McConnell, Pelosi trade barbs ahead of Senate impeachment trial
On the morning after impeachment, a battle erupted between the heads of each chamber of Congress, as the fight to remove the American president transitions from the House to a historic trial in the Senate, where the Republican majority leader on Thursday dismissed the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump and made clear the Senate would not find him guilty.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING: "The vote did not reflect what had been proven.
It only reflects how they feel about the president.
The Senate must put this right... It could not be clearer which outcome would serve the stabilizing, institution-preserving, fever-breaking role for which the United States Senate was created... If the Speaker ever gets her House in order, that mess will be dumped over here on the Senate's lap." (SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, SAYING: "Frankly, I don't care what the Republicans say." Later on Thursday, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed she might delay sending over the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order to pressure McConnell into holding what she calls a fair trial.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, SAYING: "When we see what they have, we'll know who and how many we will send over... Our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president.
I don't think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time." Meanwhile, Trump continued to rail against his impeachment on Twitter, saying the ball was now in the Senate’s court... and that: “If the Do Nothing Democrats decide, in their great wisdom, not to show up, they would lose by Default!” Democrats accuse Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, and holding back almost $400 million dollars in security aid and a meeting in the White House to get it.
The president denies any wrongdoing.
(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We did nothing wrong, and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party." Trump appeared to have support from a foreign party, too.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Democrats had impeached Trump for "fabricated reasons" in order to reverse his 2016 election victory and said he expected the Republican Senate to acquit him.
(SOUND BITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "It's unlikely that they would like to remove a representative of their party from power for, in my opinion, fabricated reasons." No president has ever been removed from office by the Senate.
Removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member chamber, meaning Democrats - including the five senators currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination - would have to persuade at least 20 Republicans to join with them to oust the president, an outcome both sides can agree is unlikely.