WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven managers to serve as prosecutors in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial Wednesday morning.
The managers will make the case to remove the president from office before the Senate following the House’s Dec. 18 vote to impeach Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges. All but one — first-term Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado — serve on the House Judiciary or Intelligence Committees, which led the impeachment inquiry.
Reps. Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren of California, Jerry Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, and Sylvia Garcia of Texas will also serve as managers in the Senate trial, which is expected to begin next week. Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee and Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee.
All of the members chosen as impeachment managers have law degrees or extensive law enforcement backgrounds. Pelosi noted "the emphasis on litigators" in announcing her decision Wednesday morning. "The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people. I'm very proud and honored that these seven members, distinguished members, have accepted this serious responsibility," she said.
Lofgren, notably, is the only manager to have served in all three impeachment-related proceedings in modern US history. She served as a staffer during former president Richard Nixon’s impeachment proceedings, and she served as a member of the Judiciary Committee during former president Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings. Lofgren said Wednesday the impeachment process was "misused" to prosecute Clinton and that what Trump did is different. "That is part of a misuse of presidential power," she said of Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
The House will vote later Wednesday to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, after weeks of delays. Following a House vote and ceremonial signing of the articles Wednesday afternoon, the members will hand-deliver the articles to the Senate after a procession through the Capitol early Wednesday evening.
“There is an overwhelming case, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the president betrayed the country ... by withholding federal funds appropriated by Congress — breaking the law by doing so — in order to extort a foreign government into intervening in our election to try to embarrass a potential opponent of his. There’s overwhelming evidence of that,” Nadler told reporters during the press conference announcing the managers' appointment.
A group of first-term Democrats had lobbied to have Independent Rep. Justin Amash appointed as a manager, arguing the Congress member — who abandoned the Republican Party in 2019 and voted in favor of impeachment — would appeal to conservatives. But Amash was not among the managers announced Wednesday.
Members began jockeying for the high-profile position ahead of the impeachment vote in December. Rep. Stacey Plaskett, who represents the Virgin Islands, made her case in a letter to Pelosi one day before the House voted to approve the articles of impeachment. Plaskett, a former prosecutor, argued that her appointment would show deference to her constituent base who cannot vote in a presidential election.
Pelosi’s decision to appoint seven managers marks a departure from Clinton’s impeachment trial, when 13 members of Congress, all members of the House Judiciary Committee, served as managers.
Wednesday's announcement comes after House Democrats released additional evidence Tuesday night, including texts and notes turned over by Lev Parnas, a close ally of Rudy Giuliani's. The documents outline a plan to get Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden and a letter from Giuliani to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he has Trump's "knowledge and consent" to seek a meeting.
Following the press conference Wednesday morning, Nadler said the new documents were "just more damning evidence" against Trump.
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