Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday named House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) the “lead” impeachment manager who will oversee the members arguing the Democrats’ case against President Trump during the Senate trial.
Pelosi, who named the seven members who will serve as impeachment managers during a press conference, highlighted separately that Schiff would serve as “lead manager” in a statement issued during the announcement.
“It is their responsibility to present the very strong case for the President’s impeachment and removal,” Pelosi said in the statement, while stressing in the press conference that she heavily factored in experience as “litigators” in her decisionmaking.
Her decision to appoint Schiff further highlights how the Democratic leader has leaned more heavily on other panels during the impeachment inquiry. The House Judiciary Committee, led by another impeachment manager, Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), has traditionally handled impeachment.
Schiff, a former federal prosecutor who is known for his strait-laced, disciplined demeanor, is one of the most recognizable faces of the House impeachment inquiry after spearheading the evidence-gathering phase of the investigation.
“I am humbled by the responsibility of serving as the lead House Manager in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump, and thank Speaker Pelosi for the trust she has place in me and our team. It is a solemn responsibility and one that I will undertake with the seriousness that the task requires,” Schiff said in a statement.
“In this next phase, I look forward to working closely with my fellow Managers on behalf of the American people and in defense of our Constitution.”
After the Intelligence Committee concluded its fact-finding phase, it then transmitted evidence to the Judiciary panel, where Nadler led the committee in reviewing it and voting out of committee the two articles of impeachment charging Trump with abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
Last month, the House voted largely along party lines to impeach the 45th president on those charges, making Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
Democrats allege that Trump abused his power by dangling a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in U.S. aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into a 2020 political opponent. They also charge that he then sought to obstruct their investigation by blocking the testimony of current and former White House officials in order to cover up his actions.
Trump has denied that there was a quid pro quo. Rather, the president and his GOP allies have described the Democratic-led impeachment as a “sham,” arguing that Democrat are weaponizing the process in order to hurt the Republican president in an election year.
Republicans have also turned their attacks on Schiff during the impeachment, echoing the president in calling the Intelligence chairman “Shifty” Schiff.
“George @GStephanopoulos, ask Crazy Nancy why she allowed Adam “Shifty” Schiff to totally make up my conversation with the Ukrainian President & read his false words to Congress and the world, as though I said it? He got caught! Ask why hearing was most unfair & biased in history?” the president tweeted on Sunday during Pelosi’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
Schiff, in response, has brushed off the attacks, often saying that he will not be intimidated.
Now Schiff will return to a high-profile role in making the case that Trump should be removed by the Senate, where the GOP-controlled chamber is viewed as all but guaranteed to acquit Trump since 67 votes are needed to convict.