WASHINGTON – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed seven House members who will prosecute the case against President Donald Trump at a Senate trial that is expected to begin next week.
The House is scheduled to vote later Wednesday to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. After the vote, lawmakers who will act as prosecutors will walk the articles of impeachment to the Senate side of the Capitol.
Pelosi named a diverse group of Democratic lawmakers to prosecute the case, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler.
Also named as managers were Sylvia Garcia, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Jason Crow and Val Demings.
Question of new witnesses
The House impeached Trump last month, but Pelosi delayed submitting the articles of impeachment as House Democrats tried to get Senate leaders to agree to allow testimony from new witnesses during the trial.
That matter remains unresolved. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has resisted the idea of calling witnesses and said the decision would come later in the trial.
White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham accused Pelosi of holding the articles of impeachment “in an egregious effort to garner political support.”
“She failed and the naming of these managers does not change a single thing,” Grisham said in a statement. “President Trump has done nothing wrong. He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated.”
Pelosi said if the Senate launches the trial without witnesses, the American people will see it “as a pure political cover-up.”
“Leader McConnell and the president are afraid of more facts coming to light,” she said.
Preliminary trial steps are expected to take place this week, with the trial itself beginning Tuesday and likely lasting several weeks.
Trump: ‘Witch hunts’
Trump is accused of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, as Trump withheld $391 million in aid that he later released. The president is also accused of subsequently obstructing a congressional probe into his actions.
Trump insists he did nothing wrong and has dismissed the impeachment effort as a “witch hunt.”
“While we’re creating jobs and killing terrorists, Democrats in Congress are wasting America’s time with demented hoaxes and crazy witch hunts,” he told supporters at a Tuesday night campaign rally.
No matter what rules are in place for the Senate trial, Trump seems to be safe from the prospect of being convicted and removed from office.
His Republican Party holds a 53 to 47 majority in the chamber, and conviction requires a two-thirds majority, meaning if all Democrats voted to convict then 20 Republicans would have to also vote that way for Trump to lose the presidency.
The evidence includes a screenshot of a previously undisclosed letter Giuliani sent in May to the then-president-elect, introducing himself as Trump’s “personal counsel” and requesting a meeting with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”
It also includes communications between Parnas, Giuliani and others about the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich, who balked at Trump’s demand for an investigation of the Bidens.
This is the third time in the country’s 244-year history a U.S. president has been impeached and targeted for removal from office.
Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached by the House but acquitted in Senate trials. A fourth president, Richard Nixon, resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in a political corruption scandal.