I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP world headquarters in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, January 23, 2020. 11 days until the Iowa caucuses. 285 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.
House Democratic managers present their case to the Senate
New York Times: "The House Democratic impeachment managers began formal arguments in the Senate trial on Wednesday, presenting a meticulous and scathing case for convicting President Trump and removing him from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress."
"Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House prosecutor, took the lectern in the chamber as senators sat silently preparing to weigh Mr. Trump’s fate. Speaking in an even, measured manner, he accused the president of a corrupt scheme to pressure Ukraine for help 'to cheat' in the 2020 presidential election."
"Invoking the nation’s founders and their fears that a self-interested leader might subvert democracy for his own personal gain, Mr. Schiff argued that the president’s conduct was precisely what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they devised the remedy of impeachment, one he said was 'as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat.'"
"'If not remedied by his conviction in the Senate, and removal from office, President Trump’s abuse of his office and obstruction of Congress will permanently alter the balance of power among the branches of government,' Mr. Schiff said in his opening remarks. 'The president has shown that he believes that he’s above the law and scornful of constraint.'"
. . . "In a series of speeches, Mr. Schiff and the six other impeachment managers asserted that the president pressured Ukraine to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden, while withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in security aid for Kyiv and a White House meeting for its president. When he was caught, they said, Mr. Trump ordered a cover-up, blocking witnesses and denying Congress the evidence that could corroborate his scheme."
--- Politico: "Democrats shed any pretense of offering a streamlined, made-for-TV version of events meant to captivate the Senate or the nation. For much of the day, they cast aside any attempt to make a narrowly tailored case to Republicans that they should support calls for additional witnesses."
"Instead, they decided to hammer senators with everything they had: an all-day torrent of intricate information, peppered with screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages and about 50 video clips — nearly three times more than House Republicans used during the entirety of their arguments in the 1999 Clinton trial."
--- Biden knocks down witness deal: "Joe Biden said definitively on Wednesday that he would not participate in any witness swap as part of the Senate impeachment trial. His remarks came as other top Senate Democrats attempted to tamp down any notion that they would agree to call Biden or his son Hunter in return for appearances by top Trump administration officials." (Washington Post)
--- Meanwhile... "Stuck in the Senate as Their 2020 Rivals Have Iowa to Themselves" (New York Times)
The Trump Administration
--- "The Trump administration on Thursday will finalize a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and other water bodies, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers who said Obama-era rules had shackled them with onerous and unnecessary burdens." (New York Times)
--- "The Trump administration is coming out Thursday with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting 'birth tourism,' in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport." (Associated Press)
--- "Trump appeared to express a new openness to revamping entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare in an interview aired Wednesday morning, potentially opening the door to overhauling two of the country’s largest government programs [and reversing on a 2016 campaign promise] if he is elected to a second term." (Washington Post)
President Donald Trump will travel to Florida to deliver remarks at the Republican National Committee Winter Meeting, which is being hosted at his resort in Doral. Trump will then return to Washington, D.C.
Vice President Mike Pence touched down in Israel early this morning and delivered remarks at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Later today, he will visit the Western Wall and meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
The Senate convenes at 1 p.m. to "sit as a Court of Impeachment for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States." The House managers will continue to make their opening arguments today; according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), they will focus on "apply[ing] the facts to the law as it pertains to the president's abuse of power."
Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will address the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., and attend two events in South Carolina. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will host a town hall in New Hampshire. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will host a town hall and attend a local Democratic event in New Hampshire. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang will hold five town halls in Iowa.
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