news·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Impeachment in the Senate, Coronavirus, and 'Avocado Hand'

Impeachment Trial in the Senate
Getty Images
Jan 31, 2020


The Story

President Trump's impeachment trial could be coming to an end.

What do you mean?

First, a quick reminder of how we got here. Last year, the House impeached Trump over his dealings with Ukraine. This year, the Senate kicked off its trial. Impeachment managers and the president's legal team presented their case for and against conviction in front of the Senate. Then there were 16 hours of questions.

Who went first?

The impeachment managers aka House Democrats. They relied on new and old evidence to support their arguments to convict Trump. And focused on:

Abuse of power…as in the first charge against Trump. Democrats argued that he abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival – former VP Joe Biden (and his son, Hunter) – while withholding military aid to the country. It's a narrative that former national security adviser John Bolton's unpublished book seems to support.

Obstruction of in the second charge against Trump. Democrats argued that he obstructed Congress by blocking documents and witnesses during the House's investigation.

And Trump's legal team?

Trump's defense team argued the charges don't amount to impeachable offenses, and focused more on:

Quid pro quo…as in, one of Trump's lawyers argued that a president running for reelection cannot be impeached for quid pro quo if it's done in the best interest of the country.

The in, they argued that Trump didn't "specifically" ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, but instead asked for an investigation into the firing of a prosecutor investigating Burisma (a company Hunter Biden was on the board of).

Partisanship…as in, they claimed this impeachment was just an effort by Dems to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere in 2020's.

What happens now?

Today, the Senate will vote on whether to allow witnesses into the trial – something Dems have pushed for. Those calls grew after news of Bolton's unpublished manuscript came to light. But Dems still need four Republican senators to vote with them for this to happen – and only two seem ready to do it. If the vote passes, the trial continues. If not, the Senate could vote as early as today on whether to convict the president and remove him from office...or not. With a Republican-majority Senate, all bets are on acquittal.


Trump is the third-ever US president to be impeached. As early as today, the country could find out whether he's convicted or acquitted of the charges leveled against him. It's a decision that – whether it comes today or not – could reverberate over the course of this year's election, and for years to come.


What's ringing the alarm...

The World Health Organization. Yesterday, the org officially declared the new coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency. Last week, it refrained from doing so, saying it was "too early." But the number of cases increased more than tenfold in just a week, and the pneumonia-like virus has spread to over 20 countries. At least 213 people have died, and nearly 10,000 have been infected. The WHO is encouraging countries to work together to combat the coronavirus.

  • More alarm bells: In the US, the first human-to-human transfer of the virus has been recorded. Meanwhile, the State Department issued its highest-level alert for people wanting to travel to China. And says those already there should "consider departing."

Skimm This: Our latest podcast ep explains what a global health emergency actually means, and goes into the economic ramifications of the virus.

What some states are fighting for…

The Equal Rights Amendment. Yesterday, three attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the US government, calling on it to add the ERA to the US Constitution. The amendment, passed by Congress in 1972, bans discrimination on the basis of sex. But in a deadline imposed by Congress, 38 states needed to adopt the amendment by 1982 for it to be ratified. Only 35 states managed to do it on time. Now, AGs from the last three states needed to ratify the amendment – Virginia, Illinois, and Nevada – are suing, saying the Constitution doesn't give Congress the power to set a deadline on the ratification process.

 What's on the up and up...

US life expectancy. Yesterday, a CDC report said that life expectancy in the US increased in 2018 for the first time in four years. This was in part due to lower death rates from cancer and drug overdoses. The report also says that women are expected to outlive men by five years (81 and 76, respectively).

Psst...Age is more than just a number to your finances. Here's what a longer life expectancy could mean for your wallet.

Who's saying 'au revoir'…

Ginni Rometty. Yesterday, IBM announced that its first female CEO is stepping down. Since taking the role in 2012, Rometty invested heavily in cloud computing. But profits have been declining and so has the company's stock. Now the company's saying 'IBye' to Rometty and has IBMet someone else to take over.

What'll have millennials talking more than new emojis...


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