Pelosi's playing hardball

Pelosi's playing hardball

by digby

I think this is very smart:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate until she gets more information about how the trial will be run.

The House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress Wednesday, but Pelosi is not obligated to immediately send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate and she said Thursday she will not do so — nor will she appoint impeachment managers (House members who will serve as prosecutors) — until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell clarifies what the trial will look like. This means the articles of impeachment could sit in limbo through the holiday break or even longer.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate. Then we'll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward and who we would choose,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference Thursday.

It was a slight walkback of comments the speaker made immediately following the vote late Wednesday night.

“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” she said Wednesday night. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”

It’s not clear whether this is a temporary delay or if Pelosi is siding with some members of her caucus who want to hold back the articles indefinitely until they get assurances that the Senate will hold a fair trial that includes hearing from new witnesses.

Those pushing for holding on to the articles say the point isn’t so much about putting pressure on McConnell, but putting pressure on Trump by withholding the acquittal he seeks.

“What do you think is going to happen if these sit there for a month or two months? Trump will go crazy,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “That six page letter, I mean he’s coming unhinged. He cannot contain himself.

Senate Republicans are already pouncing on the plan, questioning why Democrats said they had to move quickly toward impeaching the president in the House, but now seem to feel no urgency to send it to the Senate. McConnell on Thursday morning suggested Democrats weren’t sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate because they are not confident in their case.
Hahaha. No, that's not it. They know, of course, that the Senate is not going to remove Trump. They just want to make sure that the Republicans have to answer for cover up for him. They want witnesses and and a real trial. And yes, they probably would enjoy making Trump squirm. But they are after bigger fish.

I also wonder, as I mentioned yesterday, if they aren't seeing Rudy's antics and this news that Russian money may have been financing Trump's Ukraine scheme as a reason to pause for a bit and see what else shakes out on that. After all, the president's lawyer is out there as we speak incriminating Trump and himself in more crimes.

But honestly, it's probably the case that this is a negotiating tactic for a fairer trial to ensure that those vulnerable Senate Republicans are on the hot seat. If they can't muster the courage to vote for conviction even knowing that he will be acquitted anyway because they fear the wrath of Trump, they deserve to lose their seats.

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