Trump impeachment: Pelosi to hold vote on sending articles to Senate for final showdown

Chris Riotta
REUTERS

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on Wednesday to send articles of impeachment it previously approved against Donald Trump to the Senate, where a contentious trial is expected to begin shortly after.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement during a closed-door huddle with Democrats on Capitol Hill, while declining to name who would serve as impeachment managers throughout the Senate trial.

The announcement comes after Ms Pelosi told reporters during a press conference last week that she would transmit the articles “when I’m ready”, adding: “We want to see what they’re willing to do and the manner in which they’re willing to do it.”

The House Speaker has repeatedly insisted on Senate Republican leadership providing details about the trial procedures, including what witnesses would be called to testify surrounding the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week, Ms Pelosi wrote: “As I said right from the start, we need to see the arena in which we are sending our managers. Is that too much to ask?"

The Senate majority leader told CNN in response to the House speaker’s demands: “No, we aren’t going to do that.”

He has instead suggested the process would be done swiftly, and that there would be "total coordination" with the White House counsel, telling Fox News: "There will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent that we can."

On Tuesday, Mr McConnell spoke on the Senate floor shortly after Ms Pelosi met with House Democrats to announce the upcoming resolution vote.

"If the existing case is strong," he said, "there is no reason for the judge and jury to reopen the investigation."

After the House likely approves a vote to send the articles to the Senate, a trial would begin just days later, a rare and historic event that has only happened twice before in the US.

However, it remains unclear whether centrist Republicans will join Democrats in calling for witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the president’s dealings surrounding Ukraine to testify during the Senate trial.

Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, told reporters on Monday that he would “like to hear from” Mr Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton, adding: “I expect that barring some kind of surprise, I’ll be voting in favor of hearing from witnesses after those opening arguments.”

Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, has also said her position is “that there should be a vote on whether or not witnesses should be called”.

An impeachment inquiry was initially sparked after a whistleblower filed a complaint about Mr Trump’s 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The president was accused of withholding crucial military aid to the country as it fought a war with Russia, while demanding political investigations into one of his 2020 rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.

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