Nevada's House Democrats help kick off Senate impeachment trial
Nearly a month after the vote to impeach President Donald Trump, House Democrats, including the three from Nevada, voted to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, setting in motion a long-awaited and historic trial.
The resolution, which named seven Democratic impeachment managers chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was approved 228 to 193. One Democrat opposed the resolution. The managers will argue the case in the Senate.
Rep. Mark Amodei was among the 192 Republicans who opposed the resolution. After initially supporting Congress flexing its presidential oversight muscles, he was critical of the Democrats’ impeachment process raising questions about due process for the president.
In a brief interview Monday, Amodei echoed other Republicans by arguing that Democrats’ call for witnesses and new evidence in the Senate trial is an admission that they failed to make their case against the president.
“You’re the prosecutor, dude,” Amodei said of Democrats, adding that the burden is on them to make the case.
In a statement after the vote, Amodei underscored the point.
“Essentially, this vote sends seven unprepared pro-impeachment folks over to the Senate in an attempt to make a solid case against the President,” said Congressman Amodei, “which probably explains why there have been additional efforts made by House Democrats over the last month to try and strengthen their argument. No disrespect to the managers selected by Speaker Pelosi today, but based on the case made over here, she’s sending these Members into the lion’s den.”
Democrats, including Rep. Dina Titus, contend that the case is strong, but point to Trump’s refusal to allow witnesses to testify or cooperate with subpoenas. That was the reason the House included obstruction of Congress as an article of impeachment.
Democrats also have cited new evidence that has emerged since the House voted 229 to 198 on December 18 to approve two articles of impeachment, including abuse of power, formally charging Trump and making him only the third president in history to be impeached by the House.
“The case was compelling,” said Titus after the vote. “The Republicans had no defense about the case that was laid out. The longer it goes, the more evidence arises. But it's not anything new, it just corroborates what we already had charged.”
That evidence includes texts, emails and other documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who was indicted by a federal District Court in October over campaign finance violations, that more closely tie the president the allegations charged by Democrats.
Democrats argued that Trump violated his oath of office by soliciting interference in the 2020 election from Ukraine during a July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky. They also contend that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and a White House visit for Zelensky on the condition that the Ukrainian leader announce an investigation into Hunter Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden.
Pelosi held the articles for nearly a month after the House approved them to try to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow for new evidence and witnesses in the trial. But McConnell has been steadfast in his plan to begin the trial and vote on those matters at a later stage.
In the Senate, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, is expected to swear in senators on Thursday. However, opening arguments won’t begin until Tuesday, McConnell said.
In deciding on impeachment managers, Pelosi looked for those with familiarity with a courtroom.
“The emphasis is on litigators,” she said. “The emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom. The emphasis is on making as strong a case as possible to protect and defend our constitution.”
The managers include California Rep. Adam Schiff, who is the chairman of the Intelligence Committee and who led the impeachment inquiry in the House. He served for five years as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
Pelosi also named Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, a veteran lawmaker, and Administration Committee Chairman Zoe Lofgren of California who was a House aide during the impeachment of President Richard Nixon and served on the Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Other managers include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, an attorney who is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Pelosi also named three freshmen lawmakers including Rep. Val Demings of Florida who served as chief of the Orlando Police Department, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, a veteran who is a lawyer, and Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas who was director and presiding judge of the Houston Municipal System.