In response to Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment that passed in the House of Representatives Dec. 18, Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun has co-sponsored legislation which would force her to release them.
Named after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who introduced the mandate Monday, the Hawley Resolution would force Pelosi to release the articles of impeachment to the Senate within 25 days of the original vote. If she abstained, the charges levied against President Trump would be dismissed.
The amendment would need 67 votes in the Senate to be implemented to govern impeachment proceedings. The proposed 25-day period will end on Sunday, but the bill could pass and influence future instances of impeachment.
Braun initially criticized Pelosi’s decision in September to announce the impeachment inquiry as premature, as it came before the public releases of the whistleblower report implicating Trump and the rough transcript of his phone conversation with the president of Ukraine. The senator has now doubled down on that assessment, saying that Pelosi fears her case isn’t strong enough to remove the president from office in a Senate trial.
“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,” Braun wrote on his official government website. “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.”
Braun has not responded to requests to further comment on the resolution as of Wednesday.
The House speaker’s reluctance was prompted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., announcement that he saw no reason to allow new testimony — such as that volunteered by former National Security Adviser John Bolton — during the trial.
“Speaker Pelosi is trying to influence the Senate process by pressuring them to set up a process to call witnesses for the trial,” said Robert Browning, Purdue political science professor.
Browning said the amendment expediting the transmission of the impeachment articles was unlikely to garner a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate. He said the rule precluding the Senate trial from proceeding without House cooperation originated in 1998, during the impeachment of then-president Bill Clinton.
The professor said he expects Pelosi to move promptly to begin the trial after mounting pressure from Braun and fellow Republican senators. He called her decision unusual despite the fact that House and Senate leaders often engage in tense disputes over proper legislative process.
Braun and fellow Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young will each swear an oath before the Senate impeachment trial starts to administer “impartial justice.” Browning said this puts senators in an unusual position where they’re able to both dictate rules for the proceedings using their 53-member majority and act as jurors to convict or acquit.
Braun did not immediately respond to additional requests for comment on his role as an impartial juror.
McConnell vowed absolute coordination between his governance of the trial and the Trump administration’s desired guidelines in an interview with Fox News. This admission aligns with the majority leader’s plans to inhibit the introduction of additional witness testimony desired by Democrats.
Browning said he thinks if evidence were allowed, “significant evidence could sway some moderate Republicans and Democrats, but most will adhere to their party positions.”