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Pelosi Relents, Plans to Send Impeachment Articles to Senate Next Week

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks to the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) told colleagues in a Friday letter that she plans to send President Trump’s articles of impeachment to the Senate next week.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Pelosi wrote.

The Speaker added that she would discuss the strategy with House Democrats during her party’s Tuesday meeting. She also thanked her caucus for its “courage and patriotism” in efforts to “support and defend the Constitution.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) had been demanding guarantees on witnesses in negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), with Pelosi holding the articles as leverage. According to a Time profile published Thursday, the Speaker got the idea for holding the articles from former Watergate-coverup architect John Dean, who floated the idea on CNN on December 5.

But rumblings that Pelosi was preparing to send the articles began earlier this week, after news broke that McConnell and Republicans secured the minimum 51 votes necessary to establish the parameters of the trial without input from Democrats.

McConnell issued an ultimatum Thursday, saying “this conversation is over” and that the Senate would “move forward next week with the business of our people” if Pelosi stalled further.

Even Democrats began publicly saying in recent days that Pelosi should send the articles over.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Chris Murphy of Connecticut called on Tuesday for Pelosi to send the articles, with Jon Tester of Montana, Chris Coons of Delaware, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut subsequently joining them in urging Pelosi to allow the trial to begin.

On Thursday, Representative Adam Smith (D., Wash.) told CNN that Pelosi should send the articles to the Senate. Several hours later he walked back his comments, and the House Speaker remained firm in a press conference Thursday, saying she would not immediately release the articles.

“I’m not holding them indefinitely. I will send them over when I’m ready, and that will probably be soon,” Pelosi said, adding that House Democrats were waiting to find out the Senate’s “terms of engagement.”

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