House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Thursday for complaining about delays in passing the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and impersonated him at her news conference.
After calling him the "grim reaper," Pelosi hit McConnell for griping that the House’s article of impeachments against President Trump would interfere with the Senate passing the new trade deal.
“What is amusing to me is the leader was saying, ‘If she doesn’t send me the articles of impeachment, I’m going to pass the US-Mexico-Canada agreement,'” Pelosi said, bobbing her head and altering her voice.
“Okay,” Pelosi said, “that’s good news for all of us.”
Republicans had complained that Pelosi was taking too long to pass the new trade agreement in the House after Trump had forged the landmark deal to replace NAFTA. But just as the chamber impeached Trump in December, it also passed new terms to the trade agreement that Pelosi touted as strengthening enforcement provisions.
Moments before the Senate impeachment trial kicked off Thursday, the Senate passed the USMCA deal to send to the president’s desk. Pelosi argued that the timing worked out nicely because her delay in sending over the articles of impeachment allowed the major trade deal to pass Thursday.
“It gave them enough time to bring it up this morning because the chief justice won't be able to be there until this afternoon,” Pelosi said, adding that she's "pleased" with the passage.
Earlier Thursday, McConnell blasted Pelosi in a Senate floor speech for handing out souvenir pens at an impeachment signing ceremony emblazoned with her own signature.
“Golden pens on silver platters. A souvenir to celebrate the moment,” McConnell said. "Nothing says seriousness and sobriety like handing out souvenirs. As though this were a happy bill-signing instead of the gravest process in our Constitution.”
After the USMCA trade deal passed, the House impeachment managers headed to the Senate floor at noon. Chief Justice John Roberts swore in senators for the trial later in the afternoon Thursday.
Democrats have pressured McConnell to open the Senate trial for new witness testimony and evidence, especially after documents and statements emerged Wednesday from Lev Parnas, a Rudy Giuliani associate who said he assisted in pressuring Ukraine to announce investigations in former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, with Trump and Attorney General William Barr's knowledge.
Pelosi urged the Senate to hear the new witnesses and documents because Barr cannot be counted on to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate since he’s entangled in the Ukraine controversy.
“Does anybody think that the rogue attorney general is going to support/appoint a special prosecutor? No, because he's implicated in all of this. This is an example of all of the president's henchmen, and I hope that the senators do not become part of the president's henchmen,” Pelosi said.
“I don’t know who's the puppet, Trump or the attorney general?” she added.
Barr's spokesperson said Parnas' claims -- made in an interview on MSNBC -- were "100 percent false."
McConnell said the issue of witnesses will come up after the trial is underway. He blasted the “transparently partisan” House process and said, “the Senate’s time is at hand."
It’s likely the impeachment trial will still be ongoing in time for Trump’s planned Feb. 4 State of the Union address.
Some in the GOP have called on Trump to delay the speech until after impeachment, and Pelosi left the door open for a change of plans.
“That's up to the president,” Pelosi said. “The president has some options. He can come that day and we are prepared to welcome him that day. He could send a printed copy, which was for a long time the tradition. The president would send a copy of his State of the Union address. Or he could ask us to postpone it if, in fact, he wants to have it after all of this is resolved.
"But the timing of the trial of the president, for obstructing Congress, and abuse of power, should not be hastened because of the speech he wants to make to the Congress," she added.