Trump Administration, Week 158: Friday, 24 January – Thursday, 30 January 2020 (Days 1,100-1,106)

 

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

 

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

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Friday, 24 January 2020, Day 1,100:

 

Branding Trump a Danger, Democrats Cap the Case for His Removal, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 24 January 2020: “House Democrats concluded their arguments against President Trump on Friday by portraying his pressure campaign on Ukraine as part of a dangerous pattern of Russian appeasement that demanded his removal from office. Ending their three-day presentation in the Senate, the impeachment managers summoned the ghosts of the Cold War and the realities of geopolitical tensions with Russia to argue that Mr. Trump’s abuse of power had slowly shredded delicate foreign alliances to suit his own interests. ‘This is Trump first, not America first, not American ideals first,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager. ‘And the result has been, and will continue to be, grave harm to our nation if this chamber does not stand up and say this is wrong.’… Mr. Schiff’s fiery final oration appeared to alienate the very Republicans he was trying to win over. When he referred to an anonymously sourced news report that Republican senators had been warned that their heads would be ‘on a pike’ if they voted against Mr. Trump, several of them vigorously shook their heads and broke their sworn silence: ‘not true.'” See also, Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Friday’s Trial, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Day in Impeachment: Democrats Outline Trump’s Efforts to Cover Up Conduct, The New York Times, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Emotional Speech by Adam Schiff Goes Viral, Delighting the Left and Enraging the Right, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, House impeachment managers declare ‘facts have been proved’ as they wrap up their opening arguments against Trump, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Friday, 24 January 2020: “House managers completed their opening arguments late Friday in the historic impeachment trial focused on President Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine, declaring ‘acts have been proved.’ Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the lead House manager, summed up his team’s arguments, pleading for a fair trial while telling senators ‘Donald J. Trump has abused the power of the presidency.’ Over the course of three days, managers presented arguments for a total of 21 hours and 18 minutes — falling short of the 24 hours they were allotted. The crux of their case is the allegation that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a political rival, as well as his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, while his father was vice president.” See also, In first day of defense, Trump’s team argues that he did nothing wrong, and that Democrats presented selective case, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, Adam Schiff delivered a detailed, hour-long summary of the Democrats’ impeachment case. Some Republicans dismissed it because of one line. The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Friday, 24 January 2020: “Rep. Adam B. Schiff spoke for nearly an hour closing the House’s case for the removal of President Trump, advancing and rebutting scores of arguments, but many Republican senators left the chamber talking about only one line: His reference to a news report that GOP senators were warned that if they vote against the president, their “head will be on a pike.” See also, Friday’s Senate impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Democrats focus on Trump’s character as they argue for removing him from office in impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Karoun Demirjian, and Mike DeBonis, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Democrats say impeachment case ‘has been proved’ as they make final pitch, The Guardian, Vivain Ho and Joan E. Greve, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Trump’s Impeachment Trial–Live Analysis, The Wall Street Journal, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, Impeachment Trial of President Trump, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, and Mike Hayes, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, House impeachment managers wrap up their case with Trump’s obstruction of Congress, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, published on Saturday 25 January 2020. See also, Democrats warn at impeachment trial that Trump will abuse his office again if not removed, Reuters, Susan Cornwell and David Morgan, Friday, 24 January 2020: “Democratic lawmakers concluded their opening arguments in Republican President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate on Friday with a warning that he was a threat to democracy and would abuse his power again if he is not removed from office.” See also, ‘Imminent threat’: Democrats make final case to remove Trump, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 24 January 2020: “President Donald Trump remains an ‘imminent threat to the integrity of our democracy,’ the House’s top impeachment manager Adam Schiff argued Friday in an extraordinary Senate-floor appeal in which he accused Trump of embracing Russian propaganda at the expense of U.S. national security. ‘The threat that he will continue to abuse his power and cause grave harm to the nation over the course of the next year … is not hypothetical,’ Schiff argued. ‘Merely exposing the president’s scheme has not stopped him from continuing this destructive pattern of behavior that has brought us to this somber moment. He is who he is.'”

Trump complains about his defense team’s ‘Death Valley’ impeachment time slot, Politico, Quint Forgey, Friday, 24 January 2020: “President Donald Trump, flashing the fixation of a former reality television showman, lamented on Friday that his impeachment defense team was being made to present its case this weekend during the “Death Valley” of broadcast time slots.”

‘Take her out’: Recording appears to capture Trump at private dinner saying he wants Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired, ABC News, Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, Allison Pecorin, and Olivia Rubin, Friday, 24 January 2020: “A recording obtained by ABC News appears to capture President Donald Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired while speaking at a small gathering that included Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — two former business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who have since been indicted in New York. The recording appears to contradict statements by Trump and support the narrative that has been offered by Parnas during broadcast interviews in recent days. Sources familiar with the recording said the recording was made during an intimate April 30, 2018, dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.” See also, Lev Parnas Says He Has Recording of Trump Calling for Ambassador’s Firing, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Ben Protess, Friday, 24 January 2020: “A former associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said on Friday that he had turned over to congressional Democrats a recording from 2018 of the president ordering the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as the United States ambassador to Ukraine. The associate, Lev Parnas, who worked with Mr. Giuliani to oust the ambassador and to pressure the Ukrainian government to pursue investigations to help Mr. Trump, located the recording on Friday after its existence was first reported by ABC News, said Joseph A. Bondy, Mr. Parnas’s lawyer. Mr. Bondy said the recording was “of high materiality to the impeachment inquiry” of Mr. Trump and that he had provided it to the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, is leading the impeachment managers in their presentation of the case.”

Continue reading Week 158, Friday, 24 January – Thursday, 30 January 2020 (Days 1,100-1,106)

Pentagon says 34 U.S. troops were diagnosed with brain injuries after Iranian missile attack, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Friday, 24 January 2020: “The Pentagon said Friday that 34 U.S. service members were diagnosed with varying degrees of brain injuries after Iran’s ballistic missile attack in Iraq this month, an increase in the number of troops known to have been hurt in the explosions. President Trump said the morning after the Jan. 8 attack that no U.S. troops were harmed. But defense officials have said information about injuries was not relayed to Washington until later because no service members suffered loss of life, limb or eyesight. On Wednesday, Trump downplayed the significance of the brain injuries. ‘I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things,’ he said. ‘But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious, not very serious.'” See also, Pentagon Says 34 Troops Have Brain Injuries From Iranian Missile Strike, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Friday, 24 January 2020: “The Defense Department said Friday that 34 American service members have traumatic brain injuries from Iranian airstrikes on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq, contradicting President Trump’s dismissal of injuries among American troops this week. A Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, told a news conference that eight of the affected service members have returned to the United States from an American military hospital in Germany. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump dismissed concussion symptoms felt by the troops as ‘not very serious,’ even as the Pentagon acknowledged that a number of American service members were being studied for possible traumatic brain injury caused by the attack.’I heard they had headaches,’ Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Davos,  Switzerland. ‘I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries I have seen.’ Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and his party’s ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, called on Mr. Trump to apologize for belittling the injuries suffered by the troops.” See also, 34 troops diagnosed with brain injuries days after Trump dismissed them as ‘headaches,’ Politico, Connor O’Brien, Friday, 24 January 2020.

