Washington — The House of Representatives formally delivered two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate on Wednesday, setting the stage for a trial to determine whether a president should be removed from office for just the third time in U.S. history.
In a ceremony that capped a whirlwind day on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In the morning, Pelosi introduced the seven Housewho will present the case against the president in the Senate. Hours later, the House voted to approve a resolution formally designating the managers and authorizing them to transmit the articles to the Senate.
In the early evening, Pelosi finalized the articles themselves in a ceremony on the House side of the Capitol. In a ritual steeped in tradition, the managers and the House clerk then walked the articles across the Capitol to the Senate chamber, where the clerk delivered a message to the assembled senators.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged receipt of the message and said senators would convene on Thursday to hear the formal presentation of the articles and swear in the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who will preside over the trial.
McConnell: Senate to hear from managers Thursday before swearing in chief justice
The House managers formally delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate following the engrossment ceremony and procession across the Capitol.
Senator Chuck Grassley, the president pro tempore, was presiding over the Senate when the House clerk was granted entry.
"The Senate will receive a message from the House of Representatives," Grassley said.
"Mr. President, I have been directed by the House of Representatives to inform the Senate the House has passed H. Res. 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, president of the United States," House clerk Cheryl Johnson replied from the back of the chamber.
"The message will be received," Grassley said, before recognizing McConnell.
The Republican leader announced that the impeachment managers will return at noon on Thursday to formally present the articles. At 2 p.m., Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will arrive at the Senate and be sworn in by Grassley. Roberts will then swear in senators, who will sit and hear arguments for and against Mr. Trump before rendering a verdict.
"This is a difficult time for our country. But this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate," McConnell said. "I'm confident this body can rise above short termism and factional fever, and serve the long term best interest of our nation. We can do this, and we must."
Impeachment managers walk across Capitol to deliver articles
The seven Democrats appointed to serve as impeachment managers made the walk across the Capitol from the House to the Senate to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Pelosi signs articles in "engrossment" ceremony
Flanked by the seven newly designated impeachment managers and several committee chairs, Pelosi finalized the articles of impeachment in an "engrossment" ceremony. The ceremony was held in the stately Rayburn Room in the Capitol, the same room where Pelosi unveiled the articles of impeachment just over a month ago.
"Today, we make history," Pelosi said, standing in front of a portrait of George Washington.
Pelosi signed the resolution and each of the articles of impeachment with 32 different pens. The impeachment managers stood around her, as did the chairs of the Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Ways and Means Committees.
The articles will now be delivered to the Senate in a formal procession.
Senate won't formally receive impeachment articles until Thursday
The next steps in the impeachment process feature several arcane ceremonial procedures before a trial can actually begin.
After what's known as an "engrossment" ceremony to formalize the articles of impeachment, the House impeachment managers and the House reading clerk will walk across the Capitol to the Senate chamber to deliver a message to the Senate that the House has appointed impeachment managers who are prepared to exhibit the articles.
The presiding officer of the Senate will recognize the House clerk in the Senate chamber and announce "a message from the House." The Senate secretary is then expected to invite the managers to come back on Thursday to formally "exhibit" the articles.
David Popp, McConnell's communications director, explained the process.
"Under Impeachment rules, once the House formally notifies the Senate it has appointed managers, the Senate is required to set a time for the House managers to exhibit the articles," Popp said in a statement. "This two-step process is specified in the rules of impeachment. When the Senate receives the initial message tonight, the body will formally invite the managers to exhibit the articles during tomorrow's session of the Senate. Only at that time, when the House managers return at the invitation of the Senate, is it possible for the Senate to formally receive the exhibition of the Articles of Impeachment."
White House expects short impeachment trial
The White House predicts Mr. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate will last no longer than two weeks, senior administration officials told reporters in a conference call about impeachment strategy.
The trial is expected to begin Tuesday and two Republican senators told CBS News proceedings could potentially last between three and five weeks. The details of the impeachment trial, however, have yet to be finalized.
The White House previously announced the president's defense team in the Senate trial will include White House counsel Pat Cipollone, serving as lead counsel; Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump's personal attorney; and White House lawyers Patrick Philbin and Mike Purpura. One senior administration official said on Wednesday's call that an announcement on whether GOP House members would be part of the team would be made "at the appropriate time."
While it remains unclear whether witnesses will testify before the Senate, a senior administration official said the White House does not believe witnesses should be called. — Melissa Quinn and Arden Farhi
House approves resolution designating impeachment managers
The House approved the resolution formally designating the seven impeachment managers early Wednesday afternoon. The vote, which was 228 to 193, passed nearly along party lines, with one Democrat breaking ranks to vote no.
The articles will be officially delivered to the Senate later on Wednesday.
House begins vote on resolution
The House has begun voting on a resolution appointing and authorizing managers to conduct Mr. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. The vote is expected to last at least 15 minutes, and the resolution is likely to pass along party lines.
Pelosi: House crossing "a very important threshold in American history"
Pelosi spoke on the House floor before the vote on the resolution designating impeachment managers.
