Impeachment Managers, Explained
After the House of Representatives votes to impeach a sitting president on one or more articles of impeachment alleging high crimes and misdemeanors – as the House has now done with respect to Mr. Trump — the impeachment process moves to the Senate when the articles of impeachment are forwarded from the House.
While the historical construction of the Constitution and Senate rules anticipate that an impeachment trial will be held, there is no unarguable mandate that a trial must be held. Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has agreed that there will be a trial in Trump’s case and that he will not bring a vote to dismiss.
That is why you need to know what an impeachment manager is.
What Is An Impeachment Manager?
An impeachment manager is a member of the House of Representatives who is selected by the Speaker of the House, and designated via House resolution, to participate in presenting the House case for impeachment of the president to the full Senate. The Senate is the body that votes on conviction or acquittal on the articles of impeachment, with a two-thirds vote—a supermajority—required for conviction.
What Does An Impeachment Manager Do?
To an extent, the role the House impeachment managers will play in Trump’s case will be determined by trial parameters that have yet to be agreed upon by Senate leaders.
Generally, it is expected that the impeachment managers will present an opening statement, similar to a prosecutor laying out what the evidence is intended to show in an ordinary trial. The president’s defense team also has the opportunity to present an opening statement. The impeachment managers will then outline the evidence for the members of the Senate. They may call witnesses, although that issue currently is in contention between McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer would like to allow the impeachment managers to call four witnesses who were directed by Trump not to testify during the House impeachment inquiry. McConnell has taken a position that no witnesses should be called.
Both sides—the House impeachment managers, and Trump’s defense attorneys may answer written questions from members of the Senate. Both sides also will present closing arguments, with the impeachment managers arguing that Trump should be removed from office based on what they believe to be proven offenses against the office of president. If permitted, the impeachment managers may respond to the closing argument made by the defense.
The precise order and timing of these events are still under discussion by Senate leadership. Schumer has suggested that the House impeachment managers be given 24 hours to lay out the case against the president. He proposes a subsequent 16 hours for members of the Senate to question both the impeachment managers and the president’s defense attorneys. Schumer also has suggested a total of 6 hours for closing arguments from both sides.
How Are Impeachment Managers Chosen?
The Speaker of the House—Nancy Pelosi (D-CA12), in Trump’s case—selects House members to present the House’s case against the president to the Senate. These members will be designated as impeachment managers after a House resolution to that effect is passed. There is no prescribed number of impeachment managers.
Several factors likely affected Pelosi’s choices. She selected a group that is racially and gender diverse. She also wanted to ensure that there is geographical diversity, to avoid a trial driven largely by House members from the two U.S. coasts, which are perceived as highly partisan and Democratic. Pelosi also selected impeachment managers who know the case well and can present it to the Senate succinctly and persuasively: members of the House Judiciary Committee, which approved the articles of impeachment against Trump, and members of the House Intelligence Committee, which led the House impeachment inquiry.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Who Are The Impeachment Managers In Trump’s Senate Trial?
Speaker Pelosi announced her seven selections of impeachment managers on January 15, 2020. Those selections include:
- As widely predicted, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), who will serve as Lead Manager.
- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
- Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Chair of the House Administration Committee and member of the House Judiciary Committee and Science, Space and Technology Committee. Lofgren served as a Judiciary Committee staffer during Richard Nixon’s impeachment, and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Bill Clinton impeachment.
- Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08). Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary Committee as well as the Budget Committee. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and an experienced litigator.
- Val Demings (FL-10). Demings is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Judiciary Committee, and the Committee on Homeland Security. She is a member of numerous caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus. Formerly she was the Chief of the Orlando Police Department.
- Jason Crow (CO-06). Crow sits on the House Armed Services Committee as well as the Committee on Small Business. He served as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a respected litigator prior to his election to Congress.
- Sylvia Garcia (TX-29). Garcia serves on the House Judiciary Committee and Financial Services Committee, and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She formerly served in Texas as an attorney and then Director and Presiding Judge of the Houston Municipal System for five terms.
Who Were The Clinton Impeachment Trial’s Impeachment Managers?
There were thirteen Republican House members who served as impeachment managers during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial:
- Then-Congressman Lindsey Graham (SC), who moved up to the Senate in 2002.
- Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05), who remains in the House.
- Congressman Steve Chabot (OH-01), who remains in the House.
- Bob Barr (GA) left Congress in 2003 after his district was reconfigured. He subsequently made a 2008 bid for president as the Libertarian Party nominee.
- Ed Bryant (TN) ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2002.
- Steve Buyer (IN) left Congress in 2011 officially for family reasons, but also amid allegations of ethics violations.
- Charles Canady (FL) left Congress in 2001 in accordance with a self-imposed term limit.
- Chris Cannon (UT) left Congress in 2009.
- George Gekas (PA) left Congress in 2003 after failing to win reelection subsequent to state redistricting.
- Asa Hutchinson (AR) served in Congress until 2001.
- Henry Hyde (IL) retired in 2006, and passed away in 2007.
- Bill McCollum (FL) lost 2002 and 2004 bids for a seat in the Senate.
- James Rogan (CA) lost his run for reelection in 2000, possibly in retaliation for his role during the Clinton impeachment trial.
The Rantt Rundown
Each House member designated as an impeachment manager immediately will be placed under a national spotlight. Theoretically, a performance of eloquent advocacy viewed as an important influence on proceedings, or even outcome, could be career-changing.
The House impeachment managers presenting the case against Trump will be called on to perform a role of contemporaneous and historical importance that few political officeholders will ever be assigned. The job of impeachment manager is as crucial and necessary for the good of our constitutional republic as it is unique.