⚖️ Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial:

What happened today? House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers delivered their closing arguments in the Senate impeachment trial. Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, used his closing arguments to warn Republican senators that “It is midnight in Washington” and that “You can’t trust this president to do the right thing, not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country, you just can’t. He will not change and you know it. […] A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way.” Schiff added: “History will not be kind to Donald Trump.” Trump’s lawyers, meanwhile, urged senators to “stand firm” and “leave it to the voters.”

What’s next? The trial is adjourned until Wednesday, but senators are now giving speeches on the Senate floor to deliver remarks about whether they are for or against the articles of impeachment. Trump, meanwhile, will deliver his State of the Union Address Tuesday night in the House. The Senate will vote at 4 p.m. Wednesday on the two impeachment charges against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


1/ Some Republican senators have acknowledged that Trump’s pressuring of Ukraine for political investigations was inappropriate – or wrong – but they say his actions, even if improper, do not meet the high bar for removing him from office. (New York Times / Washington Post)

2/ Sen. Joe Manchin called on the Senate to consider censuring Trump, saying that doing so “would allow a bipartisan statement condemning his unacceptable behavior in the strongest terms.” The moderate Democrat has prepared a censure resolution, which argues that Trump “used the office of the president of the United States to attempt to compel a foreign nation to interfere with domestic political affairs for his own personal benefit” and that “Trump hindered the thorough investigation of related documents and prohibited Congress and the American people from hearing testimony by first-hand witnesses with direct knowledge of his conduct.” (Washington Post)

3/ The Justice Department admitted that it is withholding 24 emails related to Trump’s involvement in withholding security aid to Ukraine. The emails were sent between June and September 2019. The court filing by the DOJ marks the first official acknowledgement that the emails containing Trump’s thinking regarding the hold on the aid exist, and that Trump was directly involved in asking for the hold as early as June. The Trump administration is still blocking the emails from the public and from Congress. (CNN / Washington Post)

poll/ 46% of voters say Trump should be removed from office as a result of the impeachment trial, versus 49% who say he should remain president. 52% say they believe Trump abused the power of his office by asking a foreign government to investigate a political opponent, compared with 41% who disagree. (NBC News)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration has been hiring immigration judges who have no experience in immigration law. The experience requirement for immigration judges doesn’t mention immigration law experience, but only that applicants must have seven years of “post-bar experience as a licensed attorney preparing for, participating in, and/or appealing formal hearings or trials.” Of the 28 new immigration judges recently sworn in by the Executive Office for Immigration Review, 17 of them had any immigration law experience. (The Hill)

  2. Officials at NOAA were “sick” and “flabbergasted” about Trump’s inaccurate statements, altered forecast map, and tweets about Hurricane Dorian in September, according to emails released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. The emails also show that the No. 2 official at the agency claimed that neither he nor the acting administrator approved the unsigned statement that a NOAA spokesperson issued on Sept. 6, which criticized the Birmingham National Weather Service forecast office for a tweet that contradicted Trump’s inaccurate assertion that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” from the Category 5 storm. (BuzzFeed News / Washington Post / NBC News)

  3. The House Oversight Committee threatened Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with a subpoena, saying DeVos’ office “stonewalled and delayed” when the committee tried to confirm a date for her testimony. (Politico)

  4. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie fired his No. 2 at the VA. James Byrne was on the job less than five months. (Politico)

  5. Trump congratulated the “Great State of Kansas” on Twitter after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are based in Missouri. Trump quickly deleted the tweet and posted a new one with the correct state. (Sports Illustrated)


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