House to vote Wednesday on Trump impeachment articles

Jan. 14 (UPI) — House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to send two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate and to appoint managers for his trial.

Democratic caucus members told reporters after emerging from a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday that she will allow a vote on a resolution transmitting the articles to the upper chamber after delaying the move for weeks.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said Pelosi also would hold a vote on the House’s trial managers Wednesday. Other Democrats said the speaker did not name the managers at the meeting.

If Pelosi sends through the articles Wednesday as planned, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate’s trial on impeachment of Trump will likely begin Tuesday.

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McConnell said he has the support of 53 Republican senators on an initial resolution of how to move forward in the trial, including setting up arguments from the prosecution and defense, and then providing a period for the senators to submit written questions.

“Then after that,” he said, “The more contentious issue of witnesses would be addressed by the Senate.”

Four Senate Republicans have said they could be open to hearing witnesses if needed, though most of them said they wouldn’t decide until after opening arguments.

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Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he was “pleased” that some Republicans were coming around to wanting witnesses for the trial.

“If you want the truth, you have to have witnesses, you have to have documents. Who has ever heard of a trial without witnesses or documents?,” Schumer said. “Let’s remember what this trial is for — for a president, any president, to threaten a foreign country with the cutoff of aid unless they interfere in our elections, is what the Founding Fathers felt is one of the worst abuses a president can have.”

“The charges are deep and serious and all we can say is we join the American people in wanting the truth,” Schumer added.

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McConnell said it’s unlikely the trial will be dismissed outright despite Trump calling for that over the weekend.

“There’s little or no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss,” McConnell said. “Our members feel that we have an obligation to listen to the arguments.”

Trump tweeted Sunday that failure to dismiss the case outright “gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility.”

Pelosi said Friday she would send the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week, ending a weeks-long impasse with McConnell.

The Democrat from California has delayed sending the articles to the Senate since the House voted to impeach Trump on Dec. 18. Pelosi said last week she’d withhold the articles until McConnell unveiled a resolution detailing the guidelines for the Senate impeachment trial, including whether witnesses and new evidence would be allowed.

But McConnell gained enough support from Republican colleagues to begin the trial without making a commitment on witnesses and on Friday Pelosi hinted the standoff would soon end.

“I have asked judiciary committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” she wrote in a letter to House Democrats on Friday.