The House of Representatives will likely send the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate by the end of the week, a top Senate Democrat said on Jan. 21.
“They will be sending it over to us in a day or two, I imagine. We have to decide how to work it into a very busy calendar. But it is a priority,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said during a virtual appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters on Jan. 21 that it’s up to Pelosi as to when the article will be transmitted.
At the Capitol, Pelosi told a press conference that the House is “ready” to send the article, although she wouldn’t disclose the exact day when that will happen.
“I’m not going to be telling you when it is going. We had to wait for the Senate to be in session. They’ve now informed us that they’re ready to receive,” she said. “The question is, are there questions about how a trial will proceed. But we are ready.”
The Senate had been out of session until Jan. 19. Democrats gained the majority in the chamber on Jan. 20, when three senators were sworn in. Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are negotiating on how the trial will play out, according to the Democrat.
The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 for alleged incitement of an insurrection; they blame him for the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
“Very clear he has been on this path for a while, but just that day, he roused the troops, he urged them on to ‘fight like hell,’ he sent them on their way to the Capitol, he called upon lawlessness. He showed a path to the capital, and the lawlessness took place, a direct connection in one day, over and above all of the other statements he had made before,” Pelosi said.
A timeline shows that Trump hadn’t finished speaking before the violence started at the Capitol, approximately two miles away. In addition, Trump urged supporters during the speech to act “peacefully.”
Republicans have decried the impeachment push, now that Trump is now out of office.
“My overall question is: Why are we doing this when the president is out of office tomorrow?” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) asked reporters on Jan. 19.
In impeaching Trump, Democrats seek to disqualify him from ever holding office again.
President Joe Biden faces questions about how he can support a conviction while, at the same time, saying he wants to unify the country. Trump remains popular among Republicans, and received a record-high number of votes for a sitting president in the 2020 election.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki avoided questioning both late on Jan. 20 and during a separate appearance on MSNBC early on Jan. 21.
“He’s going to leave it to them [the Senate] to determine what the path forward should be on the pace, on the steps, on the mechanics of holding the president accountable—former president, I should say,” she said.
Biden has asked Senate Democrats to reserve at least half a day for hearing from and confirming his nominees.
“We are confident that just like the American people can, the Senate can also multitask,” Psaki told reporters.
“You could literally have nomination hearings and nomination votes in the morning. You could have the impeachment trial in the afternoon. And then, in the evening, you could vote on legislative matters,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told reporters in Washington.
Pelosi refuted the idea that trying to convict Trump undermines the message of unity.
“No. I am not worried about that. The fact is the president committed an act of incitement of insurrection. I don’t think it is unifying to say ‘Oh, let’s just forget it and move on.’ That’s not how you unify,” she said.
“Joe Biden said it beautifully: if you’re going to unite, you must remember.'”
Peter Navarro, a former White House trade adviser under Trump, suggested Jan. 20 that Biden should encourage Democrats to drop the impeachment effort if he’s serious about unity.
“If not, forget about unity,” he said. “That’s gone, that’s off the table. This will be a 50-50 country. The gap between us will be a chasm. There will be nothing but friction.”