The Democratic-led US House of Representatives will send formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate as early as next week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday.
This will set the stage for his long-awaited trial.
In a letter to House lawmakers, Pelosi said she has asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to “be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate”.
“I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further,” Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, said in the letter.
The House impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges that he abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a domestic political rival and obstructed efforts by Congress to investigate the alleged misconduct.
But a trial to determine his guilt or innocence cannot begin in the Republican-controlled Senate until the House transmits the charges.
Pelosi has withheld the charges, known formally as articles of impeachment, for weeks in a bid to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to divulge details of his plan for a Senate trial.
Democrats, fearing the Senate could quickly dismiss charges against Trump, want a guarantee that the trial will include testimony from new witnesses, including former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.
Pelosi on Friday accused McConnell of “intentions to stonewall a fair trial” by signing onto Senate legislation that would dismiss the charges against Trump and thus short-circuit the trial.
“A dismissal is a cover-up and deprives the American people of the truth,” Pelosi said in her letter.
McConnell has said Pelosi cannot tell the Senate how to conduct the trial.
He says he has enough votes from his fellow Republicans to begin the proceedings without a commitment to call witnesses.
A McConnell aide declined to say when a resolution spelling out the trial plan might be unveiled.