House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order to harm Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign.
The top House Republican said Pelosi’s decision to withhold the impeachment articles against President Trump for weeks while demanding that Democrats are assured a “fair trial” was aimed at ensuring that Sanders would be tied up with the Senate trial in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses.
“This is the dirty little secret that nobody is talking about, why the speaker held these papers,” McCarthy told Fox News on Sunday.
“Remember what happened in the last nomination process, where the [Democratic National Committee] chairman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had to resign the night before the nomination convention started because they had found out they had cheated Senator Bernie Sanders from the opportunity to become the nominee. They are doing the exact same thing right now,” McCarthy said, referring to internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks in 2016 that showed Wasserman-Schultz and other DNC officials had exercised bias against Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.
“This benefits Joe Biden. This harms Senator Sanders, who is in first place and could become their nominee, because he will be stuck in a chair because Nancy Pelosi held the papers, different than what she said to the American public why she had to move so urgently,” the California Republican continued. “It’s the exact same thing they did to him four years ago.”
Sanders and fellow Democratic 2020 candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren will be forced to sit through the impeachment trial during primary season after Pelosi submits the articles to the Senate on Wednesday.
Senator John Cornyn floated the same speculation Monday on the Senate floor.
“If you’re Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, or any other candidate who isn’t a member of the Senate, you’ve got to be glad the Speaker sat on these articles for nearly four weeks,” the Texas Republican said. “Having your competitors stuck in Washington, literally in their seat, while you’re hitting the campaign trail? Well, that seems like a pretty good advantage to me.”
A spokesman for Pelosi responded on Tuesday, accusing the House Republican leader of having “no idea” what he was talking about.
“Impeachment has nothing to do with politics or the presidential race,” Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter. “As usual, the Minority Leader has no idea what he’s talking about.”