WASHINGTON (AP) – Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House Representatives will take steps next week to transmit the articles of impeachment against United States (US) President Donald Trump, ending a three-week standoff but confronting the Senate with only the third trial in US history to remove a chief executive.
In a letter to her Democratic colleagues, Pelosi said on Friday she was proud of their ‘’courage and patriotism” and warned that senators now have a choice as they consider the charges of abuse and obstruction against the President.
“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to do ‘impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws,’’’ Pelosi wrote. “Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution.”
The trial could begin next week. The Constitution gives the House the sole power to impeach a President, but the Senate the ability to render a verdict when it convenes as the Court of Impeachment.
Pelosi was particularly upbeat on Friday as she strode through the Capitol, despite the mounting pressure on her to quit delaying the trial. Her decision to end the showdown with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not fully bring closure to the question of whether the Senate will consider new witnesses, as some want, shifting pressure on senators to decide.
Trump swiftly signalled his intention of blocking any testimony from John Bolton, the brash former national security adviser who could be a wildcard witness in the trial. Bolton has said he would appear before the Senate if he received a subpoena.
At the same time, a key centrist GOP Sen Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote is among those most watched, announced on Friday she was in discussions with other Republicans on a strategy that would allow the Senate to hear new testimony.
While the rules of Senate trial remain unsettled, the outcome is not. Trump is widely expected to be acquitted of the charges that he abused power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, then obstructed Congress in its investigation. No President has ever been removed by the Senate.