By Jack Phillips
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said the temporary hold on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump is “foolish” and “absurd.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats have implied that they might withhold the impeachment articles from the Senate, suggesting that the ensuing trial won’t be fair.
During two post-impeachment press conferences, Pelosi wouldn’t commit sending the two articles. “We don’t know the arena we’re in,” she told reporters on Thursday morning before adding that “when we see what they have, we’ll know who and how many to send over,” referring to House managers during the Senate trial. She added: “The next thing for us … is when we see the process set forth in the Senate. We will have the monitors set forth and who we will choose.”
On Friday, Gingrich told Fox News that Pelosi will release the articles to the Senate because with every passing day, “Pelosi is going to look sillier and sillier. The Democrats in the House are going to look more and more narrowly political and partisan. And frankly, that’s not a very good place to be.”
He added that she cannot negotiate with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and has “no leverage over him at all.” McConnell is “one of the most formidable leaders in the history of the Senate,” Gingrich said.
“So, you know, I think McConnell’s perfectly happy to let the Democrats in the House be stupid, and he’s not going to deal with them, he’s not going to talk to them,” Gingrich explained. “He’s just going to say ‘when you guys get done and you are tired of being ridiculed, send me the impeachment. Until then, I’m not going to pay any attention.’”
Another top Democrat in the House, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), implied that his caucus may place an indefinite hold on the impeachment articles, which passed the House on Wednesday night largely along party lines.
“The delay is made necessary because the majority leader of the Senate has made it very clear that he’s not going to be impartial, he’s not going to be fair, he will collude, if you please, with the White House—at least the White House’s attorneys—to decide how he will go forward,” he told CNN on Thursday. “Why would the speaker of the House step into that without trying to determine exactly what the majority leader plans to do?”
The strategy has drawn intense speculation and discussion among some legal experts.
Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, who testified in the House impeachment inquiry several weeks ago, wrote for Bloomberg News that Trump actually hasn’t been impeached yet.
If the House doesn’t send over the articles to the Senate, Trump could argue “with strong justification that he was never actually impeached. And that’s probably not the message Congressional Democrats are hoping to send,” he said.
An indefinite delay would “pose a serious problem” for the Democrats and Constitutional process, he said.
Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, told a radio show on Thursday the gambit to hold articles will fail, adding that “the Senate will determine the trial. If they do not show up [and] they do not present their case, I would file a motion to dismiss with a motion to acquit.”