(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Sunday she withheld articles of impeachment from the Senate in an attempt to build public pressure for the Senate to subpoena first-hand witnesses.
"What we did want, though, and we think we accomplished in the past few weeks, is that we wanted the public to see the need for witnesses, witnesses with firsthand knowledge of what happened, documentation which the president has prevented from coming to the Congress as we review this," Pelosi told ABC's "This Week."
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had a different explanation on Sunday: He said Pelosi delayed the Senate trial to impede the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"Remember where the Democrats said this was so urgent, that they had to move this so quickly, before end of the year. And now Nancy Pelosi has been holding the papers," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said it would be "very difficult" for the Senate to start the trial this week, even if -- as expected -- Democrats vote on Tuesday to deliver the articles in the next few days.
"And what happens with impeachment is, the senators have to be in their desks," McCarthy continued:
They cannot have a phone. They cannot talk to one another. And they stay in their desks.
With the Clinton impeachment, it lasted five weeks. And this is the dirty little secret that nobody is talking about, why the speaker held these papers.
Remember what happened in the last nomination process, where the DNC chairman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had to resign the night before the nomination convention started, because they had found out they had cheated Senator Bernie Sanders from the opportunity to become the nominee.
They are doing the exact same thing right now. The Iowa caucus is on February 3. Bernie Sanders is in first place. And what this does is, this benefits Joe Biden. This harms Senator Sanders, who is in first place and could become their nominee, because he will be stuck in a chair, because Nancy Pelosi held the papers, different than what she said to the American public why she had to move so urgently.
Maria Bartiromo, host of "Sunday Morning Futures," asked McCarthy, "So, you think that it's by design that Nancy Pelosi is sending the articles now, slow-walking, really, slow-walking the impeachment trial, to have the senators in the room? I mean, that is collusion. That is obstruction, once again keeping Bernie Sanders at bay, and clearing the decks for Joe Biden? Is that what you're saying?"
"That is exactly what I'm saying," McCarthy responded:
Remember what the Democratic Party did this time. They removed the super-delegates from the first round of voting because of what they had done to Senator Sanders.
Now they don't have the power, had he got to the convention fairly. So, what power does the Speaker have? Remember, when she first started impeachment, I sent her a letter about process, could we have a fair process, laying out 10 questions, the exact same process for Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. She ignored that and didn't care about process.
Now she tries, in hypocrisy, to bring up process in the Senate, where she has no power? She told the American public it was urgent. She had to move so fast.
The only reason why she should be -- that she is doing this that no one is talking about, it is harming the -- Bernie Sanders, the senator, who has been coming into first place, who could win Iowa and propel himself to be the nominee.
It's the exact same thing they did to him four years ago.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday: "Wow! Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party. So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!"