Trump Administration Threatens California Over Abortion, The New York Times, Pam Belluck, Friday, 24 January 2020: “The Trump administration threatened on Friday to withhold federal money from California if the state does not drop its requirement that private insurers cover abortions. In an announcement on the morning of the March for Life, the high-profile annual anti-abortion rights demonstration, the Department of Health and Human Services said it would give California 30 days to commit to lifting the requirement. If the state does not do so, the administration said it will take steps to cut off money from one or more federal funding streams.” See also, Trump Administration Strikes at California’s Abortion-Coverage Mandate, The Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Armour and Catherine Lucey, Friday, 24 January 2020:”The Trump administration told California it is violating federal law by requiring insurers to cover abortion and threatened to withhold federal funding if the state doesn’t end its mandate, the latest move in a broader White House effort to establish religion-based exemptions to reproductive-rights statutes.” See also, Trump threatens to cut California funding over abortion coverage, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Friday, 24 January 2020.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Lashes Out at Mary Louise Kelly of NPR and Challenges Her to Find Ukraine on a Map, The New York Times, Michael Levenson, Friday, 24 January 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, apparently angered by a reporter’s questions about the Trump administration’s firing of the United States ambassador to Ukraine, lashed out at her after the interview, cursing and challenging her to find Ukraine on a map, according to the reporter…. [I]n a broadcast later on NPR, Ms. Kelly described what happened next. She said the aide who had stopped the interview reappeared and asked her to come with her, with no recorder. Ms. Kelly said she was taken to Mr. Pompeo’s private living room, where he was waiting, and ‘where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,’ Ms. Kelly said on NPR. ‘He asked, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He used the f-word in that sentence, and many others.’ Mr. Pompeo asked Ms. Kelly if she could find Ukraine on a map, and Ms. Kelly, whose reporting has taken her around the world — to Russia, North Korea and other countries — said, ‘Yes.’ ‘He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked,’ Ms. Kelly said. ‘I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, People will hear about this.’” See also, Transcript: NPR’s Full Interview With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NPR, Friday, 24 January 2020. See also, After Contentious Interview, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Publicly Accuses NPR Journalist of Lying to Him, NPR, David Welna, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “One day after a contentious interview that was followed by an expletive-filled verbal lashing of NPR host Mary Louise Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is publicly accusing her of lying to him — ‘twice.’ In a statement released by the State Department on Saturday, Pompeo says Kelly first lied ‘in setting up our interview.’ He does not explain how and offers no evidence. In their recorded interview from Friday, the nation’s top diplomat declined to respond when Kelly asked whether he owed an apology to Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was ousted from that post last year after allies of President Trump accused her of disloyalty. ‘I agreed to come on your show today,’ Pompeo replied, ‘to talk about Iran.’ Kelly pushed back, telling Pompeo, ‘I confirmed with your staff last night that I would talk about Iran and Ukraine.’ She later said she specifically flagged her intention to do so in writing, noting, ‘I never agree to take any topics off the table.'” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Denounces News Media, Undermining U.S. Message on Press Freedom, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo escalated his clash with a respected NPR journalist on Saturday, lashing out at her and what he called the ‘unhinged’ news media in an extraordinary statement. A day earlier, he abruptly ended an interview with her and delivered what the news outlet described as a profanity-laced rant. The statement, which used the fiery language to attack the news media that has become a trademark of President Trump and his allies, ignited outrage online among foreign policy experts, scholars of diplomacy and press freedom advocates. Mr. Pompeo violated the goals and nonpartisan nature of his office, whose core mission is to promote American values worldwide, including freedom of the press, they said. The interview between Mr. Pompeo and the reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, circulated widely after it was published on Friday night. Describing a tense exchange after a taped part of the interview, Ms. Kelly said that Mr. Pompeo shouted at her repeatedly using the ‘f-word’ and challenged her to find Ukraine on an unlabeled map that his aides pulled out, which she did.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses NPR reporter of lying and calls news media ‘unhinged,’ The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, Emails support NPR host after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls her a liar in setting up contentious interview, The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, published on Sunday, 26 January 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says an NPR host lied in setting up an interview with him on Friday, but email records support the journalist’s account of how the contentious exchange came to be. The emails, obtained by The Washington Post, indicate that Pompeo’s staff was aware that NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly would ask Pompeo about several topics in the interview and raised no objections, contrary to Pompeo’s characterization. In an extraordinary statement issued on State Department letterhead on Saturday, Pompeo blasted Kelly for repeatedly asking him why he refused to express support for the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Kelly said afterward Pompeo berated her using profanity and challenged her to locate Ukraine on an unmarked map, which Kelly said she did.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is part of ‘unhinged’ US media conspiracy, The Guardian, Richard Luscombe, Saturday, 25 January 2020.

Trump Tells Anti-Abortion Marchers, ‘Unborn Children Have Never Had a Stronger Defender in the White House,’ The New York Times, Elizabeth Dias, Annie Karni, and Sabrina Tavernise, Friday, 24 January 2020: “Demonstrators flooded the National Mall on Friday morning in anticipation of a historic moment for the anti-abortion movement: the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life in person. President Trump did not disappoint them. ‘Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,’ he told the crowd of religious-school groups and anti-abortion activists who packed the mall to hear him speak. Past Republican presidents who opposed abortion sent video messages or delegated a surrogate to speak in their place at the march. But when Mr. Trump announced this week on Twitter that he planned to speak in front of the group, he made it clear he was intent on solidifying his support with socially conservative voters on the day House Democrats were making their final formal argument for his removal from office.” See also, ‘I am fighting for you’: Trump rallies antiabortion activists in unprecedented appearance at the March for Life, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Friday, 24 January 2020.

The Environmental Protection Agency Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come, The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle, Friday, 24 January 2020: “The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists. Cities have long complained about the cost of meeting federal requirements to upgrade aging sewer systems, many of which release untreated waste directly into waterways during heavy rains — a problem that climate change worsens as rainstorms intensify. These complaints have gained new traction with the Trump administration, which has been more willing to renegotiate the agreements that dictate how, and how quickly, cities must overhaul their sewers. The actions are the latest example of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back nearly 95 environmental rules that it has said are too costly for industry or taxpayers. That list grew on Thursday, when the administration stripped clean-water protections from wetlands, streams and other waterways.”