"We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history," Pelosi said, standing next to a poster featuring the American flag. The seven impeachment managers sat side by side watching as Pelosi spoke.
The speaker repeated the Democratic talking point that "dismissal is a cover up," referring to some Republican senators' desire to dismiss charges against Mr. Trump.
House debates resolution naming impeachment managers
The House began debate on the resolution designating impeachment managers. Lawmakers set aside 10 minutes for debate before the vote, although it is likely to go longer. It's expected to pass along party lines.
White House: Trump "expects to be fully exonerated" in Senate trial
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused the speaker of failing to garner political support for the House's impeachment effort and said Mr. Trump believes he will be "fully exonerated."
"The only thing Speaker Pelosi has achieved with this sham, illegitimate impeachment process, is to prove she is focused on politics instead of the American people," Grisham said in a statement. "The speaker lied when she claimed this was urgent and vital to national security because when the articles passed, she held them for an entire month in an egregious effort to garner political support. She failed and the naming of these managers does not change a single thing."
Grisham again claimed the president did not do anything wrong and will "continue working and winning for all Americans."
"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," she said.
Trump slams "another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats"
Mr. Trump reacted to Pelosi's announcement of the impeachment managers with a tweet on Wednesday morning, slamming "another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats."
Although Mr. Trump argued that "all of this work was supposed to be done by the House," several witnesses who were subpoenaed by the House declined to appear during the inquiry. Furthermore, new documents have come to light since the House voted on impeachment, such as the trove of documents from an indicted businessman who helped Rudy Giuliani in his campaign to pressure Ukraine.
McConnell: Details on Senate trial coming "in short order"
As Pelosi announced the seven House Democrats who will serve as impeachment managers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Senate floor speech that guidance about the "logistics and practicalities of the next several session days in short order."
Mr. Trump's impeachment trial is expected to begin Tuesday, but details have yet to be finalized.
McConnell accused House Democrats of crossing a "Rubicon that every other House of Representatives had avoided for 230 years" by passing articles of impeachment that do not allege a crime.
"Speaker Pelosi and the House have taken our nation down a dangerous road. If the Senate blesses this unprecedented and dangerous House process by agreeing that an incomplete case and a subjective basis are enough to impeach a president, we will almost guarantee the impeachment of every future president of either party when the House doesn't like that person," McConnell said.
Pelosi unveils 7 impeachment managers
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Pelosi unveiled her selections for impeachment managers. Here are their names:
- Adam Schiff of California
- Jerry Nadler of New York
- Zoe Lofgren of California
- Hakeem Jeffries of New York
- Val Demings of Florida
- Jason Crow of Colorado
- Sylvia Garcia of Texas
What are impeachment managers and what do they do?
Those handpicked to serve as managers will play a crucial role in what will be just the third impeachment trial in U.S. history, working to convince senators that Mr. Trump deserves to be removed from office for his conduct.
Effectively serving as prosecutors for the Senate trial, they may also respond to arguments presented by the president's defense team and answer written questions from senators, according to a November report on impeachment from the Congressional Research Service.
Pelosi will select the group of House members to make the lower chamber's case, and the House will then vote on a resolution formally designating them impeachment managers. Once the resolution is approved, the managers will physically deliver the articles and present them to the Senate.
White House on impeachment preparations: "We have been ready"
A senior administration official tells CBS News the White House has not yet seen McConnell's organizing resolution, which will lay out the rules for the impeachment trial. The White House has been discussing the resolution with lawmakers for weeks, but has yet to see anything final.
Asked what the White House is doing to prepare for the upcoming proceedings, the official replied, "We have been ready."
The White House does not anticipate having a role in the proceedings this week, but lawyers and legislative aides continue to work behind the scenes getting ready for the trial, slated to begin next week. This includes setting up office space and infrastructure for the defense team's presentation, covering everything down to how they will get on and off the Senate floor.
The White House continues to talk with McConnell about witnesses, but doesn't want to make any commitments at this point, the official said. There is still a hope in the West Wing that the president will see the opening presentations and be satisfied that he was able to make his case without witnesses. Nobody has ruled them out, but they want to delay the decision for now.
House to deliver articles of impeachment to the Senate Wednesday at 5:00 pm
Pelosi announced that she will hold an "Engrossment Ceremony" on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. with the as-yet-unnamed impeachment managers.
The impeachment managers, led by the House clerk and the House sergeant at arms, will then begin a procession through National Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda to the Senate to present the articles of impeachment to the secretary of the Senate.
The House will vote on a resolution designating impeachment managers on Wednesday.
Pelosi to announce impeachment managers in Wednesday morning news conference
Pelosi will announce the impeachment managers for the Senate trial at 10 a.m. Wednesday, she announced. The House will then vote on a resolution designating them impeachment managers.
Pelosi had already confirmed the House will take that vote on Wednesday.
"The House upheld its duty to #DefendOurDemocracy by passing two articles of impeachment against the President. Tomorrow, we will transmit those articles & name impeachment managers. The Senate must choose between the Constitution & a cover-up," Pelosi tweeted earlier in the day.
