Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Thursday that the Senate would move on and “get back to the people’s business” if the House continues to withhold the articles of impeachment through the end of the week.
“This conversation is over,” McConnell said from the Senate floor. “Should future House majorities feel empowered to waste our time with junior varsity political hostage situations? Should future Speakers be permitted to conjure up this sword of Damocles at will and leave it hanging over the Senate unless we do what they say? Of course not.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she expects to send the two impeachment articles the House passed against President Trump, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, over to the Senate for a trial “probably soon.”
“I’m not holding them indefinitely. I will send them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly press briefing, explaining that House Democrats are waiting to see what the Senate’s “terms of engagement” will be.
McConnell remained loath to accept the Speaker’s explanation for the delay, however.
“Look. There is real business for the American people that the United States Senate needs to complete,” the Kentucky Republican said. “If the Speaker continues to refuse to take her own accusations to trial, the Senate will move forward next week with the business of our people. We will operate under the assumption that House Democrats are too embarrassed to ever move forward.”
Pelosi has faced increasing pressure to send the articles to the Senate, including from members of her own party.
“If it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over,” remarked California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“I think the time has past. She should send the articles over,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said.
“The Speaker of the House has managed to do the impossible. She has created this growing bipartisan unity here in the Senate in opposition to her own reckless behavior,” McConnell quipped.
House Democrats have initiated “one of the most grave and most unsettling processes in our Constitution and then refused to allow a resolution of it,” the Senate majority leader said before accusing the lower chamber of subjecting the country to an “unending Groundhog Day of impeachment without resolution.”