The House Speaker is facing questions about when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate so it can put President Trump on trial. President-elect Joe Biden, who unveiled an ambitious $1.9 trillion spending package, will speak this afternoon about his plan to expand vaccinations.
As Washington eagerly awaited answers Friday morning about the timing and scope of President Trump’s impeachment trial, Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed reporters in the Capitol about when she planned to send the charge to the Senate.
Ms. Pelosi’s weekly news conference at 11:30 a.m. was the first time the California Democrat has fielded questions since the House impeached Mr. Trump on Wednesday for inciting a violent insurrection at the Capitol as he sought to overturn President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election victory.
Democrats, poised to take unified power in Washington next week for the first time in a decade, worked with Republican leaders to try to find a proposal to allow the Senate to split time between the impeachment trial of Mr. Trump and consideration of Mr. Biden’s agenda, including his cabinet nominees and a $1.9 trillion economic recovery plan he proposed on Thursday to address the coronavirus. But they were virtually silent in public about their plans.
Although Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has privately told advisers that he approves of the impeachment drive and believes it could help his party purge itself of Mr. Trump, he refused to begin the proceedings this week while he is still in charge. That means the trial will not effectively start until after Mr. Biden is sworn in on Wednesday, officials involved in the planning said.
It has also left Democrats weighing whether to bring their case to the Senate immediately, potentially handicapping Mr. Biden’s first few days in office and distracting from his inauguration, or waiting until a few days after he is sworn in. The latter option may be more appealing to Mr. Biden, but it could undercut Democrats’ argument that Congress must move urgently to impeach and try Mr. Trump.
With Republicans fractured after the president’s exhortations to supporters to reject his defeat inspired a rampage, many of them were trying to gauge the dynamics of a vote to convict Mr. Trump. Doing so would open the door to disqualifying him from holding office in the future.
A cautionary tale was playing out in the House, where a faction of Mr. Trump’s most ardent allies was working to topple Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican, from her leadership post. Ms. Cheney had joined nine other members of the party who voted with Democrats to charge the president with “incitement of insurrection.”
Most Senate Republicans stayed publicly silent about their positions. But Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska and one of the president’s leading critics, signaled on Thursday that she was among a small group in her party so far considering convicting Mr. Trump.
It remained unclear whether the 17 Republican senators whose votes would be needed to convict Mr. Trump by the requisite two-thirds majority would agree to find him guilty.
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