How Nancy Pelosi cornered Donald Trump without lifting a finger

Donald Trump is making a fool out of himself by incoherently whining about it. Mitch McConnell is so twisted around by it, he’s announcing a different gameplan every few days. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is strategically pushing back against them both. Meanwhile, pro-impeachment poll numbers continue to rise. Here’s the kicker: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has managed to pull all of this off without technically even doing anything.

When Nancy Pelosi held a press conference after ratifying the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, she knew she’d get a question about when she planned to send the articles to the Senate for trial. She simply said she’d have to see whether McConnell was planning to hold a fair trial before making that decision. When a reporter than characterized this as Pelosi threatening to withhold the articles, she made clear that this wasn’t the case; she was simply waiting to see what was going to happen.

The kicker is that by this time, McConnell had already publicly stated that he wasn’t going to take up the articles of impeachment in the Senate until the new year anyway. So if Pelosi hadn’t held that press conference, the Senate impeachment trial still wouldn’t be happening yet. Nothing would be different in terms of timing or procedure. But in such case Trump and McConnell would be triumphantly talking about ramming through a sham acquittal right now. Instead they’re in a real jam, simply because Pelosi held the press conference.

In reality, Nancy Pelosi didn’t have to lift a finger in order to back Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Senate Republicans into a corner. No one has a magic wand here. Pelosi will have to send the articles eventually, and she’ll only get some concessions toward a fair trial. But she was savvy enough to tilt the tables heavily in her favor, just by holding a press conference where she knew she’d get asked a certain question.

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