Pelosi May Delay Naming Trial Managers: Impeachment Update

Billy House
Pelosi May Delay Naming Trial Managers: Impeachment Update

(Bloomberg) -- The full House debated and voted on two impeachment articles accusing President Donald Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress’s investigation of his actions toward Ukraine.

Adoption of the articles makes Trump only the third president in American history to be impeached.

Here are the latest developments:

Pelosi May Delay Naming Trial Managers (9:37 p.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t immediately name House managers to act as prosecutors in the Senate trial until “we see what the process is in the Senate.”

“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters shortly after the impeachment vote. She noted that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t be an impartial juror and that he will work in coordination with the White House counsel’s office.

Some outside opponents of Trump have suggested that Democrats could temporarily withhold the impeachment articles from the Senate to gain leverage over decisions on trial procedures.

Pelosi said, “We’re not sending it tonight because it’s difficult to determine who the managers would be until we see the arena in which we will be participating.”

“This is a serious matter, even though the majority leader in the United States Senate says it’s OK for the foreman of the jury to be in cahoots with the lawyers of the accused. That doesn’t sound right to us,” she said.

“But right now the president is impeached,” the speaker said.

White House Aide Calls Vote ‘Shameful’ (8:57 p.m.)

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham called the impeachment “one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our nation.”

“The president is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings,” Grisham said. “He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated.”

Trump Impeached on Two Counts, Trial Looms (8:51 p.m.)

The House voted 229-198 to impeach Trump for obstruction of Congress, minutes after also voting to impeach him for abusing his power.

House Has Votes for Trump Obstruction Charge (8:42 p.m.)

The House has enough votes to impeach Trump for obstruction of Congress. The vote is continuing.

Trump Impeached on Abuse of Power Charge: (8:32 p.m.)

The House voted 230-197 to impeach Trump for abusing his power in his dealings with Ukraine. The chamber will vote next on the second article accusing the president of obstructing Congress’s investigation.

House Has Votes to Impeach on Abuse of Power (8:22 p.m.)

The House has enough votes to impeach Trump for abuse of power. The vote is continuing.

House Begins Historic Vote to Impeach Trump (8:09 p.m.)

The House began voting on the first article that accuses Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival while withholding U.S. aid.

GOP Leader Criticizes ‘Rigged Process’ (7:56 p.m.)

As the debate neared its end, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy criticized “a rigged process that has led to the most partisan and least credible impeachment in the history of America.”

“I understand you dislike the president, his beliefs, the way he governs, and even the people who voted for him,” McCarthy said. “Now they are trying to disqualify our voice before the 2020 election.”

Second-ranking House Republican Steve Scalise said, “This isn’t about some crime that he’s committed. It’s about fear that he will win re-election.”

Second-ranking House Democrat Steny Hoyer said Trump’s backers had offered a “craven rationalization” of his actions, including siding with Vladimir Putin against U.S. intelligence agencies, ordering federal agencies to lie to the public and separating families who arrive at the border.

“Democrats did not choose this impeachment,” Hoyer said. “President Trump’s misconduct has forced our constitutional republic to protect itself.” -- Billy House

‘Revenge’ and ‘Patriotic’ Frame Harsh Debate (5:25 p.m.)

For the first five hours, Democrats and Republicans stuck mostly to familiar arguments while debating the allegations that Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress’s investigation.

Republicans agreed the impeachment will occupy a unique place in history. But they said it will be remembered mostly as the day Democrats claimed a false moral supremacy to carry out a plan to overturn a presidential election and the votes of 63 million people.

“This impeachment circus has never been about the facts,” said Representative John Joyce, a Pennsylvania Republican. “This process has always been about seeking revenge for the president’s election in 2016 and attempting to prevent him from winning again in 2020.”

But Democrats argued that they were protecting democracy.

Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts said, “What we are doing here today is not only patriotic, it is uniquely American.”

