Unlike the past two modern impeachment inquiries into sitting presidents that included only House Judiciary Committee members as managers, Pelosi bucked tradition and selected members across multiple congressional panels to argue the case Trump is unfit for office.
She said one factor has guided her decisionmaking: litigation experience.
“The emphasis is on litigators. The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom,” Pelosi said during the press conference Wednesday in which she unveiled her team of managers. “The emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution.”
Many of the members she hand-picked to serve in the high-profile roles were expected to be contenders, but two names were somewhat surprising.
Here are Pelosi’s new impeachment managers.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has become one of the most recognizable faces of the House’s impeachment inquiry after leading the evidence-gathering portion of the Democrats’ investigation into Trump’s contacts with Ukraine.
Now the former federal prosecutor known for his straight-laced, disciplined demeanor will lead Pelosi’s hand-picked team of impeachment managers into a high-stakes public relations battle in the Senate.
While the managers have been mum about the breakdown of tasks among the team, Schiff may still play an outsize role on the Senate floor as he lays out the two impeachment charges against the president over his interactions with Ukraine — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Schiff’s visible role in the House impeachment inquiry was met with mixed partisan reviews: Democrats applauded that he kept a tight grip on the gavel while pulling out damaging testimony against the president, but Republicans blasted him for running what they attacked as an unfair process.
The California Democrat, who is seen to have strong political ambitions, will now have to play by the rules instituted by the GOP-controlled Senate.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
This is not the first impeachment trial for Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
While the New York Democrat became a nationally recognized figure for his fierce defense of former President Clinton during the 1998 impeachment by the then-GOP-controlled House, Nadler has since flipped roles and led the charge for the impeachment of Trump since taking hold of the gavel.
When Nadler ran to be the chairman of the powerful — and fiercely partisan — Judiciary panel in December 2017, he pitched himself as someone who has the constitutional experience to guide the House through a potential impeachment. He won.
And as chairman, Nadler has proved himself successful at being a thorn in the president’s side, aggressively opening investigations into different policies implemented by the president.
Nadler also pushed to build a potential case for impeachment after former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election came out, arguing that Trump obstructed justice. But he clashed with Pelosi, who was against the idea.
That all changed, however, when the allegations that Trump pressed Ukraine to investigate his political rivals became public, and Pelosi green-lighted the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.)
Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who is known for his strict adherence to promoting his party’s agenda and top-line messaging, will also be part of the team.
Jeffries stood out during the impeachment trial as someone who launched sharply worded rebukes against the president and his GOP defenders while also eloquently framing the motivation behind Democrats’ decision to push forward with impeachment.
“Slavery once divided the nation, but emancipators rose up to clarify that all men are created equally,” Jeffries said. “Suffrage once divided the nation, but women rose up to clarify that all voices must be heard in our democracy. Jim Crow once divided the nation, but civil rights champions rose up to clarify that all are entitled to equal protection under the law.”
“We will clarify that in America, no one is above the law,” continued Jeffries, who previously worked at a high-powered corporate law firm in New York.
Pelosi’s decision to tap him is a sign that the Speaker trusts Jeffries, who has quickly risen through the ranks to be the No. 5 Democrat after being elected in 2012.
The appointment also gives a boost to Jeffries, who has clearly signaled his ambition to run for Speaker whenever Pelosi chooses to step down.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.)
Lofgren, another close Pelosi ally, brings a perspective to the impeachment team that no other House Democrat has: She is the only member who has worked on both House impeachment cases against former Presidents Clinton and Nixon.
In 1974, Lofgren, a young law student, was working as a congressional staffer when Congress was confronted with the Watergate scandal. At that time, she helped prepare a set of charges against Nixon.
More than two decades later, Lofgren was serving as a member of the House Judiciary Committee when the Republican-controlled House moved to approve articles of impeachment against Clinton.
Now, the California Democrat — known for her temperate demeanor on a panel filled with partisan flamethrowers — will be part of the elite managers team presenting an impeachment case against a U.S. president before the Senate for the third time in history.
Lofgren, a senior member of the Judiciary panel, previously ran to be the committee’s chairwoman, but she ultimately lost the race to Nadler.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.)
Demings, a relatively junior member of Congress, is poised to bring her years of experience in law enforcement to the Senate trial.
While Demings is the only manager without a legal background, she formerly served as the police chief of Orlando and often brings up how that role taught her about the rule of law.
But Demings also brings another unique perspective as a manager: She sits on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, making her one of two House Democrats who followed the impeachment process from start to finish.
She first participated in the evidence-gathering portion of the process under the Intelligence Committee and then in the Judiciary panel’s review of the evidence arguing that the president’s actions violated the rule of law.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas)
Garcia, a freshman Democrat from Texas, will be stepping into the political spotlight as an impeachment manager.
Her appointment to the managers team came as something of a surprise — even to herself.
Still, Garcia brings with her the experience of serving as the presiding judge of the Houston municipal court system, and she made history last year as one of the first two Latinas from the Lone Star State to become members of Congress.
Garcia, who participated in the Judiciary hearings reviewing the evidence against Trump, will now make history again as one of the impeachment managers.
“I take my responsibility seriously because we’re working to defend our Constitution at a pivotal moment in our democracy,” Garcia tweeted Wednesday after the announcement of the managers team.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.)
Crow’s appointment as an impeachment manager also seemed out of the blue, but the freshman’s voice has played a key role in the impeachment process.
A former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Crow helped make the case for impeachment along with six other freshmen — all veterans or former intelligence officials who flipped seats from Republican to Democrat during the 2018 midterms.
Together, the seven freshmen penned an op-ed in The Washington Post in September calling on Congress to move forward with impeachment if the whistleblower’s accusations about Trump’s interaction with Ukraine proved true.
“If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense,” they wrote at the time.
Some Democrats have described this op-ed as the tipping point for getting Democrats behind impeachment because it revealed that some of the most vulnerable members in the Democratic caucus were backing the decision to do so.
While Crow does not sit on the two key panels involved in the impeachment process, his appointment further underscores the emphasis Pelosi is placing in stocking her team with national security-minded members from diverse geographical backgrounds.
Crow also previously worked as a lawyer in private practice before running for Congress.