The Corner

Elections

Pelosi Allows Democratic Debate to Proceed, but Hurts Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, October 17, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

This was the week when even Democrats began to publicly question Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to not transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. 

“The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes,” Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein told Politico on Wednesday. “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”

Pelosi kept dragging her feet. On Thursday, she said she’d transmit the articles “soon,” and today she finally sent a “dear colleague” letter, making it clear that the trial could start no sooner than next Wednesday.

Whatever her initial reasoning for the delay, one possible reason she’s pushed the trial back yet another week is so that Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, the last one scheduled before the Iowa caucuses, can take place as planned. 

If Pelosi had sent the articles of impeachment over this week, Democrats likely would’ve had to reschedule the debate for the upcoming weekend, possibly making the debate compete for viewers with the NFC championship game, so Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren could participate. Attendance at an impeachment trial is compulsory for sitting senators.

So Pelosi has spared the Democrats the chaos of rescheduling the Iowa debate, but as Jim notes, the timeline for a trial she has dictated couldn’t be worse for Senate Democrats running for president.

Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar will be stuck in Washington for the trial in the crucial days leading up to Iowa — possibly past New Hampshire — while Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg will be out on the campaign trail wooing voters.

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