Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi continues to insist that she is not yet ready to entertain articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump despite the findings of the Mueller Report.
I'm reading between the lines and thinking she means impeachment is not imminent but its pending, at the appropriate time. And I'm guessing that appropriate time will be around years end.
Under the US Constitution, once the House has approved the articles of impeachment and formally submitted them to the Senate, the Senate must then be convened as a Constitutional Court to make judgement on them.
So let's look at a potential timeline! For the next eight months, the various House Committees, under Democratic control, conduct their varies inquiries into the areas of potential wrongdoing, gathering their evidence and documenting details. By early in the new year, they should be sufficiently prepared to introduced specific articles of impeachment detailing allegations and supporting evidence, and the House would them vote these forward. A simple majority vote is all that is needed so this would appear to be a mere formality.
By early spring of next year, just as the 2020 election cycle is getting underway, these articles of impeachment would be submitted to the senate, which upon receipt, is obligated to adjudicate them as a Constitutional Court. One can only expect the Republican dominated Senate to try and delay it as much as possible, beyond the election if possible. But the timing of the trial is up to the Chief Justice of the United States, who will be the presiding judge, and he might determine the nation cannot afford delays and set an immediate trial.
convened, the Senators are required to take an oath similar to that of a regular juror, to determine the outcome based on the evidence. And that is the lynchpin of Nancy Pelosi's strategy. She would love to have the Republican Senators forced to stand and cast their votes, based on their oath as constitutional court jurors, just before the 2020 vote.
Timing is everything, and Pelosi's timetable looks spot on.
Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill