The unified support among Democrats for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's impeachment strategy has cracked, with leading Senate Democrats publicly urging Pelosi to advance the articles of impeachment and signs that her own caucus is losing patience as well.
A group of top Democratic senators went to reporters Wednesday to urge Pelosi to end her three-week attempt to influence how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell handles the impeachment trial. "If we’re going to do it, she should send them over," said fellow Californian Dianne Feinstein, whose message was echoed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.), Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.), and Angus King (I., Maine).
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Early Thursday morning the calls appeared to have spread to the House when Rep. Adam Smith (D., Wash.) was asked about the complaints from senators and said it was time for Pelosi to end the impasse.
"At the end of the day just like we control it in the House, Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate," Smith said, before backtracking hours later and saying he "misspoke." In an interview Thursday afternoon Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D., N.Y.) appeared unwilling to voice an opinion on Pelosi's strategy, saying "she doesn't need my help second guessing her decisions."
The pressure on Pelosi to end her gambit comes after McConnell successfully unified his majority caucus on impeachment, taking away Democratic hopes of impacting the trial's format.
"I don’t know what leverage we have," said Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.), who also urged Pelosi to advance impeachment. "It looks like the cake is already baked."
Pelosi held her ground in a Thursday morning press conference, though she indicated that her hold on impeachment could come to an end soon.
"I'll send them over when I'm ready," Pelosi said. "That may be soon."
Pelosi got the idea to hold onto the articles of impeachment even after the House voted from watching cable news, her office told TIME magazine, which reported that Pelosi believed she could persuade McConnell to back down.
McConnell told Republicans Thursday that he expects the articles of impeachment to be sent over soon and for the trial to begin sometime next week.