Eyes on Pelosi as Trump impeachment trial timing up in the air
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[January 15, 2021]
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The timing of
President Donald Trump's impeachment trial could come into clearer focus
on Friday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to take questions
about her next steps at a morning news conference at the U.S. Capitol.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted 232-197 on Wednesday
to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement one week after his supporters
rampaged in the Capitol following a speech in which the outgoing
Republican president urged them to fight Democrat Joe Biden's Nov. 3
Trump, now the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice,
falsely claims he lost due to widespread voting fraud. He will likely be
the first president to face an impeachment trial after leaving office.
Ten Republicans joined Democrats in supporting impeachment, while others
argued Trump's remarks were protected by the First Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution, which defends free speech.
His trial in the Senate cannot begin until the charge has been formally
transmitted to that chamber. So far, Pelosi, a Democrat, has stayed mum
on when she will do so.
Representative Diana DeGette, one of nine Democratic impeachment
managers who will argue the House's case against Trump, said on Thursday
that Pelosi was working with Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell on when to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate
and trigger the start of the trial.
According to Senate rules, the trial would start the day after the
charge is sent over by the House. The last time the House voted to
impeach Trump, in December 2019, Pelosi did not transmit the charges to
the Senate for weeks.
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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks to the floor of the
House of Representatives to begin the voting process on a resolution
demanding Vice President Pence and the cabinet remove President
Trump from office, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 12,
2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The earlier charges related to abuse of power and obstruction of
Congress stemming from Trump's request that Ukraine investigate
Biden and his son Hunter. The Senate in February 2020 voted to
acquit Trump, keeping him in office.
The Senate is scheduled to return to Washington on Tuesday, the day
before Biden's inauguration.
Some House Democrats say they favor Pelosi waiting to send the
newest charge to the Senate, even as long as 100 days. But others
want quick action to get the trial started.
Biden has urged lawmakers not to allow Trump's impeachment trial to
interfere with other priorities in his early days in office, such as
approval of his Cabinet and proposed legislation. On Thursday, the
president-elect unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal designed
to jump-start the economy and speed up the U.S. response to the
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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