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‘Too cute’: Fmr WH adviser warns Nancy Pelosi of ‘double-edged sword’ blades

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay getting the articles of impeachment to the Senate could prove to be a “double-edged sword” according to a CNN analyst.

David Gergen, a former White House adviser to four presidents, warned the Democrat leader that her efforts to manipulate the impeachment process could backfire.

(Video: CNN)

Gergen spoke with Ana Cabrera on “CNN Newsroom” Sunday, reacting to Pelosi’s own quid pro quo in holding the House-approved articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump from moving up to the Senate until she is ensured of a fair trial process.

Cabrera noted that, as an adviser to former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, it was not Gergen’s “first impeachment rodeo,” and brought up the issue citing comments by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short.

“How can you possibly justify the contrast to say this is urgent to then say well, we’ll have to wait and see,” Short said on NBC’s Meet the Press.”

“Fair point or cheap shot?” Cabrera asked Gergen.

“I don’t think it;s such a cheap shot. I think they’re going on the offensive as the Democrats are,” he replied, contending that Pelosi “has been masterful in the past months dealing with these issues.”

“But now she’s got what we might call a double-edged sword. On one edge of that sword, she’s arguing I think persuasively that the White House has shut down the possibility of getting documents, shut down witnesses. … And therefore the full facts haven’t come out and the Democrats are entitled to have the full facts if they’re going to have a trial. That’s a legitimate argument,” he said.

But Gergen noted the “other side of the sword,” and how Democrats “have been arguing all this time ‘hustle up, hustle up we have to hurry.,’” but now that “they have the impeachment done, they are saying ‘slow down, we’re not even sure we’ll send the articles.’”

“You can maintain that for a short period of time. I do not think it’s a sustainable position over a long period of time,” Gergen said.

“It looks too cute,” he added, acknowledging that Short had a point that many Republicans and Independents would agree with. “There’s something hypocritical about we want it quick, now we want it slow. And we were willing to do this without witnesses over on our side of the aisle. But now you guys have got to do it with witnesses on your side. I think it’s a double-edge sword. It cuts both ways.”

Cabrera asked the former Reagan adviser if he believed the Democrats are playing the “waiting game” in hopes that “more incriminating evidence will come out.”

“Absolutely,” Gergen agreed.

“That’s what the reason they want to, if they could, they would subpoena the documents on the Senate side and force the issue,” he said, contending that “missing pieces of the puzzle are being held back by the White House.”

“We’re going through a momentous decision-making process. Both impeachment and now the trial,” Gergen concluded.  “I think the country deserves – and the president deserves, frankly – full disclosure. But you have to assume from his point of view he’s holding things back partly because there are some explosive things in there that he won’t like.”

Sen. Ted Cruz slammed Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate as a “sign of weakness.”

“This is a sign she understands just how weak these Articles are,” The Texas Republican told Fox News, speaking about the California leader who has not yet sent the articles to the Senate for a trial following last week’s vote by the House to charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“These articles of impeachment that they actually voted on were really an admission of failure,” Cruz said. “This is the first time in the history of our country that a president has been impeached without a single article alleging any criminal conduct.”

Frieda Powers

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