WASHINGTON (CN) – Touting powerful evidence from what has been a three-week hold on the start of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled Friday that she would end the tactic.
“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,” Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic colleagues.
The California congresswoman added that she would have more information about how to proceed in the Democrats’ caucus meeting on Tuesday.
While the three-week postponement brought criticism from Republicans — and some Democrats — Pelosi trumpeted the tactic of holding the articles of impeachment as a success that allowed her party to gather more evidence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have stonewalled.
“While the House was able to obtain compelling evidence of impeachable conduct, which is enough for removal, new information has emerged,” she noted, referring to emails from the Pentagon and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which emerged in recent weeks.
Among the trove, Pelosi cited an email with President Trump’s political appointee at OMB, Michael Duffey, who relayed a hold order on $391 million in military aid meant to help Ukraine in its hot war with Russia.
Time-stamped some 90 minutes after Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Duffey conceded that the directive came from the top.
“Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process,” wrote Duffey, who defied a House subpoena to testify, shortly after the July 25 call.
Pelosi also pointed to unredacted Department of Defense emails obtained by the online publication Just Security showing that officials had concerns about the legality of the hold.
During the interim, a previously reluctant key witness, Ambassador John Bolton, announced that he would not oppose a Senate subpoena. The House demurred from subpoenaing Bolton after he made clear that he would fight such an effort in court.
If called, Bolton almost certainly will be asked about explosive comments that former National Security Council official Fiona Hill said he made about a campaign by Trump’s associates to pressure Ukraine’s government into investigating his political opponent.
“You go and tell [National Security Council adviser] Eisenberg that I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton was quoted as saying.
Hill also testified that Bolton described Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani as a “hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.”
The campaign to pressure an investigation in Ukraine of Trump’s possible 2020 election rival Joe Biden and sow doubt about the conclusions of the Russia investigation formed the basis of the first impeachment article for abuse of power.
Pelosi emphasized polling that shows the public is against McConnell’s stonewall of witnesses.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
The White House’s blanket refusal of allowing agencies to provide documents and order that his officials defy House subpoenas prompted a second impeachment article for obstruction of Congress.
This story is developing…
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