A select group of lawmakers will serve as impeachment managers during a Senate trial, acting as prosecutors for House Democrats who will outline the case against President Donald Trump in the Ukraine scandal.
The opportunity to serve as an impeachment manager will offer a high-profile turn in the spotlight for whoever is chosen and the chance to elevate their standing in Congress and with liberal voters.
The performance of the House managers will play a key role in the Senate trial and could be a way for those who are chosen to secure their place in history as part of the impeachment proceedings.
What role will impeachment managers play in a Senate trial?
The way a Senate trial will ultimately unfold will depend on what senators can agree to and the full parameters for a trial have not yet been set.
The general expectation, however, is that the House managers will have a chance to argue their case before the full Senate with the senators acting like jurors, and after that, the President’s lawyers will have an opportunity to present the defense.
During the Clinton Senate impeachment trial, the managers took several days to present their arguments, followed by several days during which the Clinton’s legal team outlined their defense.
That was followed by questions submitted in writing by senators directed to either the managers or the then-President’s defense team.
Who picks impeachment managers?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have final say over who is named as an impeachment manager, but the speaker has not given much away publicly so far.
“When the time is right, you’ll know who the people are,” Pelosi said at a news conference last week.
With the House set to hold its floor vote on impeachment articles this week, Pelosi could soon announce who the managers will be. After that, the House is expected to vote on a resolution naming the managers to formalize their appointment.
There is speculation that Reps. Adam Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Jerry Nadler of New York, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, are likely to serve among the group of managers given the central role both have played in the impeachment investigation in the House.
A group of freshman Democrats is working to convince Pelosi to draft Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan as an impeachment manager, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Sunday. Amash left the Republican Party to become an independent earlier this year and has emerged as a vocal critic of the President.
A House official close to the impeachment inquiry told CNN, however, that Pelosi is “highly unlikely” to name Amash as an impeachment managers and said that the speaker “has so many of her own well-qualified members clamoring for a spot.”
How many impeachment managers will there be?
There are no restrictions on the number of House impeachment managers the speaker can name to serve in the role, and it’s not yet known how many managers will be picked for the Senate trial.
During Clinton’s impeachment trial, 13 House Republicans were chosen as impeachment managers – three are still serving in Congress today.
Those Republican lawmakers who served as managers and still hold seats in Congress are: Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who was a representative of the state’s third congressional district at the time of the Clinton impeachment.
“Instead of talking, I’ll be listening. Last time, I was talking,” Graham told CNN recently, reflecting on what his role will be in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial compared with what it was when he served as an impeachment manager.
Former California Rep. James Rogan was one of the GOP impeachment managers during the Clinton impeachment. His role triggered a major push by Democrats to unseat him, which ended up happening after a bruising and expensive campaign.
The winner? Schiff, then a state senator from California, now a likely impeachment manager himself.
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.