JANUARY 15, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House passed a resolution sending its impeachment case to the Senate, approving seven impeachment managers selected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who will argue the Democrats’ case for removing President Trump from office.
The managers’ role, akin to that of prosecutors in a criminal proceeding, will be to advance Democrats’ arguments during the impeachment trial, which is expected to start next Tuesday.
Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.) named Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California, Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California, Val Demings of Florida, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Jason Crow of Colorado to represent House Democrats.
The articles will be delivered when the Senate announces it is formally ready to receive them, which will likely be Thursday, according to a GOP aide.
In her news conference Wednesday morning, Mrs. Pelosi said she emphasized litigation experience and “comfort level in the courtroom” on choosing the managers. She added: “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people.”
“President Trump has done nothing wrong,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, adding that he “expects to be fully exonerated.”
Mr. Jeffries said the managers found out they were selected less than a day before the announcement and that the group was intended to be representative of the Democratic caucus.
“It’s racial, it’s gender, it’s regional, it’s ideological and its religious diversity,” Mr. Jeffries said of the group. “But most importantly, every single one of those members are serious individuals with either a law or law enforcement background.”
Most of the managers come from safe Democratic seats. One exception is Mr. Crow, a first-term congressman who flipped a Republican seat in suburban Denver.
The Democratic-led House last month voted to impeach Mr. Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The articles of impeachment accuse him of pressuring Ukraine to open investigations to benefit him politically, including by withholding almost $400 million in aid to help the country combat Russian aggression, and of impeding Congress’s investigation by preventing witnesses from testifying and defying subpoenas for documentary evidence.
Mr. Trump has maintained that the impeachment is a hoax. He has wavered over the terms of a trial. At times he has indicated he would support a quick trial but at other times has expressed a preference for a longer trial that could vindicate him, not merely acquit him. He has also said he would support efforts to dismiss the case in the Senate without a trial.
Republican senators briefed on a draft of rules for the trial said it likely will include a guaranteed vote on witnesses and documents after opening arguments and a period for written questions. Moderate Republicans had been pushing hard behind the scenes for a such a vote, while Mr. Trump has recently renewed his call to dismiss the articles without a trial.
Witnesses sought by Democrats include former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Some Republican senators want to call as a witness Hunter Biden, son of former vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. The younger Mr. Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s leader to investigate—an act at the center of the House’s impeachment case.
Both Bidens deny any wrongdoing, and in the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Mr. Biden called allegations from Mr. Trump and his allies “flat out lies.”
Some Republican senators are pushing reciprocity of witnesses, so that if Democrats arranged to hear from Mr. Bolton, Republicans would push to hear from Hunter Biden, according to a person familiar with the matter.
“My opinion is witnesses may be a tough debate, because that means one for one,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R., Ind.).
Although the senators will take an oath of impartiality to serve as jurors, many have already taken a position on the accusations against the president. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has said that he is working in lockstep with the administration. On the Democratic side, several senators have been openly critical of Mr. Trump’s conduct in the matters at the heart of the impeachment.
Mr. Trump’s is the third impeachment trial of a president in the nation’s history. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and President Bill Clinton in 1998. Both were acquitted by the Senate.
A protracted trial beginning next week could extend beyond the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, complicating the campaigns of Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has said he has told them he expects them all to attend the trial.
Courtesy/Source: The Wall Street Journal