But several Democrats said part of Pelosi’s calculation is waiting for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to reach a 50-50 Senate power-sharing agreement, something they are still negotiating.
“They have now informed us that they are ready to receive,” Pelosi told reporters from the Senate on Thursday, noting that there are “other questions about how a trial will proceed.”
“I will not tell you when it went,” she added, refusing to offer further details.
The House voted to accuse Trump on Jan. 1
But Pelosi has so far endured handing over the article to the Senate, a process involving the House Prosecutors handing over the papers over the Capitol Dome. It is a similar move to Pelos ‘handling of Trump’s first indictment in December 2019, when Democrats waited weeks over Congress’ winter break to broadcast the articles as they tried to carefully choreograph the start of the Senate trial.
This time, the process is more complicated, as the start of a lawsuit against the Senate would come as Trump is out of office and a newly inaugurated president Joe Biden is trying to lock his cabinet in several national crises.
The Senate is moving quickly to approve key national security positions this week, but a lawsuit – requiring senators to sit in the chamber six days a week for its duration – will almost certainly slow down the process for at least some of Biden’s nominees.
Further complicating matters, Schumer and McConnell have not yet reached an agreement on governing the Senate, which several Democrats said will have a significant impact on when Pelosi submits the article and the trial begins. The biggest obstacle to reaching an agreement is McConnell’s demand that Schumer retain the legislative filibuster that the Democrats have rejected.
Unlike in 2019, when almost all Republicans were in favor of acquitting Trump, however, his fate in the Senate is still uncertain. It is unlikely that 17 Republicans would vote to convict their former president, but key GOP senators, including McConnell, say they remain undecided and the GOP conference’s calculation could change quickly.
Some Republicans have questioned the constitutionality of holding a lawsuit against the trial now that Trump is no longer in office. Some have also complained that Democrats’ incentive to accuse Trump – despite his involvement in the Jan. 6 riots that left five people dead – would be undermined by Biden’s call for national unity at his inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
But Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she is “not worried” about this argument.
“The President of the United States has called for an uprising,” Pelosi said. “I do not think it is very unifying to say, oh, let’s just forget it and move on. This is not how you unite. ”
“Just because he’s gone now – thank God – you do not say to a president: ‘Do what you want in the last months of your administration. You get a free-out-jail card for free ‘because people think you should do nice, nice and forget that people died here on January 6th. ”