One is battling a scandal about his relationship with a suspected Chinese spy. Two pushed for removing President Donald Trump during his first year in office. One built a reputation for trolling Trump, while another is the son of a lawyer for the Mafia.
The sequel to last year’s Trump impeachment trial will feature a new cast of characters leading the House’s prosecution when or if the Senate trial occurs after Trump leaves office Jan. 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced nine House managers to prosecute Trump on a single charge of incitement of insurrection during the Senate impeachment trial.
At least three of the nine House Democrats questioned Trump’s legitimacy as president from the beginning. The leader of the group, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., tried in early 2017 to block Congress from certifying Trump’s election victory the previous November.
The House voted 232-197 Wednesday, with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats, to impeach Trump for the second time with a week left to go in his term after his loss to President-elect Joe Biden in the November election.
The charge of incitement to insurrection stems from some of the president’s words to a rally south of the White House just before rioters broke into the Capitol building. The mob overwhelmed Capitol Police, threatening the safety of Vice President Mike Pence, Pelosi, and other lawmakers in an apparent attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Although the constitutional purpose of impeachment is to remove a federal official from office, this time a Senate trial would not occur until after Biden is sworn into office at noon next Wednesday. The Senate could, however, vote to prevent Trump from holding another federal office or revoke the benefits of a former president.
Here’s what to know about the nine House managers picked by Pelosi to act as prosecutors when or if the trial occurs.
1. Jamie Raskin: Early Objector, 25th Amendment Advocate
In October, Raskin sponsored legislation promoting a role for Congress in invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was designed to be used for continuity of government if the president is incapacited. Pelosi supported the legislation.
But Raskin, first elected in 2016, was pushing the 25th Amendment in 2017 as a means to remove Trump from office. He proposed a commission to examine Trump’s mental health. His bill creating the commission gained 56 Democrat co-sponsors, but Pelosi didn’t back it.
Pelosi named Raskin, 58, a former law professor at American University, as the leader of the House impeachment managers. He fills the position held by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., in the previous Senate trial of Trump.
Before seeking to examine Trump’s mental capacity, Raskin joined other Democrats on Jan. 6, 2017, in attempting to block Congress from certifying Trump’s Electoral College victory in the 2016 election. His motion was based on technical grounds.
“I have an objection because 10 of the 29 Florida votes were cast by electors not lawfully certified because they violated Florida’s law against dual office holding,” Raskin said in raising an objection to counting Florida’s electoral votes.
Biden, then President Barack Obama’s vice president and presiding over the joint session in his constitutional role as president of the Senate, asked Raskin if he had a Senate sponsor to his objection.
“Not as of yet,” Raskin answered.
Biden ruled that Raskin’s objection could not be entertained.
Today, some Democrats are demanding that Republicans who signed on to objections to certifying electoral votes for Biden on Jan. 6 this year should be expelled from Congress.
Other House Democrats objected to certifying Trump’s victories in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. None of those objections gained the Senate sponsor required to be considered.
After failing to block Trump’s victory, Raskin announced that he wouldn’t attend Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.
“As the hour approaches, I realize that I cannot bring myself to go,” Raskin said at the time. “I do not rejoice in this decision or take pride in it, any more than I would rejoice or take pride in going; the inauguration ceremony is just a fact of life now, and we must all deal with it as best we can.”
Raskin serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the Oversight and Reform Committee.
2. Eric Swalwell and Alleged Spy for China
California’s Eric Swalwell has been in the national spotlight for the past month about the nature of his relationship with Christine Fang, a Chinese national who the FBI suspects of being a spy.
The matter raised alarms especially because the five-term Democrat is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which makes him privy to national security secrets to which most other members of Congress do not have access.
Swalwell, 40, said he cooperated with law enforcement and cut ties with Fang in 2015 when he learned of concerns she was a spy for China.
Pelosi defended Swalwell and rejected calls to remove him from the intelligence committee.
Axios first reported that Fang met Swalwell when he was a city council member in Dublin, California, and stayed in contact after he was elected to Congress in 2012.
He won a surprising victory over a four-decade incumbent, Rep. Pete Stark, in the Democratic primary in California’s 15th Congressional District.
After Trump’s election as president in 2016, Swalwell was among the most aggressive promoters of the narrative that Trump and his campaign conspired with the Russian government to rig the election. He compared what he called Trump-Russia collusion with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Special counsel Robert Mueller released a report in 2019 finding no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump or his campaign with Moscow.
Swalwell ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, dropping out of the race in July 2019.
3. David Cicilline: Troubling Connections
Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, a former mayor of Providence who is in his sixth term in Congress, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Gay rights activists celebrate Cicilline as the first openly gay mayor of a state capital in the United States.
Cicilline, 59, is also a former public defender in the District of Columbia. Troubling connections surfaced when he ran for Congress in 2010, but he hasn’t faced any major questions of personal ethics.
Cicilline’s father was a Mafia lawyer and his brother was convicted on federal charges in a courthouse corruption scheme, according to the Associated Press.
In 2010, a Providence police officer who was a driver for the then-mayor and married to Cicilline’s executive assistant was charged with soliciting someone to commit a crime. The charge was part of a prosecution of three police officers on allegations they were part of a cocaine-dealing operation.
4. Ted Lieu: Trolling Trump
Trump’s history on Twitter may be unparalleled for any public officeholder, but California’s Ted Lieu also has had a colorful history on the social media platform and even managed to get into some trouble.
