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story.lead_photo.caption Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (AP / J. Scott Applewhite )

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Sunday that senators will "pay a price" for blocking new witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, leading the president to retort that she and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff should both testify.

The Democratic-run House is set to vote this week to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for the trial after Pelosi ended a delay of more than three weeks. It will be the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

"It's about a fair trial," Pelosi said on ABC's This Week. "We've done our job. We have defended the Constitution of the United States. We would hope the Senate would do that as well."

"Now the ball is in their court to either do that or pay a price," she said.

Trump tweeted right before and after Pelosi's appearance, in both instances using derisive nicknames. He said both she and Schiff should appear in the Senate for testimony.

"He must be a Witness, and so should she!" Trump tweeted.

The president rebutted Pelosi's suggestion that no matter what the Senate does, Trump will always be impeached. Pelosi said the House vote last month means Trump will be "impeached forever" and "for life."

"Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?" Trump tweeted, calling the House action a "totally partisan Hoax.'"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is seeking a speedy trial to acquit the president and is reluctant to seek more witnesses. The GOP leader has proposed a process similar to that of the presidential impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in 1999. Under that plan, the Senate would start the proceedings and then vote later on hearing new testimony.

In a Fox News Channel interview Saturday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., dismissed Pelosi's delay tactic, saying it would have no effect on calling new witnesses or on the expected outcome -- acquittal by the GOP-controlled Senate.

"The Senate should not reward this behavior by the House," said Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The Senate should end this trial as quickly as possible. That's what I intend to do. He will be acquitted. I hope and pray every Republican will reject what Nancy Pelosi did, and we'll pick up a few Democrats."

Trump was charged with abuse of power over allegations that he pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democrats, specifically political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden. At the same time, Trump was also delaying nearly $400 million in aid as Ukraine faces Russian aggression on its border.

The president was also charged with obstruction of Congress, accused of trying to block the House investigation.

Trump's call for a Ukrainian investigation stems from allegations pushed by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani about Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine while his father was vice president. Neither is accused formally of any wrongdoing.

McConnell is reluctant to pursue the testimony of more witnesses, which would drag out the Senate trial.

But at least one Republican up for reelection, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said last week that she was in talks with GOP colleagues on a process that would allow them to hear more testimony as Democrats want.

Once the Republican-led Senate receives the charges, the trial is expected to begin swiftly.

The date is not yet certain, and Pelosi will hold a closed meeting with House Democrats to decide next steps on Tuesday morning ahead of the party's presidential primary debate that evening, the last before the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., suggested on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures that Pelosi deliberately held off sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order to delay a trial that will require the attendance of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic presidential candidate. McCarthy argued that Pelosi's move would boost Joe Biden, one of Sanders' rivals, in the run-up to Iowa caucuses.

"What this does is this benefits Joe Biden," McCarthy said, adding that Sanders "will be stuck in a chair."

McCarthy did not mention the other Democratic senators vying for their party's presidential nomination -- Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey -- who also will have to attend the impeachment trial.

While some Democrats have grumbled about the delay, Pelosi and other party leaders defended the strategy, saying it produced new potential evidence and turned public attention on the upcoming trial.

"One of the things that holding on to the articles has succeeded doing is fleshing out McConnell and the president's desire to make this a cover-up," Schiff said on CBS' Face the Nation.

"If McConnell succeeds in making this trial a trial without witnesses. ... That's not a fair trial. That's a sham," Schiff said.

Pelosi said senators need to consider new witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would be willing to testify if he receives a subpoena.

Bolton announced this month that if the Senate subpoenas him, he "is prepared to testify." In the fall, he rebuffed requests to serve as a witness during the House inquiry.

Pelosi also left open the door to filing more articles of impeachment against Trump.

But, she said: "It's Sunday morning -- let's be optimistic about the future ... a future that will not have Donald Trump in the White House, one way or another. Ten months from now we will have an election, if we don't have him removed sooner."

Information for this article was contributed by Lisa Mascaro of The Associated Press and by Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post.

A Section on 01/13/2020


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