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What are impeachment managers and what do they do?

New evidence before impeachment trial
New evidence before impeachment trial 04:12

Washington — Weeks after the historic vote in the House to impeach President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the focus is shifting to the Senate, where the House will soon present its case against Mr. Trump and the president's lawyers will launch their defense in his impeachment trial.

The parameters of the Senate trial are beginning to come to light, with the proceedings expected to kick off January 21. A crucial detail revealed Wednesday are which lawmakers will serve as impeachment managers and present the two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected seven House Democrats to make the lower chamber's case in the Senate trial, 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.

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

What do impeachment managers 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 emphasized the managers' experience as litigators when announcing her selections. 

Are any of the Clinton House managers still in Congress?

During the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, 13 Republican lawmakers served as impeachment managers. Of those 13, three — Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Steve Chabot of Ohio, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, then in the House — remain in Congress. One of the impeachment managers, California Congressman James Rogan, lost his seat following the Clinton impeachment to Democrat Adam Schiff, who now serves as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and led the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

Over a span of three days in mid-January 1999, the 13 impeachment managers argued senators should vote to remove Clinton from office for lying to a grand jury about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and for attempted obstruction of justice. In the end, they were unsuccessful and Clinton was acquitted.

Trump's Senate trial

The Senate trial is expected to take three to five weeks, with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding over the proceedings. While the details remain to be finalized, each side is likely to be given substantial time to present opening arguments, followed by a period of written questions from senators directed to the House's impeachment managers and Mr. Trump's legal team.

A key outstanding question remains whether witnesses will be called during the weeks-long trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday the Senate will deal with the issue of witnesses once the trial gets underway and said "both sides" have people they want to hear from.

Former national security adviser John Bolton, who has firsthand knowledge of many of the events at the center of Mr. Trump's impeachment, said he would testify before the Senate under subpoena.

To remove Mr. Trump from office, two-thirds of the Senate must convict him of one or both articles of impeachment.

The first article accuses the president of abusing his power for his personal, political gain by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into Democratic political rivals as the administration was withholding military assistance to Ukraine. The second article charges Mr. Trump with obstructing Congress by ordering administration officials and agencies not to comply with House subpoenas for witness testimony and documents during its impeachment probe.

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