WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff argued Sunday that the House Democrats’ delay in turning over impeachment articles to the Senate has undercut their own arguments about the urgency in pursuing the process in the first place.
“It's a really untenable position, we think, for Speaker Pelosi to say, ‘this president is such a clear and urgent danger to the world, to the globe, that we have to basically trample his constitutional rights, to force a quick impeachment,' and then say, 'well, we're going to hold up impeachment papers,'” Pence's aide, Marc Short, said Sunday during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“How can you possibly justify the contrast to say, ‘this is urgent,’ to then say, ‘well, we'll have to wait and see?’”
The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on two articles last week — abuse of power and obstructing Congress — in largely party-line votes.
Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival in next year's presidential election.
And they’ve said his administration had stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate those allegations.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced late Wednesday that she wouldn’t immediately send over the House-approved articles to the Senate, arguing that she isn’t yet convinced the Senate trial would be “fair.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer so far remain at an impasse over the rules for a Senate trial over the articles, with Schumer pressing for witness testimony and a more extended trial than McConnell seems to want.
Democrats have criticized McConnell for not not setting the stage for an impartial trial, and the Senate leader has publicly said he is working closely with the White House on the matter.