From: Fabrizio Evola [Email him]
Senator McConnell has the power to end the impeachment farce, and should do so quickly. We are all aware that the House of Representatives has voted to impeach the President, largely along party lines. However, one of the expert witnesses called by Congressional Democrats, Harvard Professor Noah Feldman, has argued that President Trump has not actually been impeached because Speaker Pelosi has not delivered the articles to the Senate for trial[A Law Professor’s Provocative Argument: Trump Has Not Yet Been Impeached, by Adam Liptak, December 20, 2019].
As an attorney, this argument sounds similar to not getting service on a defendant after a lawsuit has been filed. If service is never effectuated, I cannot get a judgment for my client. If I were to file a lawsuit, but not take any meaningful action on the case for an extended period of time the lawsuit might even be dismissed for a failure to prosecute. It is customary in most jurisdictions for the plaintiff's attorney to get a notice from the court in such a situation that the lawsuit will be dismissed by a certain date if no further action is taken.
If I were advising Senator McConnell I would tell him to give Speaker Pelosi an ultimatum. Either she delivers the articles by February 1, 2020, or he will hold a vote in the Senate dismissing the articles for lack of prosecution. If such a vote were successful, which is likely, President Trump would technically not have been impeached according to Noah Feldman's reasoning—even if Speaker Pelosi were to deliver the articles after February 1, 2020. Proceeding to prosecute a dismissed case is a legal nullity. The Democrats in the House would have to start the process over.
President Trump could then declare a political victory over a "do-nothing" Democratic Congress, place additional pressure on Democratic House members from Trump districts, and remove the "asterisk" on his Presidency. It is a win-win-win for the GOP.
James Fulford writes: Alternatively, this procedure could make the "Resistance" even crazier. But the main point is that this talk of impeachment, whether it has or hasn't actually happened yet, is meaningless unless a significant number of Republican Senators are willing to commit political suicide to remove Trump.