WASHINGTON — The White House argued Sunday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put herself in an untenable position by stalling House-passed articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in hopes of shaping the upcoming Senate trial.
The House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump, who became only the third president in U.S. history to be formally charged with “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Pelosi has declined to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until Republicans provide details on witnesses and testimony, forestalling a trial that is likely to result in Trump’s acquittal on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
Meanwhile, Republicans predicted that the drive for new testimony by Pelosi, D-Calif. and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would be for naught.
“She will yield. There’s no way she can hold this position,” said Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. “We think her case is going nowhere.’’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Schumer have been at an impasse over the issue of new testimony, leaving open the possibility of a protracted delay until the articles are delivered.
Trump complained Saturday that the holdup was “unfair” and claimed that Democrats were violating the Constitution, as the delay threatened to prolong the pain of impeachment and cast uncertainty on the timing of the vote Trump is set to claim as vindication.
Schumer told reporters in New York that “the Senate is yearning to give President Trump due process, which means that documents and witnesses should come forward. What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents? It’s a sham trial.”
Short called Pelosi’s delay unacceptable, saying she’s “trampling” Trump’s rights to “rush this through, and now we’re going to hold it up to demand a longer process in the Senate with more witnesses.”
“If her case is so air-tight ... why does she need more witnesses to make her case?’’ Short said.
White House officials have highlighted Democrats’ arguments that removing Trump was an “urgent” matter before the House impeachment vote, as they seek to put pressure on Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate to convict in an impeachment trial — and Republicans have expressed confidence that they have more than enough votes to keep Trump in office.