WASHINGTON (AP) - After weeks of delay and strategizing, the U.S. House is planning to vote Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate to start the trial on removing him from office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi met privately Tuesday at the Capitol with House Democrats about next steps, ending her blockade a month after they voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Pelosi said the House will vote to transmit the charges and name the House managers for the case. She warned the Republican-led Senate off any idea of simply dismissing the case against Trump.
“The President and the Senators will be held accountable,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial.”
The action will launch the Senate proceeding, only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, a dramatic endeavor coming amid the backdrop of a politically divided nation and an election year.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House last month on charges of abuse of power over pushing Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and obstruction of Congress in the following probe.
The trial would then begin in a matter of days.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday scoffing at what he called the “bizarro world” of Pelosi’s impeachment strategy that delayed transmitting the charges for weeks.
“Do these sound like leaders who really believe we are in a constitutional crisis, one that requires the ultimate remedy?” McConnell asked. He rejected Pelosi’s recent suggestions that whatever the Senate verdict, Trump will be “impeached forever.”
“It will fall to the Senate to end it with seriousness and sobriety,” he said.
McConnell was meeting behind closed doors later Tuesday with GOP senators as they negotiate the terms of the trial.
Senate Republicans are signaling they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Trump as he has suggested. They are considering whether to allow a vote on such a motion to dismiss and another to subpoena testimony from new witnesses.