House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is refusing to turn over the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, causing quite the ruckus in D.C.
But according to Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can and should make the decision to move forward with a Senate trial without the articles.
The House’s role in terms of moving the impeachment along is supposed to end after the articles are voted on by the House.
While they do have House managers that participate in the trial itself, the articles are meant to be transmitted immediately after the vote.
The Senate currently has a rule in place that it cannot proceed until they technically have the articles in their possession. But according to Jarrett, that is just a Senate rule, and it’s not actually binding.
“The framers never envisioned a stunt pulled by a speaker of the House like Nancy Pelosi holding onto articles of impeachment,” he said. “Two decades ago it was sent over immediately, within minutes. There was a vote to convey and transmit it.”
He went on: “The Constitution is actually silent about that. It doesn’t say that the Senate has to wait until it’s transmitted. It’s simply a Senate rule.”
“Do it on your own terms”
If McConnell wants to end Pelosi’s attempt at extortion, he does have the tools at hand.
Once the Senate reconvenes in January, McConnell can enact a change to the Senate rule that requires the articles to be transmitted to the Senate before moving forward.
Whether he decided to change or eliminate the rule, if it passes the Senate, he could then move forward with the Senate trial.
Since Democrats seem to be changing the rules on their own, Jarrett suggests Republicans do the same. He advised McConnell to “simply change the rule, hold a trial, do it. Do it on your own terms,” he said.
The longer Pelosi holds these articles, the longer she gets to weaponize them against Trump. By changing the rule, McConnell would, in essence, remove the edge Pelosi now holds. Sounds like a win–win to me.