WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are preparing for President Trump’s impeachment trial — but remained tight-lipped on when the single article will be transferred to the Senate.
On Wednesday, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives impeached Trump for the second time, charging him with inciting an insurrection after the US Capitol was stormed by his supporters in a riot that left five people dead.
But a debate is raging over whether the proceedings should be temporarily shelved out of fear the politically charged trial will overshadow the earliest days of Joe Biden’s presidency.
At her weekly press conference Friday, Pelosi (D-Calif) refused to answer multiple questions asking when the article would be transferred to the Republican-controlled Senate.
“In terms of the timing, one week ago on January 6, there was an act of insurrection perpetrated on the Capitol of the United States, incentivized by the president of the United States,” the speaker said, punting on the question.
“One week later, Wednesday to Wednesday, that president was impeached in a bipartisan way by the House of Representatives, so urgent was the matter,” she continued, noting the 10 GOP pols who broke with their party and voted to impeach.
“We’re now working on taking this to trial and you’ll be the first to know when we announce we’re going over there,” Pelosi said.
The 80-year-old speaker did not respond when she was pressed if she would hold the article indefinitely.
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) confirmed that the Senate impeachment trial could not begin until the upper chamber reconvenes on Jan. 19 — the day before Biden is sworn into office.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), a close ally of Biden’s, has suggested delaying the trial for months to help Biden pass his initial policies during his first 100 days in office.
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn, the No. 3-ranking House Democrat, told CNN.
“And maybe we will send the articles sometime after that,” he said.
An impeachment trial would likely consume the earliest days of Biden’s presidency and detract from his efforts to confirm his cabinet and pass a sweeping, $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic bailout, which he unveiled Thursday night.