Former Trump Impeachment Managers Tell Current Managers to 'Connect the Dots' in Prosecution

Nine House impeachment managers will take on the role of prosecutors in the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, but they join the likes of seven other Democrats who have also had their chance to obtain a conviction against former President Donald Trump.

But a couple of key differences distinguish the upcoming trial from what House Democrats were challenged with back in 2019.

"You have a trial occurring where both the jurors and the prosecutors were actually victims of the crime, and the courthouse is the scene of the crime," Colorado Representative Jason Crow told Newsweek. "We've never been in this position before."

Crow served as an impeachment manager in the first trial, alongside Representatives Sylvia Garcia, Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries and Val Demings.

This time around, Trump is being charged with "incitement of insurrection" against the U.S. Government. In order to make their case, Crow said it will be critical for the current impeachment managers to compile a timeline leading up to January 6.

"The impeachment managers have to sort through a lot of evidence of what happened on the 6th, but also the events leading up to it," Crow said on Monday. "Let's remember this didn't happen in isolation. It didn't happen on its own. The president had been pouring gasoline on this for many years and many months before the fire on January 6. We have to provide that context."

Garcia calls it "connecting the dots." The Texas congresswoman told Newsweek that while most of the nation saw the siege, most Americans have not seen the tweets that lay the groundwork and convinced rioters to show up at the Capitol that day.

"We all saw it. It's all there. The managers just need to connect the dots so the American public can see exactly how the events transpired that led to this horrific event," Garcia explained. "Once you see the words from the former president himself before the event, during the event, in the time that delayed intervening, and then his remarks after—you connect all those dots, you can make your case. It's the totality of the event. It's not just one single thing."

Schiff, who led the team during the first impeachment, had similar advice for his colleagues.

"Many Americans, and indeed many senators, may not be familiar with all of those facts that led up to that incitement of that mob. So you can't presume that either the Senate or the country are aware of all the facts," he said on MSNBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "You really need to present that full picture."

House impeachment managers
House impeachment managers (L-R) Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) hold a news conference after day five of the Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol January 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crow said managers in the second impeachment trial will need to "connect the dots" to make their case against Trump. Alex Wroblewski/Stringer

When it comes to prosecuting the president, Garcia said those watching at home need to recognize that the upcoming trial will not operate in the same way most American courtrooms do.

"People need to remember that this is not a criminal trial. It's not a civil trial. It's an impeachment trial," she said. "The rules that most of us as lawyers are usually engaged in, don't really apply. The rules that will apply are the rules of the Senate, that the Senate will put together."

But Lofgren, who also sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the 1998 Clinton impeachment, said the unique structure could play to the advantage of the nine managers House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected.

"It's not a courtroom, it's a Senate. You're speaking to the Senators as the jurors, but also aware that the public in the United States, in fact around the world, is also looking at what you're saying and making judgements," Lofgren, who represents California's District 19, told New York Magazine's Ben Jacobs. "There's a feedback loop because to the extent that the American public reaches a conclusion and they communicate that to their employees, the Senate, and that could have theoretically an impact on what Senators do."

Crow said managers should also prepare to bring forward new information as the trial progresses, a challenge his team had also been tasked with when Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress by the House two years ago.

"There is evidence and information still coming out. Much like our trial a year ago, where we had information coming out in real time about the violations of the president and the crimes he committed, that's actually happening now too," Crow said. "There are investigations going on, we had new information all the time. [The impeachment managers] are going to have to stay flexible and integrate that information as necessary as the trial proceeds."

House impeachment managers have stayed defiant in their efforts to pursue the trial, despite a final 75-page brief from Trump's legal team urging them to dismiss the charges.

Hoping to convince the senators that Trump is guilty, Representatives Jamie Raskin, Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joquin Castor, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeline Dean and Joe Neguse will make their opening arguments on the Senate floor Tuesday.