Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could not have delivered a clearer message to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi than he did on Wednesday. Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, he ended the discussion. He said: “There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment. The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision. This is for the Senate, and the Senate only, to decide.”
McConnell told his colleagues, “Pelosi wanted leverage — leverage to reach into the Senate and dictate our trial proceedings to us. Now I’ve made clear from the beginning that no such leverage exists. And yesterday we made it clear it will never exist.”
The Senator from Kentucky added, “Fifty-one senators determine what we do and there will be, I’m sure, intense discussion, once we get past phase one, about the whole witness issue.” McConnell insisted that the Senate first receive the articles from the House.
McConnell was responding to a letter the Speaker had written to her Democratic colleagues following a meeting with them on Tuesday night. Pelosi wrote, “Sadly, Leader McConnell has made clear that his loyalty is to the President and not the Constitution. It is important that he immediately publish this resolution, so that, as I have said before, we can see the arena in which we will be participating, appoint managers and transmit the articles to the Senate.”
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) attended the meeting and told Politico, “Pelosi’s message is that McConnell has “taken liberty with the facts.” It was just the process of her proposing [the articles] and how that was different from what happened in the Clinton administration.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said, “Her message was it’s not a fair process — which, I agree with her.”
In other words, she is repeating the same tired talking points hoping that her persistence might make a difference to McConnell. It won’t.
She doesn’t understand that she no longer has any leverage. In fact, it’s baffling that she acts as though she does. She’s tapped into that “creative visualization” again.
The House had their turn. They chose not to wait for the legal process to play out regarding their subpoenas for former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s testimony and that of former Deputy National Security Advisor Charles Kupperman.
Mitch McConnell did not try to involve himself in the House impeachment proceedings because he had no constitutional authority to do so. Likewise, as much as Pelosi hates it, she has no authority over the Senate process.
On Tuesday, McConnell announced that he has the votes to set the rules for the impeachment trial without Democratic support and that he “does not plan to hold a vote on a resolution setting the procedures until the two articles are formally sent to the Senate.”
At this point, even some Democratic senators are ready to move on. My colleague, Sister Toldjah, posted about this here. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) expressed readiness to move on.
Even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has had enough of Pelosi’s gamesmanship. She said, “The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over. I don’t see what good delay does.”
Mitch McConnell has been around the block a time or two. The morning after the House voted to impeach President Trump last month, he delivered a powerful speech in which he described the impeachment case against President Trump as “the thinnest, weakest, and shoddiest” since the outbreak of the Civil War and claimed it was “antithetical to the Constitution. Nothing else comes close.”
He said, “Speaker Pelosi’s House of Representatives just gave into a temptation that every House in American History has managed to resist” and that the impeachment vote had been about “how Democrats feel about the President rather than about his behavior.”
The Senator pointed out that their minds had been made up on the day Trump was elected, calling the House’s partisan vote the “predetermined end of a partisan crusade.”
It’s over, Nancy.