US President Donald Trump is so confident of sailing through the Senate trial, which will decide the fate of his presidency after his impeachment by the House of Representatives, that he challenged Democrats to start the process without delay by sending over the articles of impeachment.
Trump said on Thursday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is afraid to present (the articles of impeachment) it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM” because, he added, “her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic!”
Speaker Pelosi has to formally send over the articles of impeachment that were approved by the House in a late evening vote on Wednesday to the Senate for its Republican leadership to set up the trial to either remove Trump from office or acquit him and let him continue. It is likely to take place in January when lawmakers return from holidays and could last two weeks or more.
But the speaker had not sent them till Thursday, setting up what was seen as rapidly turning into a face-off with the Senate leadership. She has said she wants to know first from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell what the process would look like. The speaker will also need to appoint impeachment managers, Democrats who will argue in support of removing Trump from office in the Senate trial.
McConnell has said Pelosi may be “too afraid” to send the two articles.
The first article of impeachment accuses Trump of abusing the powers of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and the second article charges him with obstructing Congress’s probe.
The Democrat-led House voted largely along party lines to impeach him on Wednesday. Only three Democrats voted against the motion, but no Republican broke ranks, and stuck together to vote against it– a sign of unity that Trump has missed no opportunity to point out.
It’s that same unity Trump is banking on to survive the trial in the Republican-led Senate, where two-thirds of the 100 senators will have to vote to remove him from office. The president has the numbers and and is safe even if one or two Republicans defect, as has been indicated by some of them, such as Mitt Romney.