Pence Chief of Staff Says Pelosi Withholding Impeachment Articles is ‘Untenable’

December 23, 2019 Updated: December 23, 2019
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) withholding impeachment articles from the Senate is “untenable,” said Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short on Dec. 22.

“I think her position is really untenable. The reality is that she said in the House that this president poses such a grave danger to the globe that we have to trample on his constitutional rights, not allow us to have any witnesses in front of the Intelligence Committee, not allow us to have counsel present, not allow us to provide evidence in our own defense,” Short said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

“We’re quite confident that the position is untenable, and she’s going to move it along, and that Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell reach a deal on how it’s going to proceed in the Senate.”

“There’s no way she can hold this position.”

Pelosi not submitting the articles of impeachment after they were approved on Dec. 18 sparked widespread confusion among lawmakers, analysts, and constitutional scholars, with some claiming that Trump isn’t actually impeached until the articles are submitted, others arguing that Trump was impeached the moment the House approved the resolution containing the articles, and some claiming that the Senate could start a trial without receiving the articles.

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Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, takes a phone call as Pence speaks at a meet and greet with NYPD officers and personnel at NYPD headquarters in New York City on Sept. 19, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Pelosi has said that she’s withholding the articles to try to get a “fair” trial in the Senate, which is held by Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor on Dec. 19, “I’m not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), one of the Democrats who voted to impeach Trump and a member of the caucus leadership team, said later on “Fox News Sunday” that she didn’t know how long Pelosi would withhold the articles.

She noted that President Bill Clinton was also impeached in December but the House didn’t submit the articles until Jan. 6.

“I think what the speaker is trying to do is to ensure that there’s going to be a fair trial. I think they’re going to continue to be discussions. I don’t know. I’m not part of those very tight discussions,” Dingell said.

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Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), left, speaks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after an event at the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 19, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Host Chris Wallace noted that House Democrats kept saying during the impeachment inquiry that Trump was a threat to the nation. “So, if President Trump is such a threat, if this case is so urgent, why not send impeachment to the Senate right away?” he said.

Dingell responded by saying the Senate wouldn’t have started a trial before Jan. 6, when the body reconvenes, an apparent reference to McConnell stating before the House’s impeachment vote that a trial wouldn’t start until 2020.

“You have no idea what’s going to happen in the next two weeks as the leaders are trying to negotiate what’s going to happen, and as I remind you, Republican impeachment with President Bill Clinton, that managers weren’t appointed until January 6,” Dingell said.

Wallace asked about the delay a third and fourth time, wondering what leverage Pelosi believes she has. He also noted that Noah Feldman, a professor called by Democrats during the trial, has said Trump isn’t impeached until the articles are turned over to the Senate.

Dingell said Democrats aren’t making “an empty threat.”

“All people are doing is making sure it’s a fair trial, and by the way, I’ve read that very same part of the Constitution. It doesn’t say how quickly you have to move it from the House to the Senate,” she said. “I think that you’re going to see it go sooner than quite frankly Mitch McConnell would maybe even like.”

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