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U.S. Reps. Val Demings of Florida and Sylvia Garcia of Texas among group of 7 managers
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Two Southern U.S. House Democrats — Val Demings of Florida and Sylvia Garcia of Texas — have been selected to present the case for impeaching President Donald Trump in his Senate trial, which begins next week.
The selections were announced Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the House approved a resolution to send over two articles of impeachment to the Senate accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.
At a news conference where she unveiled the seven impeachment managers, Pelosi said the “emphasis is on litigators, the emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom, the emphasis is on making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people.”
Demings, 62, who represents an Orlando area district in the House, is the only non-lawyer among the managers. However, she has a background in law enforcement, serving 27 years as a police officer in Orlando, where she worked her way up to chief before retiring in 2011. She was elected to Congress in 2016.
In a statement, Demings said she was “honored to have the opportunity to help defend our republic in this incredible moment in history.”
“I hope that every American who believes in democracy will take a stand,” she said. “The president has been given an incredible responsibility and opportunity to serve the American people. Instead, he has abandoned his oath of office and the Constitution, choosing to put his interest before the national interest.”
Garcia, 69, who represents a Houston-based district, is one of just two freshmen House members selected as a manager. She is a former municipal judge in Houston.
In a tweet, Garcia said she was “honored” to be named as a manager.
“The Constitution will be our guide,” she said. “We won’t waver in our commitment to democracy. And we’ll present the truth to the American people.”
The impeachment articles allege that Trump withheld military aide from Ukraine in an effort to pressure Ukrainian officials to launch investigations into a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and then obstructed efforts by Congress to investigate those allegations.
The president has insisted that he did nothing improper in urging Ukraine to investigate possible corruption.
While the prospects for an impeachment conviction in the Republican-controlled Senate would be appear dim, Demings said she has “not written off the Senate.”
“Each senator still has the power to do the right thing,” she said in her statement. “I know that as each senator considers whether to side with justice or corruption, the voices of the American people will matter.”
Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee, which took the lead in investigating the Ukrainian controversy, and Nadler chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which drew up the articles of impeachment. Crow joins Garcia as the only freshmen legislators among the group.
Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the Senate trial, which will operate under rules passed by the Senate. A two-thirds majority — 67 senators — is required to convict Trump and remove him from office, something that has never happened before in American history.
Trump is just the third president in history to be impeached by the House, following Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998; neither was convicted by the Senate. The House was preparing to impeach Richard Nixon before he resigned in 1974.
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2 Virginia freshmen U.S. House Democrats say Donald Trump may have committed “impeachable offense” in dealings with Ukraine
Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria are part of a group of freshmen denouncing Trump’s actions in the Washington Post
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Seven freshmen U.S. House Democrats with military and national security backgrounds have signed on to an opinion piece in the Washington Post asserting the President Donald Trump committed “an impeachable offense” if he withheld military funding from Ukraine while pressuring that country’s new president to launch an investigation into political rival Joe Biden.
Among the seven were U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria from Virginia, who narrowly won in Republican-leaning districts in 2018 and had not previously supported efforts by some House Democrats to move toward impeachment.
“The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it,” the members wrote, adding that Congress “must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.”
“These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect,” the members wrote. “We must preserve the checks and balances envisioned by the Founders and restore the trust of the American people in our government.”
The members said Congress should “consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us,” including impeachment hearings, to investigate Trump’s conversations with the Ukrainian leader.
Spanberger, who represents the 7th District in the suburbs of Richmond, was a CIA agent before being elected to Congress; Luria, who represents the 2nd District in the Hampton Roads area, was an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Both women flipped Republican-held seats in 2018 and are top GOP targets in 2020.
Luria also made an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” in which she said the allegations that Trump may have enlisted a foreign government to target a political opponent were a “game changer.”
“If this isn’t an impeachable offense, what is?” she said. “This is a clear and concise instance that the American people can understand where the president of the United States has tried to enlist foreign influence in our election process.”
Luria conceded that she could face political consequences from her decision to move toward impeachment but said “I came to Congress to do what was right. The people in my district sent me to Washington to make hard choices.”
The other freshmen who signed on to the Post piece were Gil Cisneros of California, a former Navy officer; Jason Crow of Colorado, a former Army Ranger; Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, a former Air Force officer; Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, a former federal prosecutor who flew helicopters in the Navy; and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who served in the CIA and as an analyst in the Pentagon.
The controversy over Trump’s conversations with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, began with reports that an intelligence official had filed a whistleblower complaint over dealings between an unnamed administration official and a foreign leader.
News media outlets have subsequently reported that the whistleblower complaint centers around conversations Trump had with Zelensky, urging the Ukrainian leader to investigate corruption allegations involving Biden’s son.
The latest wrinkle in the controversy came with reports that Trump decided to withhold security assistance funding from Ukraine — appropriated by Congress — before talking with Zelensky.
Trump has admitted that he raised the corruption allegations with Zelensky but has insisted that nothing improper was done.
The Trump administration has so far refused to turn the whistleblower complaint over to Congress. However, Trump has said he would consider releasing a transcript of his call with Zelensky.