It was an entirely preordained outcome, but still a historic one: The House has voted 228-193 to appoint seven impeachment managers designated by Nancy Pelosi and to authorize them to present the chamber’s two articles of impeachment to the Senate, formally triggering Trump’s trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Only one Democrat, perpetual heretic Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted nay, while no Republicans voted aye, though four Democrats and five Republicans didn’t vote on this largely routine measure. The House’s one independent, ex-Republican Justin Amash of Michigan, voted with the Democrats.
There remains a minor dispute as to whether the articles will be marched over the Senate today, as Pelosi apparently wanted, or tomorrow, as Mitch McConnell prefers. McConnell is citing a provision in the standing Senate rules indicating that the Senate must signal it is “prepared” to receive the articles before it happens. McConnell is probably just making sure he has his ducks in a row before the impeachment spotlight switches to the Senate for good, but it’s an example of some of the arcane and sometimes impenetrable details governing this obscure and rarely used process. Here’s what McConnell is planning initially, per Alexander Bolton:
The Senate will not start debating a resolution to set up time for the opening arguments of the House prosecutors and the president’s defense team until Tuesday. McConnell indicated he will not reveal the details of the organizing resolution until next week.
It is expected to give House impeachment managers up to 24 hours to argue their case and Trump’s lawyers 24 hours to respond, mirroring the resolution that was used to begin phase one of the 1999 Clinton trial.
The organizing resolution that all 53 GOP senators back, McConnell said, will be “very, very similar” to the 1999 precedent, which also gave senators 16 hours to ask questions after which the Senate considered the question of calling for additional witnesses and evidence.
You can expect Chuck Schumer to try to peel off four Republicans and upset McConnell’s apple cart as soon as possible.