House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she will not send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate until she feels there will be a fair hearing.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said during a news conference Wednesday night. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.”
Pelosi and top Democrats hope that delaying the Senate hearing will put pressure on Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to adopt trial procedures they consider bipartisan.
McConnell has said that he is working closely with the White House on impeachment strategy and that he expects Trump to be acquitted. He has also suggested that the Democrats should not be allowed to call new witnesses.
“If we go down the witness path, we’re going to want the whistleblower. We’re going to want Hunter Biden. You can see here that this would be kind of a mutual assured destruction,” McConnell said during an interview with Brian Kilmeade of Fox News on Sunday. "We know how it’s going to end. The president is not going to be removed from office.”
Democratic leadership has suggested a list of witnesses including Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton.
McConnell’s argument against using witnesses is a departure from views he expressed during President Bill Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial.
“There have been 15 impeachments in the history of the country. Two of them were cut short by resignations. In the other 13 impeachments there were witnesses,” he told CNN’s Larry King Live on January 28, 1999. “It’s not unusual to have a witness in a trial. It’s certainly not unusual to have a witness in an impeachment trial.”
McConnell has expressed that he intends to get through the Trump impeachment trial as quickly as possible. The House impeachment process took months, but the Senate process is not expected to last more than a couple of weeks.
“I think we’ve heard enough. After we’ve heard the arguments, we ought to vote and move on,” McConnell said on Sunday.