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Pelosi-McConnell fight sets up a clash of Washington's titans


Nobody in Washington understands power -- how to win it, keep it and wield it -- better than Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.

Now the two giants of Capitol Hill have each other in their sights, as Democrats and Republicans feud over the terms of a Senate trial of President Donald Trump.
The speaker's refusal to immediately transmit the articles of impeachment passed by the House to the Senate has triggered a rare direct power game with the Senate majority leader, pitting two of American history's strongest congressional figures against each other in a battle not likely to cool off over a winter recess on Capitol Hill. 
"We remain at an impasse on these logistics," McConnell said on the Senate floor after a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and moments before informally closing out the chamber for the next two weeks.
Earlier Thursday, McConnell had jabbed at Pelosi, suggesting that her decision to hold on to the articles, apparently designed to offer leverage to Schumer in bargaining over the shape of a trial, showed weakness.
Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid, too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate," the Kentucky Republican said, with a politically shrewd but highly selective interpretation of the Democratic position.

The response from the California Democrat, who was raised in a politically oriented Baltimore family, was scathing and apparently premeditated.
"I heard some of what Mitch McConnell said today, and it reminded me that our founders ... when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president," Pelosi said.
She added, "I don't think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and rogue leader in the Senate at the same time."
The clash came as talks between McConnell and Schumer, a New York Democrat, reached an stalemate over the shape of the trial, leaving the chaotic impeachment battle in suspended animation between the two chambers as lawmakers emptied out of the Capitol for a two-week holiday break.

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