Coloradans are playing an outsized role in the prosecutions of Trump
At first, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette didn’t know what Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asking of her during a hectic week in the House of Representatives.
“The speaker called me up on Tuesday and she said, ‘Would you be willing to be a manager?’ and I said, ‘Well, madam speaker, I’m happy to do anything you want, for the (Democratic) caucus.’ I didn’t understand what she was asking me to do. I thought maybe she was asking me to preside again over impeachment,” recalled DeGette, a Denver Democrat who supervised the House when it debated the first impeachment of President Donald Trump for 11 hours in late 2019.
But Pelosi had a bigger job in mind for DeGette, the longest-serving member of Colorado’s congressional delegation and a former member of House Democratic leadership. She was asking DeGette to be an impeachment manager — a prosecutor in the second Senate trial of Trump. When DeGette understood the prized assignment, offered only to a select few, she quickly accepted.
“Clearly I wasn’t lobbying for it,” the congresswoman said with a laugh.
Among the nine House Democrats who will prosecute the president this month, two are Coloradans: DeGette and Rep. Joe Neguse. It will fall on those nine to convince the U.S. Senate that Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. No president in American history has been convicted by the Senate.
Coloradans have played an outsized role in the impeachment trials of Trump. Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat, was an impeachment manager in the first trial, meaning three of this state’s four House Democrats will have served as impeachment managers. Only California can boast of having more (four) managers in that time.
“Colorado’s being rewarded for the Democratic Party’s gains in the state,” said Kyle Saunders, a professor of political science at Colorado State University.
Neguse, 36, stands to gain most from the appointment, Saunders said. Already ascendant within Democratic ranks, the impeachment manager position provides a national spotlight and greater name recognition, as it did for Crow in 2020.
“To me, the case (against Trump) is fairly straightforward and I think the American people understand it in a visceral way, having watched it on television screens and seeing the chaotic scenes that they watched and recognizing the loss of life that tragically took place, including the murder of a police officer,” said Neguse, of Lafayette, in an interview Thursday.
DeGette and Neguse say they have spoken to Crow and other former impeachment managers for advice. Crow said in an interview that he has three suggestions: Stick to the facts, keep it short and provide context.
“Those senators, when they’re in there, they’re confined to that chamber,” Crow said. “They can’t leave, they don’t have their phones, they have to just listen to the case. This is no different from any other situation: After 10, 15 minutes of a speech, you start losing folks.”
During the 2020 impeachment trial, each impeachment manager had an area of expertise. Crow’s, for example, was the military. As a decorated combat veteran, he primarily used his time to talk about how the president’s actions threatened the war effort in eastern Ukraine. DeGette and Neguse say the 2021 managers have not yet determined their roles.
Their days will be long, and security around them will be tight — Crow was assigned a police officer, who he still keeps in contact with. Their time with family will be short, and their every word will be broadcast. It’s a high-profile job usually reserved for up-and-coming stars in the party — such as Neguse — and veteran members like DeGette, who is beginning her 13th term.
“Joe is uniquely situated to speak to this terrible moment in our nation’s history,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and the lead impeachment manager in 2020. “His parents fled Eritrea for a better life and freedom in America, and a little more than 30 years later, this son of refugees will try the case against a president who betrayed our democratic values in the most destructive way.”
DeGette and Neguse are focused on the historic task ahead: convincing at least two-thirds of the Senate that Trump is guilty of the high crime and misdemeanor of inciting an insurrection. It’s a high bar to clear, though some Republicans have said they’re open to the possibility of convicting the president.
“This is a very unusual situation where the impeachment managers and the senators to whom they will be addressing this case … were all victims of the same crime,” Crow said. “Those senators were there and they know what happened.”
Source: Read Full Article