Pelosi caves on articles of impeachment because she had no leverage

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After nearly a month of delay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to send the Democrats’ articles of impeachment to the Senate. She will do so next week.

Pelosi had little choice but to release the articles, which accuse President Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Pelosi tried to use the delay as leverage to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to agree to the Democrats’ proposed trial rules. But McConnell refused, and Senate Democrats simply do not have the votes to work around him.

Even Senate Democrats had begun to express frustration with the dawdling. “Time plays an unknown role in all of this, and the longer it goes on, the less the urgency becomes. So if it’s serious and urgent, it should come over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said it’s “unfortunate” Senate Republicans haven’t agreed to allow witnesses to testify during the trial, but “as far as I’m concerned, [Pelosi] can send them over at any time.” Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut agreed: “I think the time has passed,” he said. “She should send the articles over.”

There’s a reason the Democrats are eager to begin the trial: The longer they wait, the more illegitimate their case against the president looks. If Trump is an immediate threat to governance, as the Democrats have alleged, then why are they unwilling to immediately prosecute the case against him?

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