Pelosi Is 'Trying to Obstruct' Trump's Impeachment Trial, GOP Senator Says: 'She's Really Subverting the Constitution'

Senator Josh Hawley has accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of "subverting the Constitution" by delaying the transfer of impeachment articles in a political dispute over the handling of President Donald Trump's trial.

On Monday Hawley, a Missouri Republican, introduced to the Senate a resolution to update its rules so that articles of impeachment can be dismissed for lack of prosecution by a majority vote unless they are sent up by the House within 25 days of their passage.

"This is so important because the House speaker is trying to run the United States Senate. She's trying to hijack the trial. She's trying to obstruct the trial," Hawley told Sean Hannity on his Fox News show Monday night.

"And in so doing she's really subverting the Constitution because the Constitution's clear. It says the House has the power to impeach. They've done that. Wrong decision, but they've done it. The Senate has the power to try the case and it's time for the Senate to fight back."

Changing Senate rules requires a two-thirds supermajority, making Hawley's resolution highly unlikely to pass if it is ever brought to a vote. There are currently 53 Republican Senators, 45 Democrats, and two independents who caucus with the Democrats.

The House impeached Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on December 18 over his alleged misconduct towards Ukraine. Under Hawley's proposals, the articles would be dismissed for lack of prosecution on January 11.

Specifically, Trump is accused of soliciting Ukraine's interference in the next presidential election to benefit his re-election campaign and then obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with its investigation into the allegations. The president denies any wrongdoing.

Trump allegedly conditioned $391 million of military aid and a White House visit for President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Kyiv opening corruption investigations into unfounded claims regarding former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, and the Democratic Party.

Democrats say Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate, are not going to allow a fair trial of Trump. Pelosi is withholding the articles, and so delaying the trial, to put pressure on Senate Republicans to call key witnesses sought by the Democrats.

One of those potential witnesses, Trump's former top national security adviser Ambassador John Bolton, said in a statement on Monday that he would testify if subpoenaed to do so by the Senate. Democrats hope Bolton's testimony holds powerful evidence of Trump's wrongdoing.

The Democrats are also demanding the release of documents withheld by the Trump administration from the House impeachment inquiry so the Senate trial can access all of the evidence when coming to its decision to convict or acquit Trump.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is refusing to grant the Democratic requests. He believes the Democratic case against Trump is partisan and terminally weak, and he wants to expedite the president's trial to move on from the impeachment issue.

"My Democratic colleagues should not plow away American unity in some bizarre intramural competition to see who dislikes the president more," McConnell told the Senate on Monday.

"They should not disdain our constitution by rushing through a purely partisan impeachment process and then toying around with it. Governing is serious business. The American people deserve better. A lot better than this."

A senior Democratic aide told Newsweek: "Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans' arguments against holding a fair trial collapsed over the holiday break. They're all out of excuses and now grasping at straws.

"Bolton's statement on Monday and new emails showing the Pentagon was concerned about President Trump's freeze on Ukraine aid are significant developments that demand a fair trial in the Senate and wouldn't have happened without Speaker Pelosi holding the articles."

Hawley told Hannity that "we heard nothing but how urgent it was the president be removed, what a national security threat he was—whatever that was supposed to mean—and now, all of a sudden, no urgency at all."

"I think what that shows is the only urgency on the part of the Democrats and Pelosi was an urgency to pursue their personal vendetta against the president of the United States," Hawley said.

"They never accepted his election. They never wanted him in office. They wanted to get him out. But now, when it's time to put up or shut up, and actually put their evidence forward, they're afraid to do it because they don't have any evidence. It's a sham, it's a joke, it's a fraud.

"They have no case and they know it. That's why they're afraid to proceed to a trial. The Senate is ready to have a trial. The president deserves to have a trial. The American people deserve a trial so we can put this thing to rest."

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted at the end of December found that 45 percent of the 1,500 American adults surveyed think the Senate should remove Trump from office against 41 percent who believe it should not. There were 14 percent not sure either way.

Josh Hawley Nancy Pelosi Senate trial Trump
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) gestures during a Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs hearing at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Hawley told Fox News host Sean Hannity that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to "hijack" the Senate's trial of President Donald Trump. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

This article was updated with a comment by a senior Democratic aide.