Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the US House of Representatives will take steps next week to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for President Donald Trump’s trial.
In a letter to her Democratic colleagues, Ms Pelosi said she has asked judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
“I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic caucus meeting on how we proceed further,” Ms Pelosi wrote.
Ms Pelosi has held on to the articles in a standoff with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The protracted showdown has scrambled the politics of impeachment and the congressional calendar three weeks after the House Democrats impeached Mr Trump on charges of abuse and obstruction over his actions towards Ukraine.
Transmittal of the documents and naming of House impeachment managers are the next steps needed to start the Senate trial.
Ms Pelosi indicated she may be communicating to her colleagues, as she often does with a letter on her thinking.
Mr McConnell wants to launch a speedy trial without new witnesses but Ms Pelosi is warning against a rush to acquit the president.
Mr Trump mocked Ms Pelosi with his tweets on Friday and derided her and other Democrats late on Thursday in Toledo, his first rally of 2020.
Ms Pelosi faces mounting pressure to act.
Republicans say Democrats are embarrassed by their vote.
But Ms Pelosi countered that Democrats are “proud” of upholding the constitution and said she doubted that Senate Republicans will do the same.
Many on Capitol Hill expect the Senate impeachment trial to begin next week.
“I’ll send them over when I’m ready. That will probably be soon,” Ms Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday, noting she is not postponing it “indefinitely”.
The House impeached Mr Trump in December on the charge that he abused the power of his office by pressuring Ukraine’s new leader to investigate Democrats, using as leverage 400 million dollars in military assistance for the US ally as it counters Russia at its border.
Mr Trump insists he did nothing wrong, but his defiance of the House Democrats’ investigation led to an additional charge of obstruction of Congress.
Ms Pelosi’s delay in sending the articles of impeachment over for a Senate trial has led to a standoff with Mr McConnell over what would be the third impeachment trial in the nation’s history.
Mr McConnell said that if Ms Pelosi and House Democrats are “too embarrassed” to send the articles of impeachment, the Senate will simply move on next week to other business.
“They do not get to trap our entire country into an unending groundhog day of impeachment without resolution,” Mr McConnell said.
Mr McConnell told Republican senators to expect the trial next week, according to two people familiar with his remarks.