Nancy Pelosi Defends Impeachment Timing, Says She Resisted Prosecuting Trump At First Because 'This President Isn't Worth It'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is defending her approach to impeachment amid criticism from Republicans over how she's handled the congressional prosecution of President Donald Trump.

"Don't talk to me about my timing," Pelosi said during a speech on the House floor on Wednesday afternoon. "For a long time, I resisted the calls from across the country for impeachment of the president for obvious violations of the Constitution that he committed. But recognizing the divisiveness of impeachment, I held back."

She added that she held off for so long because "frankly I said, 'This president isn't worth it.'"

Pelosi then argued Trump "crossed a threshold" over his dealings with Ukraine, and left lawmakers with "no choice." Democrats allege that the president tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate a potential political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, in exchange for the release of nearly $400 million in military aid. Trump has denied the charges.

Pelosi's remarks were made during a House vote to formally send the impeachment articles against Trump to the Senate. The chamber voted 228 to 193 to transmit the articles, which include abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The House resolution also officially appointed the seven Democrats who will serve as the impeachment managers during the Senate proceedings. The managers will essentially act as prosecutors in the trial. They are Jason Crow, Sylvia Garcia, Val Demings, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff.

The managers will walk to the Senate at 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday to hand-deliver the articles of impeachment. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, will be sworn in on Thursday. The trial is expected to begin on Tuesday, January 21.

nancy pelosi defends trump impeachment timing
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House of Representatives managers for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Wednesday January 15, 2020. Pelosi defended the timing of the impeachment inquiry, arguing that she held off on it for a long time but that the president "gave us no choice." Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pelosi's resolution to transmit the articles to the Senate comes nearly a month after the House voted to impeach Trump. The top Democrat chose to withhold the articles until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed the trial parameters.

But her delay prompted significant pushback from Republicans, who argued that Democrats were purely motivated to impeach by their dislike of Trump. Many also accused their liberal colleagues of trying to remove the president out of fear that the Democratic Party's nominee would lose to him in the 2020 election.

"The Speaker lied when she claimed this was urgent and vital to national security because when the articles passed, she held them for an entire month in an egregious effort to garner political support," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Wednesday accusing Pelosi of running a "sham, illegitimate impeachment process."

Pelosi addressed the criticism over her decision to withhold the articles on Wednesday, saying that her Republican colleagues "would have liked us to send this over on Christmas Eve so they could dismiss it. Perhaps they don't know that dismissal is a cover-up."

The president briefly mentioned the latest impeachment news during a signing ceremony of a trade agreement between the United States and China at the White House.

"It's on the impeachment hoax," Trump said of the resolution after telling some Republican members of the House that it was okay if they needed to leave the signing to vote on sending the articles to the Senate. "It's not going to matter because it's going very well, but I'd rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you. They have a hoax going on over there, let's take care of it."