(Headline USA) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered no clues Friday on her plans to send President Donald Trump’s impeachment to the Senate for trial, but made it clear that Democrats intend to move swiftly on Joe Biden’s legislative priorities, including funding for coronavirus vaccines and relief aid.
Pelosi said Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to speed up vaccines and economic aid is a “matter of complete urgency,” suggesting it could take precedence over Trump’s historic second impeachment trial.
“You’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there,” she told reporters at the Capitol when asked about the trial.
The uncertainty reflects the fact that Democrats do not want the Senate proceedings to dominate the opening days of the Biden administration even amid anger over the Jan. 6 siege by at the Capitol that led to the House’s second vote to impeach the president.
Many Democrats have pushed for an immediate trial, and the proceedings could begin by Inauguration Day if Pelosi sends the article to the Senate by early next week. But others have urged a slower pace as the Senate considers Biden’s Cabinet nominees and the newly Democratic-led Congress considers priorities like the coronavirus plan.
Pelosi told reporters on Friday that her nine impeachment managers, who act as the prosecutors for the House, are working on taking the case to trial.
Many legal experts say it’s unconstitutional to impeach a president after he or she has left office.
Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will replace McConnell and lead a 50-50 Senate as soon as Georgia’s two Democratic senators-elect are sworn in and Biden is inaugurated, making Kamala Harris the president of the Senate and the tiebreaker.
Biden has said the Senate should be able this time to split its work, starting the trial and working on legislation and confirmations.
Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House. He was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 to acquit.
House impeachment managers, all lawyers and some of Pelosi’s closest allies, have argued that while it is important to turn a new page with the Biden presidency, it is also crucial to reckon with the Jan. 6 violence in the Capitol.
“The only path to any reunification of this broken and divided country is by shining a light on the truth,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., who will serve as an impeachment manager.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.