Joe Kennedy defends Pelosi's decision to withhold articles of impeachment

Congressman Joe Kennedy III says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "should do whatever is necessary" to ensure there is a "fair proceeding" in the Senate impeachment trial.

Posted: Dec 30, 2019 5:50 AM
Updated: Dec 30, 2019 5:50 AM

Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy on Sunday defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision not to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate until she learns about GOP plans for the shape of his trial.

"I think the speaker should do what's necessary in order to make sure that there is in fact a fair proceeding that takes place in the United States Senate," Kennedy told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

The comments from the Massachusetts congressman come nearly two weeks after the House largely voted along party lines to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Following the vote, Pelosi did not commit to transmitting the articles to the Republican-led Senate, injecting uncertainty into Congress' timeline of the President's trial in the chamber.

Some progressives have urged Democratic leaders to withhold the articles until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, agrees to the parameters for the Senate trial that Democrats have called for, as well as agreeing to bring in firsthand witnesses like acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify.

Kennedy on Sunday criticized McConnell for discussing earlier this month plans with White House counsel Pat Cipollone to coordinate a strategy for an impeachment trial in the Senate, saying the Republican leader is "working hand-in-glove with the White House to ensure that this process is essentially cooked."

"I think the speaker is doing everything she can to ensure that there is as fair and open and transparent a process as there can be, particularly given the weight of the evidence that came out during the House investigation and the impeachment proceedings," he said. "So I think she should do everything we can to ensure that that process is as accurate and fair as can be."

The two articles of impeachment passed against Trump charged him with abuse of power for withholding nearly $400 million in US military aid and a White House meeting while pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate a potential political rival, and obstruction of Congress for thwarting the House's investigative efforts.

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