Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI5) sharply criticized Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over the possibility that she would delay transmittal of the articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump to the U.S. Senate.
“The Democrats repeatedly said that President Trump had to be impeached now. ‘This can’t wait’ was the common refrain,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement released Thursday. “Well, apparently, it can wait. Speaker Pelosi is withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate because her case cannot win over there. While Democrats were able to railroad the first strictly-partisan impeachment through the House, their power has limits and cannot guarantee their desired verdict in the Senate.”
The House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment on Wednesday. Normally this would result in the transmission of the articles to the Senate for a trial. However, some Democrats have seized on an idea by Bulwark Online Editor Charlie Sykes to delay sending the articles of impeachment until Republicans in the Senate agree to rules proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), including the calling of new witnesses to testify.
Schumer’s proposal was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who responded that it was up to the House of Representatives to do the investigative work of impeachment.
“The House chose this road,” McConnell said. “It is their duty to investigate. It is their duty to meet the very high bar for undoing a national election.”
It is unclear how House Democrats could force the Senate to accept the Democrats’ proposal for the trial format when Senate Republicans are already disinclined to consider removing Trump from office.
Sensenbrenner, the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was one of the House Managers of the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. He criticized Pelosi for attempting to control the format of the Senate trial.
“The Constitution clearly gives the Senate, not Speaker Pelosi, ‘the sole Power to try all Impeachments.’ While the Speaker was able to manage the process meticulously in the House, she does not get to dictate the terms of the Senate trial,” Sensenbrenner said. “If impeachment really were as urgent as the Democrats said, then let the Senate consider these Articles.”
Sensenbrenner added that the trial in the Senate will expose the flaws of the impeachment process.
“The criticism all along has been that this impeachment was weak, hurried, and partisan,” Sensenbrenner said. “Now it appears that Democrats are worried the flaws of their rush-job will be exposed when they no longer control the process.”