Dem Congressman Says He ‘Misspoke’ after Breaking Ranks with Pelosi on Impeachment Articles

Chairman of the House Armed Forces Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) awaits the arrival of Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to testify on the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Budget Request from the Department of Defense on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts – RC1BF79E5F30

Just hours after telling CNN that he thought it was time for Nancy Pelosi to send President Trump’s impeachment articles to the Senate, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D., Wash.) released a statement saying he “misspoke.”

“If the Speaker believes that holding on to the articles for a longer time will help force a fair trial in the Senate, then I wholeheartedly support that decision,” Smith said in the statement.

The tone was markedly different from his Thursday morning interview with CNN’s John Berman, in which he cast doubt on Pelosi’s effort to stall and force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to agree to more favorable paramaters for the impending impeachment trial.

“That doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” Smith said of Pelosi’s prospects for forcing McConnell to the negotiating table.

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“I understand what the speaker was trying to do, basically trying to use the leverage of that to work with Democratic and Republican senators, to try to get a reasonable trial — a trial that would actually show evidence, bring out witnesses,” Smith said. “But at the end of the day, just like we control it in the House, Mitch McConnell controls it in the Senate.”

It is unclear why Smith changed his stance, or if he had spoken with Pelosi after the CNN appearance. Appearing in a press conference on Thursday, the House Speaker struck a defiant note by resisting efforts to get her to send the articles to the Senate.

In his revised comments, Smith added that he was “concerned that Senator McConnell won’t have a fair trial and I am with the Speaker that we should do everything we can to ensure he does.”

McConnell said on Wednesday that “there will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure” after Senate Republicans determined they had enough votes secured to guarantee a trial on their terms. Several Democratic senators appeared to accept the news, and voiced their opinions that Pelosi should turn over the articles.

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