WASHINGTON — When the curtain rises on the first formal day of televised impeachment hearings into President Trump, members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will be seated on the dais, questioning witnesses alongside the lead Democratic and Republican investigators. The committee, affectionately known on Capitol Hill by its acronym, HPSCI (pronounced “hip-see”), is charged with overseeing the nation’s intelligence agencies, and has been leading the closed-door impeachment inquiry. The panel has 22 members — 13 Democrats and nine Republicans. Here’s a look at some of the key members.
Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the committee
Mr. Schiff, a strait-laced former federal prosecutor, has been leading the inquiry, drawing condemnation from Mr. Trump, who refers to him on Twitter as “Shifty Schiff.” A lawyer educated at Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Mr. Schiff, 59, has been the subject of attacks from Republicans who say he is running an unfair process. Methodical, measured and unflappable, he has cast himself as the anti-Trump, and he is aiming to run a solemn process. He has deep experience in questioning witnesses; he tried his first big case three decades ago when, as a young federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, he secured the conviction of an F.B.I. agent who was seduced by a Soviet spy and traded secrets for gold and cash.
Devin Nunes, Republican of California, the ranking member
Mr. Nunes, 46, who led the committee until Democrats reclaimed the House this year, came under pressure and stepped aside from the panel’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating accusations that he had disclosed classified intelligence reports. His home newspaper, The Fresno Bee, called him “Trump’s stooge” after he sought to release a secret Republican memo that suggested the F.B.I. and the Justice Department abused their authority to obtain a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser. Mr. Trump calls Mr. Nunes “an American hero.” A former dairy farmer, Mr. Nunes has also made headlines for suing Twitter in an effort to block a popular parody account, @devincow.
Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut
Mr. Himes, a onetime investment banker for Goldman Sachs who later worked to finance low-income housing developments, is the second-most senior Democrat on the panel. A Rhodes scholar who was captain of the lightweight crew team at Harvard, Mr. Himes, 53, was born in Lima, Peru, where his father worked for the Ford Foundation, and spent his early childhood there and in Bogotá, Colombia. He is a beekeeper who makes mead, and is known as one of the most studious members of the committee. By dint of his seniority, he will be the first lawmaker, after Mr. Schiff and Mr. Nunes, to question witnesses, and Democrats have employed him as one of their key messengers on television.
Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio
Mr. Jordan, 55, a former collegiate wrestler and founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a die-hard defender of Mr. Trump. Last week, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, gave him a temporary appointment to the Intelligence Committee so he could participate in questioning. His relentless questioning of top F.B.I. and Justice Department officials investigating the president, and his repeated assertions that those agencies are rife with political bias, has made him a star in Trump world and on the conservative right.
Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California
Mr. Swalwell’s short-lived presidential campaign (he dropped out in July, three months after announcing his candidacy on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”) has raised his profile, and he is a frequent guest on cable news shows. A staunch critic of Mr. Trump’s foreign and immigration policy, Mr. Swalwell, 38, also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which means that after hearing evidence against Mr. Trump, he will also participate in drafting impeachment articles. “Donald Trump is going to be impeached whether it is by the ballot box or Congress,” Mr. Swalwell said this year. “It will just be a matter of which one comes first.”
Will Hurd, Republican of Texas
Mr. Hurd, 46, is a Republican to watch for any sign that Republicans might break with Mr. Trump. A former C.I.A. officer and the lone black House Republican, he is a centrist and rare Republican critic of the president; when Mr. Trump attacked four freshman Democratic women, Mr. Hurd called the comments “racist and xenophobic.” Mr. Hurd has also expressed concerns about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, but has stopped short of calling for an impeachment inquiry, and joined every other Republican in voting against the resolution that authorized this week’s hearings. He is not running for re-election, which would seem to give him freedom to break with the president, but he has talked about a White House bid in 2024.
Val Demings, Democrat of Florida
Ms. Demings, 62, is the no-nonsense former chief of the Orlando, Florida police department, the first woman to hold the position. The youngest of seven children, she likes to tell the story of how she was born in a two-room wood-frame house in Jacksonville to parents of very modest means; her mother worked as a maid and her father was a janitor. Like Mr. Swalwell, she is also on the Judiciary Committee, which means she will both listen to evidence and help draft any impeachment articles. In questioning witnesses, she often draws on her law enforcement experience.
Michael R. Turner, Republican of Ohio
Mr. Turner, 59, a former mayor of Dayton, made news over the summer when he broke with his party to call for gun safety measures, including a ban on military-style weapons, after nine people were killed in a shooting in his home city. Mr. Turner has been very tough on Mr. Schiff, and has accused the chairman of distorting testimony in news interviews. Early in the inquiry, he took Mr. Schiff to task for dramatizing a telephone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. But at the same time, he was critical of Mr. Trump, saying, “Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the president: ‘This is not O.K. That conversation is not O.K.’”
The post Here Are the Key Members to Watch on the House Intelligence Committee appeared first on New York Times.