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How Nancy Pelosi bested Mitch McConnell on the impeachment showdown

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Photos: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she will send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate “soon.” The short pause between the House vote and handing the articles to the Senate has been largely due to new information being released despite the president’s block on documents and people testifying.

A Washington Post column by Henry Olsen explained that Pelosi clearly bested Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the showdown on impeachment.

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“Withholding the articles allowed her to show progressives that she would fight, not just acquiesce, to remove Trump from office,” wrote Olsen. “She also wins by pinning the blame for Trump’s eventual acquittal on McConnell. Democratic failure to persuade Trump backers to even consider impeaching the president has always meant the Senate trial’s outcome is a foregone conclusion. By holding the articles and forcing McConnell to do what he was going to do — run the trial his way — Pelosi gives Democrats a scapegoat for their eventual failure to remove Trump. They can blame McConnell’s allegedly unfair and prejudicial rules for the debacle rather than their own failure to bring even a small portion of the non-Democratic electorate behind them. Since Democrats already view McConnell as a mendacious partisan, this is an easy sell.”

Trump will never be completely exonerated, despite his lobbying efforts to Republican senators. Unless McConnell decides to hold a legitimate trial, the outcome will forever be seen as the questionable and corrupt resolution of a sham trial and process.

By pushing the timetable back, Pelosi also worked outside the distractions of the holidays to ensure Americans were paying attention.

“Now, however, they won’t be able to start the trial until after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend,” Olsen explained.

He explained that no matter what Pelosi did, she knew she had the weaker hand without a Senate leader willing to hold a trial.

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“Pelosi was always going to be playing a weak hand once the articles left the House. She’s played a poor hand exceedingly well, using the articles to give a boost to her chances of returning as speaker next year. That’s an excellent use of a holiday vacation period,” Olsen closed.

Read the full piece at the Washington Post.


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