 

Saturday, 25 January 2020, Day 1,101:

 

Trump Team, Opening Defense, Accuses Democrats of Plot to Subvert Election, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “President Trump’s legal defense team mounted an aggressive offense on Saturday as it opened its side in the Senate impeachment trial by attacking his Democratic accusers as partisan witch-hunters trying to remove him from office because they could not beat him at the ballot box. After three days of arguments by the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, the president’s lawyers presented the senators a radically different view of the facts and the Constitution, seeking to turn the Democrats’ charges back on them while denouncing the whole process as illegitimate…. The president’s team spent only two of the 24 hours allotted to them so that senators could leave town for the weekend before the defense presentation resumes on Monday, but it was the first time his lawyers have formally made a case for him since the House opened its inquiry in September. The goal was to poke holes in the House managers’ arguments in order to provide enough fodder to Senate Republicans already inclined to acquit him.” See also, Trump Impeachment: Highlights of Saturday’s Trial, The New York Times, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, Trump’s lawyers begin their defense in impeachment trial as Republicans rally around the president, The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Mike DeBonis, and Rachael Bade, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “Lawyers for President Trump argued Saturday that he had valid reasons for withholding military aid from Ukraine and that House prosecutors overlooked facts that are more favorable to his case, giving a short preview of the aggressive defense they are expected to mount this coming week in the Senate impeachment trial. In a two-hour presentation that reserved their most provocative attacks for Monday, members of Trump’s legal team echoed the president’s justifications for his actions toward Ukraine and sought to plant doubts about both the prosecutors’ case and its lead advocate, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.). Yet, in arguing that the case for Trump’s removal was partisan and misleading, lawyers for the president omitted facts, presented claims that lacked context or minimized evidence gathered by House investigators. Their most sweeping arguments did not specifically defend Trump but instead framed impeachment as no more than a politically motivated effort to remove him from the ballot in November.” See also, Trump’s defense ‘trailer,’ The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, Assessing the Trump team’s 6-point impeachment defense, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “President Trump’s legal team in his impeachment trial began its defense on Saturday morning with a slightly more lawyerly version of one of Trump’s favorite tweets: read the transcript. ‘They didn’t talk a lot about the transcript of the call,’ White House counsel Pat Cipollone told the assembled senators in the Senate chambers at the outset of his remarks, ‘which I would submit is the best evidence of what happened on the call.’ That line, in itself, is a neat encapsulation of Trump’s case. It focuses on the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25, 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as exculpatory — while also asserting that the central issue is the call itself. It isn’t. The presented evidence shows a broad campaign of pressure of which that call was only one part, a campaign that is harder for Trump’s team to refute.” See also, Trump’s legal team targets Adam Schiff in effort to undercut impeachment case, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 25 January 2020: ” See also, Trump’s legal team launches attack on impeachment case Democrats presented, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Darren Samuelsohn, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “President Donald Trump’s lawyers laced into the House’s impeachment case Saturday, opening their defense with pointed — and at times personal — efforts to seed doubt in GOP senators’ minds about Democrats’ push to remove Trump from office.” See also, What we learned at the Trump impeachment trial on Saturday, Politico, Saturday, 25 January 2020. See also, Trump’s Defense Says Democrats Have Failed to Make Impeachment Case, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “In their first chance to address the Senate after three days of arguments by Democratic House impeachment managers, the president’s lawyers sought to undercut the Democrats’ case that Mr. Trump abused the power of his office by asking a foreign leader to investigate a political rival and obstructed Congress’s impeachment inquiry. The defense team, opting to use just two hours of its time, argued that the president’s actions were in the national interest and that Democrats’ investigation was politically motivated.”

Could Trump Muzzle John Bolton? The Limits of Executive Privilege, Explained. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “Republican senators allied with President Trump are increasingly arguing that the Senate should not call witnesses or subpoena documents for his impeachment trial because Mr. Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege, and a legal fight would take too long to resolve. But it is far from clear that Mr. Trump has the power to gag or delay a witness who is willing to comply with a subpoena and tell the Senate what he knows about the president’s interactions with Ukraine anyway — as Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton has said he would do.”

Tape Made Public of Trump Discussing Ukraine With Donors, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Ben Protess, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “For more than an hour one evening in 2018, President Trump sat around a dinner table in a private suite in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the center of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics — and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine. The conversation, captured on a recording made public Saturday, contradicted Mr. Trump’s repeated statements that he does not know the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who went on to work with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to carry out a pressure campaign on Ukraine. The recording — a video shot on Mr. Fruman’s phone during the dinner in April 2018 — largely confirmed Mr. Parnas’s account of having raised with Mr. Trump criticisms of the ambassador to Kyiv at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch, and the president’s immediate order that Ms. Yovanovitch should be removed from the post. ‘Get rid of her,’ Mr. Trump can be heard responding. The recording was made public by Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, hours after the president’s lawyers began presenting their defense in the impeachment trial and as Democrats looked for leverage to persuade Republicans to support their calls to expand the inquiry by introducing additional evidence and calling new witnesses.” See also, 6 Revelatory Moments From the Video of Trump’s Private Donor Dinner, The New York Times, Aimee Ortiz, Michael Levenson, and Mihir Zaveri, published on Sunday, 26 January 2020. See also, Listen: Trump tells associates to ‘get rid of’ Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “Just moments after hearing that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine had disparaged him, President Trump ordered her firing, stating that he wanted her gone the next day, according to a video of the discussion at a 2018 donor dinner released Saturday. Trump’s abrupt order for Marie Yovanovitch’s dismissal came minutes after Ukrainian American business executive Lev Parnas described her as an impediment, claiming she was telling people in Ukraine that the president would be impeached, the video shows. After a brief burst of laughter by the guests at the table, Trump’s tone turned stern. ‘Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it,’ Trump says, apparently speaking to a White House aide at the table.” The hour-long video — which was released Saturday by Parnas’s attorney Joseph A. Bondy — corroborates Parnas’s recent public account of the discussion about the ambassador, which was first reported by The Washington Post. In an interview this month with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Parnas apologized to Yovanovitch, saying he now believes he was wrong about her.” See also, Watch: Full video of Trump appearing to say Ukraine ambassador should be removed, PBS, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “A video released Saturday captures President Donald Trump appearing to say he wants to “get rid” of the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. The recording, which was provided to the PBS NewsHour by a lawyer for one of the people who heard the original conversation, is said to be from a dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2018– a year before Yovanovitch was actually fired. See also, Four significant questions raised by the newly released recording of Trump and Lev Parnas, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, published on Sunday, 26 January 2020. See also, Parnas recording made by Igor Fruman shows Trump talking with indicted businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman whom Trump has said he doesn’t know, CNN Politics, Erica Orden, published on Sunday, 26 January 2020.

Trump should apologize for minimizing troops’ injuries, Veterans of Foreign Wars says, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “A major veterans group has called for President Trump to apologize for ‘misguided’ remarks minimizing the severity of traumatic brain injuries suffered by U.S. forces in an Iranian air attack earlier this month. The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the oldest major U.S. veterans group, appears to be the first large veterans organization to publicly chastise the president for dismissing the injuries as ‘headaches’ and ‘not very serious.’ Trump ‘minimized these troops’ injuries,’ VFW National Commander-in-Chief William ‘Doc’ Schmitz said in a statement Friday, after a Pentagon announcement that the number of injured troops had risen to 34. ‘The VFW expects an apology from the president to our servicemen and women for his misguided remarks,’ Schmitz said, adding that the White House should join with the organization to educate Americans about a serious injury that can cause depression, memory loss and other debilitating conditions.”

Cities Prepare for the Worst as Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Near, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “A Trump administration rule change, long in the making, is about to become real, and by the administration’s own estimates, nearly 700,000 people across the country — 20,000 of them in Ohio, 3,000 alone in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County — will be dropped from the food-stamp rolls.”

