Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is beginning to send out feelers to gauge if members are interested in serving as impeachment managers, a high-profile role that will put those chosen for it in a political spotlight.
Pelosi’s office has quietly reached out to some members she believes could serve as managers, while others have pushed their own names forward, multiple sources tell The Hill.
Unlike the past two modern impeachment inquiries into sitting presidents that only included House Judiciary Committee members as managers, sources say they believe Pelosi may shake things up by adding managers from the House Intelligence Committee.
Pelosi tapped House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to lead the evidence-gathering part of the impeachment inquiry. Intelligence is now set to hand its report to the House Judiciary Committee, which will draft articles of impeachment.
Here are some of the members seen as contenders for the critical positions.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.)
Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is viewed as being a likely to definite choice.
He’d check a series of boxes: Jeffries is in leadership, is a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and is in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). He’s also close to Pelosi and is seen as a potential future Speaker.
Jeffries frequently appears on cable television, as is known for his attacks on the president during hearings and a disciplined adherence to promoting his party’s agenda.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.)
Raskin has emerged as a key player on the Judiciary panel over the past year, in large part because of his more than two decades of work as a constitutional lawyer.
House Democrats have increasingly leaned on him to help distill complex questions surrounding the Constitution amid allegations that the president is violating the laws of the land.
It is a role Raskin has embraced and makes him a likely impeachment manager, say sources on Capitol Hill.
Raskin is also a member of the Oversight and Reform Committee and has actively participated in the closed-door witness depositions seeking to investigate claims that President Trump pressed Ukraine to open two investigations that would benefit him politically, including one into his 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
Lofgren, another close Pelosi ally, is considered a possible choice as an impeachment manager given her unique role as the only House member who worked on both House impeachment cases against former Presidents Clinton and Nixon.
In the Clinton years, Lofgren served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where she is now a senior member. In the Nixon era, she worked as a congressional staffer.
Lofgren isn’t seen as a sure thing for a role as an impeachment manager. Some sources suggested she likely only would be tapped if House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is not a manager.
It might be a bit of a surprise for Nadler to not be chosen since the Judiciary chairman was one of the 13 impeachment managers when House Republicans made their case against Clinton.
But Pelosi could choose to buck the previous model. She and Nadler clashed over pressing forward with impeachment after former special counsel Robert Mueller filed his report. Yet Nadler as Judiciary chairman would have a strong claim for a role.
Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.)
Cicilline, the head of House Democrats’ messaging arm, is also viewed as a possible contender.
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Cicilline took on an active role during the closed-door deposition phase of the impeachment inquiry. He is also viewed as someone who is out front pushing Democrats’ talking points and agenda.
In late May, Cicilline broke with Pelosi by throwing his support behind impeachment proceedings after Mueller spoke publicly about his investigation’s findings.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.)
Swalwell is another possible choice, according to sources, who note he’s close to Pelosi.
The Speaker may also want to place fellow California lawmakers in a few of the impeachment roles given the state serves as her largest base of support.
Swalwell, a former prosecutor, serves on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, which would allow him to follow the inquiry from its start on Intelligence to its conclusion with Judiciary.
Rep. Val Demings (Fla.)
Demings is another potential pick who would check a lot of boxes, sources told The Hill.
Demings, a CBC member, is the only other House Democrat to sit on both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels.
As a former police chief, she would bring a law enforcement background to the role.
Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.)
Schiff is probably the most recognizable face of the impeachment inquiry after nearly two weeks of televised hearings leading the evidence-gathering portion of the Democrats’ Ukraine investigation.
If Pelosi chooses to add Intelligence members to the impeachment managers mix, Schiff is well positioned to get a spot.
As committee chairman, Schiff kept a tight grip on the gavel, infuriating Republicans who allege he hasn’t been conducting a fair process. Some GOP members even want to call him as a witness.
But his tight control of the process and even-keel demeanor won him applause from Democratic colleagues.
Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.)
Speier, a Californian who represents a district adjacent to the Speaker’s district, is a longtime friend and ally of Pelosi. She too is seen by colleagues as a potential pick.
During the Intelligence hearings, Speier appeared composed, prepared and searing, when needed.
Earlier this year, Speier dropped out of her bid for the Oversight gavel. At the time, she said she’d back off if Pelosi cautioned the caucus could not afford a messy fight in the middle of the impeachment push. Some sources said they believe this will give Speier leverage for an impeachment manager role.
Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.)
Himes, the second most senior Intelligence member, is also seen as a contender.
Himes impressed some Democrats with his measured questioning of witnesses during the open hearings, remaining level as he sought to elicit answers from witnesses while also bashing Republicans for their attacks against certain witnesses.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)
Castro, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who worked as a lawyer before his political career, is also seen as being in the running.
Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is running for president in 2020, but it’s unclear whether this would figure into Pelosi’s decision on impeachment managers.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.)
Krishnamoorthi, who previously practiced law in Chicago and sits on the Intelligence and Oversight panels, has also had his name floated as being in the mix.
He’s also been a prominent face for his party on television, hammering the president over allegations of wrongdoing and highlighting damaging testimony.