Trump impeachment manager: ‘To heal, we must remember.’

The U.S. Capitol building. (Photo by Matt H. Wade via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean lined up with eight of her House colleagues Monday evening to walk across the U.S. Capitol, delivering to the Senate a formal charge that sets up the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Penn., is one of eight House impeachment managers. (Photo via Rep. Dean’s office)

It’s also the second time that Dean, a Pennsylvania Democrat, has played a role in the impeachment process. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which crafted the impeachment charges against Trump.

Now, she’s been named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as one of the impeachment managers who will serve as prosecutors in the trial set to begin on Feb. 8. “To heal, we must remember,” Dean said in a phone interview Monday with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. “That’s what this trial will be about.”

The managers will be tasked with convincing senators to convict the former president on a charge that Trump incited the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol through his repeated refusals to accept the election results and his incendiary rhetoric instructing rally goers to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

In the interview, Dean spoke broadly about the impeachment case, offering few specifics about what the trial will look like. She said the managers will outline a “very compelling case” that Trump did not uphold his presidential oath and should be prevented from holding public office in the future.

“He did not preserve, he did not protect, he did not defend the Constitution,” Dean said. “In fact he launched an attack on it.”

The trial will unfold in what Dean describes as “one of the crime scenes” — the same Senate chamber where a violent mob of Trump supporters roamed after forcing their way into the building. A Capitol Police officer was killed, and four other individuals also died during the chaotic afternoon, including one woman who was shot by an officer outside the House chamber.

The House Democrats involved in arguing for convicting Trump, and the senators who will serve as jurors, aren’t just participating in the impeachment process — they’re also witnesses and victims of what unfolded, Dean said.

She was among House lawmakers who were trapped in the chamber’s gallery.  A photo from that afternoon showed Dean with a stunned expression as she and others evacuated the balcony.

Dean described her role as an impeachment manager as a “solemn duty.” She brings to that role a background in the law and in writing: Before becoming a state lawmaker in 2012, Dean earned a law degree and opened her own practice, and later was an English professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

In that role, Dean said she would tell her students: “Words matter, the truth matters, the facts matter.”

This impeachment process, and the last set of charges against Trump, both unfolded because of “a man who did not ever care about the Constitution or his oath, or telling the truth,” Dean said.

“And so this extraordinary string of lies culminated in his desperate claim for power,” she added. “His desperate attempt to hold on to power at the end of his term. And he manufactured an attack both on the Capitol, and on our democracy.”

The impeachment charge against Trump was approved in the House with support from every Democrat and 10 Republicans. So far, no Senate Republican has backed a vote to convict Trump, though they’ve largely avoided defending Trump’s rhetoric since the riot.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey has said he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, but also has questioned the constitutional authority of the Senate to begin an impeachment trial now that Trump has left office.

“Should the Senate conduct a trial, I will again fulfill my responsibility to consider arguments from both the House managers and President Trump’s lawyers,” Toomey, a Republican, said earlier this month.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Tuesday she believes it would be unconstitutional to try a former president on articles of impeachment.

Dean rejected arguments that the Senate should not go forward with a trial, saying that not holding a president accountable for his or her actions at the end of a term would set a dangerous precedent, signaling that future presidents could “go on a crime spree” at the end of their term.

She argued that the only way for the country to move forward “is to remember what happened here, remember the atrocious nature of the president’s words that incited an insurrection and an attack on democracy.”