House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday faced new pressure from her own party to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the Democratic House Armed Services Committee chairman said in an interview on CNN that “it is time” to do so.
Pelosi has withheld the articles from the Senate for several weeks, claiming that she needs to “see what the terms are” for a Senate impeachment trial. That’s led to some restlessness from Senate Democrats who are anxious to start the trial, but the comments from Rep. Adam Smith on “New Day” Thursday is some of the most prominent public dissent from a member of her own House caucus.
“I think it is time to send impeachment to the Senate and let Mitch McConnell be responsible for the fairness of the trial. He ultimately is,” Smith, of Washington state, told CNN’s John Berman.
Smith said that it’s “perfectly advisable” for Pelosi to hold onto the two articles of impeachment as Democrats tried leveraging a Senate trial “that would show evidence and bring out witnesses.”
“At this point, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” Smith said.
Democrats want a deal up front to hear from witnesses and get documents, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says those matters should be dealt with later after opening statements in the trial.
While Senate Democrats have supported Pelosi’s push for witnesses, several senators made clear Tuesday that they’re ready to move on from the speaker’s withholding of the articles and start proceedings.
McConnell does not plan to move forward on a trial until the Senate gets the articles of impeachment from the House. Pelosi has held onto them since they were voted on in the House last month.
The Senate Republican leader said Tuesday that he has the votes to set the ground rules of the impeachment trial without Democrats’ support. Pelosi, however, has demanded to see the resolution setting the procedures.