Why Is Speaker Pelosi Hanging On to the Articles of Impeachment?

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A week ago, the House of Representatives historically voted to impeach Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States. However, that doesn’t mean he’s out of office: he’ll have a trial in the Senate, where the Republican majority there is expected to acquit the president along party lines.

Nancy Pelosi addresses the House of Representatives
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At least, they’re expected to do so when the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, sends the articles of impeachment to the Senate for the trial. Which, much to Trump’s ire, she has yet to do.

Using the Christmas holiday as a buffer, Pelosi is keeping the articles of impeachment in her pocket for now. Why?

A Power Play

Many are viewing the Speaker’s move here as a power play. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel has publicly stated that he’s going to “fully cooperate” with the White House in how they want the Senate trial executed, and that they expect to “swiftly acquit” the president.

This has hardly inspired confidence in House Democrats that the process in the Senate will be a fair one.

So, Pelosi will wait for Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, to hammer out what the House Speaker considers a fair trial before deigning to send the articles to the Senate. This, in turn, has incensed many in the White House, with Trump sending a fusillade of enraged tweets over the Christmas break.

Why Has This Angered the Trump Administration?

The cold, hard facts of impeachment have been a sore spot for the beleaguered Trump administration in the months following the publication of the whistleblower complaint.

While the administration has done everything in its power to spin the impeachment as a partisan “witch hunt” seeking to “reverse the 2016 election” (which the Republican Party now insists was interfered with by Ukraine, not Russia), the fact remains that Trump is only the third president ever to be impeached.

While this inconvenient fact has loomed over Trump, he’s had some cold solace in knowing that Republicans will swiftly sweep the incident under the rug, voting to acquit him and helping to soothe his bruised ego.

That’s not what’s happening now, though. Instead, Pelosi is dragging his nightmare out, leaving his presidency in limbo until the Senate agrees to what Democrats deem a fair trial.

It’s an egregious abuse of power to some, the last ploy of a scared politician to others, and a masterful power move to many. Time will tell how Pelosi’s gambit here pans out.