Breaking: Pelosi names Schiff lead impeachment manager, six others

No real surprises here, except that the announcement from Nancy Pelosi began with as much coherence as the impeachment itself. Adam Schiff, who led the rhetorical charge on impeachment for nearly three years over the discredited Russia-collusion hypothesis, will serve as the House’s lead impeachment manager on a seven-person team. As expected, Jerrold Nadler will join him, all but guaranteeing that the two lightning rods over the House process will become part of the Senate’s scrutiny.

First, though, Pelosi wanted to talk about time and spend time talking about time and timing and the time it takes to settle on timing, and …

That certainly was … a waste of time. The point, presumably, was to explain why Pelosi dragged out the appointment of these managers for so long that the Senate threatened to force an expiration date on transmission of the impeachment articles. That explanation didn’t get much more coherent than her opening:

Of course, if the House demands that witnesses be heard and documents be produced, they could have done that themselves as part of the impeachment process. Schiff tried explaining that going to the courts to enforce subpoenas would have taken years, negating Congress’ impeachment power. He cited a dispute over testimony from White House counsel Don McGahn, which had only gone on for a couple of months:

It seems very unlikely that it would have taken “years.” The federal judiciary is usually inclined to expedite these disputes, especially when it comes to impeachment proceedings. The reason the McGahn dispute didn’t move faster, in fact, is because the House refused to explicitly declare that they were in an impeachment process. Pelosi and Schiff danced around that because of the potential for political damage until almost the time they were ready to produce the articles of impeachment.

Anyway, expect to hear a lot of this nonsense, and for it to have little impact on the Senate. Politico reports the full list of impeachment managers who will walk the articles to the other side of the Capitol later today or tomorrow:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed a team of seven House Democrats to serve as prosecutors in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

She named Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Jason Crow (D-Colo.), Val Demings (D-Fla.) and Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) as managers.

Senate Republicans will take the greatest interest in Schiff and Nadler and in dismantling their arguments over the need for witnesses. House Democrats still want to be in control of the process, and they’re about to find out that they’re not.