‘Demeaned and Humiliated’: What Happened to These Iranians at U.S. Airports, The New York Times, Caleb Hampton and Catilin Dickerson, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “A small room. A language barrier. An interrogation after hours of travel. Months spent preparing for a new life overseas, all gone in a blur. A growing number of Iranian students share this collective memory. Many had secured admission to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. The State Department approved them for entry into the United States after a notoriously grueling, monthslong vetting process and issued them visas to come to the United States. But when the students reached American airports, Customs and Border Protection officers disagreed and sent them home, some with a five-year ban on reapplying to return to the United States. Most say they were not told why they were deemed ‘inadmissible’ — a broad label that customs officers have wide discretion to apply. What the students do know is that, at a time of rising diplomatic tensions between the United States and Iran, their plans for the future seem to have evaporated.”

Trump moves to gut Obama housing discrimination rules, Politico, Katy O’Donnell and Victoria Guida, Saturday, 25 January 2020: “The Trump administration is working to roll back former President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat racial segregation — potentially making it easier for banks to deny loans to black and Hispanic people or for cities to confine poor families to minority neighborhoods. One Trump Cabinet member, Housing secretary Ben Carson, is moving to scrap an Obama policy withholding federal funds from cities if they don’t address segregation. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed cutting back on collecting data that helps track discrimination in the mortgage market. And activists warn that a Trump financial regulator could encourage banks to invest in inner-city projects benefiting outsiders instead of local residents.”

 

Sunday, 26 January 2020, Day 1,102:

 

In an Unpublished Manuscript, Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Says Trump Tied U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine to Ukrainian Officials Helping With Investigations Into Democrats, Including the Bidens, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 26 January 2020: “President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton. The president’s statement as described by Mr. Bolton could undercut a key element of his impeachment defense: that the holdup in aid was separate from Mr. Trump’s requests that Ukraine announce investigations into his perceived enemies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, who had worked for a Ukrainian energy firm while his father was in office. Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates. He also sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books. Multiple people described Mr. Bolton’s account of the Ukraine affair.” See also, 5 Takeaways on Trump and Ukraine From John Bolton’s Book, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Sunday, 26 January 2020. See also, Four big takeaways from the explosive John Bolton revelations, The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, published on Monday, 27 January 2020: “We have now learned precisely what John Bolton is prepared to tell us about President Trump’s Ukraine extortion scheme. This is terribly inconvenient for Republican senators who are frantically searching for ways to vote against hearing from Trump’s former national security adviser and any others who can shed fresh light on Trump’s corrupt conduct. After all, new revelations might complicate their preordained vote for acquittal, and that must not happen before that vote is cast.” See also, Trump Denies Telling John Bolton That Ukraine’s Aid Depended on Biden Investigations, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, published on Monday, 27 January 2020: “Hours after an article described an unpublished manuscript by his former national security adviser, President Trump rejected John Bolton’s account.”

Adam Schiff, Calling Trump ‘Wrathful and Vindictive,’ Sees a Tweet by Trump as a Threat, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sunday, 26 January 2020: “In an extraordinary back-and-forth between a president and a congressman, President Trump warned that Representative Adam Schiff, the lead House impeachment manager, ‘has not paid the price, yet.’ Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House’s lead impeachment manager, accused President Trump on Sunday of trying to threaten him on Twitter and urged Republican senators to find the ‘moral courage to stand up’ to a ‘wrathful and vindictive president.’ Mr. Trump, writing on Twitter Sunday morning, attacked Mr. Schiff as ‘a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,’ warning, ‘He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!’ It was an extraordinary back-and-forth between a member of Congress and a sitting president, coming at a turning point in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Mr. Schiff’s comments, on the NBC program ‘Meet the Press,’ came as Mr. Trump’s legal team planned to resume its defense of the president when the Senate reconvenes Monday at 1 p.m.” See also, Trump says in what appears to be a veiled threat that Adam Schiff ‘has not paid the price’ for impeachment, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Elise Viebeck, Sunday, 26 January 2020: “President Trump escalated his attacks on Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Sunday, issuing what appears to be a veiled threat against the California Democrat one day before Trump’s team is expected to deliver the crux of its defense in the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. ‘Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man,’ Trump tweeted Sunday morning. ‘He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!’ Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is the lead impeachment manager in the Senate trial. Schiff responded in an interview on NBC News’s ‘Meet the Press,’ saying he believes Trump’s remarks were intended as a threat. ‘This is a wrathful and vindictive president; I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,’ Schiff said in the interview. ‘And if you think there is, look at the president’s tweets about me today, saying that I should ‘pay a price.’”

Paula White, Trump’s spiritual adviser, called for ‘all satanic pregnancies to miscarry.’ She said it was a metaphor. The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins and Angela Fritz, Sunday, 26 January 2020: “A Florida pastor and longtime spiritual adviser to President Trump says she was speaking in metaphor when she recently prayed in a sermon for all ‘satanic pregnancies’ to end in miscarriage. In video of the Jan. 5 sermon, posted by the liberal advocacy group Right Wing Watch, televangelist pastor Paula White breathlessly calls on Jesus Christ to ‘command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now. We declare that anything that’s been conceived in satanic wombs, that it will miscarry, it will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm,’ White said before an auditorium of congregants. As of Sunday morning, the clip, which was just under two minutes long, had been viewed more than 2.5 million times.” See also, Paula White Says Video About ‘Satanic Pregnancies’ Was Taken Out of Context, The New York Times, Mihir Zaveri and Johnny Diaz, published on Monday, 27 January 2020: “Paula White, a Florida televangelist and religious adviser to President Trump, defended herself Sunday after a video circulated online of her calling for the miscarriage of ‘satanic pregnancies,’ language that she said was taken out of context by critics. The clip, which is about a minute and 30 seconds long, was brought to light on Twitter on Friday by Right Wing Watch, which scrutinizes the speech of many conservative activists and politicians.”

 

Monday, 27 January 2020, Day 1,103:

 

Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The White House and Senate Republican leaders struggled on Monday to salvage their plans for a quick acquittal of President Trump after a new account by his former national security adviser John R. Bolton corroborated a central piece of the impeachment case against him. The newly disclosed revelations by Mr. Bolton, whose forthcoming book details how Mr. Trump conditioned military aid for Ukraine on the country’s willingness to furnish information on his political rivals, angered key Republicans and reinvigorated a bid to call witnesses. Such a move would prolong the trial and pose new dangers for the president.” See also, Impeachment Trial Highlights: Trump’s Lawyers Avoid Bolton, Rudy Giuliani Surfaces, and a History Lesson, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Monday, 27 January 2020. See also, John Bolton’s Account Upends Trump’s Denials, but Will It Upend Trump? The New York Times, Peter Baker, Monday, 27 January 2020: “In another time, in another Washington, this might be the moment that changed the trajectory of the presidency. A former national security adviser confirms that the president, despite his denials, conditioned security aid to a war-torn ally on its cooperation against his domestic rivals, the issue at the heart of his ongoing impeachment trial. At first glance, John R. Bolton’s account of President Trump’s private remarks sounded like an echo of the so-called smoking gun tape that proved President Richard M. Nixon really had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up and ultimately forced him from office. By the end of Monday, the revelation appeared to make it more likely that the Senate will agree to hear witnesses at the trial. But this is Mr. Trump’s era and Mr. Trump’s Washington, and the old rules do not always apply anymore. The reality show star who was elected president even after he was captured on an ‘Access Hollywood’ tape boasting about sexual assault has gone on to survive one politically charged furor after another during his three years in the White House, proving more durable than any national politician in modern American history.” See also, Trump Impeachment Trial Video Highlights: Defense Sidesteps Bolton Revelations, The New York Times, Monday, 27 January 2020. See also, Day in Impeachment: President’s Defense Attacks Biden and the Charges vs. Trump, The New York Times, Monday, 27 January 2020. See also, How Many Republican Votes Are Needed to Subpoena John Bolton? 4, 3, or None? The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 27 January 2020: “A potentially pivotal disclosure from a book draft by John R. BoltonPresident Trump’s former national security adviser, about the Ukraine affair has heightened the question of whether the Senate will call Mr. Bolton as a witness in the impeachment trial. But the rules for how a witness might be subpoenaed are murky, with gaps in the written procedures and only a few precedents to look to. It is not clear whether or how many Republican senators would have to be willing to break partisan ranks and vote with Democrats to call witnesses.” See also, Pettifogging, Three Amigos, and ‘Head on a Pike’: A Trump Impeachment Glossary, The New York Times, Karen Zraick and Elisha Brown, Monday, 27 January 2020: “A guide to the terms and phrases used in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.” See also, John Roberts Can Call Witnesses to Trump’s Trial. Will He? The New York Times, Neal K. Katyal, Joshua A. Geltzer, and Mickey Edwards, Monday, 27 January 2020: “Democratic House managers should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas for John Bolton and others.’ See also, Trump team resumes defense amid fallout from new report on John Bolton’s claim on withholding military aid from Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Elise Viebeck, Brittany Shammas, and Mike DeBonis, Monday, 27 January 2020: “President Trump’s legal team resumed its defense Monday in his Senate trial amid growing calls to hear testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton. The calls have been prompted by a report that Bolton’s book manuscript says Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine to investigations of Joe Biden and his son. The defense team, led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow, offered a preview of its case in an abbreviated session on Saturday in which it argued that Trump had valid reasons for withholding military aid from Ukraine and that House prosecutors overlooked facts more favorable to him.” See also, Leaked Bolton book threatens to upend the Senate Impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Seung Min Kim, Monday, 27 January 2020: “Sensational revelations from President Trump’s former national security adviser threatened to upend the Senate impeachment trial Monday, increasing the chances that senators would vote to allow witnesses in a perilous development for the White House. Inside the Senate chamber as the trial entered its second week, Trump’s lawyers pushed forward with their defense of the president, largely ignoring the uproar caused by leaked details from a book by former national security adviser John Bolton. As part of their defense, they pivoted into a sharp line of attack on former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their involvement in Ukraine. But outside the chamber, GOP senators caught unaware by the Bolton news grappled with divisions in their ranks and fresh calls from a small group of moderates who want to hear from Bolton before the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history comes to a close.” See also, 4 takeaways from the Trump team’s day on defense, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Monday, 27 January 2020: “President Trump’s defense team delivered its second day of arguments under a cloud: Trump’s former national security adviser claims Trump explicitly linked pausing Ukraine’s military aid to announcing investigations into the Biden family. That’s according to a draft manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton’s book, reported on Sunday evening by the New York Times.” See also, Bolton book roils Washington as onetime allies turn on Trump’s former national security adviser, The Washington Post,Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 27 January 2020. See also, White House works to contain damage from allegations in forthcoming Bolton book, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, and Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 27 January 2020: “President Trump and his allies are moving to undermine the credibility of former national security adviser John Bolton, while also preparing to fight his ability to testify during the Senate impeachment trial, according to White House aides and outside advisers familiar with the strategy. As the president’s lawyers were defending his actions toward Ukraine on the Senate floor on Monday, Trump aides and allies were privately girding for the growing possibility that multiple witnesses will be allowed to appear. They scrambled to determine which testimony they could block and which witnesses they should potentially call, the aides said.” See also, Impeachment Trial More Likely to See Witnesses After Bolton Allegations, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Siobhan Hughes, Monday, 27 January 2020: “Chances of the Senate impeachment trial hearing new testimony appeared to mount on Monday in the wake of new allegations about President Trump’s motivation for freezing aid to Ukraine, as the president’s defense team argued that he was justified in pushing Kyiv to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son. Former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in a draft of his forthcoming book that Mr. Trump told him in August that he wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until the country aided investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. The administration’s pressure campaign on Ukraine is at the center of the impeachment investigation into the president. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader, said Mr. Bolton’s allegation ‘essentially confirms the president committed the offenses charged in the first article of impeachment,’ which accuses Mr. Trump of abusing the power of his office. He added: ‘How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?'” See also, Senate impeachment trial: Trump’s defense team soldiers past the revelations in the manuscript of John Bolton’s book, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox, and Betsy Klein, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The revelations contained in the draft manuscript of former national security adviser John Bolton have upended the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but they received nary a mention inside the Senate chamber on Monday — until the very end of the day. The President’s legal team focused its presentation on attacking the House impeachment managers’ case and going after former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Then, in the final presentation, Trump lawyer and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz addressed the elephant in the Senate chamber.” See also, Impeachment Trial of Trump, Live Blog, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, and Veronica Rocha, Monday, 27 January 2020. See also, What we learned at the Trump trial Monday, Politico, Monday, 27 January 2020: “Donald Trump’s legal team resumed their defense of the president by quickly going on the attack against Joe Biden — and even Barack Obama. Trump attorneys Pam Bondi and Eric Herschmann argued that it was in fact that pair who should be investigated for corruption and abuse of power as part of their handling of Russia and Ukraine policy. Senators also heard from Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who pushed for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and former Harvard law professor and criminal defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, two outside attorneys added to give Trump some star power and argue against the constitutionality of Democrats’ impeachment case.”

Democrats call for Bolton to testify in Trump impeachment trial after new report on aid to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Felicia Sonmez, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 27 January 2020: “Congressional Democrats called for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump’s impeachment trial following a new report that the president told Bolton last August that he wanted to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it aided investigations into the Bidens. The New York Times reported Sunday evening that in last summer’s conversation, Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to the investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. That is according to an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s forthcoming book, the Times said. The book, ‘The Room Where It Happened,’ is scheduled for publication March 17, but a White House review could attempt to delay its publication or block some of its contents. Two people familiar with the book, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the project, confirmed that it details Trump tying aid to the desire for Biden probes and details a number of conversations about Ukraine that he had with Trump and key advisers, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They said Bolton is ready to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.”

