When the House passed Articles of Impeachment against former President Bill Clinton, they passed the articles to the Senate that same day, with the already announced “impeachment manager” or prosecutor in place, House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde.
Democrats seem to be spreading the talking point that the House waited until January with the Clinton Articles, which is false, as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York points out.
There seems to be a Democratic talking point that when GOP House impeached Clinton on 12/19/98, they waited until 1/6/99 to present articles to Senate. No, they did it on same day as impeachment vote. From Donna Brazile, on Fox yesterday, and from 12/19/98 CNN report: pic.twitter.com/SbExaYRclS
— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 23, 2019
The talking point seems to be to prop up Pelosi’s failing position of sitting on the Articles.
On Monday, Pelosi gave an update of her position on the process, claiming that she couldn’t turn over the Articles of Impeachment until she knew “what kind of trial” there would be.
The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.
President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2019
“The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct,” she contended. “President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?”
The Constitution says the Senate has complete control/power over the trial, so Pelosi has absolutely no standing to dictate anything. Indeed, it was the Democrats who refused to allow the Republicans to call witnesses on behalf of the president and who scrupulously ignored/glossed over exculpatory evidence that arose during the process. It was the Democrats who termed resorting to the Courts to fight the witch hunt “obstruction,” thus denying the president his basic rights. It was the Democrats who didn’t want to wait for an adjudication from the courts. Now, they’re sitting on it when before it was “urgent.”
Given how the House denied a fair process, it’s sort of the height of gall to now pretend like they’re concerned about a fair process. What they’re concerned about if they actually transmitted the articles is that their machinations would get exposed and witnesses they couldn’t control might potentially be called. They’re concerned that Trump would actually be acquitted because the case is so ridiculous.
As we previously noted, there are some who think she never really intended to send them along anyway, that the game was always to pass it to appease the base and smear Trump, then sit on it and blame Republicans.
The president said it wasn’t fairness that Pelosi was concerned about because she hadn’t been concerned about that in the House. But he suggested that this was going to hurt her badly come the election, maybe even cost Pelosi her speakership.
Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2019
Even the Democrats’ own expert who they called during the impeachment hearings, Noah Feldman, blasted sitting on the Articles as a tactic beyond a short delay, arguing that until they were officially passed to the Senate, Trump had not been impeached. Also that if there was a continued failure to transmit them, that was not in keeping with the constitutional process and would deny Trump a fair trial.
The House is reportedly not expected to take any more votes until January 7. But if she sits on them longer than that, it’s going to start biting her big time. Meanwhile, McConnell has said, fine, we don’t want impeachment anyway, how do you think his position gives you any bargaining ability?