Democrats still mum on impeachment trial timing

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she still isn’t ready to reveal when she will send the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump over to the Senate — the key move that would ignite the trial.

“I’m not going to be telling you when it is going,” Mr. Pelosi told reporters, adding later, “It will be soon, I don’t think it will be long, we must do it.”

She led the impeachment of Mr. Trump on Jan. 13, and held a ceremony that night to sign the article. But she has declined to send it over to the Senate since then, as she tries to work out the most advantageous timing.

After it became clear the GOP would not hold a snap trial in Mr. Trump’s final week, Democrats figured they did not want the impeachment to overshadow President Biden’s first days.

Mrs. Pelosi said Thursday that she doesn’t see the trial undercutting Mr. Biden’s calls for unity. Instead, she said, putting Mr. Trump on trial is a way of getting there.

“You don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last months of your administration,’” she said.

The House has the responsibility of impeaching, or bringing a charge, and the Senate holds trials.

The question for the Senate, now under Democratic control, is whether they can go through a trial while still working on the early outlines of Mr. Biden’s agenda and approving his Cabinet posts.

Democrats have said they think they should do both, but said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, will have to go along with that.

Sen. Richard Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said there are also questions about what a trial would look like, and whether witnesses would be needed.

He dismissed the notion that Mr. Trump could ask for a delay to prepare his legal arguments, saying the president has known since last week that he was facing impeachment.

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