| December 23, 2019 04:01 PM
A CNN legal analyst tore into Nancy Pelosi’s strategy to force a fair impeachment trial in the Senate by withholding the House-passed articles from the upper chamber.
“I think she’s grasping here,” Paul Callan told CNN Newsroom on Monday when asked about the House speaker’s move. “The Republicans hold all the cards in the Senate. The trial of an impeachment is solely within the discretion of the Senate. All the prior impeachments have involved the majority of the Senate at the time of determining what the rules would be, and of course, the Republicans are in the majority now.”
He continued, “So the only thing she can do is try to threaten to withhold the documents that are necessary for the trial in order to get a fairer trial. But I think we’re coming to the end of the road on that, and the impeachment articles will have to be formally submitted.”
Callan, a British journalist and editor, added that he thinks a Senate trial could move forward even without receiving the articles from the House.
“Frankly, I think they could be tried even if they weren’t formally submitted. They’re a matter of public record. We know exactly what was voted,” he said. “But we’ll see how this plays out. And in the end, Mitch McConnell gets to call the shots, just as Pelosi called the shots on the House side. That’s because in the end, this is a political process. It’s not a court of law. It’s a political process, and it’s controlled entirely now by the Republicans.”
The House voted last week to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress following the scandal surrounding his July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, during which he urged the foreign leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The president was accused of conditioning military aid or a state visit on an investigation into the 2020 Democratic front-runner.
After the vote, which was nearly along party lines, Pelosi indicated that she would not immediately send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, arguing that she wants to wait until Republican leaders agree to terms for a fair Senate trial.
On Sunday, Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Mike Pence, called the move untenable. Hours later, another CNN analyst echoed that sentiment and warned the House speaker that the strategy could be a “double-edged sword,” calling her stance not “sustainable.”