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton Was Concerned That Trump Did Favors for Autocratic Leaders, Book Says, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 27 January 2020: “John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, privately told Attorney General William P. Barr last year that he had concerns that President Trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of Turkey and China, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton. Mr. Barr responded by pointing to a pair of Justice Department investigations of companies in those countries and said he was worried that Mr. Trump had created the appearance that he had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries, according to the manuscript. Backing up his point, Mr. Barr mentioned conversations Mr. Trump had with the leaders, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China. Mr. Bolton’s account underscores the fact that the unease about Mr. Trump’s seeming embrace of authoritarian leaders, long expressed by experts and his opponents, also existed among some of the senior cabinet officers entrusted by the president to carry out his foreign policy and national security agendas.”

Supreme Court allows Trump administration to proceed with ‘wealth test’ rules for immigrants, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Maria Sacchetti, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to begin implementing new “wealth test” rules making it easier to deny immigrants residency or admission to the United States because they have used or might use public-assistance programs. The decision, issued in response to an emergency petition by the administration, lifts a nationwide injunction imposed by a district judge in New York. That means the government can begin applying the new standards, which critics say would place a burden on poor immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, while legal challenges continue in lower courts. The order supporting the Trump administration was handed down as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was presiding over President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. He was joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh in lifting the injunction. All four of the court’s liberal justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — noted their disagreement. Neither side explained its reasoning, which is not uncommon in such emergency motions.” See also, Supreme Court Allows Trump’s Wealth Test for Green Cards, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to move forward with plans to deny green cards to immigrants who are thought to be likely to make even occasional and minor use of public benefits like Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s conservative justices in the majority. The court’s brief order gave no reasons for lifting preliminary injunctions that had blocked the new program. Challenges to the program will continue to move forward in courts around the nation.”

State Department removes NPR reporter Michele Kelemen from trip with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, The Washington Post, Carol Morello, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The State Department has barred an NPR reporter from traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week on a trip that will take him to Ukraine, days after Pompeo got into a nasty dispute with another reporter from the news organization. Michele Kelemen, a veteran State Department correspondent for NPR, was scheduled to be one of a handful of reporters flying on Pompeo’s plane to report on his week-long trip to Europe and Central Asia starting Wednesday. It was Kelemen’s turn in a rotation for a ‘pool’ seat on the plane representing radio reporters, and she got the needed visas…. The State Department Correspondents’ Association, in a letter of protest asking the State Department to reverse its decision, noted the timing of Kelemen’s removal. She was dropped after Pompeo got into a contentious exchange with NPR host Mary Louise Kelly and issued a statement accusing her of lying to him. ‘The removal of Michele, who was in rotation as the radio pool reporter, comes days after Secretary Pompeo harshly criticized the work of an NPR host,’ wrote Shaun Tandon, the Agence France-Presse reporter who is president of the correspondents’ association. ‘We can only conclude that the State Department is retaliating against National Public Radio as a result of this exchange.'” See also, State Department Will Not Allow NPR Reporter on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Plane Following Interview, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Monday, 27 January 2020: “The State Department will not allow NPR’s diplomatic correspondent on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s government airplane for an upcoming trip, which includes a stop in Ukraine, following the secretary’s extraordinary outburst last week over being questioned about Ukraine during an interview with the network. Michele Kelemen, who has covered the State Department for nearly two decades, was scheduled to cover Mr. Pompeo’s official visit this week to Europe and Central Asia, traveling with the diplomatic delegation.”

 

Tuesday, 28 January 2020, Day 1,104:

 

Trump’s Defense Team Discounts Bolton as Republicans Work to Hold Off  Witnesses, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “President Trump’s defense team appealed to the Senate on Tuesday to disregard a new account by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton that bolsters the impeachment case against the president. But by day’s end, Republican leaders working feverishly to block testimony from Mr. Bolton or other witnesses indicated they had not yet corralled the votes to do so. On the final day of arguments on Mr. Trump’s behalf, Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s private lawyers, sought to raise doubts about Mr. Bolton’s claim in an unpublished manuscript that Mr. Trump tied the release of military aid to Ukraine to investigations into his political rivals, calling it an ‘unsourced allegation’ that was ‘inadmissible’ in his impeachment trial. Just after Mr. Trump’s team ended a three-day legal defense, Republican senators rushed into a private meeting room in the Capitol, where Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, worked to herd his rank and file in line behind ending the trial without witnesses.” See also, Day in Impeachment: Republicans Huddle on Witnesses After Trump’s Defense Concludes, The New York Times, Tuesday, 28 January 2020. See also, Impeachment Trial Highlights: Trump’s Lawyers Confront Bolton Allegations and Conclude Defense, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Tuesday, 28 January 2020. See also, 75% of Voters Say to Allow Witnesses in Senate Impeachment Trial, Quinnipiac University Poll, Tuesday, 28 January 2020. See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Republican senators he does not yet have the votes to block witnesses, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Elise Viebeck, Colby Itkowitz, and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated in a closed-door meeting with Senate Republicans that he did not yet have enough votes to defeat an effort, expected later this week, to call additional witnesses and evidence in President Trump’s impeachment trial. Pressure has ramped up to include witnesses after reports that former national security adviser John Bolton says in a book manuscript that Trump directly tied the holdup of nearly $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine to investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says Republicans Don’t Yet Have the Votes to Block Impeachment Witnesses, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Lindsay Wise, and Natalie Andrews, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Republican leaders said they don’t currently have enough votes to block witnesses in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, people familiar with the matter said, after his legal team concluded its efforts to counter Democrats’ charges that the president abused power and obstructed Congress. On the third and final day of presentations by the Trump legal team, lawyers tried to cast doubts on the importance and credibility of allegations by former national security adviser John Bolton about the president’s motives for freezing aid to Ukraine. Republicans had hoped to wrap up the trial with an acquittal of the president by this week, but Democrats have said Mr. Bolton should appear under oath to offer a firsthand account of the president’s motivations for freezing aid to Ukraine—a matter at the heart of the impeachment case.” See also, Trump’s Impeachment Defense Wraps Up, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Jesse Naranjo, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “President Donald Trump’s legal team wrapped up its case in the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, including with a veiled appeal to senators to not consider John Bolton’s latest claims as they decide whether to call witnesses. The Trump lawyers’ two-hour appearance offered them the last uninterrupted chance to persuade senators to summarily reject the House’s case for his removal and avoid the drama that would result from demanding new evidence. But it arrived amid a creeping anxiety that new revelations, like the one late Sunday from Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, that exploded a core premise of Trump’s defense, could be in store.” See also, What we learned at the Trump impeachment trial on Tuesday, Politico, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “President Donald Trump’s legal team wrapped up their opening arguments on Tuesday —delivering to the president the defense he wanted. Trump’s attorneys attacked and undermined some of his favorite targets, including former FBI Director James Comey and Joe Biden, but mostly sidestepped the Democratic House managers’ arguments for Trump’s removal.” See also, Trump impeachment trial recap, day 7: Trump’s team closes its case, Axios, Tuesday, 28 January 2020. See also, Impeachment trial of President Trump, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, and Mike Hayes, Tuesday, 28 January 2020. See also, Framing the Impeachment Case: An Inside Look at Opposing Legal Teams, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

