Braun backs resolution to dismiss impeachment articlesJanuary 7, 2020
By CANDY NEAL
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some U.S. senators, including Mike Braun, R-Ind., are looking to update Senate rules that would allow a motion to dismiss articles of impeachment for lack of prosecution after 25 days.
Braun is co-sponsoring the resolution proposed by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
“Nearly three weeks ago, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and her liberal cohorts voted to impeach President Trump,” Braun said in a statement, “but rather than fulfill their constitutional duty and send the articles of impeachment to the Senate they’ve opted to play more partisan games. In the real world, it’s put up or shut up, which is why I’m introducing a mandate that forces Speaker Pelosi to deliver the articles of impeachment within 25 days.”
The U.S. House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House must send the articles to the U.S. Senate so that the Senate can hold a trial to determine if Trump will be removed from office. But the House has not yet sent them.
The proposed resolution states that the secretary of the Senate will tell the House that the Senate is ready to receive the articles of impeachment. After that, if “the House of Representatives does not so notify the Senate or otherwise provide for such articles to be exhibited to the Senate within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of the articles, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, the articles shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate.” With that, “it shall be in order for any Senator to offer a motion to dismiss the articles with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles.”
A majority would be needed to pass the motion, according to the proposed resolution.
Other co-sponsors of the resolution are Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tom Cotton, R-Ark, and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Mike Kendall, chairman of the Dubois County Democratic Party, doesn’t believe such a rule is constitutional.
“The Constitution is clear that the House has the sole power of impeachment; the Senate has the sole power to try the cases,” he said. “I don’t see how under the Constitution the Senate can pass any rule to set a statute of limitations or a time period to submit the bill of impeachment to the Senate.”
The Herald reached out to Dubois County Republicans Chairman Mark Messmer as well, but did not receive a response on this matter.
Historically, the House has delivered articles of impeachment to the Senate for action almost simultaneously with the vote to impeach. During the impeachment process of former President Bill Clinton, the articles of impeachment were sent to the Senate the same day the House approved them. Ultimately, the Senate did not remove Clinton from office.
Hawley and the resolution’s sponsors believe the House should have already sent the current impeachment articles to the Senate.
“Speaker Pelosi started this bogus impeachment by claiming President Trump was an urgent ‘threat to democracy’ who had to be removed now,” Hawley said in a statement. “Now she wants to prevent a Senate trial, perhaps indefinitely. But the Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House. If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case, the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”
Pelosi has indicated that the House has not sent over the articles yet because it wants be certain that the Senate will call what the House believes are key witnesses to testify at the trial. The president blocked those witnesses from testifying before the House.
“You’ve got a situation where the defendant is holding on to all the documents and refusing to let witnesses testify, and the Senate has the power to stop that. They can subpoena them.,” Kendall said. “This [waiting by the House] is being used as a bargaining lever to get witnesses, which is a reasonable thing. You don’t have trials without witnesses.”
Kendall, like most people, does not like how the process is playing out.
“I’m uncomfortable with holding this back until we get a decision. But I’m not furious about it, because it’s not illegal,” he said. “The bad thing about both of the sides of this, is the sense that there is a conservative elite and a liberal elite and they’re both against the working class. This [process] is exacerbating that problem.”
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