Can Nancy Pelosi Really Not Send the Impeachment Articles to the Senate?

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi & Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

In a word, yes.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. They both passed, and now Trump is the third president in our nation’s history to have been impeached. Here are the final vote tallies, courtesy of the New York Times:

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Now that President Trump has been impeached, the next step is that the Senate will conduct a trial to determine whether or not he’ll be convicted. But an alternate idea started to float around social media a week ago: What if the House hangs on to the articles of impeachment and doesn’t send them over to the Senate?

There could be some advantages to this. The Democrats need 20 Republicans to vote with them to convict Trump, and judging from what we’ve seen of the Republicans recently that does seem rather unlikely (although nothing is a done deal). But if the trial never happens, then Trump never gets formally acquitted.

Several reporters covering the impeachment last night heard from senior Democratic aides that the House might hang on to the articles, if not forever, at least for a short period of time. Nancy Pelosi made a clear statement that she’d like to ensure that the Senate conducts a fair trial. It’s possible that she could force Mitch McConnell’s hand by not sending over the articles until some agreements about how the trial will be structured are solidified in the Senate.

Which brings us to how. How exactly can Pelosi “hang on” to the articles? What gives her the power to dictate the timetable?

Here’s the answer:

Though the House adopted two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of congressional investigations, it must pass a second resolution formally naming impeachment managers to present the case in the Senate. That second vehicle triggers the official transmission of articles to the Senate. (Politico)

What Pelosi can do is delay a vote on the second resolution to name impeachment managers (the folks who will essentially try the case in the Senate) for however long she wants. She has control right now. Particularly considering that McConnell has said he is fully coordinating with the White House (um, since when are jurors allowed to coordinate with the lawyers for the defense?) and he won’t even consider allowing witnesses to speak at the trial, I’m glad to know that the House doesn’t have to relinquish the process completely to the Senate.

To wrap up, here’s the historic moment when Pelosi gavelled in the impeachment vote:

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8 replies

  1. If Pelosi never sends articles of impeachment do they remain in force? Can a new Senate consider them in the next Congress or do they become null and void and expire? Can the current Senate vote to declare President Trump innocent of all charges if Pelosi never sends the Impeachment Articles to the Senate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trump has been impeached and nothing can void that. As for the resolution to name house managers, I’m not sure if Pelosi can wait until the next Congress to pass. Good question.

      Like

      • Actually, He’s not considered impeached if the articles are never submitted to the Senate. Im sure theyll submit them eventually, but until so, even with the vote in the house passing, its not official until the Senate gets the articles. Part of that whole checks and balances thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I read that lawyerly analysis today, too. I have no doubt the articles will be sent to the Senate, it’s just a matter of when.

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  2. I trust Nancy to do whatever is right and if it doesn’t work, we will have to do something else sooner or later . Hope sooner !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hold the impeachment charges, and review each part during the campaign year, and list the US House bills passed and sitting upon his desk and he refuses to let the Senate consider each bill. I would review each of the 275 bilateral passed US House bills and then the other 100 bills passed by the US House. Show McConnell for the demagogue he is and the millions of donations to his private political slush fund.

    Liked by 1 person

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