Yesterday Senator Hawley gave a speech on the Senate floor where he laid out the case for his resolution to allow for the dismissal of articles of impeachment against President Trump for failure to prosecute. Watch the full speech here or below. A full transcript of Senator Hawley’s remarks can be found below.
Senator Hawley said, “In the real world, when a prosecutor brings a case but refuses to try it, the court has the ability -- and the defendant has the right, the constitutional right, I might add -- to have those articles, those indictments, those charges dismissed. That is precisely the action that I am proposing today. It is time to update the Senate's rules to account for this unprecedented attempt at obstruction, at denial, at delay.”
Madam President, it has been 19 days today. Nineteen days since the House of Representatives impeached the President of the United States. Nineteen days since we were told that it was urgent -- that President Trump be impeached and removed from office.
It was urgent for the safety of the country. It was urgent for national security. It was urgent to protect the Constitution of the United States. It was urgent. It had to be done now. The articles had to be rushed through. The rules had to be violated. There couldn't be due process. It was urgent.
And where are we now? Nineteen days later and the Speaker of the House has still not transmitted the articles to this body for a trial, has still not appointed managers for a trial, has still not exhibited the articles before this body for a trial.
We now have the longest delay in American history in providing notice to this body and actually moving forward with a trial. And now I think we have a better sense of what was urgent.
What was urgent was fulfilling the partisan vendetta that the Speaker of the House and the Democrats have against this president. What was urgent was overturning the results of an election that they have never accepted. That's what was urgent.
But now, now that it’s trying to actually try the case? Well, now the Speaker and the Democrats aren't so sure. In fact, now they don't seem to want a trial. Now that is time to put up or shut up, actually put the evidence forward to be judged, now Speaker Pelosi is saying she may withhold the articles indefinitely--and prevent this body, indefinitely--from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities.
After of course, a bipartisan coalition in the House of Representatives voted against impeachment. I mean, I think we can probably see the longer we wait why the Speaker is so reluctant now to have a trial. It was a purely partisan process in the House. She had Democrats abandon her, vote with Republicans in a bipartisan coalition against impeachment, and the articles, the articles don't even allege a crime.
First time in American history, impeachment of a president, where no crime is even alleged in the articles. No evidence of a crime even presented. No wonder she doesn't want to have a trial. No wonder she is now sitting on the articles and won't permit a Senate trial to begin.
Well, here's the problem with that, Madam President. The Constitution of the United States is really clear. The House has the power to impeach; they've done that. But the Senate and the Senate alone has the power to try. The Constitution, Article 1 says the Senate has the sole power to try impeachment cases. To adjudicate what has happened in the House. To examine the facts and to render a judgment of some sort. And now the House Speaker is attempting to prevent the Senate from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities, its constitutional prerogative.
All of this division and rancor, all of this bitterness that she has put the country through now for months on end, she apparently wants to continue indefinitely and deny this body its constitutional responsibility to conduct a trial.
It's been 19 days. It could be 90 days. It could be 190 days. There is nothing that will stop the Speaker from sitting on these articles indefinitely. They could persist into the president's second term if and when he is re-elected.
That's the situation that we are now facing. And if Americans are sick of this impeachment saga, this partisan circus, now? Just wait when we're still sitting here in October or January of next year, or January of the year following, or who knows when? Without a trial. Without adjudication. Without any resolution.
That's why, Madam President, it’s time for this body to act.
It is time for the Senate to act to preserve the Constitution's separation of powers. To preserve the Constitution's guarantees. The right to due process. The right for the president to be heard. The right for the American people to have these impeachment articles adjudicated, resolved, as the Constitution commits and provides for.
And that is why today, Madam President, I am introducing a resolution to update the Senate's rules to account for this unprecedented attempt by the Speaker of the House to delay, to deny, to obstruct a trial in the United States Senate.
Let's be clear, this has never been done before. It's not even been thought of before. Nobody had thought, before Speaker Pelosi launched this gambit 19 days ago, no one had ever thought that the House could sit on articles of impeachment, indefinitely, in order to stop a Senate trial.
And if the Constitution is going to remain in effect, if the Senate is going to have the power as the Constitution provides, to try cases, if the president is going to get his day in court, if the American people are going to have the ability to have this issue resolved to see the facts, to get a verdict, the Senate has to act.
And so today I'm proposing new rules in the United States Senate that will set a time limit on the actions of the House. It will give the House Speaker 25 days from the date that the articles were adopted and published -- 25 days -- to transmit those articles here, to the Senate, to exhibit them as the House rules and Senate rules currently speak of and anticipate. And if that is not done, if in 25 days, the House speaker has not acted so that the Senate is able to move forward with a trial, then under my resolution and the change in the rules that I proposed today, the Senate would be able to introduce a motion to dismiss these articles for lack of prosecution.
In the real world, when a prosecutor brings a case but refuses to try it, the court has the ability -- and the defendant has the right, the constitutional right, I might add -- to have those articles, those indictments, those charges dismissed. That is precisely the action that I am proposing today. It is time to update the Senate's rules to account for this unprecedented attempt at obstruction, at denial, at delay.
It is time for the Senate to act.
The House has a simple choice in front of it, or it should. That choice is to send the impeachment articles to this body, to be tried before this body, to exhibit the evidence that it has, to make the case that it can -- however poor that case may be -- but, to make the case that it can, and to allow the American people the right to have this resolution achieved. The right to have the evidence tried. The right to have a verdict rendered. And it is time for the Senate to act to ensure that the constitutional balance of power, that the constitutional separation of powers, and the basic functioning of this government, of our republic, is able to go forward.
This is a matter of great urgency, Madam President. There's nothing more serious than the attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election, to remove from office a sitting president. And that's exactly what's happening now. It is imperative that we act. The country deserves it. It is imperative for future Congresses -- for the future of the country -- that the Constitution not be subverted in this rush by Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democrats, House Democrats, to remove this president from office without evidence, on no basis, solely for partisan, political purposes.
We must defend the Constitution, Madam President, and we must act now to do so.