Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announces impeachment managers for the articles of impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill January 15, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday unveiled the team of Democrats who will make the case for President Donald Trump’s conviction and removal from office.
Pelosi selected seven House Democrats to serve as impeachment managers, essentially acting as prosecutors during Trump’s Senate trial. They will lay out the evidence that House investigators have collected and make their arguments for voting Trump out of office, while Trump’s lawyers defend him.
The 100 senators, in turn, will act as jurors as they consider how they will vote on the two articles of impeachment that the House passed on Dec. 18. It is highly unlikely that two-thirds of the GOP-majority Senate will vote to convict and remove a Republican president. No Senate Republicans have said they will vote to convict.
Trump is just the third U.S. president ever to be impeached.
Some of the rules for impeachment are mandated in the Constitution, while others are based on precedent. Seven managers were also appointed during the 1868 impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson, for instance, while there were 13 Republican managers from the House Judiciary Committee Republicans in Bill Clinton’s 1998 Senate trial.
No matter the outcome of the trial, “he’s been impeached forever,” Pelosi said before announcing the managers at a press conference Wednesday. “They can never erase that.”
House Democrats voted to impeach Trump on articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, both related to his efforts to have Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announce probes involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that “the naming of these managers does not change a single thing.”
Trump “has done nothing wrong,” Grisham said. “He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated.”
Here’s what to know about the House managers in Trump’s impeachment trial:
Pelosi tapped the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to be the lead prosecutor in Trump’s Senate trial.
Schiff was already seen as a leading figure in the impeachment inquiry. His attacks on Trump and his approach to running the House impeachment proceedings have made him a target of scathing criticism from Republicans and the president himself.
“I am humbled by the responsibility of serving as the lead House Manager in the Senate impeachment trial,” the California congressman said in a statement. “It is a solemn responsibility and one that I will undertake with the seriousness that the task requires.”
Schiff and other Democrats have demanded that the Senate trial allow witnesses to come forward. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked McConnell to approve four witnesses, including former national security advisor John Bolton and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, in advance of the trial.
McConnell refused, saying he wants the trial to mirror Clinton’s, in which senators waited until the proceedings had already started to debate whether to call witnesses.
“Americans overwhelmingly want a fair trial in the Senate, fair to the President and fair to the people. Senators must demand to see and hear the full evidence, including the documents and witnesses the President has blocked,” Schiff said in his statement.
“Only then can they faithfully discharge their own Constitutional duties to be fair and impartial jurors.”
The congressman from New York is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
He has said that Trump “richly deserves impeachment” since the end of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Nadler oversaw an impeachment hearing in his committee in early December, when a panel of experts debated whether Trump’s Ukraine dealings met the bar for charges. Three of those witnesses said Trump committed impeachable offenses, while one disagreed.
“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 in doing so, in order to extort a foreign government into intervening in our election to embarrass a political opponent,” Nadler said at Wednesday’s press conference.
Lofgren, a 13-term congresswoman from California, chairs the House Administration Committee — which, as Pelosi points out, has jurisdiction over legislation relating to federal elections.
Lofgren served on the Judiciary Committee in 1998, when Clinton was impeached in the House for lying about an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
When she herself was an intern, Lofgren reportedly helped the same committee draft impeachment charges against Richard Nixon.
Lofgren is seen as a more even-keeled and judicious member of the team than some of her more vocal colleagues. Unlike many other Democrats. Lofgren had been skeptical about moving forward with impeachment proceedings against Trump following the release of the Mueller report.
Jeffries, the No. 5 Democrat in the House, chairs his party’s caucus in the chamber, which crafts and controls party policy.
Jeffries has represented his New York district in Congress since 2013. He previously worked as a litigator.
“The evidence is overwhelming that Donald Trump corruptly abused his power” by pressuring Ukraine to announce the Biden probe, Jeffries said Wednesday.
“In America, no one is above the law.”
The Florida representative, one of the most junior members of Congress on the management team, had served as the first female chief of the Orlando Police Department before running for political office.
She made headlines during Mueller’s testimony before Congress last year, when she asked if Trump’s written responses to the special counsel’s questions “showed that he wasn’t always being truthful.”
Mueller replied: “I would say generally.”
Demings serves on the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels.
“I understand that the politics of impeachment are difficult for many Senators. But I have not written off the Senate. Each Senator still has the power to do the right thing,” Demings tweeted Wednesday.
While some members were widely expected to be recruited to the team of House managers, Crow seems to have flown in under the radar.
Crow, an Army veteran, was elected to the House in 2018, defeating Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman and flipping the suburban Denver district for the Democrats for the first time since it was drawn in the early 1980s.
Crow, a lawyer, serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
Unlike some other freshman Democrats who won Republican-leaning districts in 2018, Crow has not been afraid to declare his support for Trump’s impeachment. He co-authored an op-ed in September with other freshman Democrats, saying if the allegations about Trump’s Ukraine dealings are true, then “we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense.”
Garcia, a Texas Democrat, will also be one of the managers.
Garcia “was the director and presiding judge of the Houston municipal system and was elected city controller,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Ms. Garcia was later elected the first Hispanic and first woman to be elected in her own right to the Harris County Commissioners Court.”
Garcia said in a tweet Wednesday that she was “honored to be one of seven House Impeachment Managers who’ll be making the case to the American people.”
“For me this is about upholding my oath of office,” she said. “I take my responsibility seriously because we’re working to defend our Constitution at a pivotal moment in our democracy.”