Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and a host of other Republicans have firmly tossed the ball back into the Democrat court in order to force action on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. In what could be accurately described as a bold play, Hawley has introduced a resolution that puts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) under enormous pressure to either proceed with her plan to remove the president or to risk losing it all.
Hawley’s resolution seeks to dismiss the articles of impeachment should they not be delivered to the Senate within 25 days through an update to Senate rules.
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) added extra fuel to the fire in what will doubtless become the rallying cry of Republicans keen to move on with the process. She wrote in a statement:
“After three years of searching for a reason to impeach this president, Democrats in the House cannot seem to find the time to send over the articles of impeachment… If House Democrats are so confident in their findings, they ought to have no problem sending the articles over within a 25 day deadline.”
Speaking on the Senate floor, Hawley made an impassioned plea to deliver President Trump his constitutional rights, stating that when a prosecutor brings a case but refuses to try it, the accused has the right to have those charges dismissed.
The Case for Dismissal
“Their turn is over. They’ve done enough damage. It’s the Senate’s turn now to render sober judgment,” said Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Jan. 3. “The same people who spent weeks screaming that impeachment was so urgent … now decided it could wait indefinitely while they check the political winds and look for some new talking points.”
This does, in fact, appear to be the Democrat plan. Each week, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or an advocate suggests that a new email or a recently released document is a “gamechanger” in the Trump impeachment efforts. But surely if the opposition party were convinced enough to vote on articles of impeachment, then what difference does an extra thread make?
Knowing full well that the rules for the Senate trial will ultimately be decided by a Senate vote requiring only a simple majority, Schumer and his cohorts appear determined to drag out the wrangling for as long as possible, at least until the election begins in earnest.
A Dangerous Game
Where the resolution goes from here is unknown. Will Pelosi buckle, insisting that she had intended to deliver the articles of impeachment within the time frame anyway? In some games, the only way to win is just not to play. It seems that both sides have too much to lose by not casting their lot. They are irrevocably locked into a game of chicken that will see one, or perhaps both sides, in fatal danger.
Read more from Mark Angelides.