“This vote may be hard, but we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history,” said civil-rights icon John Lewis of Georgia. -- Billy House

Independent Amash Cites ‘Duty to Impeach’ (4:49 p.m.)

Representative Justin Amash, an independent who left the Republican Party earlier this year, said he supports impeaching Trump, saying “it is our duty to impeach him.”

“Impeachment is about maintaining the integrity of the office of the presidency” and ensuring its power is used for proper ends, said Amash of Michigan.

“Donald J. Trump has abused and violated the public trust by using his high office to solicit the aid of a foreign power, not for the benefit of the United States of America, but instead for his personal and political gain,” Amash said.

“His actions reflect precisely the type of conduct the framers of the Constitution intended to remedy through the power of impeachment,” the lawmaker said. -- Billy House

Trump ‘Tried to Cheat,’ Chairman Schiff Says (4:17 p.m.)

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff opened the second half of the debate by summing up the allegations against Trump as saying, “He tried to cheat and he got caught.”

“Donald J. Trump sacrificed our national security in an effort to cheat in the next election,” Schiff said. “And for that, and his continued efforts to seek foreign interference in our elections, he must be impeached.”

“He doesn’t care about Ukraine or the impact on our national security caused by withholding military aid to that country fighting for its democratic life,” Schiff said. He added, “All that matters to this president is what affects him personally,” investigating his political rival and getting “a chance to cheat in the next election.”

“Even as the articles have made their way to this House floor,” said Schiff, “the president and his men plot on.” He mentioned Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who recently got back from a trip to Ukraine where he continued his investigations. -- Billy House

Senators Get Trump Letter With Holiday Card (3:40 p.m.)

“What a day,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy wrote on Twitter Wednesday at about the three-hour mark of the House impeachment debate.

The Connecticut senator said a White House staffer was delivering to senators’ offices a package including a copy of Trump’s scathing letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a large White House Christmas card, and a smaller Christmas card.

Both cards appeared to be signed by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, though several people responding to Murphy’s tweet noted the similarity between his distinctive handwriting and hers.

White House Wants ‘Full and Fair’ Trial (2:42 p.m.)

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said, “I think short versus long is less important than full and fair” when asked by reporters how a Senate trial should proceed.

Conway and Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, met privately at the Capitol with Republican senators Wednesday as the House was debating the impeachment of Trump.

Ueland said, “Full and fair includes careful conversations with Leader McConnell and others,” referring to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Neither he nor Conway would say whether the White House will press for calling any witnesses.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s strongest backers, said he won’t support witnesses being called either by the president or by the House Democratic managers who will present the impeachment case.

Instead, Graham said the Senate should move to a final vote after the House managers make their case. The trial will end when 51 senators are ready to end it, he said. -- Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis

Trump ‘Has Broken’ His Oath, Nadler Says (12:34 p.m.)

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Trump has “has broken his oath of office” and Congress can’t wait for the November 2020 election to address his misconduct.

“We cannot rely on the next election as a remedy for presidential misconduct when the president threatens the very integrity of that election,” Nadler said. “He has shown us he will continue to put his selfish interests above the good of the country. We must act without delay.”

“By his actions, President Trump has broken his oath of office,” the chairman said. “His conduct continues to undermine our Constitution and threaten our next election. His actions warrant his impeachment and demand his removal from office.” -- Billy House

Trump Did Nothing Wrong, Republican Says (12:25 p.m.)

The Judiciary Committee’s top Republican, Doug Collins, said the president “did nothing wrong” in his interactions with Ukraine.

“The people of America see through this,” said Collins of Georgia. “The people of America understand due process and they understand when it is being trampled in the people’s house.”

“Why do you call this a solemn occasion when you’ve been wanting to do this since the gentleman was elected?“ Collins said.

“Today is going to be a lot of things,” Collins said. “What it is not is fair. What it is not about is the truth.” He added, “Facts don’t matter. Promises to the base matter. And today is a promise kept for the majority. Not a surprise.” -- Billy House, Ari Natter

Pelosi Calls Trump an ‘Ongoing Threat’ (12:17 p.m.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the debate by saying, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”

“The president used the power of his public office to obtain an improper personal political benefit at the expense of the national security,“ she said.

