House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Wednesday who will serve as the House Democrats’ impeachment managers in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Pelosi named House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, along with Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jason Crow (D-CO), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). Schiff will take on the role of lead impeachment manager.
“Today is an important day,” said Pelosi at a Capitol Hill press conference. “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our constitution, to seek the truth for the American people.”
A House vote to send the articles to the Senate is scheduled for early Wednesday afternoon. The measure is expected to pass. If it does, the Senate trial is expected to begin early next week, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said.
Ahead of the historic trial, the White House is finalizing the legal team that will defend Trump.
Jay Sekulow, Trump’s personal attorney, said he’s part of a legal team headed by White House counsel Pat Cipollone that will defend the president against two impeachable charges that were passed by the House last month. The articles of impeachment — accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress — have been held for weeks by House Democrats, who said they first wanted to see a trial blueprint from Senate leaders to ensure a fair process.
Cipollone and Sekulow will be joined on the team by White House attorneys Patrick Philbin and Michael Purpura, the Washington Examiner reported.
The charges against Trump stem from his dealings with Ukraine last year — specifically, his efforts pressing Kiev to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, a former board member of a Ukrainian gas company.
Cipollone, 53, has been a vocal critic of the House’s impeachment process and is considered the main force behind White House efforts that blocked most witnesses in the administration from testifying during the lower chamber’s inquiry.
An Oct. 8 White House letter called the process “partisan and unconstitutional” and made a case for a broad interpretation of executive privilege covering nearly every aspect of presidential conduct.
President Trump seemingly reacted to Pelosi’s announcement by once again calling the partisan impeachment process a “con.”
“Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!” the president tweeted.
Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2020
Over the weekend, the president suggested that the articles should be dismissed instead of the Senate going ahead with a full trial.
“Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong? Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before. House Republicans voted 195-0, with three Dems voting with the Republicans. Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!” he wrote.
Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong? Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before. House Republicans voted 195-0, with three Dems voting with the Republicans. Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
Earlier Wednesday, McConnell echoed President Trump’s sentiments, making the case for the Senate to acquit the president ahead of the articles being transferred to the upper chamber.
“Speaker Pelosi and the House have taken our nation down a dangerous road. If the Senate blesses this unprecedented and dangerous House process by agreeing that an incomplete case and subjective basis are enough to impeach a president, we will almost guarantee the impeachment of every future president,” the Kentucky Republican said in a Senate floor speech.
The UPI contributed to this report.