In response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unprecedented attempt to prevent an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) today to introduce a resolution to update Senate rules to allow a motion to dismiss articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution. Senators Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) are also original cosponsors of the proposed Hawley rule.
Senator Inhofe said, “Democrats continue to prove that the impeachment articles are solely about politics. President Trump has clearly done nothing wrong – there was no abuse of power or obstruction of Congress. But now, Speaker Pelosi and top Democrats want to postpone a Senate trial altogether, maybe even indefinitely. I want to clear President Trump’s name once and for all after this ridiculous and unprecedented impeachment process is over and get back to working on issues that actually matter to families in Oklahoma.”
Senator Hawley said, “Speaker Pelosi started this bogus impeachment by claiming President Trump was an urgent ‘threat to democracy’ who had to be removed now. But after a bipartisan vote against the articles in the House, and with the public opposed to the Democrats’ partisan games, Pelosi has changed her tune. Now she wants to prevent a Senate trial, perhaps indefinitely. But the Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House. If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”
Senator Rick Scott said, “Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are making a mockery of our government. Democrats have wanted to impeach Donald Trump since he came down that escalator four years ago. They just hate Trump. But Chairman Schiff did a great job showing the American people that the President did nothing wrong and that this is just an effort to undo the 2016 election. If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to send the articles to the Senate, we should dismiss the articles of impeachment and get back to work on all the things that aren’t getting done, like securing the border, passing No Budget, No Pay and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”
Senator Braun said, “Nearly three weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi and her liberal cohorts voted to impeach President Trump, but rather than fulfill their constitutional duty and send the articles of impeachment to the Senate they’ve opted to play more partisan games. In the real world, it’s put up or shut up, which is why I’m introducing a mandate that forces Speaker Pelosi to deliver the articles of impeachment within 25 days. If Pelosi doesn’t think her case is strong enough to deliver within that timeframe then the Senate should be allowed to dismiss the case so we can get back to real problems like lowering the price of prescription drugs and passing USMCA.”
Senator Blackburn said, “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. Impeachment ought to be reserved for high crimes and misdemeanors – acts that, if identified, require the timely and prompt removal of a president. If House Democrats are so confident in their findings, they ought to have no problem sending the articles over within a 25 day deadline.”
Senator Cruz said, “Since the start of the impeachment process, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have made a mockery of our Constitution and abused impeachment for political gain. Now, they’re undermining the role of the Senate by attempting to dictate the terms of the Senate’s trial. Under our Constitution, the Senate has the sole authority to try impeachment. It is the Senate’s duty to take up these articles without delay, and to resolve them in a timely and constitutionally appropriate manner.”
Senator Daines said, “It’s time to put up or shut up, and stand up to Nancy Pelosi. House Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump before he was even sworn into office. First, they rushed through a rigged process, now they have cold feet. Enough with the political games. It’s time to get back to work for Montana and the American people.”
Senator Barrasso said, “Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump since day one. They know they don’t have a credible case against the president. Speaker Pelosi cannot dictate how the Senate operates. If she refuses to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Senate should be able to dismiss them.”
Senator Cotton said, “By failing to deliver the articles of impeachment, the Democrats are admitting they bumbled their partisan impeachment. If the articles aren’t delivered in a timely manner, they should be dismissed.”
Senator Ernst said, “Iowans are fed up with this political exercise that’s slowing us down from getting important things done, like passing the USMCA — a trade deal that will create over 175,000 jobs across this country. Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have been trying to impeach President Trump since day one, and now after voting on the articles, she’s stalling. Why? Because she knows she made a mistake. Iowans aren’t going to put up with this. Speaker Pelosi and her squad need to send over the articles so that we can get back to the people’s business. This resolution sets an important time table that will allow us to do just that.”
Senator Perdue said, “The Democrats’ impeachment process in the U.S. House of Representatives was nothing more than a partisan show trial. Now, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer are trying to play the same political games in the U.S. Senate. President Trump deserves his day in court, and the Senate is fully-prepared to conduct a fair trial. However, if the House refuses to send over the articles, the Senate should have the ability to dismiss and move on to finding real solutions for the American people.”
The Senate has adopted a set of 26 rules that govern all impeachment proceedings, known as the “Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.” Those Rules presume prompt delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate following their adoption by the House. Historically, the House delivered articles of impeachment to the Senate for action almost simultaneously with the vote to impeach. During the Clinton impeachment, for example, the articles were transmitted to the Senate the same day they were approved. Consequently, the current Senate rules have no mechanism to address Speaker Pelosi’s unprecedented attempt to prevent a Senate trial by withholding the articles after the President has been impeached.
Speaker Pelosi’s gambit raises grave constitutional concerns. Article 1, Section 3 gives the Senate the “sole” power to try impeachment cases. But if the Speaker refuses to transmit the articles after the President has been impeached, she could prevent the Senate from exercising its constitutional prerogative, perhaps indefinitely.
Senator Hawley’s resolution would amend the Senate’s impeachment rules to prevent this abuse of the Constitution and protect the Senate’s sole power to try impeachment. The resolution would allow the Senate to dismiss for lack of prosecution any articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives has delayed transmitting for 25 calendar days or more. Under this new rule, any Senator would be entitled to move to dismiss once the allotted time period had elapsed. Any motion to dismiss would be voted upon by the full Senate.
Text of the proposed Hawley rule:
Title: Amending the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.
Resolved, That rule I of the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials is amended to read as follows:
“I. Whensoever the Senate shall receive notice from the House of Representatives that managers are appointed on their part to conduct an impeachment against any person and are directed to carry articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate shall immediately inform the House of Representatives that the Senate is ready to receive the managers for the purpose of exhibiting such articles of impeachment, agreeably to such notice.
If, following adoption of such articles, the House of Representatives does not so notify the Senate or otherwise provide for such articles to be exhibited to the Senate within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of such articles, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, such articles shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate and it shall be in order for any Senator to offer a motion to dismiss such articles with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles. Such motion shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Senators, duly chosen and sworn, without debate by the yeas and nays, which shall be entered on the record.”.
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