By Makini Brice and Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she will consult fellow Democrats about the Senate’s readiness to begin former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“I’ll be talking with the managers as to when the Senate will be ready for the trial of the then-president of the United States for his role in instigating an insurrection on the Capitol of the United States,” Pelosi told reporters.
A source familiar with the planning said Pelosi could send the article of impeachment to the Senate as early as Friday.
In a House vote last week, Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. It charged him with inciting the Jan. 6 attack in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from formally certifying Biden’s victory.
Now it is up to the Senate to decide whether Trump is guilty of the impeachment charge. Democrats, who control the House, narrowly took control of the Senate on Wednesday, but at least two-thirds of the 100-member body are required to convict Trump.
Under Senate rules, the trial would start a day after the House delivered the charge. It was unclear, however, whether a delay might be engineered, as some Democrats have hinted, in order to keep Biden’s agenda and appointments on track.
Some Senate Republicans have argued that Congress should not put a former president on trial and to do so will further divide the country.
But Pelosi said: “Just because he’s now gone – thank God – you don’t say to a president, ‘Do whatever you want in the last month of your administration, you’re going to get a get-out-of-jail card free.”
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘Oh, let’s just forget it and move on.’ That’s not how you unify,” she said.
(Reporting by Makini Brice, Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)