Speed Reads

Trump's impeachment

Nancy Pelosi isn't in a huge rush to hand impeachment to Mitch McConnell

The House has impeached President Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but Trump can't be tried in the Senate until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi names, and the House approves, impeachment managers to present the House's case for conviction in Trump's trial. Pelosi said Wednesday night she won't appoint the impeachment managers until she has a better sense of what kind of trial they will be participating in, refusing to commit to a timetable to hand impeachment over to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

"We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side," Pelosi said. "So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we'll send our managers." She added that she and her lieutenants aren't having "that discussion" about indefinitely withholding the articles of impeachment, denying Trump his trial and presumptive acquittal, but "we're not sending it tonight because it's difficult to determine who the managers would be until we see the arena in which we will be participating."

Pelosi has no time constraints to pick the managers under the House impeachment rules adopted Wednesday, and the House is expected to go on recess as soon as Thursday, with no plans to return until Jan. 7.

The idea of keeping the articles of impeachment as leverage to shape the Senate trial, or even collect new evidence, gained traction after constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe advocated for the strategy in a Washington Post op-ed, arguing "the public has a right to observe a meaningful trial rather than simply learn that the result is a verdict of not guilty." And House Democrats began pressing Pelosi to consider the move as McConnell confirmed he's coordinating trial strategy with the White House and signaled he plans to conduct a swift trial and get a swift acquittal.