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