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Impeachment Articles Expire in 2021 With New House Session

Impeachment Articles Expire in 2021 With New House Session
U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) listens during an event at the Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol December 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Friday, 20 December 2019 02:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The historic fast-track impeachment of President J. Trump by the House Democrats may re-elect President Trump. The House followed party lines except for 4 Democrat representatives.

The House vote is merely the charging document — tantamount to a grand jury indictment. The Senate is the trial court — the jury, the trier of fact.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a recognized master of House operations. On Thursday, mere hours after her winning vote of impeachment, Pelosi decided not to send the articles of impeachment over to the Senate until at least sometime in 2020.

Her reasoning is that she wants her conditions met and accepted by Senate Republicans, once she knows the Senate rules as defined by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. What conditions are demanded is unknown.

However, McConnell opined that the Democrats' case was so weak that he believes Pelosi is unsure whether she wants to actually take the case to trial.

McConnell is a skilled tactician and student of legislative rules and history. Pelosi is also a skilled leader, but her hand is not as strong as McConnell's. Pelosi knows her case is weak. She knows that McConnell knows this, too. The young, radical leftists elected in 2018 have weakened her options.

She does know that America is not ready for socialism, whether “democratic” or “international.” Her tightrope act is a dangerous act.

She knows her impeachment victory is really a pyrrhic victory.

Being the good leader she is, she has to put forth a strong face — in spite of the weakness of the impeachment ploy.

The House recessed for Christmas holidays without Pelosi even naming impeachment managers — prosecutors — to present the House case for trial. Pelosi is taking her time. She will use the holiday time wisely, to align her forces and formulate her strategy for 2020.

Washington is abuzz with speculation that Pelosi intends to hold on to the impeachment articles indefinitely. This, she believes, will sully Trump's re-election campaign. It appears radical leftist Democrats agree with this strategy — keeping Trump twisting in the wind of news media assaults with “impeachment” the operative word.

Speaker Pelosi, if she follows this thinking, will have serious problems.

The U.S. House of Representatives is elected every 2 years. (Art. 1. Section 2 of the United States Constitution).

The Senate members are elected for 6-year terms, with one-third of the body elected every 2 years.

The House is intended to represent the masses — the citizens, thus be more representative of the people. Therefore, more responsive to the people. The Senate, now, is meant to be a deliberative body with long-term views. Originally, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures. It was later changed to the present popular citizen vote, by the 17th Amendment.

The House recreates itself every 2 years. Pending bills die at the end of each 2-year term. The Speaker and other leaders are elected anew. All newly elected and re-elected members are sworn in. Each 2-year term is its own master. Each session has its own number.

The House is not a “continuing body,” unlike the Senate that is a “continuing body.” Members must stand for election or re-election every 2 years. The elected House members then reconstitute the House after being sworn in. Speaker, Committee Chairmen, Committee members, and other body officers are designated by the parties.

Each House 2 year-term has its own number and session number. Thus, each 2-year House of Representatives has its own rules and character, separate and distinct from all past and future Houses. House legislation not sent to the Senate and then to the president for signature dies with the formation of a newly elected House swearing in and convening.

Should Pelosi decide to hold the articles of impeachment of Trump, they would expire when the 2021 House convenes. For until the articles are sent to the Senate for trial, they are merely embryonic House papers — inchoate in reality.

The new 2021 House would need to start the impeachment process again.


James H. Walsh was associate general counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service from 1983 to 1994. Read more reports from James Walsh — Click Here Now.

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The historic fast-track impeachment of President J. Trump by the House Democrats may re-elect President Trump. The House followed party lines except for 4 Democrat representatives.
impeachment, house democrats, pelosi
Friday, 20 December 2019 02:17 PM
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