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Pelosi names impeachment managers

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-Calif.) tapped seven impeachment managers on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation over who in the House will step into the political spotlight and make the case before the Senate to remove President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE from office.

Some of the newly named managers were considered shoo-ins, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' White House defends not sanctioning Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi What good are the intelligence committees? MORE (D-Calif.), whom Pelosi named as lead manager, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' House Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House MORE (D-N.Y.). Both lawmakers had leading roles during the months-long impeachment inquiry last fall into Trump’s contacts with Ukraine.

Others picked for the high-profile role were also widely considered to be leading candidates, including Democratic Reps. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHarris holds first meeting in ceremonial office with CBC members Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Congressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' MORE (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism Demings on possible Senate, Florida governor run: 'I'm keeping that door open' Lawmakers remember actress Cicely Tyson MORE (Fla.), a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security MORE (Calif.), a senior member of the Judiciary panel and the only member of Congress to have participated in both the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.

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The final two picks — Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaBiden pledges support for Texas amid recovery from winter storm Biden turns focus to winter storm with Texas trip K Street navigates virtual inauguration week MORE (Texas), and Jason CrowJason CrowManagers seek to make GOP think twice about Trump acquittal The GOP is in a fix: Gordian knot or existential crisis? Thousands of troops dig in for inauguration MORE (Colo.) — were something of a surprise. Both are freshmen, and Crow, a former Army Ranger, does not sit on any of the six committees with jurisdiction over impeachment. 

In making the announcement, Pelosi touted the legal bona fides of her picks, saying their experience before entering Congress was an outsize factor in her decisionmaking. 

"The emphasis is on litigators; the emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom,” Pelosi said during the press conference. “The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution.”

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The announcement comes just hours before the House will vote on a resolution to send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate. Passed by the House on Dec. 18, the articles accuse Trump of abusing his power in his dealings with Ukraine, then obstructing Congress as Democrats sought to investigate the episode. 

Wednesday’s vote to transmit the articles, scheduled for the afternoon, launches a series of procedures leading up to the Senate trial, which is expected to begin formally as early as next Tuesday. 

At 5 p.m., Pelosi will formalize the resolution with an engrossment ceremony in an august, wood-paneled room adjacent to the House chamber. Immediately afterward, the House managers will walk the articles physically across the Capitol to the Senate, where GOP leaders will be waiting to accept them. 

The process ends a weeks-long standoff between the two chambers, as Pelosi had withheld the articles in an effort to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) to agree to open the trial phase to new evidence and witness testimony — an undertaking McConnell has rejected as superfluous. 

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Since the House vote, however, new evidence has emerged linking Trump directly to the campaign, spearheaded by his personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani again suspended from YouTube over false election claims Sacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Biden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug MORE, to press Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on the president’s political rivals. In another twist, John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump offered North Korea's Kim a ride home on Air Force One: report Key impeachment figure Pence sticks to sidelines Bolton lawyer: Trump impeachment trial is constitutional MORE — Trump’s former national security adviser who had refused to testify in the House investigation — has offered to do so if subpoenaed by the Senate. 

The day before the vote, Democrats on the Intelligence panel also released new information on Lev Parnas, a close associate of Giuliani’s.

Parnas, who is seeking immunity for his testimony, turned over text messages, notes and other communications he had with Giuliani and other Trump officials, which further highlighted efforts to push out former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchBlinken tells State Department staff 'I have your back' Trump has discussed possible pardons for three eldest children, Kushner: report Former Giuliani associates plead not guilty to new fraud charges MORE and dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE and his son. 

Democrats have been quick to highlight those developments. And Pelosi noted that her gamble to delay sending the two articles of impeachment to the Senate to demand witnesses in the trial has proved beneficial, ticking through the new information that has come to light during that time.

"Time has been our friend in all of this," she said. “This further evidence insists … that there be witnesses and that we see documentation.”

Schiff and Nadler also defended their strategy: both the decision to vote on the articles before Christmas and the subsequent judgment to withhold them from the Senate for a month. 

"It's been very effective," Schiff said. "And as you've seen, additional evidence continues to come to light that not only has bolstered an already overwhelming case, but has also put additional pressure ... on the Senate to conduct a fair trial."  

Nadler piled on, saying Democrats acted with some urgency last year to deter Trump from interfering in his reelection contest in November. 

"Some people said: 'Well, let the election take care of it.’ He's trying to cheat in that election,” Nadler said. “So it is essential that we bring this impeachment to stop the president ... from rigging the next election."

— Updated at 11:38 a.m.