Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named seven Democratic members of Congress as the managers to argue the case for President Trump’s impeachment before the Senate, beginning next week.
Pelosi appointed Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia Garcia and Jason Crow as impeachment managers. Pelosi said Schiff will be the lead manager.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 15, 2020
“The emphasis is on litigators, the emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom, the emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people,” Pelosi said, explaining the choices.
The seven managers bring a diverse range of experience. Schiff and Nadler led the impeachment process in the House. Lofgren is taking part in her third impeachment; she was a staffer when the House Judiciary Committee voted out articles of impeachment against President Nixon, and a committee member during President Clinton’s and Trump’s impeachment. Demings is a former Orlando chief of police and is also a member of the House intelligence committee; Garcia is a former Houston municipal judge, and Crow is a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a co-author of a letter making the case for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.
In announcing the managers, Pelosi said: “What is at stake here is the Constitution of the United States.” She accused Trump of using the congressional appropriations process “as his private ATM machine to grant or withhold funds granted by Congress in order to advance his personal and political advantage.” That’s a reference to the White House’s hold on defense aid to Ukraine even though the funds had been appropriated by Congress. The president’s defenders argue the money was held up because of concerns over political corruption in Ukraine.
Later Wednesday, the House will hold its long-awaited vote to send to the Senate the two articles of impeachment against Trump that lawmakers approved last month, setting the stage for a Senate trial to begin next week.
“The Senate is on trial as well as the president, Nadler said. “Does the Senate conduct a trial according to the Constitution, to vindicate the republic, or does the Senate participate in the president’s crimes by covering them up?”
The vote comes a month after the House approved two articles of impeachment against the president, charging him with abusing the powers of his office by attempting to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate potential political opponent Joe Biden and his son’s activities there and with obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate in its investigation. Trump denies any wrongdoing and has excoriated the process.
Following the vote, the House will inform the Senate it is ready to transmit the articles across the Capitol. The Senate will respond that it is ready to receive them, and a formal procession and reception will take place. That could occur later Wednesday.
As early as Thursday morning, the impeachment managers will read the House resolution that appointed them as well as the articles of impeachment in full – on the Senate floor. Later that day, the Senate will proceed to the articles at 1 p.m. – or sooner. The Senate would then inform Chief Justice John Roberts who would come over and be sworn in by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who is the Senate president pro tempore. Roberts would then swear in all 100 senators as jurors. After this, the president is summoned and given time to respond.
The congressional proceedings mark just the third time in U.S. history that a president will be tried and face potential removal from office by the Senate. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Clinton were acquitted by the Senate after impeachment by the House.
The exact ground rules for Trump’s trial remain unclear. Democrats have demanded that the Senate call additional witnesses, potentially including former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he is willing to testify if subpoenaed. But McConnell has resisted, saying Tuesday that the “more contentious issue” of calling witnesses will be addressed later.
The Senate majority leader has sought to adhere to the procedure established in the Clinton impeachment trial in 1998, which allowed for a vote to dismiss the charges, as well as a vote on hearing additional testimony once opening arguments were made.
Trump has sought to have the Senate dismiss the charges, arguing that he did nothing wrong, but McConnell said Tuesday, “There is little to no sentiment in the Republican conference for a motion to dismiss.” With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and 67 votes necessary to convict Trump, it is almost certain the president will be acquitted.
NPR’s Kelsey Snell contributed to this report