Well, President Trump’s impeachment trial is off to a start.
That was the swearing in. And the announcement of seven impeachment managers – House Democrats whose job is to present the case against Trump before the Senate, which is serving as the jury. Two-thirds of the Senate (67 senators) will need to vote to convict Trump in order to remove him from office.
Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, when the House voted last year – largely along party lines – to impeach Trump over his dealings with Ukraine. Trump has repeatedly called the impeachment case a “hoax.”
Opening arguments are expected to kick off, after the trial resumes at 1pm ET. First, impeachment managers will lay out the House’s case against Trump. They may or may not bring up the nonpartisan report last week that said it had been illegal for the admin to withhold aid to Ukraine for “political” reasons. The rules are all part of a Republican-led resolution the Senate just passed.
They wanted to subpoena witnesses and documents. But didn’t have the numbers in the Republican-majority Senate to make that happen. Worth noting: it wasn’t the only chance. The Senate could still decide to call witnesses and bring in documents later in the trial.
Last year, Republicans accused Dems of exploiting their House majority to impeach the president. Now, Dems are accusing Republicans of similar partisan behavior in the Senate, which could lead to acquittal.
Skimm This: Our latest podcast ep looks into what a trial looks like on Capitol Hill.
This new virus. Yesterday, the CDC confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus in the US. A man in his 30s was hospitalized in Washington state after returning from a trip to Wuhan, China – where the outbreak began. The pneumonia-like virus – discovered last month – has killed at least nine people and sickened hundreds of others in China. Cases have also been reported in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. The World Health Organization is holding a meeting today to determine if the outbreak is an international public health emergency. Meanwhile, some health officials are worried about…
Super-spreaders: There are reportedly concerns that 14 health care workers in China may have been infected by a super-spreader, a highly infectious patient who can sicken dozens at once.
A challenge to Obamacare. Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected Democrats’ request to fast-track a challenge to the health care law. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that the law’s individual mandate (requiring people to have health insurance) was unconstitutional. And a lower court ruled the entire law invalid. Supporters argued that this created uncertainty for millions of people who rely on Obamacare for insurance, but the Supreme Court reportedly argued that there was no “emergency” to take it up right now. So stay tuned.
Flint, Michigan. Yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to take up a case on whether residents there can sue city and gov officials over the lead water crisis. About 25,000 people have sued since the crisis began – when Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River (known to be more corrosive) to cut costs. Government officials failed to treat the water to reduce corrosive effects on old pipes, and 12 people died after contracting Legionnaires’ disease. Now, this case heads back to the lower courts which had already decided in favor of allowing citizens to sue.
Glenn Greenwald. Yesterday, Brazilian prosecutors charged the American journalist with cybercrimes. They’re accusing Greenwald of helping hack government officials’ cellphone messages last year. This is about a story that apparently revealed a judge colluded with prosecutors to jail Brazil’s leftist former president. Greenwald hasn’t been arrested and says he won't be “intimidated.” But the charges are raising concerns among journalists and advocates about press freedoms under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.
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