December 20, 2019 - 10:59 AMT
Trump demands "immediate" impeachment trial in Senate

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded“an immediate trial”from Democrats after the timing of the Senate hearing was cast into doubt just a day after the House impeached a president for only the third time in history, Financial Times reports.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, refused to reveal on Thursday, December 19 when she would send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, which is required for a trial.

The move was seen as an attempt to pressure Republicans into accepting Democratic demands that White House officials, who had refused to testify before the impeachment inquiry, be called as witnesses at trial.

“So after the Democrats gave me no Due Process in the House, no lawyers, no witnesses, no nothing, they now want to tell the Senate how to run their trial,” Trump tweeted. “Actually, they have zero proof of anything, they will never even show up. They want out. I want an immediate trial!”

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader, stepped up the high-stakes game of chicken over the impeachment trial.

“Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid . . . to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate,” McConnell said. “The prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country.”

When asked if she was concerned that a delay would spark criticism that the Democrats were playing games, Pelosi responded: “I don’t care what the Republicans say.”

The stand-off between Pelosi and McConnell — two of theshrewdest lawmakers in the US Congress — creates doubt over whether the Senate trial will proceed as planned in early January. While some Democrats urged the speaker to remain firm, others questioned whether her tactics would damage the case that the party was making to the nation.

Trump echoed the criticism of Pelosi on Twitter: “Pelosi feels her phoney impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up!”