WASHINGTON — Twenty days after House Democrats voted to approve articles impeachment against President Donald Trump, they still haven’t been delivered to the Senate.
Now, Senate Republicans are floating a plan that would force Democrats to do so or give up their impeachment bid.
“This has never been done before. It’s not even been thought of before,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
He said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is defying the Constitution by refusing to send the articles to the Senate. She has cited concerns about the Republican majority there holding a fair trial.
“It is time to update the Senate’s rules to account for this unprecedented attempt at obstruction,” Hawley said.
He and 10 other GOP senators are supporting a new rule that would allow the Senate to throw out articles of impeachment if they are delivered within 25 days.
“We need to have trial so this thing can be put to rest,” Hawley said. “It’s been 20 days — longest delay in history — but it could be 200 days or 400 days if we don’t act.”
“If we get the rules down, I think we can finish this process,” Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said.
He wants to have a trial, but says Pelosi is out of line.
“I was a House member for 16 years. I don’t recall any time that we tried to dictate what the Senate would do,” he said.
But Senate Democrats, like Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, support Pelosi. Brown said Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have aligned with the White House to cheat the American people.
“For whatever reason, Sen. McConnell just wants to get over like this and not bring in witnesses and not bring in documents,” Brown said. “We need a fair process so the American public understands it was a fair trial.”
McConnell said Tuesday he has the votes to start the Senate trial without that new evidence and testimony that Democrats want.
But for now, the articles remain in the House and the impeachment remains in limbo.