The House on Wednesday voted to appoint seven House Democrats as managers for President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial and also send two articles of impeachment over to the Senate.
The 228-193 vote, which was almost entirely along party lines, is ending an impeachment impasse that has persisted for nearly a month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed the managers earlier Wednesday. She has tapped two powerful committee chairmen, Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, as well as Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado and Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
The seven managers — who will serve as prosecutors in the Senate trial while the president’s lawyers defend him — were scheduled to walk the articles of impeachment over to the Senate just after 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he expects to start the impeachment trial for Trump next Tuesday.
An impasse over Trump’s impeachment began Dec. 18, when the Democratic-led House voted to impeach the president, but Pelosi delayed transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Republican-run Senate, saying that her party wanted to see that the Senate’s process looks fair.
McConnell hasn’t acquiesced to repeated Democratic requests that he commit to having new witnesses and documents in the Senate’s trial. The Kentucky Republican has said it was a “nonstarter” for Pelosi to try to “hand design the trial proceedings in the Senate.” Instead, rules for the trial reportedly could call for a vote on witnesses and documents, but only after opening arguments and a period for written questions.
Pelosi on Wednesday defended the delayed transmission.
“We had hoped that the courtesy would be extended — that we would have seen what the process would be in the Senate,” Pelosi said Wednesday. “Short of that, time has revealed many things since then. Time has been our friend in all of this, because it has yielded incriminating evidence — more truth into the public domain.”
She pointed to developments such as former Trump adviser John Bolton agreeing to testify if he is subpoenaed, as well as getting documents that show that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani wrote a note about asking Ukraine’s president to investigate “the Biden case.”
The Democrats’ push to remove the president from office centers on Trump’s pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, as well as into a theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has frequently criticized Democratic lawmakers for their efforts. He tweeted on Wednesday that their actions were a “Con Job” and said in a fiery letter to Pelosi last month that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Wednesday that the naming of impeachment managers “does not change a single thing. President Trump has done nothing wrong.” Trump “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,” Grisham added in a statement.
Trump, charged with abuse of power and obstructing Congress, is only the third American president to have been impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned before an impeachment vote could take place.
But impeachment by the House doesn’t mean removal from office. Neither Johnson nor Clinton was found guilty in impeachment trials in the Senate, and the same outcome is widely expected in the impeachment of Trump, whose Republican Party occupies 53 of the chamber’s 100 seats. That helps explain why the stock market
hasn’t reacted much to impeachment-related developments.
Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota was the only member of his party to vote against Wednesday’s House resolution. No Republicans voted for the resolution, though it did get the support of a former Republican who is now an independent congressman, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.
The Senate has been getting ready to try the president in January, with its legislative calendar for this month cleared to make way for the proceedings. Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to preside over the Senate trial, and Trump is expected to be asked to address the charges. A two-thirds majority of senators would be required to vote to convict Trump to remove him from office.