House Democrats have tapped a former Donald Trump impeachment manager to lead their counterattack to Republicans’ sweeping investigative panel.
Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced his picks to sit on the select subcommittee on the “weaponization” of the federal government, which will be the home of several high-profile, controversial Republican probes — including a broad dive into the FBI and Justice Department.
Jeffries, in a letter to his colleagues, named Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands, as the party’s top member on the panel, putting her at the forefront of the party’s efforts to push back on the GOP investigations. Plaskett was part of House Democrats’ impeachment team during the 2021 Senate trial in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, when a mob of the former president’s supporters breached the Capitol in an effort to subvert President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.
Plaskett, a former prosecutor, made history in the role as the first delegate to serve as an impeachment manager. Fellow impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), now the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, was once her law professor at American University.
Jeffries also nominated three members of the Oversight Committee for the select panel: Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.). Connolly and Lynch ran against Raskin for the top spot on that panel but fell short. And Goldman, a freshman, previously served as counsel for House Democrats during Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Democratic Reps. Linda Sánchez (Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Colin Allred (Texas) and Sylvia Garcia (Texas) also got seats on the select subcommittee. Technically, McCarthy appoints all members of the panel, meaning he’ll need to sign off on the Democratic picks, but the California Republican has said he would let Democrats name their own members for the subcommittee.
Jeffries, in the letter to his colleagues, said that the Democrats leading their party on the committees would need to “stand up to extremism from the other side of the aisle.” In addition to picking Plaskett as the top Democrat on the weaponization subcommittee, Jeffries also picked Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) to be the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee after McCarthy blocked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the longtime lead Democrat, from serving on the panel.
The minority leader also tapped Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) to head Democrats on a select committee on strategic competition between the United States and China and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) to be the party’s top official on a subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic.
“It remains my goal to prioritize and value input from every corner of the Caucus so we may unleash the full potential of our team. The members of the select committees reflect the tremendous experience, background and ability of the House Democratic Caucus, and authentically represent the gorgeous mosaic of the American people,” he added.
Under a fix passed by the House earlier Wednesday, the select panel members were expected to include Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who serve as chair and ranking member of the full Judiciary Committee, as well as an additional 19 lawmakers — no more than eight of whom would be Democrats. But Jeffries, in his announcement, said that Nadler would instead serve as an ex-officio member. The overall break down of the panel is 12 Republicans to 9 Democrats.
Democrats on the subcommittee will be tasked with finding an offensive lane to counter the GOP investigations, with Republicans on the panel expected to expand the scope of their probes to include the intelligence community, the Department of Education, big tech and other targets.
The minority party largely avoided naming any bomb throwers to the subcommittee, but their members are well-steeped in investigative tactics and procedural mechanisms Republicans may choose to deploy as they pursue their own favored probes.
In addition to serving as an impeachment manager, Plaskett was also on the Ways and Means Committee in the last Congress, which was at the center of the fight for Trump’s tax returns. Sánchez is also a member of the tax writing committee.
Connolly, in particular, also has a long history of tangling with Jordan and other GOP members of the panel through their time on the Oversight Committee.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.