In impeachment trial’s question time, both sides will press lawyers on their roles, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Seung Min Kim, and Rachael Bade, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “House prosecutors and defense lawyers arguing the case against President Trump may be turned into de facto witnesses, as Republican and Democratic senators plan to use part of their question time to press counsels on their personal involvement at pivotal moments of impeachment. For Republicans, the target is House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead manager Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), whom Trump has called on to testify about his panel’s interactions with the anonymous whistleblower who flagged the president’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats, for their part, are eyeing White House counsel and co-lead Trump defense attorney Pat Cipollone, whom House managers asserted is a ‘material witness’ because of his signature on an Oct. 8 letter laying out how the administration would stonewall the House’s impeachment inquiry, denying evidence and witnesses.” See also, Impeachment Enters Volatile New Phase as Senators Get to Ask Their Questions, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “After six days of carefully choreographed oral arguments, President Trump’s impeachment trial is about to enter a volatile new phase as senators are allowed to ask whatever they want of House prosecutors and White House lawyers. It is a moment of opportunity — and peril — for both parties, as 100 senators engage in as many as 16 hours of questioning over two days of the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s legal defense team that could shape the endgame of the trial.”

Trump’s impeachment defense: Who is paying Trump’s lawyers? The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Beth Reinhard, and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “As President Trump faces mounting legal bills from his impeachment trial, he is drawing on national party coffers flush with donations from energized supporters — unlike the last president to be impeached, who left the White House ‘dead broke.’ The Republican National Committee is picking up the tab for at least two of Trump’s private attorneys in the ongoing trial, an arrangement that differs from the legal fund President Bill Clinton set up, only to see it fail to raise enough to cover his millions of dollars in bills before he left office.”

Former Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly says ‘I believe John Bolton,’ Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Zac Anderson, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Asked if Bolton – Trump’s former national security adviser – should testify at Trump’s impeachment trial, Kelly said he supports calling witnesses. President Donald Trump is denying that he told former National Security Adviser John Bolton that he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until the country launched investigations into Joe Biden and his son, allegations that Bolton levies in his new book, according to a New York Times report. But one of Trump’s former top aides told a Sarasota audience Monday evening that if the reporting on what Bolton wrote is accurate, he believes Bolton. ‘If John Bolton says that in the book, I believe John Bolton,’ said retired Gen. John Kelly, who served as Trump’s chief of staff for 18 months.” See also, Former White House chief of staff John Kelly says he believes John Bolton’s account of Ukraine allegation, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins and Chandelis Duster, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Former White House chief of staff John Kelly says he believes John Bolton’s allegation that President Donald Trump told the former national security adviser that US security aid to Ukraine was conditioned on an investigation of the President’s political rivals, adding that Bolton should be heard from. ‘If John Bolton says that in the book I believe John Bolton,’ Kelly said Monday night when asked about the leaked draft manuscript during remarks at the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture series, according to the Herald Tribune of Sarasota, Florida.” See also, John Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, says ‘I believe John Bolton,’ Politico, Quint Forgey, Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

Trump Releases Mideast Peace Plan That Strongly Favors Israel, The New York Times, Michael Crowley and David M. Halbfinger, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “President Trump on Tuesday unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan with a flourish, releasing a proposal that would give Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict while offering the Palestinians the possibility of a state with limited sovereignty. Mr. Trump’s plan would guarantee that Israel would control a unified Jerusalem as its capital and not require it to uproot any of the settlements in the West Bank that have provoked Palestinian outrage and alienated much of the world. Mr. Trump promised to provide $50 billion in international investment to build the new Palestinian entity and open an embassy in its new state. ‘My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel’s security,’ the president said at a White House ceremony that demonstrated the one-sided state of affairs: He was flanked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel but no counterpart from the Palestinian leadership, which is not on speaking terms with the Trump administration. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority immediately denounced the plan as a ‘conspiracy deal’ unworthy of serious consideration, making the decades-long pursuit of a so-called two-state solution appear more distant than ever. ‘We say a thousand times over: no, no, no,’ Mr. Abbas said on Tuesday in Ramallah, in the West Bank.” See also, Trump announces long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace package amid doubts it will lead to progress, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Steve Hendrix, and Ruth Eglash, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “President Trump proposed a sweeping Middle East peace plan Tuesday that would establish a disjointed Palestinian state largely surrounded by Israel, while granting Israel most of what it has sought over decades of conflict. The proposal appears to have little chance of success. Trump touted the plan as the potential solution to decades of bloody strife, but his administration did little to solicit the support of Palestinian leaders who had rejected it sight unseen and played no role in its drafting. The president presented the proposal as the best Palestinians could hope to get during a ceremony where he stood beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who eagerly embraced both the president and what he presented.” See also, Trump unveils Middle East peace plan with no Palestinian support, The Guardian, Oliver Holmes, Sufian Taha, Hazem Balousha, and Chris McGreal, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Donald Trump has unveiled his vision for Middle East peace in a White House launch that [gave] Israel a wishlist of its long-held demands while promising Palestinians a potential ‘state,’ but with severe restrictions. Standing next to the smiling Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump announced details of the 181-page plan to cheers and applause. Palestinian leaders were absent from the launch, having pre-emptively rejected his proposal, citing flagrant bias.” See also, A Muted Arab Response to Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard and Declan Walsh, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “In unveiling his plan Tuesday for solving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, President Trump confidently declared that Arab countries would play a key role in its success. But none of the United States’ Arab allies formally endorsed the plan or made concrete commitments to back it, raising questions about how helpful they will really be in bringing it to fruition.” See also, A Deal That Has Two Elections, Rather Than Mideast Peace, as Its Focus, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan unveiled by President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sounds more like a road map for their own futures than for the Middle East.” See also, Trump Unveils the ‘Giveaway of the Century’ on Middle East Peace, The New Yorker, Robin Wright, published on Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Three years after he said that peace in the Middle East was ‘not as difficult as people have thought,’ President Donald Trump unveiled a lopsided plan that gives Israel much of what it has long sought and imposes daunting requirements that the Palestinians must meet before negotiations can even begin. The President described his plan, orchestrated by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as ‘the last opportunity’ for a Palestinian state. Yet it fails to address many of the problems that led to the collapse of earlier peace initiatives. The plan calls for a two-state solution, but largely in name only. It grants Israel’s long-standing demands on settlements and borders, security, Jerusalem, and refugees. Israel will have the right to annex parts of the West Bank that it now occupies, significantly reducing and further dividing Palestinian territory. It gets control of Jerusalem as its ‘undivided’ capital. And it will assume security control over the entire West Bank, the Jordan River Valley, and Jerusalem. The Palestinians will be left with a proto-state that is physically divided, economically challenged, and possibly not viable as a modern country. Trump’s plan also lacks diplomatic energy—with no formal mechanism to get the two sides together—or any sense of urgency, since it offers a vague four-year window for the Palestinians to complete a long list of preconditions just to talk with Israel.” See also, Trump’s Mideast Plan Leaves Palestinians With Few Options, The New York Times, David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner, published on Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “For Mahmoud Abbas, the ailing octogenarian president of the Palestinian Authority, his life’s work — a viable state side-by-side with Israel — is quickly slipping away. President Trump’s Middle East plan deprives the Palestinians of nearly everything they had been fighting for: East Jerusalem as their national capital, the removal of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, and territorial contiguity and control over their own borders and security that a sovereign state normally enjoys. While it was always presumed that such a state would be forged through talks with the Israelis, years of failure, a weak and divided Palestinian leadership, and an Arab world that has largely moved on have all emboldened Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to try to impose a solution of their own.” See also, What to Know About Trump’s Middle East Plan, The New York Times, Megan Specia, published on Wednesday, 29 January 2020.

