As House Democrats voted overwhelmingly to impeach President Donald Trump last week, his top allies in the Senate have come out in force, stating that the House failed to present a strong enough case for impeachment, as required by the Constitution.
But the next step in the process, per the Constitution, involves the House Speaker turning over the impeachment articles to the Senate for a fair trial for the accused. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi disrupted the rule in a surprise announcement following the impeachment vote, saying she wasn’t sure when she would turn the matter over to the Senate.
According to The Hill, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who happens to be the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, wasn’t happy about Pelosi’s unprecedented stalling tactic and suggested she’s violating the Constitution in a big way.
“Not allowing the Senate to act on approved Articles of Impeachment becomes Constitutional extortion and creates chaos for the presidency,” Graham tweeted. “It also sets in motion a tremendous threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances.”
Not allowing the Senate to act on approved Articles of Impeachment becomes Constitutional extortion and creates chaos for the presidency.
It also sets in motion a tremendous threat to our Constitutional system of checks and balances.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 19, 2019
It should be noted that extortion is a felony-level crime, per U.S. federal law.
In another tweet, Graham pointed out that he believes House Democrats are holding onto the impeachment articles because their case against Trump is “weak” and doesn’t meet the standards of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as outlined in the Constitution.
Pelosi claims that she’s holding up the process because she doesn’t see “anything fair” in the Republican-controlled Senate with regard to what Democratic senators will be able to do during an impeachment trial. She also claims she hasn’t yet selected the House managers who will travel to the Senate to present the case against Trump.
Other Democrats have encouraged Pelosi to keep the delay tactic going until Senate Democrats can agree to a rules package that they believe is fair. However, the longer the House holds up the process, the more intense the backlash will presumably be.
Currently, both chambers of Congress are in Christmas and New Year’s recess and won’t return to work until early January.