Pelosi On Impeachment Impasse: House Democrats ‘Accomplished’ Showing Public ‘The Need For Witnesses’

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she achieved her objective by sitting on the articles of impeachment for a month but isn’t guaranteeing they will be delivered to the Senate this week.

Pelosi had indicated on Friday that she would be sending the documents the following week but her comments to ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” were less than precise.

“I did say I’ll be consulting with my members this week on Tuesday morning at our regular caucus meeting that we would vote to send them over and we’ll determine in our meeting when we send them over,” the Democratic California congresswoman told ABC.

“I’ve always said I would send them over. There shouldn’t be any mystery to that,” she said. “What we did want though, and what we think we accomplished in the past few weeks is that we wanted the public to see the need for witnesses, witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what happened. Documentation which the president has prevented from coming out to the Congress as we reviewed this.” (RELATED: ‘She Should Send Them Over’: Senate Democrats Want Pelosi To End Stalemate Of Impeachment Documents)

When reminded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not agreed to Pelosi’s demand for witnesses, Pelosi responded, “I think he’ll be accountable to the American people for that. Over 70% of the American people think that the president should have those witnesses testify. So again … it’s about a fair trial. They take an oath to take a fair trial and we think that would be with witnesses and documentation … now the ball is anywhere in their court. Either do that or pay the price.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters following a Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters following a Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., Sept. 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Pelosi insisted that McConnell was now presiding over a “cover-up” if he dismisses the impeachment.

“I’m telling you he signed on Thursday to a resolution to dismiss the case. The dismissing is a cover-up … If they want to go that route, again the senators who are thinking now about voting for witnesses or not, they will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial,” Pelosi told ABC. (RELATED: Ted Cruz: Sitting On Impeachment Is ‘An Admission Of Failure’)

The House Speaker stood by her decision to impeach President Donald Trump, arguing “there’s enough evidence to remove the president from office. But we’ve done our job. We’ve defended the Constitution of the United States. We would hope that the Senate would do that as well … We’re proud of the courage of our members to vote to impeach the president. There’s nothing that the Senate can do to erase that.”

For the last month Democrats have been sending mixed signals about the how long Pelosi should withhold the articles of impeachment. House Majority Whip Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn suggested in December that the Speaker never deliver the documents if she couldn’t guarantee a “fair” trial.

Democratic Washington Rep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, retracted comments that he made Thursday morning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein also flip-flopped on her call for Pelosi to move forward.