Her hand forced, Nancy Pelosi agrees to send impeachment articles to the Senate

At long last, and very reluctantly, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to send the House's two articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.  The trial will be conducted on Mitch McConnell's terms.

On Friday, Pelosi submitted a letter to Democrats stating her plans for the impeachment.  The letter opens by taking shots at Mitch McConnell for refusing to allow in the Senate the evidence the Democrats failed to adduce in the House.  She tries to justify the need for an evidentiary do-over in the Senate by alluding to "new" evidence that came to light after the most rushed impeachment proceedings in American history.  She then demands from the Senate an impartiality sadly lacking in the House.  (The full text of the letter is at the bottom of this post.)

For all her huffing and puffing, Pelosi doesn't have a leg to stand on, and she knows it.  There's a doctrine in the law that goes by the name of the "shock the conscience test":

The U.S. Supreme Court established the "shock-the-conscience test" in Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 72 S. Ct. 205, 96 L. Ed. 183 (1952). Based on the Fourteenth Amendment's prohibition against states depriving any person of "life, liberty, or property without due process of law," the test prohibits conduct by state agents that falls outside the standards of civilized decency.

That should be the standard for impeaching the president.  That standard envisions behavior so heinous that it overrides partisanship and leads all congresspeople to believe that an accused president has completely violated his fiduciary duties to the nation and its people.

But that is not what happened in the House.  The House engaged in a nakedly partisan search for some wrongdoing, any wrongdoing, by which it could impeach the president before the 2020 election rolled around.  When the Russia hoax failed, House members concluded that it did not matter whether the accusations had substance.  It was enough to create a shadow over President Trump's name in the hope that this would injure him in the election.

The House proceedings' naked politicization resulted in a Senate uninterested in meeting House Democrats halfway when it came to their demands that the Senate proceedings be conducted as a do-over of the House proceedings.  It's possible that Pelosi would have delayed even longer in an effort to force Sen. McConnell's hand, if not for a new initiative announced Thursday in the Senate.

On Thursday, Mitch McConnell had agreed to co-sponsor new Senate rules that would allow for the impeachment to be dismissed out of hand before the House even sent it over.  The theory would be that Pelosi's delay was itself proof that the impeachment had no factual basis but was solely a partisan play.  Nancy caved.

As it is, Congress people in both parties have noted that Americans have lost interest in impeachment and that the long delay undercut the Democrats' contention that impeachment was an urgent necessity to rid the White House of a troublesome president.

The following is the text of Nancy Pelosi's letter:

Dear Democratic Colleague,

For weeks now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people's interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.

Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges. A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth. Leader McConnell's tactics are a clear indication of the fear that he and President Trump have regarding the facts of the President's violations for which he was impeached.

The American people have clearly expressed their view that we should have a fair trial with witnesses and documents, with more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify. Clearly, Leader McConnell does not want to present witnesses and documents to Senators and the American people so they can make an independent judgment about the President's actions.

Honoring our Constitution, the House passed two articles of impeachment against the President -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- to hold the President accountable for asking a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections for his own political and personal gain.

While the House was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, which is enough for removal, new information has emerged, which includes:

On December 20, new emails showed that 91 minutes after Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, a top Office of Management and Budget (OMB) aide asked the Department of Defense to "hold off" on sending military aid to Ukraine.

On December 29, revelations emerged about OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's role in the delay of aid, the effort by lawyers at the OMB, the Department of Justice and the White House to justify the delay, and the alarm that the delay caused within the Administration.

On January 2, newly-unredacted Pentagon emails, which we had subpoenaed and the President had blocked, raised serious concerns by Trump Administration officials about the legality of the President's hold on aid to Ukraine.

And on January 6, just this week, former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton announced he would comply with a subpoena compelling his testimony. His lawyers have stated he has new relevant information.

I am very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution. I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.

In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to "do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws." Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution.

No one is above the law, not even the President.

Thank you for your leadership For The People.

At long last, and very reluctantly, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has agreed to send the House's two articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.  The trial will be conducted on Mitch McConnell's terms.

