There are still several shoes that could drop before an impeachment trial, if the current impasse continues. The federal courts are still resolving efforts to enforce subpoenas in the House investigations into Trump. Even if McConnell agrees to call witnesses, they might not even appear without some sign from the courts that they have to. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia heard two of these cases on Friday. One case revolved around an effort to enforce a lower court ruling ordering the production of grand jury materials from the Mueller investigation to the House Judiciary Committee. The other case revolved around an effort to enforce a lower court ruling demanding that former White House Counsel Don McGahn come before Congress to testify about the potential obstruction of justice that was documented in the Mueller report. If McGahn was forced to testify, it could give House investigators the ammunition they need to compel testimony from the key figures in the Ukraine matter or pressure the Senate to do so itself.
But after Friday’s oral arguments, it seems like Pelosi shouldn’t bank on that outcome. While the panel hearing the case—which includes two Republican-appointed judges and one Democratic appointee—seemed skeptical of the Department of Justice’s position that top aides to the president were absolutely immune from testimony, it also seemed uncomfortable weighing into a political debate between two separate branches of government.