of recent days. Even as the Democrats have prolonged this game, we have seen Iran escalate tensions with our nation. We live in a dangerous world.

‘So, yes, a House majority can create this temporary cloud over a commander-in-chief if they so choose. But they do not get to keep that cloud in place forever.

‘So, look. There is real business for the American people that the United States Senate needs to complete.

‘If the Speaker continues to refuse to take her own accusations to trial, the Senate will move forward next week with the business of our people.

‘We will operate on the assumption that House Democrats are too embarrassed to ever move forward.

‘We will get back to the people’s business.

‘For example: The Senate continues to process President Trump’s landmark trade deal, the USMCA, through our committees of jurisdiction. It passed the Senate Finance Committee this week by a landslide vote of 25 to 3 — a major victory for the president and working families. Now our other committees will continue their own consideration.

‘And there is more. The epidemic of opioids, fentanyl, and other substance abuse continues to plague our nation. Some colleagues have signaled they may raise privileged resolutions on war powers.

‘The Senate has plenty of serious work to do for our country. So while the Speaker continues her irresponsible games, we will continue doing the people’s business.’