Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced today that she’ll hold a vote tomorrow to send the two existing articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial. She held onto the articles over the holidays for strategic reasons that are now starting to become more clear, and she’s holding this vote amid breaking news suggesting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t going to get to have the free-for-all that he’s been publicly threatening to hold.
Pelosi’s public statement today accused McConnell of trying to orchestrate a “cover-up” while asserting that “The President and the Senators will be held accountable.” This doesn’t appear to simply be empty rhetoric. In the few weeks that Pelosi has been holding onto the articles of impeachment, John Bolton has announced that he’s willing to testify under subpoena at the Senate trial, and polling is showing increasing public pressure for that testimony to happen.
Last night, in an apparent attempt at getting out ahead of bad news, the Trump White House announced that it expects that a sufficient number of Republican Senators will vote to call witnesses. Shortly after this, Mitt Romney publicly confirmed that he expects to be one of them. Romney’s weaseling aside, it’s clear that McConnell does not have control of his caucus right now, and that each Republican Senator is going to do whatever he or she thinks is personally best for his or her own reelection odds.
This comes even as Nancy Pelosi has the theoretical option of having John Bolton publicly testify to the House, while the Senate impeachment trial is going on, if the Republican Senate fails to call him as a witness. This also comes as Lev Parnas is turning over thousands of pages of Ukraine scandal documents to the House. We’re not entirely sure what happens next, but this won’t be the smooth sailing that Trump and McConnell have been openly fantasizing about.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report