A growing number of Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, while Republicans seized on their remarks to ramp up pressure on the California Democrat.

The developments came as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused Pelosi of “shameless game-playing” for vowing not to send over the articles until she has seen the proposed rules for a trial of President Trump. Pelosi remained firm Wednesday evening on her refusal to transmit the articles.

The president addressed the nation earlier Wednesday on hostilities with Iran, a crisis overshadowing the impeachment drama.

The crux of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

●McConnell says he’s ready to begin Trump impeachment trial with no deal on witnesses.

●How a Senate trial could work if McConnell gets his way.

●Political parties pivot on process as Trump’s impeachment shifts to Senate.

11:45 p.m.
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Pelosi won’t say whether she’ll transfer articles anytime soon

By Colby Itkowitz

Pelosi said Wednesday evening she would not be sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate tonight and refused to engage on when she might do so.

“Do you listen when I speak?” she asked when a reporter in the Capitol asked her whether she planned to send them “anytime soon.”

“I said when we saw what the arena is that we would be sending members in, then we would send over the articles,” Pelosi said, according to video footage. “We haven’t seen that, so I don’t know how many more times I have to say that and how many times you want to ask it. But when we see the arena in which this will happen we will then be prepared to send articles, the pay fors, and the managers.”

10:25 p.m.
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Sen. Menendez says he trusts Pelosi’s judgment

By Felicia Sonmez

In an interview Wednesday night on MSNBC, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) declined to press Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

“I trust Speaker Pelosi,” Menendez told host Chuck Todd. “She went through a very difficult and detailed process in the House. I think she wants to guarantee that the House’s will — in terms of having a fair and honest process — will be guaranteed in the Senate.”

Asked whether he is willing to wait, Menendez replied: “I’m okay with trusting her judgment. I don’t think we’re going to be waiting forever.”

9:45 p.m.
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Liberal groups target eight GOP senators on impeachment

By Felicia Sonmez

A quartet of liberal groups is launching a $400,000 effort to pressure eight Republican senators ahead of Trump’s impeachment trial.

The groups — Daily Kos, MoveOn, Need to Impeach and Public Citizen — are launching mobile billboards, digital ads and on-the-ground organizing efforts calling on the senators to “protect the Constitution and conduct a fair trial.”

“The time has come for the Senate to finally hold Trump accountable for his crimes against our nation,” Daily Kos communications director Carolyn Fiddler said in a statement. She added that the senators “have the power and responsibility to uphold the sanctity of our democracy.”

The eight Republican senators are McConnell, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Susan Collins (Maine), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Mitt Romney (Utah).

8:15 p.m.
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Booker, Warren weigh in on Pelosi’s refusal to transmit articles of impeachment

By Seung Min Kim

Two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates declined to criticize the House speaker over her refusal to sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) praised Pelosi’s handling of the matter.

“I think Nancy Pelosi has dealt with this impeachment challenge for the last many months in a masterful way, and those impeachment articles will come over here for a vote in due time,” Booker said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that the decision is solely for Pelosi to make.

“That’s up to Speaker Pelosi,” Warren said.

6:30 p.m.
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Republicans highlight Senate Democrats who say a trial should begin

By John Wagner

Senate Republicans are seeking to pressure Pelosi to send over the articles of impeachment by highlighting Senate Democrats who have said it is time to do so.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) put out a news release Wednesday afternoon that highlighted a half-dozen Democratic senators who have said publicly in recent days that a trial should begin soon.

The most recent among them was Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), who, according to a Bloomberg News reporter, said, “If we’re going to do it, she should send them over. I don’t see what good delay does.”

In a subsequent tweet, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also quoted some Senate Democrats saying Pelosi should transmit the articles.

“Pelosi has refused to send the articles for 21 DAYS. Even liberals in the Senate have begun criticizing her,” McDaniel tweeted. “This sham needs to end!”

