Pelosi gave a presser Wednesday night where she threatened to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate unless they bow to her demands.
“In the future, you could have a House impeach a president, hold the articles back as a way to extort the president unless you do our bidding, unless you reach an agreement to our liking,” Lindsey Graham said.
The Constitution never envisioned the House being able to impeach the president and dictate the terms of the trial in the Senate and hold them back at a time of their choosing,” he said. “That does create a Constitutional extortion mechanism that’s dangerous for the country.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham: "So my concern is the precedent we're setting. In the future, you could have House impeach a president, hold the articles back as a way to extort the president." pic.twitter.com/AUcVsxo0Pq
— The Hill (@thehill) December 19, 2019
Pelosi declined formally to transmit the articles to the Senate on Wednesday evening after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump.
The Senate can act, regardless — and would vote to acquit.
That’s because the Constitution is absolutely clear about the Senate’s authority. Article I, Section 3 says: “The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.
Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg reported:
Scoop: Lawyers close to Trump are exploring whether Pelosi’s decision to temporarily withhold articles of impeachment from the Senate could mean that the president hasn’t actually been impeached.
The case is largely rhetorical, but could provide WH and Senate Republicans leverage
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) December 19, 2019
The White House legal theory, according to a person familiar with the legal review, is that if Trump has been officially impeached, the U.S. Senate should already have jurisdiction.
Backers of the theory would argue that the clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives the Senate “the sole Power to try all Impeachments” indicates that the impeachment isn’t formalized until the House reported the charges to the upper chamber.
Clearly it is “unconstitutional” for Pelosi not to submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate.