Nancy Pelosi is threatening to hold the articles of impeachment and not send them to the U.S. Senate for a trial. What does that mean?
On today’s Jay Sekulow Live we discussed Speaker Pelosi’s announcement that she was not yet sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said from the Senate floor today:
The House’s conduct risks . . . deeply damaging the institutions of American government. This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular President create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future.
If you followed my Twitter feed last night, I was not surprised by the vote that the President was impeached on those two articles. I was not surprised by the couple of Democrats who peeled off and voted against impeachment. I was not surprised by the one Democrat who tried to have it both ways.
What is most important is what happened after the vote. Nancy Pelosi went right to the podium and announced that she would not be sending over the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate as per normal custom.
ACLJ Director of Government Affairs Thann Bennett made the following point:
We talked about it yesterday. If it was going to happen, then typically after an impeachment there is a privileged resolution passed by the House of Representatives where managers are named and it is formally sent over to the Senate. We said yesterday that there was some question whether or not Speaker Pelosi was going to do that and indeed she did not. She announced that she was going to hold that resolution. So while the President has been impeached, it has not yet been sent over to the Senate. She did not bring up that privileged resolution.
I asked my father, ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, what his opinion was about what Speaker Pelosi is trying to do:
Here’s what Speaker Pelosi’s trying to do; she thinks she’s going to create some kind of constitutional crisis by doing a parliamentary move to not have the managers appointed and not presenting those articles of impeachment to the Senate. Here’s where she fails constitutionally. The United States Constitution doesn’t talk about managers. It doesn’t discuss her delivery method. The President was impeached by a vote yesterday in the United States House of Representatives. The Senate now has jurisdiction. The Senate will determine the trial. If they do not show up and do not present their case I would file a motion to dismiss with a motion to acquit.
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution says:
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
That’s all it says about the House involvement.
Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6 states:
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.
It is clear when reading the Constitution that the Senate has the ability to determine its own rules and can call a hearing. Speaker Pelosi is just playing political games.
You can listen to the entire episode here.
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