When the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed another impeachment of President Donald Trump last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) insisted the move was “urgent” and needed to be addressed immediately.
However, it appears that Pelosi has abruptly quit pushing for swift action against the president. Now several days after the sole impeachment article was passed, Pelosi still has not formally delivered it to the Senate so that the supposedly “urgent” impeachment trial can quickly get underway, Just the News reported.
At this point, it is unclear when, or if, the speaker will get around to delivering the impeachment article to the Senate.
Pelosi hits pause
Speaker Pelosi was asked during a Friday press conference about when she planned to deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate. The article charges President Trump with having allegedly incited the “insurrection” that took place on Jan. 6 when a mob violently forced their way into the U.S. Capitol building and temporarily disrupted the joint session of Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
“In terms of the timing, as I mentioned, one week ago, on January 6th, there was an active insurrection perpetrated on the Capitol of the United States incentivized by the president of the United States,” Pelosi said in response to the reporter, according to Just the News.
“One week later, Wednesday to Wednesday, that president was impeached in a bipartisan way by the House of Representatives,” she added. “So urgent was the matter they’re now working on taking this to trial, and you’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there.”
Can a president even be impeached after leaving office?
Just the News noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who still retains that title for another week, had declined to bring the Senate back into session for an impeachment trial prior to Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who will, in essence, be the new “majority” leader of a 50-50 split Senate, has vowed to hold an impeachment trial as soon as possible once he is in charge and, presumably, once Pelosi has formally delivered the article to him.
That means any impeachment trial of President Trump won’t begin, much less conclude, until after he is no longer the president, raising the legitimate and, heretofore unprecedented, legal quandry of whether the Constitution has granted Congress the power to impeach and punish former presidents who are now private citizens.
Graham urges Schumer to dismiss charge
There is a growing consensus, and not just on the right, that it would be unconstitutional for Congress to impeach a former president. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a proponent of that view, per a letter he just sent to Schumer demanding that he hold a vote to dismiss the impeachment charge without a trial, both in the interest of the expressed desire for national unity as well as his belief that a trial would be unconstitutional.
Graham cautioned that pushing forward with an impeachment trial would be “delaying indefinitely” the calls for national unity and, though he didn’t come right out and say it, it was clearly implied that Biden’s agenda would similarly be “indefinitely” delayed, given the fact that everything in the Senate ceases upon receipt of impeachment articles until they are dismissed or a trial has been conducted and concluded.
Nobody knows for sure why Speaker Pelosi hasn’t delivered the impeachment article to the Senate just yet, and it can’t be ruled out that she is planning to hold onto it for some time in order to allow the soon-to-be Democratic-controlled Senate time to approve Biden’s cabinet nominations and get started on his legislative agenda.