Trump presents an “ongoing threat to our national security,” and his actions also jeopardize the integrity of U.S. elections, the speaker said.

“It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice,” Pelosi said. -- Billy House, Ari Natter

House to Begin Debate Before Historic Vote (11:57 a.m.)

The House passed a procedural measure that allows lawmakers to begin six hours of debate before their historic votes on the impeachment of Trump.

The 228-197 vote sets the rules for the debate. Republicans are expected to take a number of actions throughout the day intended to delay or protest the impeachment proceedings. -- Billy House

Vote is ‘Democracy Defining,’ Democrat Says (10:46 a.m.)

In voting on the Trump impeachment articles, the House is being asked to decide “whether the United States is still a nation where no one is above the law,” said House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat.

The House is preparing to vote on a rule that will set the parameters of the six-hour debate that will lead to votes later Wednesday on the two articles of impeachment.

“It’s going to be a deeply partisan vote coming at the end of an unfair and rushed process,” said Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Rules panel. He said Democrats are pushing for impeachment “heedless of where it takes the country and regardless of whether or not they have proven their case.”

McGovern called Wednesday’s impeachment decision “a democracy-defining moment.”

“History will judge us by whether we keep intact that fragile republic handed down to us by our forebears more than 200 years ago or whether we allow it to be changed forever,” he said.

The vote on the rule is expected at about noon, and the debate will begin after that. Republicans are expected to take a number of actions throughout the day intended to delay or protest the impeachment proceedings. -- Billy House

House Votes Down GOP Motion to Adjourn (9:35 a.m.)

The Democratic-led House defeated a Republican motion to prematurely end Wednesday’s session -- the first of what will likely be many attempts by the minority party to stall or protest the impeachment proceedings.

The motion failed on a 188-226 vote, with former Republican Justin Amash, now the chamber’s only independent, voting with Democrats against the motion. -- Billy House

House Won’t Immediately Send Articles to Senate (8:42 a.m.)

The two articles of impeachment won’t formally be transmitted Wednesday night to the Senate after House passage, Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries said.

Nor will Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Judiciary Committee officially release on Wednesday the names on of the proposed Democratic House managers who will prosecute the case in the upcoming Senate trial, Jeffries said.

Exactly when those managers will be approved -- and the articles delivered -- isn’t clear. The House isn’t expected to be in session on Friday, but an official familiar with the matter wouldn’t say if those issues would be resolved Thursday.

Pelosi can name the managers at any point after the articles pass, according to rules expected to be approved Wednesday morning.

Debate and a vote is required on a separate resolution naming the managers, who must be in place to transmit the articles.

The lack of immediate transmission to the Senate is different from what occurred during Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998. After the House passed articles of impeachment against Clinton, an all-Republican delegation led by then-Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde solemnly marched across the Capitol and formally delivered the articles, according to news reports from that time. -- Billy House

DeGette to Preside Over Floor Debate (8:04 a.m.)

Colorado Representative Diana DeGette will preside over the floor debate on articles of impeachment against Trump.

DeGette said in a statement that Speaker Nancy Pelosi had tapped her for the role.

“This is a sad and somber moment in our nation’s history and the responsibility to preside over this important debate is something I will not take lightly,” she said in the statement.

House Ready to Vote on Two Trump Articles (7 a.m.)

The House will debate for six hours before holding separate votes on the two impeachment articles, the Rules Committee decided late Tuesday.

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son as well as a discredited conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in the hacking of Democratic servers during the 2016 election, while withholding U.S. aid and plans for a White House meeting.

Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage

Key Events

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday approved the two articles of impeachment on 23-17 party-line votes.The House impeachment resolution is H.Res. 755. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.

--With assistance from Ari Natter, Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie Asséo, Anna Edgerton

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