What is an impeachment manager?
Posted January 15, 2020 12:15 p.m. EST
CNN — The fight over the impeachment of President Donald Trump is now heading to the US Senate for a trial, but that won't be the end of the line for House Democrats.
A select group of lawmakers have been named to serve as impeachment managers during the Senate trial, acting as prosecutors for House Democrats who will outline the case against President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the seven House Democrats who will serve as managers: Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Zoe Lofgren of California, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
The opportunity to serve as an impeachment manager will offer a high-profile turn in the spotlight for those chosen and the chance to elevate their standing in Congress and with liberal voters.
The performance of the House managers will play a key role in the Senate trial and could be a way for these seven House Democrats to secure their place in history as part of the impeachment proceedings.
What role will impeachment managers play in a Senate trial?
The way a Senate trial will ultimately unfold will depend on what senators can agree to and the full parameters for a trial have not yet been set.
The general expectation, however, is that the House managers will have a chance to argue their case before the full Senate with the senators acting like jurors, and after that, the President's lawyers will have an opportunity to present the defense.
During the Clinton Senate impeachment trial, the managers took several days to present their arguments, followed by several days during which the Clinton's legal team outlined their defense.
That was followed by questions submitted in writing by senators directed to either the managers or the then-President's defense team.
Who picks impeachment managers?
Pelosi had final say over who is named as an impeachment manager and made her announcement on Wednesday, kicking of the next stage in the impeachment fight.
Pelosi held a news conference Wednesday morning, appearing alongside the managers she had selected, ahead of a midday vote on the resolution to appoint them and formally send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, where senators will decide whether the President should be removed from office.
"As you can see from these descriptions, the emphasis is on litigators," Pelosi said in explaining how she chose the managers. "The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people."
How many impeachment managers can there be?
There are no restrictions on the number of House impeachment managers the speaker can name to serve in the role. During the impeachment trial against Trump, seven House Democrats will serve as managers.
During Clinton's impeachment trial, 13 House Republicans were chosen as impeachment managers -- three are still serving in Congress today.
Those Republican lawmakers who served as managers and still hold seats in Congress are: Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who was a representative of the state's third congressional district at the time of the Clinton impeachment.
"Instead of talking, I'll be listening. Last time, I was talking," Graham told CNN recently, reflecting on what his role will be in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial compared with what it was when he served as an impeachment manager.
Former California Rep. James Rogan was one of the GOP impeachment managers during the Clinton impeachment. His role triggered a major push by Democrats to unseat him, which ended up happening after a bruising and expensive campaign.
The winner? Schiff, then a state senator from California, now an impeachment manager himself.