The four-term Democrat, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, is a former Air Force prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
He was born in Taiwan and his family emigrated to Cleveland when he was 3.
At the beginning of the Trump administration, Lieu boycotted the inauguration.
“While I do not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College, I cannot normalize his behavior or the disparaging and un-American statements he has made,” Lieu said at the time.
Despite insisting that he didn’t dispute Trump’s victory, Lieu gained a reputation for trolling Trump in every press release from his office that mentioned the president. The notation in each release said:
*** In addition to losing the popular vote, Trump—as of January 20, 2017—is in violation of the Emoluments Clause set forth in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution due to massive conflicts of interests and his refusal to put his global business holdings in blind trusts. Trump also benefited from Vladimir Putin ordering a multifaceted and brazen Russian influence and cyber hacking campaign with the goals of undermining faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrating Secretary [Hillary] Clinton’s electability, and helping Trump’s election chances. Trump and his press secretary also routinely make stuff up.
In explaining why he used the notation, Lieu said it was satire.
“Never before have I had this feeling where our leader is potentially unhinged and has a problem with the truth, and that is highly disturbing for the leader of the free world,” Lieu said. “So I’ve decided I’m just going to point that out as much as I can.”
In October 2017, Lieu attended an event sponsored by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice during which he presented an award to Linda Sarsour, a leader of the Women’s March, on Jan. 21, 2017, who has made numerous anti-Israel comments and called for a “jihad” against the Trump administration.
At the time, Lieu tweeted that he was “honored to join @AAAJ_AAJC tonight & present civil rights activist & leader of women’s march, Linda Sarsour, with the 2017 Changemaker Award.”
In January 2019, though, Lieu felt compelled to explain himself.
“I hope to clear up any continued confusion that I selected Ms. Sarsour as the recipient of this award. I did not. I also did not know who Ms. Sarsour was, and met her for the first time at the AAJC event,” Lieu said in a written statement. He added:
At that time, I was unaware of Ms. Sarsour’s controversial statements and associations. I was later shown various statements she has made and realized that presenting her with an award for the Women’s March could be construed as an endorsement of her beliefs. It was not. Throughout my career, I have always fought injustice and bigotry, including anti-Semitism and religious intolerance, and I will continue to do so.
Lieu lashed out at second lady Karen Pence for taking a part-time job teaching at a Christian school in Springfield, Virginia.
In August 2019, Lieu accused U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman of having dual loyalties. His accusation came after the ambassador did not object to the Israeli government’s barring of Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from visiting Israel in a trip paid for by the pro-Palestinian group MIFTAH.
Lieu tweeted at Friedman: “You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.”
The next day Lieu removed the tweet, but acknowledged doing so on Twitter, saying: “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.”
5. Joaquin Castro: Floated Impeachment in 2017
Texas’ Joaquin Castro, beginning his fifth term, is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations. Castro, 46, previously served in the Texas Legislature and was a lawyer in private practice.
In 2017, after a federal judge struck down Trump’s restrictions on travel from several Muslim-majority countries in the Middle Eastern, Castro began talking about impeachment. He made the move conditional on Trump’s disobeying the court order.
“There should be a resolution of censure. And if he does it again, there should be articles of impeachment,” Castro said. If Trump didn’t adhere to a judge’s order, he said, it would be like “living in a military junta.”
His brother, Julian Castro, was secretary of housing and urban development during the Obama administration and is a former San Antonio mayor.
6. Diana DeGette: ‘Stupid’ Gun Comment
Colorado’s Diana DeGette, in her 13th term, is chair of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
Before her election to Congress from the Denver-based 1st Congressional District, DeGette worked as a lawyer in private practice and was a member of the Colorado Legislature.
In April 2013, DeGette gained national attention for a gaffe on guns and ammunition, The Denver Post reported. She gave an unusual response as to why she wanted to ban high-capacity magazines for firearms ammunition.
“These are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now, they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high-capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she told the Post’s editorial board.
The newspaper reported that DeGette’s comment went viral and pointed out that the magazines can be reloaded with more bullets and reused hundreds of times.
In response, a DeGette spokeswoman issued a statement that also was erroneous, according to the newspaper.
“The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism,” the statement said.
However as The Denver Post noted, “clips in most guns can be reused as well.”
The National Rifle Association responded with a statement at the time, saying: “Two words: Pretty stupid.”
7. Stacey Plaskett: Nonvoting Delegate
Stacey Plaskett, who represents the Virgin Islands, is serving her fourth term as a nonvoting delegate in Congress.
Born in New York, she serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. Plaskett, 54, was previously a state prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and senior counsel at the Justice Department.
In 2012, Plaskett upset nine-term incumbent Donna Christian-Christensen in the Democrat primary for delegate from the Virgin Islands, but lost in the general election. She then ran successfully in 2014.
During an April 2015 panel at Howard University on the killing of African Americans, Plaskett commented on the lack of outrage over the deaths.
“Some lives are more valuable than others,” she said.
8. Madeleine Dean: Swing State Lawmaker
Pennsylvania’s Madeleine Dean, in her second term, is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
A former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Dean was also a lawyer in private practice.
Pennsylvania is one of the swing states that the Trump campaign disputed.
Some House Republicans objected to certifying the state’s electoral votes in the Jan. 6 joint session, citing evidence of fraud.
9. Joe Neguse: Climate Crisis Committee Member
Joe Neguse is beginning his second term representing Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
Neguse, 36, is vice chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law. The California native also is on the Natural Resources Committee and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Before entering politics, Neguse was a litigator in private practice.