House Chief Deputy Whip Dan Kildee, D-Mich., defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and criticized her Senate counterpart amid controversy surrounding the Speaker’s decision not to release the articles of impeachment for a trial in the Senate.
“She is making the right decision,” Kildee told CNN on Thursday. “The House of Representatives is not absent from the Senate trial. We’re not sort of bystanders to it.”
He added: “We have to appoint impeachment managers and organize the case around the structure that the Senate arrives at in order to present our case in the most compelling way. Determining who the impeachment managers, in part, is going to be determined by how the Senate organizes the trial.”
Kildee also accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of playing “games.”
“He has an important responsibility under the Constitution — not just to defend the president but to conduct a trial in a dignified and open and fair fashion,” he said. “So when he’s willing to do that, then obviously we will appoint managers and send that information, the articles, over.”
He added that the “onus” was on McConnell. “But the onus, the responsibility lies with Senator McConnell to stop being so obtuse and get about the business of organizing this trial,” he said.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., similarly defended Pelosi, claiming Democrats weren’t yet sure of the process Republicans would implement in the Senate.
After House Democrats impeached Trump, Pelosi indicated that McConnell was working too closely with the White House.
“Let me tell you what I don’t consider a fair trial,” Pelosi said. “This is what I don’t consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.”
McConnell responded by arguing that Pelosi realized her impeachment push was a disaster.
“I am glad that leading Democrats seem to have buyer’s remorse about the least fair, least thorough, and most rushed impeachment in American history,” he tweeted. “They should. But for the sake of the country, I wish this understanding had dawned on them yesterday.”
On Friday, Trump also criticized Pelosi for complaining about fairness in the Senate.
“So interesting to see Nancy Pelosi demanding fairness from @senatemajldr McConnell when she presided over the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress!” he tweeted.