On Friday, Pelosi submitted a letter to Democrats stating her plans for the impeachment.  The letter opens by taking shots at Mitch McConnell for refusing to allow in the Senate the evidence the Democrats failed to adduce in the House.  She tries to justify the need for an evidentiary do-over in the Senate by alluding to "new" evidence that came to light after the most rushed impeachment proceedings in American history.  She then demands from the Senate an impartiality sadly lacking in the House.  (The full text of the letter is at the bottom of this post.)

For all her huffing and puffing, Pelosi doesn't have a leg to stand on, and she knows it.  There's a doctrine in the law that goes by the name of the "shock the conscience test":

The U.S. Supreme Court established the "shock-the-conscience test" in Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 72 S. Ct. 205, 96 L. Ed. 183 (1952). Based on the Fourteenth Amendment's prohibition against states depriving any person of "life, liberty, or property without due process of law," the test prohibits conduct by state agents that falls outside the standards of civilized decency.

That should be the standard for impeaching the president.  That standard envisions behavior so heinous that it overrides partisanship and leads all congresspeople to believe that an accused president has completely violated his fiduciary duties to the nation and its people.

But that is not what happened in the House.  The House engaged in a nakedly partisan search for some wrongdoing, any wrongdoing, by which it could impeach the president before the 2020 election rolled around.  When the Russia hoax failed, House members concluded that it did not matter whether the accusations had substance.  It was enough to create a shadow over President Trump's name in the hope that this would injure him in the election.

The House proceedings' naked politicization resulted in a Senate uninterested in meeting House Democrats halfway when it came to their demands that the Senate proceedings be conducted as a do-over of the House proceedings.  It's possible that Pelosi would have delayed even longer in an effort to force Sen. McConnell's hand, if not for a new initiative announced Thursday in the Senate.

On Thursday, Mitch McConnell had agreed to co-sponsor new Senate rules that would allow for the impeachment to be dismissed out of hand before the House even sent it over.  The theory would be that Pelosi's delay was itself proof that the impeachment had no factual basis but was solely a partisan play.  Nancy caved.

As it is, Congress people in both parties have noted that Americans have lost interest in impeachment and that the long delay undercut the Democrats' contention that impeachment was an urgent necessity to rid the White House of a troublesome president.

The following is the text of Nancy Pelosi's letter:

Dear Democratic Colleague,

For weeks now, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has been engaged in tactics of delay in presenting transparency, disregard for the American people's interest for a fair trial and dismissal of the facts.

Yesterday, he showed his true colors and made his intentions to stonewall a fair trial even clearer by signing on to a resolution that would dismiss the charges. A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth. Leader McConnell's tactics are a clear indication of the fear that he and President Trump have regarding the facts of the President's violations for which he was impeached.

The American people have clearly expressed their view that we should have a fair trial with witnesses and documents, with more than 70 percent of the public stating that the President should allow his top aides to testify. Clearly, Leader McConnell does not want to present witnesses and documents to Senators and the American people so they can make an independent judgment about the President's actions.

Honoring our Constitution, the House passed two articles of impeachment against the President -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- to hold the President accountable for asking a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections for his own political and personal gain.

While the House was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, which is enough for removal, new information has emerged, which includes:

On December 20, new emails showed that 91 minutes after Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, a top Office of Management and Budget (OMB) aide asked the Department of Defense to "hold off" on sending military aid to Ukraine.

On December 29, revelations emerged about OMB Director and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's role in the delay of aid, the effort by lawyers at the OMB, the Department of Justice and the White House to justify the delay, and the alarm that the delay caused within the Administration.

On January 2, newly-unredacted Pentagon emails, which we had subpoenaed and the President had blocked, raised serious concerns by Trump Administration officials about the legality of the President's hold on aid to Ukraine.

And on January 6, just this week, former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton announced he would comply with a subpoena compelling his testimony. His lawyers have stated he has new relevant information.

I am very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution. I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.

In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to "do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws." Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution.

No one is above the law, not even the President.

Thank you for your leadership For The People.