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Nancy Pelosi says she'll stop holding out on sending impeachment articles when she's 'ready': 'That will probably be soon'


Democrats are getting tired of it

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg | Getty Images

Despite criticisms from both sides of the aisle, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) still won't say specifically when she plans to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over to the Senate for a trial.

Pelosi said during a press briefing with reporters Thursday that she doesn't plan to hold onto the articles of impeachment indefinitely, but that she'll send them to the Senate "when I'm ready," which "will probably be soon."

The speaker followed up her answer with a reiteration of her desire to see what a potential Senate process would look like before sending the articles over.

"We want to see what they're willing to do and the manner in which they will do it," Pelosi said.

Pelosi's statement is the latest development — or lack thereof — in the ongoing stalemate between congressional leaders of the House and Senate over when a Senate impeachment trial will begin and how it will be conducted. For weeks, Pelosi has refused to transmit the articles of impeachment and the House impeachment managers — who act as prosecutors — to the Senate, citing concerns over how the terms of the trial will be structured.

On the other side of things, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has declared that the Senate cannot begin working on a trial until the House sends the matter over and has called the idea of Pelosi dictating terms a "fantasy" and a "non-starter."

Earlier this week, McConnell announced that Senate Republicans had sufficient votes to agree to "phase one" of a trial without having to accept Democrats' demands on the process.

Pelosi later responded with a statement saying that the process under consideration "designed to deprive Senators and the American people of crucial documents and testimony" that Democrats want brought in during the course trial, and called on McConnell to put his proposal in writing so "we can see the arena in which we will be participating."

And while it still has no clear end in sight, Pelosi's ongoing impeachment holdout tactic has drawn criticism from members of both parties. Earlier this week, the delay prompted some of the upper chamber's Republicans to sign on to an effort to amend the Senate's impeachment rules to allow members of the chamber to dismiss the matter "for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles" if they aren't sent to the Senate within 25 calendar days after being voted on.

On the other side of the aisle, multiple Senate Democrats have started to say that it's time for Pelosi to let the Senate take over on the issue.

"The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes," Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. "So if it's serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn't, don't send it over."

One congressional Democrat, however, has changed his tune since coming out against Pelosi's impeachment stall, and did so fairly quickly. Within a few hours of saying that it was time to send the matter to the Senate, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (Wash.) backtracked and tweeted that he "misspoke."

"If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision," he tweeted.

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