6:15 p.m.
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Rod Rosenstein, joining law firm, reflects on tumultuous time at Justice Department

By Matt Zapotosky

Rod J. Rosenstein, the former No. 2 Justice Department official whose tumultuous two-year tenure was defined by the special counsel investigation he initiated, is joining the King & Spalding law firm’s special government investigations team, the firm announced Wednesday.

A longtime U.S. attorney tapped by Trump to be the deputy attorney general, Rosenstein dealt with high-profile controversy within weeks of assuming his post, continuing almost to the moment when he left government in May.

Before he was in the job a month, Rosenstein, at Trump’s request, wrote a memo to support the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey — a move that plunged the bureau and the Justice Department into chaos, as many feared the president was trying to thwart an investigation into possible coordination between his 2016 campaign and Russia.

Rosenstein then appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to lead that investigation and restore public faith in the process. But in doing so, he drew the ire of the commander in chief, who toyed intermittently with firing Rosenstein along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose recusal from the Russia case left Rosenstein to supervise the matter.

In an interview, Rosenstein declined to address most of the politically thorny moments during his tenure as deputy attorney general — including his reported assurances to Trump about the Mueller investigation, the allegation that he suggested wearing a wire to surreptitiously record the president and his reaction to the inspector general’s review of the Russia case.

He conceded that “certainly, in retrospect, there are things that I might do differently,” but he also asserted, “I think we got all the big issues right.”

Read more here.

5:00 p.m.
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Hoyer says summoning Bolton for House testimony is ‘an option’ later

By Mike DeBonis and John Wagner

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday that Democrats are holding open the option of summoning former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in the House but are waiting to see whether he will be called as a witness in the Senate.

Bolton said in a statement this week that he is prepared to testify in a Senate trial. Bolton, who earlier rebuffed an invitation to participate in the House impeachment inquiry at the direction of the White House, made no mention in his statement about whether he is now willing to testify in that chamber.

Asked whether the House should call Bolton to augment its impeachment record, Hoyer said: “I think that’s an option, but it’s not an option that we’re pursuing at this point in time. We’ll need to see what the Senate is doing.”

Hoyer compared House impeachment to a “grand jury process” in which there is a determination “whether or not there’s probable cause to believe the president committed offenses.”

“And we made that determination,” Hoyer said. “Now it goes to the trial phase. In a trial phase … it is at that point in time that you call witnesses that the defense wants called, the prosecution wants called.”

Hoyer also defended Pelosi’s delay in sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

“We clearly want to know the rules before we proceed so we know how we’re going to make the case that the House has voted on,” Hoyer said.

He also said that the timing of the process wouldn’t be dictated by the early presidential nominating contests. Several senators could be stuck in Washington serving as jurors as their Democratic rivals campaign in the weeks ahead of caucuses and primaries.

“The politics of the United States are moving apace, and that will continue,” Hoyer said. “But it will not dictate our timing on doing what we believe is our constitutional duty.”

4:45 p.m.
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In op-ed, Schumer says he is seeking ‘the president’s men’ as witnesses

By John Wagner and Mike DeBonis

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) sought to bolster his case for a Senate trial that includes witnesses in an op-ed for USA Today in which he cited new reporting that has come to light on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine since the House impeached him last month.

“We are not asking for critics of the president to serve as witnesses in a trial,” Schumer wrote. “We are asking that the president’s men — his top advisers — tell their story, and for the Senate to have access to the documents that will shed light on the truth. The bottom line is simple: There was an exceedingly strong case to call witnesses and request documents before the Senate recessed for the Christmas break. Since then, that case has gotten even stronger.”

The witnesses Schumer is seeking are former national security adviser John Bolton; acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior Mulvaney adviser; and Michael Duffey, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget.

4:40 p.m.
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Trump addresses nation on Iran

By Siobhan O’Grady

As the standoff over his impeachment trial continued, Trump addressed the nation on Iran, saying no Americans or Iraqis were wounded when Iran launched at least a dozen ballistic missiles against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq early Wednesday.

