Day 1112: A giant asterisk.
⚖️ Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial:
What happened today? The Senate voted to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment, rejecting the House’s charges that he should be removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote on abuse of power failed 48-52. Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican to vote in favor of the abuse of power charge. The second article, obstruction of Congress, also failed, 47-53 along party-lines. Ahead of the vote, Romney called Trump “guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust […] What the president did was wrong — grievously wrong.” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham claimed Trump’s acquittal was a “full vindication and exoneration” and that “only the president’s political opponents – all Democrats, and one failed Republican presidential candidate – voted for the manufactured impeachment articles.” The acquittal concludes five months of hearings and investigations into Trump’s withholding of U.S. military aid from Ukraine and pressuring of its leaders to investigate his Democratic rivals. A handful of Senate Republicans — Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — argued that while the House had proven its case and that Trump’s actions were wrong, they ultimately concluded that the charges did not merit removing Trump from office. Collins said she thinks Trump learned a “pretty big lesson” from the impeachment process and said she believes he will be “much more cautious in the future.” Trump, however, has continued to insist that he did nothing wrong and that his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a “perfect phone call.” He sent nearly 700 tweets or retweets about impeachment – an average of more than five per day – since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the inquiry in September. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it “a sad moment for democracy,” but that there’s a “giant asterisk” next to Trump’s acquittal because “he was acquitted without facts, he was acquitted without a fair trial.”
What’s next? Register to vote, mark Tuesday, November 3, 2020, on your calendar, and then go out and make your voice heard.
📝 Articles: New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Axios
💻 Live blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / CNN / CBS News / Axios
⚡️ Impeachment.wtf — The internet’s most comprehensive guide to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. Maintained by the WTF community. Updated daily.
😲 Romney Related: The Atlantic / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Bloomberg
📖 TRANSCRIPT: Romney’s speech on senate floor. (Politico)
1/ Trump’s July 18 hold on Ukraine military aid stunned Pentagon officials working to expedite delivery of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, according to emails and internal Pentagon documents. In an email to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a top Defense official communicated his concern about Trump’s “reported view that the US should cease providing security assistance” to Ukraine and its subsequent impact on national security in hopes that Esper could persuade Trump to drop the hold. (CNN)
2/ The White House national security adviser claimed that Trump never sought Ukraine’s help investigating Biden, despite Trump explicitly asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” Biden during the July 25 phone call. Robert O’Brien told an audience of ambassadors and reporters at the Meridian International Center that he’s “not aware of any request the president made to investigate the Bidens per se.” (Washington Post)
3/ Trump used his State of the Union address to claim credit for a “great American comeback,” contrasting his successes with the record of his predecessors, which he described three years ago as the “American carnage.” Trump refused to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand after entering the House chamber. During an 80-minute, hyper-partisan speech, Trump declared that “we have shattered the mentality of American Decline,” using his State of the Union to award conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest honor awarded to U.S. civilians. Limbaugh is a former “birther” conspiracy theorist, accused of making racist, sexist, homophobic, and other offensive comments throughout his 31-year career in talk radio as the host of the “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Trump also used the speech to engineer a surprise homecoming for a veteran and his family and to award a scholarship to a young girl. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Reuters / Associated Press / CNN / The Atlantic)
FACT CHECK: Trump’s State of the Union address. (NPR)
ANNOTATED: Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address. (Washington Post)
RATINGS: Trump’s address averaged 15.23 million viewers – down about 25% from last year. (Hollywood Reporter / The Wrap)
4/ Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy of Trump’s speech after he concluded his annual address to Congress. In a private meeting with Democrats following Trump’s State of the Union address, Pelosi said “He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech,” adding that “What we heard last night was a disgrace.” Pelosi told her colleagues that Trump “disrespected the chamber he was in […] to use it as a backdrop for a reality show […] to give a speech that had no connection with reality.” She called the speech “a pack of lies.” (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / The Hill)
poll/ 58% of American say they are better off financially than they were a year ago – up from 50% last year. 74% predict they will be better off financially a year from now. (Gallup)
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