UPDATE, 3:00 PM PT: Impeachment took on a solemn, ceremonial tone as the seven House impeachment managers walked to the Senate side of the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment.
Save for the clatter of cameras, the corridors of the Capitol were silent as House Clerk Cheryl Johnson and House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving led Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and the five other managers to the Senate chamber. The procession had an 18th century formality to it, arcane in that it has happened so few times in American history.
A number of reporters recalled being present for a similar ceremony 21 years ago, when it was Republicans delivering articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.
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“So sad, so tragic for our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said moments earlier, before she sat at a desk labeled with the hashtag #defendourdemocracy and signed the articles during what is known as an engrossment ceremony. Members crowded around her as she wrote her name with multiple pens, all of which were handed out to mark the occasion.
Before she entered the room, reporters and even some members of Congress rushed to snap shots of the articles. “It is only the third time,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) as she snapped a shot. Donald Trump is only the third president to be impeached, after Clinton and Andrew Johnson in 1868.
The Senate proceedings will start on Thursday, starting at noon when the articles will be read and then the swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts to preside. The senators then will be sworn in as jurors, and the trial is scheduled to start on Tuesday.
UPDATE, 10:39 AM PT: The House voted to approve the appointment of seven managers who will prosecute the case against President Donald Trump, setting the stage for a Senate impeachment trial expected to begin next week.
The vote was 228-193, a breakdown similar to the impeachment vote last month.
The event created a split screen moment for news networks, as debate took place on the House floor and Trump participated in a signing ceremony for a new Chinese trade agreement. NBC broke in for a special report. ABC covered the vote via ABC News Now.
“The appropriate remedy, indeed the only remedy, is the conviction and removal from office of President Donald Trump,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who will serve as the lead impeachment manager. Joining him will be Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Jason Crow (D-CO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX).
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats for what they said was a rushed process to impeach Trump last month, only to delay sending the articles to the Senate for nearly a month.
“Don’t talk to me about my timing,” Pelosi responded. “For a long time, I resisted the calls from across the country for impeachment for obvious violations of the Constitution that he committed. I held back. Frankly, I said this president isn’t worth it. But when he acted the way he did in withholding funds from Ukraine in return for a benefit to him that was personal and political, he crossed a threshold. He gave us no choice.”
Pelosi wanted to wait until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) outlined how the Senate planned to conduct a trial, but he declined to do so.
Still, in the weeks since the House vote to impeach, Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, has said that he is willing to testify in a Senate trial. On Tuesday, House Democrats disclosed new evidence that was provided to them by Lev Parnas, the former associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Among the documents were records suggesting that there may have been effort to conduct surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador the Ukraine who was ousted last spring.
The revelations raise the question of whether the upcoming Senate trial will include the calling of witnesses or the subpoenaing of new documents. That would require a majority vote of the Senate once the trial starts.
A big question is whether the trial will spill over into February and even extend to Feb. 4, when Trump is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address. That would create an awkward and even dramatic moment, although senior White House officials told reporters on Wednesday they do not believe a trial will go beyond two weeks.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:32 AM PT: Broadcast and cable news networks covered the next step in the impeachment process — the introduction of the House lawmakers who will prosecute the case against President Donald Trump in a Senate trial.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared with the seven House members at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. The impeachment managers include Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Jason Crow (D-CO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). All will be in the spotlight when the Senate begins the impeachment trial, expected to start next week. Schiff will serve as lead manager, after he took the lead role in the House’s impeachment inquiry.
“The emphasis is on litigators. The emphasis is on comfort in the courtroom,” Pelosi told reporters. “The emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek truth for the American people.”
CBS and NBC provided a special report on the announcement; ABC covered it on ABC News Live.
After the House votes on the impeachment managers around noon ET on Wednesday, the articles will then be transmitted to the Senate. At 5 p.m., the House Clerk and the House Sergeant at Arms will lead the impeachment managers in a ceremony through National Statuary Hall and the Capitol Rotunda to present the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Shortly after the announcement, Trump tweeted, “Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!” He was referring to calls by Democrats for the Senate to call witnesses who have not yet been deposed.
Later, at a signing ceremony for a new China trade deal, Trump said, “They have a hoax going on over there, so let’s take care of it.”
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