In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political analyst Eleanor Clift stated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has the upper hand as she deals with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the terms of how the trial of Donald Trump will be conducted.
As Clift explains, “After what Republicans like to characterize as a rush to impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now getting grief from the GOP for slowing down the process. It’s driving President Trump and his allies a bit batty trying to figure out what she’s up to by holding back the articles of impeachment.”
Norm Ornstein, a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, agrees with Clift’s assessment, adding, “This is working beautifully for her, and for the country. In the weeks since the House voted for Impeachment, there have been more damning emails, and there’s no reason to believe we have seen the end of it.”
According to Clift, McConnell wants the trial out of the way and not dangling over his head, and the president wants it done with so he can be, in his mind, vindicated by the GOP-controlled Senate.
But for the Republicans there is the threat of more revelations that could place GOP senators in the position of having no choice but to rule against the president.
“Delaying the trial allows more evidence of wrongdoing by the president and his allies to surface and potentially sway public opinion and perhaps even some Senate Republicans,” she writes, adding, ” After the House voted the articles, the conventional wisdom was that Democrats needed the Senate to act quickly so a trial would conclude before the 2020 primaries got underway. That thinking has now shifted.”
“Time is on Pelosi’s side, for now. The latest revelations about key officials around Trump who were in the loop on Ukraine indicate that many of them knew what they were doing was wrong,” Clift explained. “There is far more pressure now on Trump to get the exoneration he seeks from the Senate than on the Democrats to move the process along before the Iowa caucuses. Pelosi has leverage to seek concessions about rules and witnesses.”
According to John Lawrence, Pelosi’s former chief of staff, “McConnell is impervious to pressure unless there’s something McConnell wants. When he wants something, he makes deals.”
“Pelosi is in no rush. She can wait until McConnell sends her a set of rules, and then there will be some back and forth as both sides claim victory. She followed the historic procedure of inviting Trump to deliver the State of the Union on Feb. 4, when he could still be in the midst of impeachment. He won’t be the first president to give a SOTU while being impeached. In 1999, President Clinton focused on a sound economy and a $70 billion budget surplus. He did not mention impeachment,” she wrote before pithily observing, “With Pelosi seated directly behind him in the House chamber, millions of Americans will tune in to watch the dynamics between these two political figures on what promises to be yet another historic evening for the country—and one that could set a tone for the rest of this incredibly important year.”
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