WASHINGTON — After a 28-day delay, the gears of impeachment turned again on Wednesday, with the House of Representatives voting 228-193 to send the two articles of impeachment against President Trump it ratified last month to the Senate, which will hold a trial beginning next week.
Those articles will be formally brought to the Senate tomorrow by seven impeachment managers, who were named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shortly before the vote. The managers will act as prosecutors in the Senate trial that could lead to Trump’s removal from office.
The lead manager will be Adam Schiff of California, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, who has been the public face of the impeachment inquiry and was formerly a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. He stood directly to the left of Pelosi as she made the announcement in a Capitol conference room. To her right stood House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, who has also been closely involved in the impeachment inquiry. Both had been widely expected to lead the Senate trial.
“The emphasis is on litigators,” Pelosi explained in naming the managers. “The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom.” That courtroom will be the floor of the U.S. Senate, and the presiding judge will be Chief Justice John Roberts. The jury will consist of all 100 senators, some of whom are avowed supporters of Trump and have called the entire impeachment inquiry a “sham,” echoing the president’s own complaint.
The other managers are Zoe Lofgren of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida and Sylvia Garcia of Texas. Crow and Garcia were somewhat surprising choices, with some expecting Pelosi to rely more extensively on colleagues from the California delegation. The others named had all been widely discussed on Capitol Hill for weeks, even as Pelosi remained highly secretive in her deliberations over how to proceed.
“I don’t think we could be better served than by the patriotism and dedication of the managers that I’m naming this morning,” Pelosi said at the conclusion of her press conference.
Last month, the House of Representatives endorsed two articles of impeachment against Trump. The first was related to his attempt to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing investigations that would help Trump in his reelection campaign. The second charged Trump with obstructing the congressional investigation into the Ukrainian pressure effort.
Almost immediately after the House voted on the articles of impeachment, Pelosi announced that she would not name impeachment managers until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to hold what would amount to a fair trial, with testimony from witnesses and documents released by the White House and the State Department.
Despite failing to gain these concessions from McConnell, Pelosi is allowing the trial to begin. The managers will walk the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber of Congress later this afternoon, after the House votes on a resolution enabling them to do so. (Since the House is controlled by Democrats, the resolution is expected to pass.)
Pelosi at the press conference defended not transmitting the articles of impeachment in late December, immediately after they had been voted upon. “Time has revealed many things since then,” she said. “Time has been our friend.”
Pelosi referenced a number of developments, including former national security adviser John Bolton’s announcement that he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. And she alluded to new evidence, made public on Tuesday evening, that bolstered the case that Trump’s associates were attempting to pressure Zelensky into announcing an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. The younger Biden sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that has been accused of corrupt practices.
In recent days, Senate Republicans have started to show some dissatisfaction with McConnell’s handling of the trial, which he has said he is planning with the White House. Reports earlier this week indicated that at least three Republicans were ready to break with McConnell in order to call for witnesses.
“We would not be in this situation had we not waited,” Pelosi said, speaking specifically of the GOP dissenters.
Impeachment managers last walked the halls of the Capitol in 1999, during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The 13 impeachment managers selected by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde were all white men. Among them was James Rogan, a Los Angeles congressman. His constituents were so angered by his attempting to remove Clinton that they voted him out of office shortly thereafter. In his stead, they elected Adam Schiff.
Pelosi, on the other hand, named managers who represent demographic, geographic and experiential diversity. Demings is the former chief of the Orlando Police Department, while Crow is a former Army Ranger who was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Lofgren had been a congressional staffer during the impeachment of President Richard Nixon and is the only member of Congress to have been involved in all three presidential impeachments in the last half-century. Jeffries was formerly a litigator for the prestigious law firm Paul, Weiss in New York. Garcia was a judge in Houston. She is the only Latinx member of the impeachment team.
With the Senate firmly in Republican control, no amount of prosecutorial skill is likely to lead to Trump’s conviction, which requires a two-thirds majority vote. Even so, Democrats remain determined to hold Trump accountable for what they see as high crimes and misdemeanors. And they believe that simply ratifying the articles of impeachment was an achievement of its own, regardless of what the Senate does.
“He has been impeached forever,” Pelosi said. “They can never erase that.”
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