1/ Nancy Pelosi will transmit articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate next week. The trial could begin as soon as next week. The House will also consider a resolution next week to appoint impeachment managers. Trump, meanwhile, said he would “have to” block his former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying in the Senate trial, “for the sake of the office.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / NBC News / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC)
READ: Pelosi’s letter saying she is preparing for a vote next week to send articles of impeachment to Senate. (CNN)
2/ The operation that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad was more ambitious and multifaceted than the Trump administration has disclosed. The U.S. military targeted but failed to kill Abdul Reza Shahlai in Yemen, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force. A senior official said the two strikes were authorized around the same time and that the U.S. did not disclose the Shahlai mission because it did not go according to plan. Defense and State Department officials claimed the strike against Soleimani saved “dozens” if not “hundreds” of American lives from an imminent threat. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNN / ABC News)
- Trump claimed Iran had targeted four American embassies before he ordered the killing of Soleimani. Yesterday, Trump claimed that Iran was “looking to blow up” the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, but did not mention the three other embassies under “imminent” threat. (Bloomberg / Washington Post)
3/ The Trump administration announced new economic sanctions on Iran for “destabilizing activities.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sanctions would target eight individuals involved in Iran’s construction, manufacturing, textile and mining sectors. The Treasury also designated 17 Iranian metals producers and mining companies, along with entities based in China and the Seychelles, for other penalties. (CNBC / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ Iran accused western governments of “psychological warfare” for all claiming to have intelligence showing the Boeing jet that crashed near Tehran was shot down. Officials familiar with the intelligence said the aircraft was downed by two Russian-made SA-15 surface-to-air missiles that were detected soon after the Ukrainian jet took off. A spokesperson for the Iranian government, however, denied reports that Iran shot down the airliner, calling it “a big lie.” (Bloomberg / CNN)
5/ Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told the U.S. to come up with a mechanism for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. During a phone call with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mahdi said Iraq rejects all violations of its sovereignty, including the assassination of Soleimani on Iraqi soil by the U.S. and the ballistic missiles fired at Iraqi bases by Iranians in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing. Mahdi asked Pompeo to “send delegates to Iraq to prepare a mechanism to carry out the parliament’s resolution regarding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq,” according to a statement. The U.S. currently has more than 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq. (Associated Press / CNBC / Washington Post)
- The State Department said any delegation the U.S. sends to Iraq would not discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. In a statement, department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. presence in Iraq was “appropriate,” but added that there does “need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership.” (Reuters / New York Times)
6/ A New York judge rejected Trump’s effort to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll, who claims he raped her in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Carroll sued Trump in November, claiming he defamed her by saying she lied about the rape and that she was motivated by money and a political agenda to make up the allegation. Trump argued that because he made those statements while in Washington, D.C. – and not in New York – he could not be sued for them in a New York court. Justice Doris Ling-Cohan, however, rejected the argument. (New York Times / Bloomberg / CNBC)
- 📌 Day 883: Trump rejected an allegation by journalist E. Jean Carroll that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store dressing room in the 1990s, saying that he has “never met this person in my life.” According to Carroll, she met Trump inside Bergdorf Goodman when he told her he was buying a gift for “a girl” and needed help. While in the lingerie section, Carroll said Trump suggested a lace bodysuit, and encouraged her to try it on. “The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” Carroll writes. “He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.” More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump, meanwhile, said: “Shame on those who make up false stories of assault to try to get publicity for themselves, or sell a book, or carry out a political agenda.” (New York Magazine / Politico / Daily Beast)
7/ A Justice Department inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s business dealings has effectively ended with no criminal charges. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed John Huber to look into Republican allegations that donors to the Clinton Foundation had been given special treatment by Clinton when she served as secretary of state. Huber has largely finished and found nothing worth pursuing. (Washington Post / Reuters / CNN)
8/ The Trump administration is preparing to expand its travel ban. Draft documents of the plan – timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Trump’s January 2017 executive order – suggest the administration has been actively preparing media talking points, as well as a draft presidential proclamation. It’s unclear how many countries would be included in the expansion, but the proclamation includes seven slots that contain descriptors for each nation and varied restrictions. (Associated Press / BuzzFeed News)
poll/ 55% of U.S. adults support a full impeachment trial of Trump. 45% said they preferred to let voters decide Trump’s fate in the November election. (LX/Morning Consult)
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