Escalating U.S.-Iran tensions scramble the politics of Trump’s impeachment

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President Trump’s order to kill an Iranian commander responsible for hundreds of American deaths has scrambled the politics of impeachment, putting Democrats on the defensive in their bid to remove Trump during a possible escalation into war.

House Democrats in the coming days plan to transmit to the Senate a pair of charges accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress, according to multiple senior Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly. But some privately worry that the timing will trigger GOP accusations that they’re undercutting the commander in chief during a national security crisis.

After the House impeached Trump on Dec. 18, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) opted to hold on to the articles of impeachment over the two-week holiday break, a move aimed at giving Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) more leverage in negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over witnesses in a Senate trial. However, McConnell has refused to budge — and now, the articles are likely to be carried across the Rotunda during a tense and potentially dangerous standoff in the Middle East.

Pelosi, however, has signaled that she has no intention of backing down. On Friday morning, just hours after the attack, she emailed impeachment talking points to Democrats, encouraging them to “call on McConnell to commit to a fair trial in the Senate,” then later issued a statement suggesting she would transmit the articles soon.

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