Pelosi names impeachment managers

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video Trump says he's considering executive action to suspend evictions, payroll tax Trump won't say if he disagrees with Birx that virus is widespread 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 John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE from office.

Some of the newly named managers were considered shoo-ins, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse Intelligence panel opens probe into DHS's involvement in response to protests Democrats exit briefing saying they fear elections under foreign threat Nunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden MORE (D-Calif.), whom Pelosi named as lead manager, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBy questioning Barr, Democrats unmasked their policy of betrayal Chris Wallace: Barr hearing 'an embarrassment' for Democrats: 'Just wanted to excoriate him' Apple posts blowout third quarter 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 JeffriesJeffries on Senate coronavirus bill: 'Totally irrelevant' Gohmert tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Brawls on Capitol Hill on Barr and COVID-19 MORE (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket MORE (Fla.), a member of both the Judiciary and Intelligence panels; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenDemocrats accuse Barr of helping Trump distract from coronavirus State and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November FEC commissioner resigns, leaving agency without a quorum again 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 GarciaTexas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president MORE (Texas), and Jason CrowJason CrowTrump-Afghan deal passes key deadline, but peace elusive Cook shifts 20 House districts toward Democrats Congressional inconsistency continues regarding war powers 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 McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations 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 GiulianiNunes declines to answer if he received information from Ukraine lawmaker meant to damage Biden Democratic attorneys criticize House Judiciary Democrats' questioning of Barr Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen's job as Trump's fixer MORE, to press Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on the president’s political rivals. In another twist, John BoltonJohn BoltonCongress has a shot at correcting Trump's central mistake on cybersecurity The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Senate-passed defense spending bill includes clause giving DHS cyber agency subpoena power 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 YovanovitchMarie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Cheney clashes with Trump Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November MORE and dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign emails supporters encouraging mask-wearing: 'We have nothing to lose' Cuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks 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.