Demings of Florida on Pelosi’s diverse impeachment team
BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON
WASHINGTON – Speaker Nancy Pelosi has chosen a small but diverse group of managers to make the House’s case for convicting President Donald Trump on two charges when the Senate impeachment trial begins next week, a move that reflects the membership of her own caucus.
Pelosi announced the managers, which include three women and three minorities, Wednesday morning.
The group, which flanked Pelosi during the announcement, stands in stark contrast to the 13 White Republican men who managed the articles of impeachment for the House during the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
Demings in group
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and one of the managers, said questions about whether gender, racial and geographical diversity were factors in the picks were best posed to Pelosi. Jeffries is also the only member of elected Democratic leadership among the managers.
“We have great confidence in her and she consistently led us on behalf of the American people in a phenomenal way during her tenure and I suspect that she’ll continue to do that,” he said.
The team also demonstrates a range of experience. Rep. Val Demings of Florida, a member of the Judiciary and Intelligence committees and the for mer chief of the Orlando Police Department, is the first non-lawyer to serve as a House impeachment manager.
A surprise pick Meanwhile, Jason Crow of Colorado, an Armed Services member and former Army Ranger, was a bit of a surprise pick, as he was not on either Intelligence or Judiciary. But his selection gives the House team some national security credentials during a trial focused on the president’s dealings with Ukraine and his holdup of military aid to the country.
Pelosi “wanted a group that was diverse, that had the confidence of the American people, that represented different backgrounds in litigation and legal experience but also experience in national security and law enforcement as well,” said Crow, a former litigator.
Crow says the impeachment process has never been about politics for him.
“I’ve completely divorced politics from my constitutional obligation and my obligations to my oath,” Crow said. “The people of Colorado want to make sure that we are ensuring our checks and balances and holding the administration accountable.”
Crow and Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas, a Judiciary member who served as a city and county judge before being elected to Congress, add geographic diversity to the team.
House Republicans dubbed Democratic leadership as the “coastal impeachment team” during the impeachment hearings last year.
Garcia said she did not seek to be an impeachment manager. She was told she was under consideration recently and then informed Tuesday she was picked.
“I’m a good listener and I know the law and I know people and I think everybody needs to have an opportunity to be heard,” Garcia said when asked to describe how her experience as a judge applies to the impeachment trial.
“I am who I am,” she added. “American first, then a Texan. I come from a rural poverty background. I don’t know that it’s relevant. I mean, I think the speaker chose us because of what we bring to the table.”
Schiff will lead
Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff of California will serve as the lead manager. His predecessor, James E. Rogan, was also a House impeachment manager in 1999. Schiff defeated Rogan in the subsequent 2000 election.
Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York will also serve as a manager, as will Zoe Lofgren of California, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee who was a Judiciary staffer during the Nixon impeachment inquiry and sat on the Judiciary panel during the Clinton impeachment.
Paul Fontelo and Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.