Pelosi sets up floor vote Wednesday to name impeachment managers and send articles to the Senate

Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues Tuesday morning at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill that she wasn’t yet announcing the managers who would prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump, according to lawmakers leaving the meeting. She later said in a statement that the resolution naming the managers and transmitting the articles, a step that’s needed before the Senate trial can begin, would occur on Wednesday.

“The American people will fully understand the Senate’s move to begin the trial without witnesses and documents as a pure political cover-up,” Pelosi said. “(Senate) Leader (Mitch) McConnell and the President are afraid of more facts coming to light. The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial.”

The House vote means that the Senate is likely to take steps to begin its trial as early as Thursday, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will unveil the resolution dictating the rules of the trial, a step he wasn’t willing to take before Pelosi sent the articles to the Senate.

McConnell once again slammed the House and Pelosi for the delay on sending the articles, accusing the House of wanting the Senate to try to help its case against the President.

“A House majority, fueled by political animus, may have started this with frivolity. But it will fall to the Senate to end it with seriousness and sobriety,” McConnell said. “It will fall to us to do what the founders intended — to take the long view, move beyond partisan passions and do what the long-term good of our institutions and our nation demands.”

Wednesday’s vote will officially move the impeachment case out of the House and into the Senate, after the House voted to impeach Trump on counts of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress last month over his dealings with Ukraine.

The stage is finally set for impeachment's dramatic, divisive endgame
Pelosi delayed sending over the articles after McConnell would not detail the rules or process for the trial, but McConnell would not provide Pelosi details as she had requested before she sent over the articles, arguing that the House would not dictate how the Senate is run.

On Monday, McConnell said Pelosi’s “strange gambit has achieved absolutely nothing.”

But Democrats argue Pelosi’s decision to withhold the impeachment articles for nearly a month helped push the conversation about whether the Senate trial should include witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, who said last week he would testify if subpoenaed.

“He’s wrong,” Pelosi said Monday when asked about McConnell’s statement.

Pelosi has continued to keep her plans on impeachment close to the vest, and lawmakers who could be tapped as managers on Tuesday said they were in the dark about who will be appointed by the speaker.

There are two Democrats widely expected to be included: House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the House’s impeachment inquiry, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, whose committee approved the two articles of impeachment that the House passed last month.

At Tuesday’s caucus meeting, Schiff laid out what the process for the Senate trial would look like, according to lawmakers, where the House managers will present their case, the President’s legal team will make their own presentation and then the senators will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Time is running out for Pelosi's impeachment gambit
Pelosi raised concerns to her caucus at the closed-door meeting about the Russian hack into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that Trump asked Ukraine to investigate over the hiring of Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Pelosi said the Gang of Eight was not briefed on the matter and that she learned about it through news reports, according to multiple sources.

The sources also said Pelosi laid into McConnell, saying, as she’s said before, that he is acting like a rogue Senate leader. She mused that sometimes she wonders whether McConnell has Russian connections, the sources said.

Once the impeachment articles are formally sent to the Senate, the chamber is expected to kick off the opening of the trial with the swearing in of all 100 senators. The substance of the trial, however, is not expected to begin until next week.

The White House is also readying its defense of the President, including a push for the Senate to include the option of moving to swiftly dismiss the charges against the President in the rules of the Senate’s impeachment resolution, a motion that would require 51 votes and would end the trial.

But a motion to dismiss may not be included in the impeachment rules resolution, because that vote could put Republicans up for reelection in a difficult spot and McConnell does not have the 51 votes needed to approve it early in the trial.

“I think I am safe in saying there is almost no interest in a motion to dismiss,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, who is not up for reelection in 2020.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the Republican whip, warned there are still “some things that are being nailed down,” and he said he’d know “soon” if a motion to dismiss among other things would be included in the resolution.

The White House is also still debating whether to include some of Trump’s closest allies in the House to the President’s defense team, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas and Doug Collins of Georgia, who led the President’s defense during the House’s impeachment inquiry.

But many in Senate Republican leadership have made the case that including the House firebrands will not help the President because they won’t appeal to the Senate Republican moderates who will be key to deciding how the trial progresses — and whether there will be any witnesses called.

“My advice to him would be: Let’s not infect the Senate trial with the circus-like atmosphere of the House,” said Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. “And I think there would be an increased risk of doing that if you start inviting House members to come over to the Senate and try the case.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

CNN’s Lauren Fox, Ellie Kaufman, Phil Mattingly, Haley Byrd, Ted Barrett and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.


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