Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined with roughly a dozen of GOP senators on Monday, Jan. 6 to introduce a resolution that would change the Senate’s rules and allow them to dismiss articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump for lack of prosecution, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held on to the articles after the House voted last month.
“In the real world, when a prosecutor brings a case but refuses to try it, the court has the ability and the defendant has the right—the constitutional right, I might add—to have those articles, those indictments, those charges dismissed,” Hawley said. “That is precisely the action that I am proposing today.”
GOP Sens. Rick Scott (Fla.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), David Perdue (Ga.) and James Inhofe (Okla.) joined Hawley to sign the resolution.
“Speaker Pelosi started this bogus impeachment by claiming President Trump was an urgent ‘threat to democracy’ who had to be removed now,” Hawley continued. “But after a bipartisan vote against the articles in the House, and with the public opposed to the Democrats’ partisan games, Pelosi has changed her tune. Now she wants to prevent a Senate trial, perhaps indefinitely. But the Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House.”
“If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business,” Hawley added.
The resolution would give the House 25 days to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. After that, any senator would be able to move to dismiss the articles with a simple majority vote.
The House voted to adopt the articles on Dec. 18, 2019, charging President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. After the vote, Pelosi refuses to send articles to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), demanding a “fair trial” in the upper chamber as she and Democrats in the Senate are seeking high-level witnesses and documents as part of a potential Senate trial.
“The President & Sen. McConnell have run out of excuses. They must allow key witnesses to testify, and produce the documents Trump has blocked, so Americans can see the facts for themselves,” she wrote in a tweet on Monday. “The Senate cannot be complicit in the president’s cover-up.”
Republicans have criticized Democrats for handling the impeachment proceedings in the House, calling it a “rigged process.”
“It’s laughable for Democrats to complain about process when they denied Republicans basis fairness and due process throughout their sham ≠impeachment in the House,” Oversight Committee Republicans tweeted.
.@GOPLeader is right.
— Oversight Committee Republicans (@GOPoversight) January 7, 2020
McConnell on Friday rejected Pelosi’s efforts to influence a pending impeachment trial and noted that the impeachment trial in the Senate should mirror that of former President Bill Clinton’s in 1999.