House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected a Binghamton University alumnus as one of the seven House managers in President Donald Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial.
Hakeem Jeffries, ’92, is the first and only graduate of BU to serve in Congress. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in political science, Jeffries went on to complete his master’s at Georgetown University and graduate from NYU’s School of Law in 1997. Ryan Yarosh, BU’s senior director of media and public relations, said it is no surprise Jeffries has come so far.
“Jeffries is a prime example of the impact [BU] alumni can have on the world,” Yarosh said. “During his time at [BU], his professors described him as an involved and enthusiastic student. He excelled both inside and outside the classroom, utilizing the tools he gathered as a political science major to help organizations he was part of, such as the Black Student Union and Kappa Alpha Psi. We are proud to call him one of our own.”
Pelosi disclosed Jeffries’ qualifications during the televised introduction of those appointed to the trial.
“Jeffries is the chair of the House Democratic caucus and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress,” Pelosi said. “He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, before being in Congress he served in the [New York State Assembly] for six years and [as] an accomplished litigator in private practice before running for elective office. [Jeffries] clerked for the honorable Harold Baer Jr. of New York [state] district court for the Southern District of New York.”
Jefferies, who has served as the U.S. Representative for New York state’s eighth congressional district since 2013, is now tasked with prosecuting the impeachment case before the U.S. Senate. His opening argument centered on the notion that Trump is neither forthcoming with the truth to Congress, nor to the American people, and that the president continues to act of his own account and not in accordance with the law. Jeffries also cited recurring noncompliance with the House impeachment trial.
“Presidents are required to comply with impeachment subpoenas,” Jeffries said. “This president has completely defied them. That conduct alone is a high crime and misdemeanor. The facts here are not really in dispute.”
Jeffries argued that in addition to obstructing the impeachment inquiry, Trump breached the system of checks and balances by making unfounded claims to innocence in an attempt to get the trial dismissed.
“One of the most sacred principles of justice is that no man should be the judge in his own case,” Jeffries said. “This is America. He cannot be judge, jury and executioner.”
Trump’s defense attorney, Mike Purpura, denied Jefferies’ argument.
“The president was, at all times, acting in our national interest and upholding his oath of office,” Purpura said.
Trump’s defense team also stated Democrats are trying to interfere with the 2020 election and accused Jeffries’ co-council, Adam Schiff, of being untruthful during his testimony.
After three days of opening statements, the first week of the impeachment trial concluded on Sunday night. Legal proceedings are expected to resume at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27.