Pelosi taps Schiff, Nadler and 5 others as Trump impeachment managers

Key Points
  • Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler top Speaker Nancy Pelosi's list of impeachment managers for President Trump's Senate trial.
  • Pelosi also chose Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia to help manage the case against Trump.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the impeachment managers for the Senate trial President Donald Trump, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (L) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Capitol Hill January 15, 2020, in Washington, DC
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will lead the seven impeachment managers at President Donald Trump's trial in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday.

Also on the team are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and party Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, both of New York, and Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California, Val Demings of Florida and two freshmen: Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.

Pelosi tweet

At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Pelosi noted that more incriminating evidence against the president has come out since in the four weeks since he was impeached on Dec. 18.

"He's been impeached forever. They can never erase that," Pelosi said.

Demings and Crow were surprise additions, but both have relevant experience to bring to a Senate trial, as well as representing voter blocs within the Democratic electorate that are crucial to maintaining control of the House.

Demings is a former chief of police of Orlando, the first woman of color to ever hold the position.

Crow is a former Army Ranger and Bronze Star recipient, who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2018, she defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, becoming the first Democrat ever to win that seat in the suburban Denver district.

House Speaker Pelosi: This impeachment will last forever
House Speaker Pelosi: This impeachment will last forever

Five of the seven managers are members of the House Judiciary Committee, and two, Schiff and Demings, are members of the Intelligence Committee.

"There is an overwhelming case, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the president betrayed the country by withholding federal funds appropriated by Congress, breaking the law in doing so, in order to extort a foreign government into intervening in our election to embarrass a political opponent," Nadler said at the press conference.

Wednesday's announcement came just hours before the House is scheduled to vote on a resolution formally transmitting the two impeachment articles against Trump from the House to the Senate. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate is expected to begin Tuesday, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The job of the impeachment managers in a Senate trial is to lay out the House approved arguments for removing the president from office. The president's lawyers will argue the opposing point, and the Senate will ultimately vote on whether to remove Trump from office.

In that sense, the task of the impeachment managers resembles that of a prosecutor in a civil trial, although the rules and procedures for an impeachment trial are completely different.

Schiff, of California, and Nadler were widely expected to be among the managers, given their deep knowledge and prior involvement in the House impeachment inquiry this fall. Schiff and the Intelligence Committee led the inquiry, which included public testimony from more than a dozen witnesses.

Nadler chairs the committee that drafted and approved the two articles of impeachment against the president that were passed by the House.

The House resolution to be voted on Wednesday will have three functions: to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, designate the House members who will serve as managers of the impeachment trial, and fund the trial itself.

On a practical level, the resolution's adoption by the House will also trigger a series of carefully choreographed procedural steps between the House and Senate, culminating in a walk across the Capitol by the House impeachment managers, who will be carrying the actual articles of impeachment in their hands.

The managers will then physically deliver the articles to Secretary of the Senate Julie Adams, a career public servant and former member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's staff.

The actual delivery of the articles is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, when Pelosi signs the resolution.

The handover will mark the end of a nearly month-long delay in transmitting the documents, which Pelosi orchestrated in an attempt to force concessions out of McConnell, R-Ky.

Chief among them has been the ability to call witnesses, which Democrats have long demanded as part of any trial they would consider to be a "fair" one.

But McConnell has said the question of witnesses should be shelved until partway into the trial itself, as was the case in the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

As of early Wednesday, the issue of witnesses at Trump's Senate trial remained very much unresolved, following reports that McConnell met with a small group of GOP senators on Tuesday who pitched him on the idea that calling witnesses could work to the president's advantage, as long as there are no restrictions on exactly who can be summoned.

The House voted on Dec.18 to impeach Trump on two articles stemming from his monthslong campaign to pressure Ukraine into launching investigations into Joe Biden, his son Hunter and other domestic political opponents. The pressure tactics allegedly included withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Trump was impeached on charges that he abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress by prohibiting top administration officials from testifying about the Ukraine scheme.

Some Republicans have considered calling Hunter Biden, as well as the whistleblower whose complaint about Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's president helped spark the impeachment inquiry, as witnesses in the Senate trial.

Democrats argued at Wednesday's news conference that the witnesses should be relevant to the charges against Trump.

House Speaker Pelosi: Schiff to be lead impeachment manager
House Speaker Pelosi: Schiff to be lead impeachment manager

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

-- CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.