Sen. Hawley Wants Deadline for Sending Impeachment Articles to Senate

January 6, 2020 Updated: January 6, 2020
FONT BFONT SText size

WASHINGTON—Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might have only one week left to withhold from the Senate the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, approved by House Democrats on Dec. 19, if the upper chamber approves a proposal for a 25-day deadline introduced Jan. 6 by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)

“If, following adoption of such articles, the House of Representatives does not so notify the Senate or otherwise provide for such articles to be exhibited to the Senate within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of such articles, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, such articles shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate and it shall be in order for any Senator to offer a motion to dismiss such articles with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles,” the resolution reads.

“Such motion shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Senators, duly chosen and sworn, without debate by the yeas and nays, which shall be entered on the record.”

If Hawley’s resolution is approved as is and made applicable to the Dec. 19 date, Pelosi would have to deliver the two approved articles of impeachment to the Senate no later than Jan. 13. She has withheld them while insisting the Senate adopt “fair” rules that allow testimony from witnesses who didn’t appear during the House impeachment hearings.

Once the articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate, its current rules stipulate that a trial then be held in which two-thirds of the 100 senators would have to vote in favor of convicting Trump on at least one of the two articles in order to remove him from the presidency.

In addition to Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), co-sponsors of the resolution include Republican Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Joni Ernst of Iowa, David Perdue of Georgia, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The presence among the initial co-sponsors of Barrasso, who is chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Inhofe, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, could be a signal to House Democratic leaders that further delays in their impeachment drive against Trump could have significant consequences.

“Speaker Pelosi started this bogus impeachment by claiming President Trump was an urgent ‘threat to democracy’ who had to be removed now. But after a bipartisan vote against the articles in the House, and with the public opposed to the Democrats’ partisan games, Pelosi has changed her tune,” Hawley said in a statement announcing the resolution.

“Now she wants to prevent a Senate trial, perhaps indefinitely. But the Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House. If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute, and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”

Scott said in the statement: “Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] are making a mockery of our government. Democrats have wanted to impeach Donald Trump since he came down that escalator four years ago. They just hate Trump.”

“But [House Select Committee on Intelligence] Chairman Adam Schiff [D-Calif.]  did a great job showing the American people that the President did nothing wrong and that this is just an effort to undo the 2016 election.”

“If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to send the articles to the Senate, we should dismiss the articles of impeachment and get back to work on all the things that aren’t getting done, like securing the border, passing No Budget/No Pay, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”

He was referring to Trump’s program to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, legislation to deny paychecks to Congress when it doesn’t adopt a budget on time, and legislation to reduce prescription drug prices.

Barrasso said in the statement: “Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump since day one. They know they don’t have a credible case against the President.”

“Speaker Pelosi cannot dictate how the Senate operates. If she refuses to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Senate should be able to dismiss them.”

Republicans control the Senate, with 53 members, compared to 45 Democrats and two independents.

Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc