House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday morning named seven House Democrats who will serve as impeachment managers in the Senate trial and prosecute the case against President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal, a long-awaited move that sets up the next phase of the impeachment fight.
The managers are a mix of key players in the House’s impeachment inquiry and a couple of new faces: Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Zoe Lofgren of California, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia Garcia of Texas. Schiff, who led the House’s Ukraine investigation, will serve as lead impeachment manager.
Pelosi held a news conference Wednesday morning, appearing alongside the managers she had selected, ahead of a midday vote on the resolution to appoint them and formally send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, where senators will decide whether the President should be removed from office.
“As you can see from these descriptions, the emphasis is on litigators,” Pelosi said in explaining how she chose the managers. “The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people.”
Wednesday’s vote will kick off the ceremonial beginning of the Senate impeachment trial, where the House managers will physically walk the articles to the Senate, and senators and Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, will be sworn in. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the substance of the trial is likely to get underway on Tuesday, January 21.
Pelosi’s announcement of the managers came four weeks after the House voted to impeach the President on two charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Following the approval of articles of impeachment, Pelosi took the unprecedented step to withhold sending the articles to the Republican-held Senate, saying she wanted to know more about the Senate trial parameters, creating uncertainty over the timeline for a trial and how it would unfold.
The House is expected to vote later Wednesday on the resolution naming the managers to formalize their appointment, allocating funding for the trial and formally transmitting the impeachment articles.
The way the Senate trial will ultimately unfold will depend on the full parameters for the trial, which have not been released yet. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’s planning to follow the model of the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton and decide on whether to include witnesses after opening arguments are made — and he has the votes to set the ground rules for the impeachment trial without Democrats’ support.
The House managers are expected have a chance to argue their case before the full Senate, and after that, the President’s lawyers will have an opportunity to present the defense. The opportunity to serve as an impeachment manager will offer a high-profile turn in the spotlight for the lawmakers who have been chosen and a chance to elevate their standing in Congress and with liberal voters.
Conviction in the Senate would require a two-thirds vote, a high threshold that is not expected to be reached given that many Republican senators have been vocal in saying that they believe the President’s actions do not rise to the level of impeachment.
But regardless of the outcome, the Senate trial will be a historic and momentous event.
The performance of the House managers will shape how a trial plays out and could be a way for those who are chosen to secure their place in history as part of the impeachment proceedings.
During the Clinton Senate impeachment trial, the managers took several days to present their arguments, followed by several days during which the Clinton legal team outlined their defense. That was followed by questions submitted in writing by senators directed to either the managers or the then-President’s defense team.
There are no restrictions on the number of House impeachment managers the speaker can name to serve in the role.
During Clinton’s impeachment trial, 13 House Republicans were chosen as impeachment managers.
Three are still serving in Congress to this day: Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who was a representative of the state’s third congressional district at the time of the Clinton impeachment.