Effectively serving as prosecutors for the Senate trial, they may also respond to arguments presented by the president's defense team and answer written questions from senators, according to a November report on impeachment from the Congressional Research Service. — Melissa Quinn and Kathryn Watson
Blunt says it's "hard to imagine" trial being over before State of the Union
Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters it's "hard to imagine" the Senate trial will be over by the president's State of the Union address, scheduled for February 4. Pelosi on December 20 invited the president to deliver the annual address.
The Senate trial is expected to take three to five weeks, likely beginning next Tuesday.
"As I recall, President Clinton gave his State of the Union, in the middle of that process and I would expect, no reason to believe that same thing wouldn't happen by the State of the Union," Blunt said. "You know, if we'd have gotten started properly we might have, but it's hard to imagine."
Clinton did not mention his impeachment trial during the 1999 address. — Kathryn Watson and Alan He
McConnell says "both sides" likely to call witnesses
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, McConnell said the Senate will deal with the question of witnesses once the trial gets underway, and noted the president and his legal team would also want to call witnesses of their own.
"We will be dealing with the witness issue at the appropriate time into the trial," McConnell said. "And I think it's certainly appropriate to point out that both sides would want to call witnesses that they wanted to hear from."
Pelosi confirms timing for vote on designating impeachment managers
Pelosi confirmed in a statement that the House will vote on the resolution to designate impeachment managers on Wednesday.
"The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial. The House will now proceed with a vote on transmitting the articles of impeachment and naming impeachment managers on Wednesday, January 15," Pelosi said. "The President and the Senators will be held accountable."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday that he expects the impeachment articles will be physically delivered to the Senate on the same day as the vote.
McCarthy says Pelosi withheld articles to keep Sanders off the campaign trail
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggested that Pelosi withheld the impeachment articles not to pressure McConnell to allow new witnesses and evidence in the Senate, but to delay the trial itself.
McCarthy accused the speaker of trying to keep Senator Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail ahead of the Iowa caucuses on February 3. Senators are required to attend trial proceedings in Washington for six days a week until a judgment is reached.
"If there's anyone it gained from this it would be anybody who's running for president that's not in the U.S. Senate," McCarthy told reporters, reviving an accusation that the Democratic National Committee actively tried to prevent Sanders from getting the nomination in 2016.
"So Senator Sanders actually has a chance to win. But not now that Nancy Pelosi has held these documents. There was nothing gained. It goes against everything she said, but if you look at the true political nature of why — to harm one campaign and give a benefit to another," McCarthy alleged.
Three other senators — Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — would likewise be taken off the campaign trail for the duration of the trial. McCarthy called on former Vice President Joe Biden to forgo campaigning until a verdict is reached.
"The only rightful thing of Joe Biden is to make a pledge not to campaign while Bernie Sanders cannot, after what the Democrat National Committee had done to his campaign a few short years ago," McCarthy said. — Grace Segers and Rebecca Kaplan
Schumer accuses McConnell of smearing Democrats over witness requests
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pushed back against McConnell's assertion that Democrats are only seeking witnesses in the impeachment trial in the Senate to bolster a weak argument and attack the president.
"The most the Republican leader to do is smear our request as some partisan fishing expedition," Schumer said. House Democrats have withheld the impeachment articles from the Senate in an attempt to get McConnell to allow new witnesses and evidence in the impeachment trial.
McConnell has said he wants the Senate to vote on whether to hear witnesses after opening statements in the trial. Schumer said that not calling witnesses would break centuries of precedent.
"Do Senate Republicans want to break the lengthy historical precedent that says witnesses should be in an impeachment trial by conducting a first impeachment trial in history — in history, since 1789 — with no witnesses?" Schumer asked.
McConnell says Senate won't let House "dictate" terms of trial
Speaking on the Senate floor in response to the timing of the House vote, McConnell mocked Democrats and said the Senate would not be beholden to the lower chamber when determining trial procedures.
McConnell questioned why Pelosi chose to withhold the articles of impeachment until January, instead of immediately transmitting them to the Senate. He also took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, condemning the minority leader for saying the trial was a "win-win" for Democrats if it hurts Republicans up for reelection.
"Do these sound like leaders who really believe we're in a constitutional crisis, one that requires the most severe remedy in our entire system of government?" McConnell asked.
He also reiterated that he would not allow House Democrats to "dictate" the terms of the Senate trial. Democrats have called for new witnesses and evidence to be admitted in the trial, an argument which has swayed some Republicans.
"Impeachment is not a political game and the United States Senate will not treat it like one," McConnell said.
Pelosi suggests Wednesday vote on impeachment managers
In her meeting with fellow House Democrats, Pelosi suggested the House vote to designate impeachment managers and transmit both articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, according to a Democratic aide.
White House expects GOP defections on calling witnesses
The White House is preparing for some Republican senators to join Democrats in voting to call witnesses in President Trump's impeachment trial, which could get underway in the coming days.
Senior White House officials tell CBS News they increasingly believe that at least four Republicans, and likely more, will vote to call witnesses. In addition to Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, the White House also views Rand Paul of Kentucky as a "wild card" and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as an "institutionalist" who might vote to call witnesses, as one official put it.