Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is being overseen by two Black lawmakers who have become integral figures in the Democratic Party.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi named nine congressional democrats to prosecute the case against Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Joe Neguse and Del. Stacey Plaskett, the two Black lawmakers selected, have emerged as breakout litigators during the Senate trial.
They are both making history in their management roles. He is the youngest impeachment manager and she is the first non-voting delegate.
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Neguse, the son of immigrants, is the co-chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and was first elected to Congress in 2018. He represents Colorado’s 2nd district. His victory marked the first time an Eritrean-American became a member of Congress and earned the distinction of becoming the first Black man from Colorado to hold this position.
The 36-year-old politician is one of the youngest congressional members and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a Vice-Chair of the Medicare-for-All Caucus.
His peers elected the former private practice litigator to be the Freshman Co-Representative to Leadership which has been reflected in his work. During his first time in Congress, he introduced 38 bills that outpaced any other freshman in the 116th Congress and four were ultimately signed into law.
His prowess was on display on Tuesday when he held Trump responsible for the mob that breached the Capitol.
“As you’ll see during the course of this trial, that mob was summoned, assembled, and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump,” the youngest impeachment manager said. “And he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election.”
“With his back against the wall, when all else had failed, (Trump) turned back to his supporters,” Neguse said. “He had already spent months telling them that the election was stolen, and he amplified it further. He turned it up a notch.”
Plaskett, who drew kudos from social media in a powder blue suit, presented never before seen footage on Wednesday. Her role is even of greater importance as she is the first non-voting delegate in history to serve as an impeachment manager. The U.S. Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States and does not have a vote in Congress.
She showed former Vice President Mike Pence and his family being led away from the Senate chamber during the Capitol siege.
“You can hear the mob calling for the death of the vice president of the United States,” Plaskett said.
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She insisted that Pence would have died if the pro-Trump supporters had reached the former VP and Pelosi. The Brooklyn born Plaskett, the daughter of parents from the Virgin Islands, said Trump put their lives in danger.
Plaskett made her charge in front of Maryland representative Jamie Raskin, the lead manager of the impeachment. He taught constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law, where she was a student, and he remarked, “A student then and she is an A+ student now.”
Plaskett claimed Trump incited the rioters after elected officials.
“They did it because Donald Trump sent them on this mission….President Trump put a target on their backs, and his mob broke into the Capitol to hunt them down,” she said.
Her detailed presentation demonstrated why Plaskett is seen as a rising star of the Congressional Black Caucus who is currently serving her fourth term in Congress. She was first elected in 2015 to represent the Virgin Islands’ At-Large District. She was unanimously appointed to be seated on the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means committee.
Plaskett, who was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in 2019, also co-chairs the Congressional Caribbean Caucus and the Taskforce on Infrastructure. She urged the Senate to convict.
“When the violence erupted as a response to his calls to fight against the stolen election, he did not walk it back,” Plaskett said. “He did not tell them no. He did the opposite. He praised and encouraged the violence so it would continue. He fanned the flame of violence, and it worked.”
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