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Trump accuses Democrats of a ‘con job’ as impeachment managers are announced

President Trump on Wednesday accused House Democrats of a “con job” shortly after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the lawmakers who would be managing the case to impeach him in the Senate. 

“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!” Trump tweeted, seemingly referring to Democrats’ push for the upper chamber to call witnesses in the impeachment trial.

Trump’s tweet suggested he was watching Pelosi’s press conference announcing the impeachment managers on Wednesday morning. The president is scheduled to participate in the signing of the “phase one” trade agreement between the United States and China later in the morning.

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The House is expected to vote Wednesday on submitting the impeachment articles to the Senate after Pelosi delayed submitting the articles – which accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – for several weeks in order to gain leverage for Democrats in the trial.

Pelosi has raised concerns about the fairness of the process in the GOP-controlled Senate after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was in “total coordination” with the White House counsel on how to handle the trial. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats have pressed for witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton to be called to testify. McConnell has argued against their demands, and only a small number of Republican senators have signaled they are open to calling witnesses. 

In a statement following Pelosi’s announcement, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham accused the Speaker of lying when she described the impeachment process as urgent and claimed she has been “focused on politics instead of the American people.”

“She failed and the naming of these managers does not change a single thing. President Trump has done nothing wrong. He looks forward to having the due process rights in the Senate that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats denied to him, and expects to be fully exonerated,” Grisham said.

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Pelosi announced Wednesday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) will serve as the lead manager, joined by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas). 

Pelosi and Schiff have been frequent targets of criticism from the president throughout the House impeachment proceedings, which began in late September and culminated in the vote to impeach the president last month.

The House voted nearly along party lines in December to impeach Trump for abusing his office in his dealings with Ukraine and obstructing the congressional inquiry into those dealings by refusing to turn over documents and blocking witnesses from testifying pursuant to subpoenas. 

Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong and that he did not pressure Ukraine’s leader, lambasting the impeachment inquiry as a “witch hunt.” The White House has accused Democrats of a partisan and unfair effort to overturn the 2016 presidential election results.

At the center of Democrats’ case is a July 25 call with Ukraine’s president during which Trump asked him to look into a debunked theory about 2016 election interference as well as former Vice President Joe Biden — a leading Democratic presidential contender — and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine. 

Democrats argued Wednesday that there was overwhelming evidence that Trump abused his power by seeking foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. Democrats also continued to push for the Senate to compel testimony from witnesses who did not testify in the House’s impeachment inquiry.

The House heard from a handful of witnesses who described an unusual foreign policymaking channel run by the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The witnesses described an effort within the administration to use a White House meeting and security assistance to Ukraine to press for investigations sought by Giuliani, which included probes into 2016 election interference and Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company whose board employed Hunter Biden.

But a number of key witnesses, like Bolton and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, did not agree to testify before the House, robbing the lower chamber of testimony that could have shed more light on the administration’s contacts with Ukraine. Democrats chose to vote to advance the articles instead of going to court to try to enforce the subpoenas for testimony and documents.

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