THINGS KEEPING DEMS BUSY
Yesterday, House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Let’s hear them.
The first one charges him with abuse of power. Dems say Trump used his office to push Ukraine to announce investigations, including into his political rival, former VP Joe Biden. And that he did it while withholding a White House visit and nearly $400 million in aid.
And the second?
Obstruction of Congress. Dems say Trump stalled Congress’s investigation in the impeachment inquiry. That he did it by preventing key senior officials from testifying before House committees. And that he blocked gov records from being shared with Congress.
So those are the charges, huh?
Yup. They’d considered a third one: obstruction of justice – connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. But they decided against it, apparently to keep the charges focused on Ukraine.
So what’s next?
The House Judiciary Committee has to debate and vote on the articles – which could come as early as this week. If one of the articles is approved, the full House votes on whether to impeach Trump. Then, a Senate trial – which will likely take place in early 2020 – will vote on whether to remove Trump from office.
What’s Trump saying about all of this?
House Dems took their next big step toward impeaching Trump. If they do, it will be the third impeachment of a US president in history. But on the same day they unveiled these charges, they gave Trump a win.
A deal on a deal
House Democrats just handed President Trump a win on trade.
This is about NAFTA’s replacement, isn’t it?
It is. The 1994 deal opened up trade between the US, Mexico, and Canada. But Trump has called it “the worst trade deal in the history of the country” and campaigned on renegotiating it to benefit American workers. Last year, he and the other two countries agreed on a new version. But he needed sign-off from House Democrats.
I take it he got it?
Yup. For months, Democrats had pushed back against the lack of environmental and labor standards in the deal. But they managed to add provisions to address that. The new deal would also give US farmers better access to the Canadian dairy market. And would work to protect manufacturing jobs by requiring more auto parts to be made in the USA.
People getting along in DC. You love to see it.
Right. The US’s trade rep said it’s “nothing short of a miracle” that everyone came together. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a “victory for American workers.” Trump called it “the most important trade deal ever made by the USA.”
So what’s next?
The House is expected to vote on it next week. If it passes, the Senate plans to take it up next year. Mexico and Canada’s legislatures need to sign off, too.
Trump just got one step closer to fulfilling a major campaign promise. And Democrats showed they can walk and chew gum (work on impeachment, sign off on trade deals) at the same time. Win and win.
Who people are watching…
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Today, she defended her country in front of the International Court of Justice – the UN’s highest court. Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country, has been accused of carrying out a genocide against Rohingya Muslims. In 2017, Myanmar’s military carried out attacks on the Rohingya, burning villages, raping women and children, and killing thousands of people. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. Suu Kyi has been criticized for her reluctance to speak out against the violence. Now, she’s calling the allegations against Myanmar “misleading.”
Fall from grace: Before this, Suu Kyi was known as a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner who campaigned for democracy. Some have called for the Prize to be withdrawn. Other groups, including Amnesty International, have already rescinded her honors.
Who’s off the hook for now…
Exxon Mobil. Yesterday, in one of the US’s first trials around climate change, a New York State judge sided with Exxon. This was over a years-long investigation into the company. NY prosecutors had accused Exxon of lying to investors and downplaying the expected impact of climate change regulation to its business. They wanted the company to pay shareholders $1.6 billion. But Exxon denied it had misled investors and dismissed the allegations as politically motivated. The judge ultimately sided with Exxon, saying prosecutors failed to prove the company broke the law.
Undeterred: NY Attorney General Letitia James said she’ll continue to fight to “end climate change” and to hold companies accountable if they threaten the “financial health and safety of Americans.”
Who’s been popular this year…
They: aka Merriam-Webster’s word of the year.
Who’s really into holiday movies…
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