“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime,” he said. “We suffered no casualties, all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.”

He also called on European nations, Russia and China to abandon a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “They must now break away from the remnants of the Iran deal,” he said.

Trump said the Iranian strikes caused only “minimal damage” at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. military personnel.

“Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world,” Trump said.

He added that the United States would impose additional sanctions on Iran, without offering further details.

Read more here.

3:50 p.m.
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House Democratic Caucus chair says he supports Pelosi decision to hold articles

By Felicia Sonmez

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) said he backs Pelosi’s decision not to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate without further information on the shape of a trial.

“I support the decision of the speaker to hold the articles until we get some clarity” as to whether there will be a fair trial, Jeffries said. He added that there was no discussion of the matter during House Democrats’ Wednesday morning caucus meeting, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes.

Rep. Katherine M. Clark (Mass.), the vice chair of the Democratic caucus, blasted McConnell for saying he is ready to begin the impeachment trial without an agreement on witnesses.

“Continuing to block, to coordinate this trial with the White House makes the Senate leader complicit in this obstruction of the facts that we need to put forth in the impeachment trial and put forward in front of the American people,” she said.

3:40 p.m.
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Pelosi says she needs to see Senate resolution on trial rules

By Mike DeBonis and John Wagner

Pelosi reiterated Wednesday that she does not plan to name House impeachment managers and allow a trial to go forward until McConnell shares a resolution laying out proposed rules for a Senate trial.

“We are waiting to see what the terms are,” Pelosi told reporters as she left a Democratic caucus meeting. “As I said from the beginning, how we choose our managers depends on what the arena … we are going into.”

McConnell “said yesterday that he’d be glad to share his resolution when it’s ready,” Pelosi added. “We will welcome it when it comes, and then we’ll see what the terms are. And then we’ll be able to name our managers.”

3:35 p.m.
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Schumer says Republicans will face heavy consequences if they vote against witnesses, documents

By John Wagner

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned his Republican colleagues Wednesday that both history and the American people “in the here and now” will judge them harshly if they do not support the inclusion of witnesses and documents at a Senate trial of Trump.

“If the Senate fails to hold a fair hearing of those charges, if one party, the president’s party, decides to rush through a trial without hearing all the facts, witnesses and documents, it won’t just be the verdict of history that falls heavy on their shoulders,” Schumer said. “The American people in the here and now will pass a harsh judgment on senators who participated in a coverup for the president.”

Schumer also made clear that Democrats plan to force multiple votes on calling witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

“I want to make one thing very clear: There will be votes, repeated votes, on the questions of witnesses and documents at the trial,” Schumer said.

3:15 p.m.
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McConnell accuses Pelosi of ‘shameless game-playing’

By John Wagner

McConnell on Wednesday accused Pelosi of “shameless game-playing” as he delivered another floor speech heavily critical of her delay in transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

McConnell’s remarks came a day after Pelosi signaled she would not send over the two articles centered on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine until McConnell unveils a resolution laying out the proposed rules of a trial.

“There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure,” McConnell said. “The House Democrats’ turn is over.”

During his remarks, he cited public comments from three members of the Democratic caucus — Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) — who have said they would like to see a trial begin.

“My Democratic friends are losing patience,” McConnell said, accusing Pelosi of having an “endless appetite for these cynical games.”

“At the very same time a global crisis was unfolding … in real time, she published another ‘Dear Colleague’ letter saying she intends to keep our commander in chief in this limbo indefinitely,” McConnell said, referring to the hostilities with Iran.

2:15 p.m.
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Trump to address the nation on Iran at 11 a.m.

By John Wagner

Trump, who has been huddling with his national security team, will address the nation at 11 a.m. on the situation on Iran, according to updated guidance issued by the White House.

He is scheduled to appear from the Grand Foyer of the White House.

Trump’s remarks are expected to be his first on Iran since a tweet Tuesday night, in which he said, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”