Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst joined 10 of her fellow Republicans this week in sponsoring a resolution to allow for dismissal of the articles of impeachment if they don’t reach the Senate on the GOP’s timeline.
The resolution, brought forward Monday by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, knocks Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for what he called an “unprecedented attempt to prevent an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.”
“The Constitution gives the Senate sole power to adjudicate articles of impeachment, not the House,” Hawley said, in a press release about the resolution. “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.”
The Democratic-controlled House voted Dec. 18 to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Pelosi has yet to formally send the articles to the Senate, telling reporters in the wake of the impeachment vote, “I don’t think they [the Founding Fathers], suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
Democrats have insisted the Senate subpoena witnesses and documents, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell so far has stonewalled those efforts.
McConnell has said he will work in concert with the Trump Administration on setting up the parameters of the Senate trial and had no qualms about serving as a partisan juror.
In a recent Fox News interview, Ernst was asked if she would “vote to dismiss the articles once they’ve arrived” in the Senate.
“Well, I think that we do need to go through the trial process in a timely manner,” Ernst said. “I do support Josh Hawley’s resolution that if Speaker Pelosi, again, doesn’t get her act together and get those articles to us, then they should be dismissed if we don’t see timely action on that.”
She went on to say: “I am in that group. I am a co-sponsor of that resolution and, again, I do believe it needs to be done in a timely manner and the Speaker shouldn’t be sitting on those articles of impeachment. It’s not up to her to decide how a trial is run in the United States Senate. That will be up to Chuck Schumer and Leader Mitch McConnell.”
The proposed resolution allows the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment “for lack of prosecution” if the House delays transmitting the articles for 25 days or more.
Today, Politico reported “Pelosi could deliver the articles of impeachment as soon as this week, and Republicans are eager to get moving.”
Sens. Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, David Perdue of Georgia, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma also are leading sponsors of Hawley’s proposed rule change.
By Elizabeth Meyer