Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial: Senators reconvened in the Capitol for the third day of Trump’s impeachment trial with House impeachment managers making their case to both senators and the American people that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine for his own personal gain while hurting the national interest. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said “The charges set forth in the first article of impeachment are firmly grounded in the Constitution of the United States,” and that “No president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections.” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff added that Trump “is a president who truly feels that he can do whatever he wants.” Schiff concluded the day by urging senators to asked whether they believed that Trump would put the nation’s interests before his own, saying “If you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.” Democrats have used their 24 hours of opening arguments to target a small group of Senate Republicans they hope will cross the aisle and vote with them to issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses. Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney have hinted they could be open to the possibility of calling witnesses. Trump, meanwhile, is reportedly “very pleased” with how the trial is going and is eager to prove “he’s done nothing wrong.” (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN)

  • 👨‍💻 Live blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / The Guardian / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / CBS News

  • ⚡️ Impeachment.wtf – The internet’s most comprehensive guide to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Maintained by the WTF community. Updated daily.

  • Senate Democrats called on the White House to declassify a letter from a national security aide to Mike Pence related to Pence’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. House Democrats asked Pence to declassify the letter from Pence aide Jennifer Williams last month. He declined, claiming it “serves no purpose.” Schiff has indicated the letter “corroborates” other testimony in the impeachment inquiry. (Politico)

  • Senate Democrats believe acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is the “most important” potential witness in Trump’s trial. A procedural vote on whether to subpoena new witnesses and documents is scheduled for next week. (Politico)

  • Republican Sen. Richard Burr handed out fidget spinners to his GOP colleagues. (NBC News)

  • Trump, comparing his impeachment to Clinton’s, said the difference is that “with me, there’s no lying” – and then he made at least 14 false claims related to impeachment and Ukraine. (CNN)

  • Three House impeachment managers said the American public will view it as a “rigged trial” if the Senate votes to acquit Trump. Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Sylvia Garcia, and Val Demings also spoke about the need for witnesses in the trial, adding that even an acquittal won’t amount to an exoneration of Trump. (NBC News)

  • Senators are considering a short, morning-only impeachment trial session on Saturday to hear the beginning of the opening arguments from Trump’s defense counsel and then allowing senators to leave town for the weekend.

  • The Senate impeachment trial could end by next Thursday or Friday if the White House decides not to use its full 24 hours for opening arguments.


💬 Impeachment Quotables:

  1. Trump floated a “very specific conspiracy theory” that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. “This theory was brought to you by the Kremlin.” –House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff

  2. White House lawyers will not include “a refutation of the evidence,” but instead focus on complaints about process and the managers’ motives. –House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler

  3. “No president has abused his power in this way.”Nadler

  4. Trump’s conduct “puts even Nixon to shame.”Nadler

  5. “It wasn’t until Biden began beating him in polls that [Trump] called for the investigation,” adding that Trump “had the motive, he had the opportunity and the means to commit this abuse of power.” –Impeachment manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia

  6. “Acquittal will have zero value” for Trump without witnesses. –Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer

  7. Senators who don’t want to hear from witnesses are “afraid of the truth.”Schumer

  8. Trump wasn’t “bragging” about obstructing Congress when he told reporters “we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”White House spokesman Hogan Gidley


✏️ Notables.

1/ The Trump administration will strip federal pollution protections for rivers, streams, and wetlands. The new rule, which replaces the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States” regulation, will remove protections from more than half the nation’s wetlands, as well as hundreds of thousands of small waterways. It also allows landowners and property developers to dump pollutants, such as pesticides and fertilizers directly into many of those waterways — or to destroy or fill in wetlands for construction projects. A government advisory board of scientists, many of whom were appointed by Trump, wrote last month that the new rule “neglects established science.” (New York Times / The Guardian / NPR / Axios)

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin criticized 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, saying that “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain [her call for a complete divestment from the fossil fuel industry].” In response, Thunberg said that “it doesn’t take a college degree in economics” to understand ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and our remaining carbon budget “don’t add up.” (CNBC / The Guardian / New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ The Director of National Intelligence failed to turn over a report to Congress on the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In December, lawmakers passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump signed into law on Dec. 20. The bill included a provision ordering Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, to send the unclassified report identifying those responsible for Khashoggi’s death at a Saudi Arabian consulate in 2018 to four congressional committees: the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, and the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees. The legislation set the deadline for the report at 30 days, which passed earlier this week. (BuzzFeed News)

  • 📌 Day 1098: Jeff Bezos had his mobile phone “hacked” in 2018 after receiving a WhatsApp message from the personal account of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A digital forensic analysis found it “highly probable” that an unsolicited video sent on May 1 by Crown Prince Mohammed infected Bezos’s phone with spyware that enabled surveillance. United Nations human rights experts suggested the hack was an attempt to “influence, if not silence” news coverage of the kingdom by the Washington Post, which Bezos owns. Six months after the hack, Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered after criticizing the Saudi crown prince in his columns. The CIA concluded that MBS had personally ordered the assassination. Weeks after the murder, Bezos received a message from MBS that included a photo of a woman who strongly resembled Lauren Sanchez, who Bezos was having an affair that had not been made public. In Feb. 2019, the National Enquirer obtained and published private text messages and photos from Bezos’s phone showing that he was engaged in an extramarital relationship. The United Nations called on the U.S. and “other relevant authorities” to open an investigation into the hack of Bezos’s phone, citing a pattern of similar surveillance of perceived critics of the Saudi government. Trump and Jared Kushner have maintained close ties with the crown prince despite international outcry over Khashoggi’s death and the assessment by Trump’s own intelligence services that the crown prince was likely involved. (The Guardian / New York Times / TechCrunch / Wall Street Journal /Daily Beast / Washington Post / The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)

3/ Trump will become the first sitting president to attend and address the anti-abortion March for Life, an annual anti-abortion event in Washington. In 2017, Pence became the first sitting vice president to attend the event, and in 2018, Trump became the first president to address the rally by video. In his speech, Trump vowed that his administration would “always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.” (Bloomberg / New York Times / CNN)

  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos compared the abortion rights debate to slavery, saying President Abraham Lincoln “contended with the ‘pro-choice’ arguments of his day. They suggested that a state’s ‘choice’ to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it.” (Politico)

4/ Trump said he doesn’t consider concussion symptoms reported by American troops to be “very serious injuries,” suggesting they were just “headaches.” Following the Iranian airstrikes on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, the Pentagon put a number of service members through medical examinations for possible traumatic brain injuries. (New York Times)

5/ Room rates at the Trump National Doral more than doubled just before the White House announced that Trump would address the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting. The rates raised from from $254 to $539, which is slightly below the maximum per-night rate federal government rules permit for a hotel in South Florida, and is triple the normal “per diem” rate employees are supposed to follow. (HuffPost)


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