The objective of Pelosi was simple: to try to force the hand of the leader of the majority of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. Pelosi wanted to use his possession of the articles of political judgment to fulfill the promises and / or commitments of McConnell, especially on the issue of witnesses who can be summoned in the Senate trial.
Except McConnell wasn’t playing ball.
What left Pelosi hung to dry. The influence she imagined she possessed to get McConnell to agree to her wishes did not exist. McConnell was perfectly happy waiting while Pelosi held on to the articles of political judgment, probably rightly believing that such dilatory tactics would seem more fun Washington business for the average person. And he knew that every time she decided to send the articles, she had a majority waiting to open the trial without any promise made to the witnesses.
“I always said I would send them. So there shouldn’t be any mystery in that. However, what we wanted and we think we achieved in recent weeks is that we wanted the public to see the need.” for witnesses, witnesses with first-hand knowledge of what happened, documentation that the President has prevented him from coming to Congress while we review this. “
What Pelosi looked like, uh, underestimating is the degree to which the Senate, by its very nature, resists being told what to do in any way or form. While it is easy to put all that in McConnell, the truth is that the Senate never liked that the House told him what to do. And the House never liked the Senate telling him what to do. Each body sees itself as an independent fiefdom, governed by its own rules and codes of conduct. The idea of one camera telling the other what to do is simply anathema, no matter which part is in charge of each.
That, plus McConnell’s remarkable ability to keep his 53 Republican senators in line, led Pelosi to run out of hands. The movement he announced on Tuesday is the equivalent of throwing his hand, understanding that what he was holding was, in a word, a disaster.