House speaker says impeachment has left Americans with a ‘spring in their step’
Nancy Pelosi has said the American people have a “spring in their step” after the House of Representatives impeached Trump on Wednesday. But the speaker insisted the Senate must provide more details about the expected trial in that chamber before she agrees to send the House charges over.
Pelosi’s unexpected procedural delay – looking for leverage in trial arrangements – drew a sour response from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and from Trump himself on Thursday. McConnell said Democrats are “too afraid” to send the charges to the Senate, where Trump would be expected to be acquitted by the Republican majority in a January trial.
Trump had plenty to say on the subject yesterday:
“We’ve been hearing from people all over the country,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol. “Seems like people have a spring in their step because the president was held accountable for his reckless behaviour.”
Pressed about next steps, Pelosi would not say. “The next thing will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate,” she said. “Then we’ll know the number of managers we may have to go forward and who we would choose.”
She said the previous night, “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
The Democratic speaker and the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, met privately on Thursday at the Capitol after McConnell signalled in the strongest terms yet that his chamber intended to hold a swift trial and acquit the president of both charges. He denounced the “most unfair” House impeachment and reassured Mr Trump and his supporters that “moments like this are why the United States Senate exists”.
As for what the Senate would do, he said: “It could not be clearer which outcome would serve the stabilising, institution-preserving, fever-breaking role for which the United States Senate was created and which outcome would betray it.” McConnell described Trump’s impeachment as “the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”
Fighting back and using McConnell’s own words, Schumer said the Republican leader was plotting the “most rushed, least thorough and most unfair” impeachment trial in history by declining to agree to call witnesses including former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who declined to testify before the House.
“McConnell claimed the impeachment was motivated by partisan rage,” said Schumer. “This from the man who said proudly, ‘I am not impartial’… What hypocrisy.”
Pelosi said that McConnell “says it’s OK for the foreman of the jury to be in cahoots with the lawyers of the accused. That doesn’t sound right to us.”