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Wake Up To Politics - December 11, 2019

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Wednesday, December 11, 2019. 54 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 328 days until Election Day 2020. Have any comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com!

🚨: 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named TIME Magazine's 2019 "Person of the Year." The cover

House Democrats unveil articles of impeachment

The leaders of the House Democratic impeachment inquiry unveiled two articles of impeachment on Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

"Resolved, that Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors," the House resolution begins.

The first article of impeachment accuses Trump of soliciting "the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election" by pressuring Ukraine to pursue investigations into his political rivals and "conditioning official United States Government acts of significant value to Ukraine" — an Oval Office meeting and $391 million in military aid — "on its public announcement of the investigations."

"In all of this, President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal benefit," the first article concludes. "President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office."

The second article charges Trump with obstruction of Congress for directing "the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives" as part of the impeachment probe.

"We must be clear: No one, not even the president, is above the law," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) declared at a press conference on Tuesday, flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democratic committee chairs.

The articles of impeachment make no mention of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, which some Democrats had called for. Pelosi and her leadership team "ultimately decided that [adding a Mueller-related article] would become a more difficult message to sell and could cost votes on the floor," according to CNN.

Nadler's committee will begin considering the articles of impeachment at a 7 p.m. meeting tonight. The panel is then expected to vote on them Thursday, followed by a full House vote on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. If the articles are approved, Trump will become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson and BIll Clinton.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses reporters at a press conference on Tuesday, flanked by the committee chairs leading the impeachment inquiry.

The Rundown

Democrats back revised USCMA: "The White House and House Democrats reached an agreement to strengthen labor, environmental, pharmaceutical and enforcement provisions in President Trump’s North American trade pact, a significant development that made it all but certain that the signature trade deal would become law."

"The agreement on a revised United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was announced on Tuesday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi after months of negotiations, handing Mr. Trump one of his biggest legislative victories less than an hour after she unveiled articles of impeachment." (New York Times)

Barr sharpens attacks on FBI's Russia probe: "Attorney General William P. Barr on Tuesday dramatically intensified his attacks on the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign — asserting that the bureau opened the probe without good reason, pursued the case even after it had collapsed and might have acted in bad faith."

"In two media interviews, the top U.S. law enforcement official launched a broadside against his predecessors who handled one of the most sensitive investigations in FBI history, rejecting an assessment from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog that the case was opened with appropriate cause, not out of political animus." (Washington Post)

  • Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz, whose report found errors in the FBI's Russia probe but said the bureau had sufficient justification to open it, is slated to testify about his findings before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. today.

2020 Central: Two new national polls of the 2020 Democratic presidential race were released on Tuesday...

Quinnipiac University poll

  • Joe Biden: 29% (+5 since November)
  • Bernie Sanders: 17% (+1)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 15% (+1)
  • Pete Buttigieg: 9% (-7)
  • Michael Bloomberg: 5% (+2)
  • Andrew Yang: 4% (+2)
  • Amy Klobuchar: 3% (-)
  • Tulsi Gabbard: 2% (+1)

Monmouth University poll

  • Joe Biden: 26% (+3 since November)
  • Bernie Sanders: 21% (+1)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 17% (-6)
  • Pete Buttigieg: 8% (-1)
  • Michael Bloomberg: 5% (n/a)
  • Amy Klobuchar: 4% (+2)
  • Andrew Yang: 3% (-)
  • Cory Booker: 2% (-1)

The Quinnipiac poll gave Yang the final poll he needed to qualify for the upcoming debate on December 19. The entrepreneur will be one of seven candidates on stage; other contenders have until Thursday to qualify. Three candidates — Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard — have reached the fundraising threshold but not the polling mark. Gabbard, who needs only one additional qualifying poll while the others need four, announced on Tuesday that she plans to boycott the debate even if she qualifies.

More 2020 news...

  • "Biden signals to aides that he would serve only a single term" (Politico)
  • "Pete Buttigieg releases list of McKinsey clients" (CBS News)
  • "A free pass for Trump? GOP presses edge in key battlegrounds" (Associated Press)

Recommended read: "The mystery of Rudy Giuliani's spokeswoman" (Politico)

  • The fascinating story of Christianné Allen, the 20-year-old online college student who inflated her résumé and enmeshed herself in Trumpworld, rising to become communications director for the president's personal lawyer.

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Today at the White House

At 3:30 p.m., President Trump participates in the ceremonial swearing-in of Dan Brouillette as Secretary of Energy. Brouillette was confirmed by the Senate in a 70-15 vote last week. At 4 p.m. and 8:05 p.m., President and First Lady Trump participate in a pair of Hanukkah receptions.

Today in Congress

--- At 10 a.m., the House convenes. The chamber is scheduled to consider four pieces of legislation:

  1. H.R. 5038 – Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019
  2. S. 1790 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
  3. H.R. 3 – Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019
  4. H.R. 729 – Coastal and Great Lakes Communities Enhancement Act

--- At 9:30 a.m., the Senate convenes. Following Leader remarks, the chamber will resume consideration of the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. At 12 p.m., the chamber will vote on the passage of H.R. 2333, the Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act. The Senate is also expected to hold roll call votes on additional executive nominations.

Today at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases today:

  1. Monasky v. Taglieri, which focuses on the determination of an infant's habitual residence
  2. McKinney v. Arizona, a case involving the state of Arizona and a man whose death sentence by a state judge was reversed by a federal court

Today on the trail

--- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) participates in a discussion at the Edward M. Kenned Institute for the U.S. Senate in Boston, Massachusetts.

--- Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) campaigns in Las Vegas, Nevada, touring the Culinary Health Center and attending a Culinary Union town hall hosted by UNITE HERE. He will later attend fundraisers in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California.

--- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN) attends three fundraisers in New York City, New York.

--- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro (D) visits Iowa, meeting with representatives of the Iowa Farmers Union and the Center for Rural Affairs in the city of Nevada, holding a town hall at Grinnell College in Grinnell, and attending a meet and greet at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

--- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) delivers a "major address on her vision for the future of U.S. foreign policy" at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.

--- Former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) campaigns in Columbia, South Carolina, getting a haircut and meeting with voters at MJ's Barber Salon and having lunch with Rev. Dr. Thurmond Bowens, Jr., at Trinity Church.

--- Spiritual author Marianne Williamson (D) addresses employees of Nationwide in Des Moines, Iowa.

--- Entrpeenyer Andrew Yang (D) continues his "A New Way Forward" bus tour through Iowas. He will stop in Davenport to attend a veterans appreciation breakfast at a local American Legion post and go bowling at Big River Bowling, and in Cedar Rapids to attend a student forum on the climate crisis with state Sen. Rob Hogg (D-IA) at Kennedy High School and participate in a union town hall.

*All times Eastern