Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi hasn’t made a lot of noise during Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, because she hasn’t needed to. It’s up to Senate Republicans to decide how they want to handle the no-win situation of either giving Trump a witness-free sham trial that voters will punish them for, or letting witnesses testify against Trump and then making themselves look even more absurd by acquitting him. Then Pelosi can make whatever countermove she wants.
If Republican Senators don’t do their jobs, Nancy Pelosi can simply hold a public House hearing and let John Bolton testify. Or she can launch new articles of impeachment if she wants. Or she can simply sit back while Bolton does the TV talk show circuit, thus decimating Trump and the GOP Senators who acquit him. Pelosi holds all the cards; she just has to wait for the GOP to finish playing its losing hand. Interestingly, Pelosi spoke up today, tweeting this about the trial:
You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.
If Republican Senators choose a cover-up, the American people and history will judge it with the harshness it deserves.
What stands out here is that, unlike the fatalists in the Resistance who keep insisting that “Trump is getting away with it all,” Pelosi is flat out saying that Trump’s acquittal won’t count, and that this won’t have been a trial. It’s a tricky game to try to guess precisely what she plans to do about it if the Senate doesn’t call witnesses. But she appears to be making a point of reminding everyone that she holds all the power here.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report