U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named a team of House members as prosecutors Wednesday for President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial and prepared to walk impeachment articles to the Senate to begin the historic proceeding.
The House voted 228-193 to name the managers and send the articles to the Senate.
Pelosi's move came as information emerged about text messages among Trump associates that seemed to indicate the now-ousted American ambassador to Ukraine was under surveillance by Trump associates.
Arguments in the impeachment trial in the Senate are expected to begin early next week. Pelosi said the articles of impeachment would be "marched over" to the Senate Wednesday evening after a House vote.
Pelosi chose as impeachment managers — who essentially will serve as prosecutors in a Senate trial — two members familiar to the effort to remove Trump from office over allegations he tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California, who led the House impeachment investigation, and House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York, whose committee approved the impeachment articles, are among the managers of the prosecution.
The others, all Democrats, are Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado and Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas.
Trump is accused of withholding military assistance for Ukraine while asking the country's new president to announce a Biden investigation.
"There is an overwhelming case ... that the president betrayed the country by withholding federal funds ... in order to extort a foreign government into intervening in our election," Nadler said during a short news conference Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
It remains unclear whether the Senate will allow witnesses to testify during the Senate trial. Pelosi has insisted witnesses be allowed, and said Wednesday she hopes Senate leaders will do so.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 15, 2020
During remarks on the signing of a trade deal with China, Trump on Wednesday dismissed the impeachment as a "hoax."
Yovanovich Appears To Have Been Under Surveillance
House Democrats released dozens of pages of new documents Tuesday that were collected in their investigation of Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
The documents were provided to investigators by Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Parnas is under federal indictment on campaign finance charges.
The documents include several WhatsApp and other messages on efforts to have the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, removed from her office, which eventually occurred.
The texts also raised a new allegation: Trump associates appeared to be monitoring Yovanovitch's movements.
The texts between Parnas and a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, Robert Hyde, include several messages that appear to involve what Yovanovitch was doing and where she was.
The messages Hyde sent about Yovanovitch included statements such as "they will let me know when she’s on the move" and "she's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off. She's next to the embassy. Not in the embassy. Private security. Been there since Thursday."
President Donald Trump waves outside Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews Thursday, Jan. 9. White House photo by Tia Dufour.
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