HOUSTON — Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia held her first press conference Friday since being selected as one of the seven House Democrats serving as impeachment managers two days earlier.
Speaking to reporters at her East Houston office Friday morning, Rep. Garcia (D-Houston) called the invitation to serve a "big honor," though not one she was intending to do.
"It's probably a highlight of my career,” she said. “I will be carrying not only the weight of my oath, but also our democracy.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked Rep. Garcia, the former presiding judge of the Houston municipal court system, and six other House impeachment managers for their courtroom experience.
The managers will act as prosecutors and try to convince the Senate jurors, who took an oath of impartiality Thursday, that President Donald Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress. They accuse President Trump of withholding nearly $400 million in military aid approved by Congress to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
There are 53 Republicans in the 100-seat Senate. It would take 67 votes to convict the President and remove him from office.
"As a judge, I learned many years ago that you never second-guess a jury,” Rep. Garcia said. “I think just as we’ve seen so many things surface even in the last week, I don’t know that there’s anything more else out there, but I’m not gonna predict that there isn’t.”
Rep. Garcia said the managers will discuss over the weekend whether they want to push for inclusion of new evidence that became available after House Judiciary Committee hearings.
"I think some of it, if it's relevant, just like any witness that is relevant, we may seek to have it included,” she said.
That final decision, Rep. Garcia noted, is up to the Senate, who must also finalize the rules before opening arguments start.
On Friday, President Trump assembled his legal defense team. He tapped Ken Starr, who served as independent counsel in the impeachment investigation of former President Bill Clinton. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, will also be defending the president, who has repeatedly and publicly insisted he did nothing wrong.
KHOU 11 spoke with Starr on the phone Friday afternoon. Starr declined to comment on his role with President Trump’s defense team.
A spokesman for the Lanier Law Firm, where Starr works in an "of counsel" role, said Starr’s role is limited to only addressing "the constitutional role that impeachment plays in our country."
That representative added, “Mr. Starr is taking on this role as a complete private citizen and not in his of counsel role with our firm. We have no involvement with the proceedings.”
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