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Pelosi says Republicans are "afraid" to allow new evidence at impeachment trial

CBS News Live
CBS News Live Live

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Senate Republicans who oppose the introduction of new evidence at President Trump's imminent impeachment trial.

"They're afraid of the truth. The American people have seen allegations. We need to see more evidence that would be contained in the allegations," Pelosi said. "They want to ignore anything new that comes up."

The speaker held her weekly press conference on Thursday as House impeachment managers prepare to present two articles of impeachment to the Senate during pre-trial proceedings. The trial itself is expected to get underway next Tuesday.

Pelosi's comments come amid new revelations by Lev Parnas, an associate of President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who was intimately involved in Giuliani's work in Ukraine. In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Parnas claimed the president was fully aware of efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a company that employed former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter.

Pelosi said the American people will want to see the new evidence, and that "public opinion will have a lot to do with this."

The speaker also discussed a new legal decision by the Government Accountability Office that found the Trump administration violated the law by withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance to Ukraine in 2019. She said the opinion further justified Democrats' arguments that the Senate should allow new witnesses and new evidence to be presented in the impeachment trial.

Questions about evidence and witnesses will likely be considered after opening arguments from the House impeachment managers and the president's defense team, a process that could take days. A majority of senators can vote to approve motions to call witnesses or consider new evidence. 

The House voted to designate the seven impeachment managers in a resolution on Wednesday. Pelosi signed the resolution formalizing the articles later in the day, and the managers then marched across the Capitol to deliver the charges to the Senate.

John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court who is responsible for presiding over the trial under the Constitution, will be sworn in Thursday afternoon. He will then swear in the senators, who will take an oath promising impartiality in the upcoming trial.

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