Pelosi Should Send Only One Article of Impeachment to Senate, George Conway and Neal Katyal Suggest
With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) announcement Friday that the House would consider a resolution to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate next week, there has been speculation as to whether or not this would in fact happen given the standoff between Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and if so, whether Pelosi would send both articles of impeachment.
In a Washington Post op-ed, George Conway, husband of presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and an advisor to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC, and former acting solicitor general Neal Katyal, argue that Pelosi should hold the article of impeachment alleging abuse of power. As far as the president’s obstruction of Congress, no relevant new evidence will be obtained, and so that article should be transmitted. They write:
Separating the two articles — our preferred approach — would make perfect sense. When it comes to the second article, all the evidence about Trump’s obstruction is a matter of public record. There’s nothing more to add, so the second article is ripe for trial. But as to the first, although there is plenty of evidence demonstrating Trump’s guilt, his obstruction has prevented all of the evidence from coming to light.
New evidence since the House adopted the articles of impeachment, they note, include emails showing that the military aid to Ukraine was ordered withheld mere minutes after Trump’s July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. Also, former national security advisor John Bolton has signaled he is willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate; his lawyer says he has new information.
Conway and Katyal reason that only transmitting this one article would keep McConnell in check as far as reluctance to agree to a fair trial with witnesses:
Holding the first article back and letting the second go forward would be a powerful and precise response to McConnell’s unprecedented attempts to avoid committing to a real trial. It makes practical sense but also highlights what’s at stake here. Trump would be forced to undergo two impeachment trials instead of one — but that’s a fair price for him to pay for his attempts to hide evidence from the American people.
McConnell said Friday he would not commit to a time frame when asked if he hoped to wrap up the trial before Trump’s State of the Union on February 4.