By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives trial “managers” on January 15 delivered to the Senate the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — another step in the process that will lead to a trial to decide whether to remove the president from office.
The trial managers, who were named earlier in the day by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-Califorina), marched to the Senate to “transmit” the charges against Trump after Pelosi signed the articles on live television — representing only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached and must face trial in the Senate.
Before signing the documents, Pelosi said that Trump failed to uphold his duty to the Constitution of the United States and that his actions “jeopardized” the country’s national security.
She said that lawmakers “will be making it clear that this president will be held accountable. That no one is above the law and that no future president could ever entertain the idea…that he can do whatever he wants to do.”
Pelosi added that it was “so sad, so tragic for our country.”
Moments later, the Democratic managers solemnly walked over the articles to the Senate chamber. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor that senators would officially receive the articles at midday on January 16 and would begin to consider them shortly thereafter. He said a trial would begin on January 21.
White House officials said they expect a trial to last about two weeks — far shorter than the other presidential impeachment trials, of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999. Both were acquitted by the Senate.
The articles charge Trump with abusing the power of his office for personal gain and obstruction of Congress.
Earlier on January 15, the Democrat-led legislative chamber approved by a margin of 228-193 the resolution that also appointed the seven lawmakers who will be trial managers, or prosecutors in the case against Trump.
“We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history,” Pelosi said before the House vote.
All the trial managers have legal backgrounds and will be led by 10-term Representative Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor in California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
He will be joined by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (New York), Hakeem Jeffries (New York ), a former litigator in private practice; Jason Crow (Colorado), a former Army Ranger and private attorney; Val Demings (Florida), a former police chief; Zoe Lofgren (California), a former immigration lawyer; and Sylvia Garcia (Texas), a former judge.
The managers delivered the formal charges to the Senate floor shortly before 5:30 p.m., after which the impeachment trial can commence. The senators will be jury members in the trial, and Chief Justice John Roberts will be the presiding judge.
In explaining her decision on who to name as trial managers, Pelosi said the emphasis was on litigators.
“The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our constitution, to seek the truth for the American people,” she said. “I’m very proud and honored that these seven distinguished members have accepted this serious responsibility.”
The adoption of the resolution came four weeks after the House in December charged Trump with abusing the power of his office for personal gain and obstruction of Congress.
He specifically is suspected of trying to influence a foreign government — that of Ukraine — to investigate his political rivals.
Trump has also been accused of withholding documents that the House requested during the fact-finding phase of the impeachment proceedings and of blocking or preventing testimony of administration officials.
Trump denies the charges and has called the impeachment proceedings a “witch hunt.”
“The only thing Speaker Pelosi has achieved with this sham, illegitimate impeachment process, is to prove she is focused on politics instead of the American people,” Trump said after Pelosi’s news conference, as cited by the White House press office.
“She failed and the naming of these managers does not change a single thing. President Trump has done nothing wrong. He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate…and expects to be fully exonerated,” the statement said.
“I have great confidence there is enough evidence to impeach the president,” Pelosi said.