House Speaker Nancy on Wednesday morning named the lawmakers she has tapped to argue the House Democrats’ case on the Senate floor when President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial starts.
Pelosi, with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler at her side, began by saying “an impeachment will last forever.” Schiff and Nadler will be two of the mangers.
“This is a very important day for us,” she said.
“Time has been our friend in all this,” she added, noting what she called the new “incriminating” evidence that has surfaced in the month since the House impeachment vote on Dec. 18.
“It’s important for the president to know and Vladimir Putin to know that the American voters decide who are president is. We wouldn’t be in this situation had we not waited and insist that there be witnesses and we see documentation,” Pelosi said.
Other managers she named were Reps. Hakkim Jeffries of New York, Val Demings of Florida, House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren of California, Sylvia Garcia of Texas and Jason Crow of Colorado.
Pelosi said she chose members of Congress with experience as litigators who are comfortable in a courtroom setting and making a strong, evidence-based case.
“The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our constitution, to seek the truth for the American people,” she said.
When asked about the delay in transferring the articles, Schiff said the extra time helped Democrats make the case for a trial in the Senate after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially said he would support efforts to dismiss the case.
“If McConnell makes this the first trial in history without witnesses it will be exposed for what it is and that’s an effort to cover up for the president,” Schiff said.
“Dismissal is cover-up,” Pelosi added.
“It is essential we bring this impeachment to stop the president from rigging the next election,” Nadler said.
The House resolution officially appoints the managers, which will trigger the delivery of the articles to the Senate.
Though the House voted to impeach Trump in December, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Pelosi withheld delivering the charges to the Senate, saying she wanted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to first outline the rules of the trial and commit to bringing key witnesses before the Senate to testify, including former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.
While McConnell resisted Pelosi’s pressure campaign, a number of Senate Republicans have expressed interest in voting to hear from witnesses after the initial opening arguments. And McConnell has ruled out dismissing the charges against Trump at the start of proceedings, a move that Democrats feared would circumvent an airing of the charges against the president.
“The American people deserve the truth, and the Constitution demands a trial,” Pelosi wrote in a statement released on Tuesday.
Shortly after word came about the planned House vote, McConnell took to the Senate floor to lambaste what he called an “arbitrary” month-long delay in sending over the articles.
The delay has impacted the plans of the several Senate Democrats running for president, forcing them to adjust their campaign schedules leading up to the Iowa caucuses early next month.
McConnell said arguments in the Senate trial are expected to begin next Tuesday.
Removal from office would require 67 senators voting in favor of conviction, constituting a simple majority of the body. That means at least 20 Republicans would need to turn against the president, assuming all Democrats vote to convict.