Democratic Senator Doug Jones Defends Nancy Pelosi Holding Impeachment Articles Until Senate Establishes Fair Trial

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said it's "bizarre" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not sent the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, but Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones said he's glad she's demanding to know what the playing field looks like for a trial.

The GOP and Democratic senators both spoke to ABC News' Martha Raddatz Sunday morning about Pelosi's decision to not formally send over the articles of impeachment to the Senate or name impeachment managers until the Senate lays out some ground rules. Johnson argued that the impeachment case the House is sending over is "pretty thin gruel," but Jones responded by saying President Donald Trump ordered all of his top advisers not to cooperate or testify in the hearings.

Sen. Ron Johnson says charges against Pres. Trump are "pretty thin gruel" and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to withhold the articles of impeachment is "bizarre."

"They had to rush to this impeachment vote and then all of a sudden she's sitting on it." https://t.co/W4qEoBQicq pic.twitter.com/bhA980e1k8

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"The case is pretty thin that the House is sending over to us, if they ever send it over to us, pretty thin gruel from my standpoint. We'll let both sides have a fair chance at making their case and then we'll have a vote," Johnson told the This Week host Sunday.

At a Thursday press conference, Pelosi said she's demanding the Senate lay out a framework for the trial before she sends over the articles of impeachment. She suggested the Founding Fathers never foresaw the U.S. having "a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time."

Johnson responded Sunday, saying: "I just think it's bizarre they had to rush to this impeachment vote and all of a sudden she's sitting on it. I don't think the Senate should be making the case the House should have in their presentation. My guess is they weren't able to make the case. As I said, I think the charges are pretty thin gruel I don't see anything impeachable in that. So it's just not the job of the Senate to make the case that the House should have made in their articles of impeachment."

Jones, an Alabama Democrat, later replied to the Wisconsin Republican's claim the House charges are thin and not worthy of removal from office: [President Trump] ordered his top people who were in the room, who have first-hand knowledge, not to testify. He ordered documents not to be turned over."

Jones argued in favor of Pelosi holding on to the articles of impeachment in exchange for promises from the Senate that the case will be heard in a fair fashion.

"I certainly don't think it's unfair for her to do that ... there's nothing magic about moving these articles immediately. what are the rules going to be when I send House managers over there? What kind of playing field are we doing to have? What is the timing of this? I don't think it's unreasonable to try to just simply ask the Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader sit down and establish those rules going forward before sending the articles over. She's not going to hold these forever...we're going to see it fairly soon," Jones said .

Jones noted that the articles of impeachment brought against then-President Bill Clinton were held onto by the House for three weeks before being sent to the Senate in 1998. Jones said Pelosi is "not slowing down" anything by demanding the Senate lay a foundation for the trial beforehand.

doug jones alabama defends pelosi
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said it's "bizarre" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not sent the articles of impeachment over to the Senate, but Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones said he's glad she's demanding to know what the playing field looks like for a trial. Screenshot: ABC News | This Week