Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled thefor President Trump's upcoming Senate trial, naming the lawmakers who will prosecute the House's case against the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The impeachment managers are:
- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff
- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler
- Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
- Congressman Hakeem Jeffries
- Congresswoman Val Demings
- Congressman Jason Crow
- Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia
Flanked by seven members at a press conference at the Capitol, Pelosi said she sought out members with experience as litigators who would be comfortable presenting the House's case at trial. As chairmen of the committees that took the lead on the impeachment inquiry and former prosecutors, Schiff and Nadler were natural choices, and are likely to take the lead in proceedings.
"The emphasis is on litigators. The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom," Pelosi said. "The emphasis is on making the strongest case to protect our Constitution."
Pelosi delayed naming the managers for weeks, hoping to extract concessions from Senate Republicans over calling witnesses and admitting evidence before transmitting the articles to the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed those efforts, saying the Senate would dictate its own procedures.
But Pelosi argued her strategy was ultimately successful, citingdetails about the president's dealings with Ukraine and indications that have hinted that they would like to hear from witnesses in the trial.
"Time has been our friend in all of this because it has yielded incriminating evidence, more truth into the public domain," Pelosi said.
Nadler and Schiff both emphasized the importance of calling witnesses in remarks at Wednesday's press conference.
"If McConnell makes this the first trial in history without witnesses, it will be exposed for what it is and that is an effort to cover up for the president," Schiff said.
The rest of the managers have varying degrees of legal experience. Lofgren has been involved in all three impeachment proceedings against presidents in the modern era, first as a staffer on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment inquiry into President Nixon, and then as a member of Congress during the impeachment of President Clinton. Jeffries is the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House and a lawyer by training.
Demings is a second-term congresswoman from Florida who previously served as a police chief, while Crow and Garcia are freshmen members of Congress. Crow, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was also a litigator in private practice. Garcia, who is on the Judiciary Committee, was the first woman to be elected to the Harris County Commissioner's Court.
The House is expected to vote on the resolution designating the managers later Wednesday afternoon and then officially deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
The announcement of impeachment managers comes the day after House Democratsfrom an indicted businessman who helped Rudy Giuliani in his campaign to pressure Ukraine, including previously undisclosed handwritten notes and a letter Giuliani addressed to the Ukrainian president-elect requesting a meeting shortly before his inauguration.
The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on two articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — in December, but Democrats withheld the articles from the Senate in an attempt to motivate Republicans to ensure new evidence will be admitted and witnesses allowed to testify in the trial. McConnell largely ignored Democrats' demands and accused the House of trying to dictate the business of the Senate.
McConnell has called for implementing rules that follow the precedent of the Clinton impeachment trial, where the Senate voted on whether to call witnesses after both sides made their cases.
Nadler, one of the newly minted impeachment managers, told reporters that they were ready for the Senate to potentially call witnesses like Hunter Biden. However, he said Biden would be an "irrelevant" witness in the trial of whether Mr. Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday, 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."
McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he expects Mr. Trump's impeachment trial to get underway on January 21.