Refusing to hand impeachment articles to the Senate looks like partisan pique because it is. Does anyone really think the goal is to ensure fairness? The Speaker’s claim would be credible only if House procedures had themselves been scrupulously fair, if they had allowed Republicans to call witnesses, if they had promptly shared witness transcripts, if they had allowed the president’s lawyers to participate in his defense. They didn’t.
Earlier impeachments had been even-handed. This one wasn’t. Because House Democrats ran their impeachment Frank-Sinatra style — ‘I did it my way’ — their call for different procedures in the Senate rings hollow. The only question now is whether independent voters will buy what Pelosi is selling. That’s doubtful, and Republicans will pounce on it.
Second, the delay undercuts a central Democratic rationale for impeachment, that Trump’s remaining in office is a clear and present danger. That was the main reason Democrats gave for rushing through the hearings and votes, for refusing to wait for federal courts to decide on White House claims of Executive Privilege. That argument bleeds out, fatally, every day Pelosi delays.