PoliticsStacy M. Brown

Pelosi Withholds Impeachment Articles in Congress Standoff

The historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump gave many of the president’s detractors an opportunity to cheer.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wasn’t among them.

Pelosi cut off her colleagues as they cheered the vote to impeach Trump on two articles of impeachment — obstruction of Congress, and abuse of power.

“It’s a sad day,” said Pelosi, who for most of the year weighed heavily the thought of impeaching Trump, who joined Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican Andrew Johnson as the only presidents ever to have faced impeachment.

The Senate failed to convict Clinton and Johnson. Impeachment proceedings also began in 1973 against Richard Nixon, but he resigned before the full House could vote.

Because Senate Republican leaders have already publicly expressed that any trial would favor Trump, Pelosi said she isn’t sure when she’ll send over the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

While most experts said they’re not sure what Pelosi and Democrats can accomplish by withholding the articles from the Senate, some said it could force Republicans to negotiate a more palatable and transparent impeachment trial.

“I would argue that a brief pause is not enough. Pelosi should hold on to the articles until Democratic leadership can ensure a comprehensive, unbiased Senate trial,” NBC News THINK contributor Kurt Bardella wrote in an op-ed for the network’s website.

Bardella once served as the spokesperson and senior adviser for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“The best way to do this is by using what little leverage they have left to compel the White House and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell to allow senior administration members to testify,” Bardella wrote.

Democrats owe it to the American people to use every tool at their disposal to try to force Senate Republicans to own their roles in such a charade, Bardella said.

“Even if they are ultimately unsuccessful, Democrats need to make it clear that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell defied the will of the House and of at least half of the voting population,” he said.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), one of the president’s most outspoken critics, applauded her colleagues’ decision to impeach Trump.

Waters quoted the late Maya Angelou, saying, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

“This day was not inevitable, but it was predictable because this president has shown himself time and time again to believe that he is above the law and has no respect for our Constitution or our democracy,” she said. “Based on all that we know about Donald Trump, we could have predicted he would have abused the power of the presidency by corruptly [soliciting] the government of Ukraine and Ukrainian President Zelensky to publicly announce investigations into [his] political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

“This impeachment resolution includes evidence that this president withheld $391 million of taxpayer funds that Congress appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression,” — another blatant abuse of power,” she said.

Waters said the investigations revealed that this president advanced “a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine — rather than Russia — interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election” “for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal political benefit.”

“Never before in our history have we experienced a president who has so clearly conducted himself in a manner offensive to, and subversive of, the Constitution and directed his Cabinet members, Executive Branch agencies, and other White House officials to defy lawful subpoenas from Congress,” she said. “It is without question that this president has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law, because at every turn, he has shown us who he is.

“It’s no secret that this president could have been impeached long ago,” Waters said. “Today, we stand here with an irrefutable case and an indisputable set of facts that this president absolutely abused his power and obstructed Congress.

“Any other individual who would have been caught conducting themselves in the way that this president has would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” she said. “History will remember those who were willing to speak truth to power.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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