Bolton Book Puts New Focus on Trump’s Actions in Turkey and China Cases, The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Alan Rappeport, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Interventions in Justice Department proceedings draw scrutiny after the former national security adviser raised concerns about the president’s embrace of authoritarian leaders. It was late 2018, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was on the phone with an unusual request for President Trump: Could he intervene with top members of his cabinet to curb or even shut down a criminal investigation into Halkbank, one of Turkey’s largest state-owned banks?… Mr. Erdogan’s influence campaign is now under scrutiny again in Washington, following the disclosure that Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, reported in his forthcoming book his concern that the president was effectively granting personal favors to Mr. Erdogan and President Xi Jinping of China.”

For John Bolton, an ‘Upside-Down World’ After Trump Revelation, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Democrats who once derided him now want him to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial while some of his erstwhile Republican friends are throwing him to the curb.”

Trump praises Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for echoing his behavior: Attacking a female reporter, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s disparagement of NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly did not go unnoticed by his boss. Last week, Pompeo reacted angrily when Kelly asked him about his willingness to defend State Department employees such as Marie Yovanovitch, a former ambassador to Ukraine whose ouster figures prominently in Trump’s impeachment trial. After the interview, Kelly said Pompeo excoriated her and demanded that she identify Ukraine on a map…. During an event at the White House, Pompeo earned loud applause when President Trump introduced him. ‘That was very impressive, Mike,’ Trump said in response. ‘That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you yesterday, huh? I think you did a good job on her, actually.'”

Voting Will Be Easier in Arizona, a Key State of the Presidential Race, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “If a voter accidentally casts a ballot in the wrong precinct, should it be counted? Should early voters be able to give their sealed ballots to someone else to drop in the mail or deliver to a polling place? In Arizona, the answer to both questions has been a resounding ‘no’ — until this week. On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that those restrictions, in a state with some of the nation’s more stringent voting rules, should no longer stand. The result? In Arizona, which is seen as a battleground in the presidential race this fall, many voters will find their ballots considerably easier to cast and less likely to be excluded from election-night tallies.”

Hard-charging White House budget lawyer in middle of Ukraine decision has pushed legal limits for Trump, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “A hard-charging conservative lawyer little known to the public is responsible for executing some of the White House’s most divisive and legally aggressive moves, including the hold on Ukrainian aid now central to President Trump’s impeachment trial. Mark Paoletta, general counsel at the White House Office of Management and Budget, signed off on the delay of security assistance to Ukraine, overruling the objections of some career staffers at the OMB and the Pentagon. The Government Accountability Office recently determined that the delay was unlawful. Paoletta’s below-the-radar role in a decision key to Trump’s impeachment is just one example of how he has enabled the White House to stretch the legal limits of the executive branch — forcefully pushing forward the administration’s agenda but sometimes incurring a severe backlash in the process.”

Congressional Budget Office says the U.S. deficit to eclipse $1 trillion in 2020 as fiscal imbalance continues to widen, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “The U.S. government’s budget deficit is projected to reach $1.02 trillion in 2020, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, as the federal government continues to spend much more than it collects in tax revenue. A combination of the 2017 tax cuts and a surge in new spending has pushed the deficit wider. This year would mark the first time since 2012 that the deficit breached $1 trillion, a threshold that has alarmed some budget experts because deficits typically contract — not expand — during periods of sustained economic growth.”

 

Wednesday, 29 January 2020, Day 1,105:

 

Republicans Move to Block Impeachment Witnesses, Driving Toward Acquittal, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “The White House and Senate Republicans worked aggressively on Wednesday to discount damaging revelations from John R. Bolton and line up the votes to block new witnesses from testifying in President Trump’s impeachment trial, in a push to bring the proceeding to a swift close. As the Senate opened a two-day, 16-hour period of questioning from senators, Mr. Trump laced into Mr. Bolton, his former national security adviser, whose unpublished manuscript contains an account that contradicts his impeachment defense. The president described Mr. Bolton on Twitter as a warmonger who had ‘begged’ for his job, was fired, and then wrote ‘a nasty & untrue book.’ On Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump’s aides circulated a letter informing Mr. Bolton that the White House was moving to block publication of his forthcoming book, in which he wrote that the president refused to release military aid to Ukraine until its leaders committed to investigating his political rivals. That is a core element of the Democrats’ case, which charges Mr. Trump with seeking to enlist a foreign government to help him win re-election this year…. In accordance with impeachment protocol, senators wrote their queries on small cards, which were read aloud by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who presided over the trial. In their responses, Mr. Trump’s lawyers offered their most expansive defense of the president to date, effectively arguing that a president cannot be removed from office for demanding political favors if he believes his re-election is in the national interest. ‘Every public official I know believes that his election is in the public interest,’ said Alan M. Dershowitz, the celebrity defense lawyer and constitutional scholar who is part of the Mr. Trump’s legal team. ‘Mostly, you’re right. If the president does something which he believes will help him get elected, in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,’ he said.” See also, Alan Dershowitz Argues That Anything a President Does to Stay in Power Is In the Public Interest, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump’s impeachment lawyers, pushed an extraordinarily expansive view of executive power during his trial on Wednesday, arguing that any action taken by the president to help his own re-election is, by definition, in the public interest.” See also, 6 Takeaways From Senators’ Questions to Impeachment Lawyers, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Day in Impeachment: Top Democrat Concedes ‘Probably No’ on Witnesses, The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Impeachment Trial Highlights Video: Surprising Arguments in Questioning Phase, The New York Times, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Senators questioned the House impeachment managers and President Trump’s legal team. Trump’s lawyers argued that anything a president did to win re-election could be ‘in the public interest.'” See also, Alan Dershowitz says that if Trump believes his reelection is in the public interest, his actions aren’t impeachable, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Elise Viebeck, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “A new phase of President Trump’s historic impeachment trial began Wednesday, with senators posing questions to the House managers and the president’s attorneys about Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine. A key moment came when defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz suggested that a president acting in the public’s interest can’t be impeached. He then argued that a president may believe his own reelection is in the country’s best interest.” See also, Alan Dershowitz for the Defense: L’État, C’est Trump, The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, published on Thursday, 30 January 2020: “An hour into the Senate trial of Donald John Trump on Wednesday, the emeritus Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz came to the floor to answer a question from a former Harvard law student, Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas. In theory, it was a question that went to the heart of the impeachment case against Trump, about the President’s imposition of a quid pro quo on military aid to Ukraine and whether his motivations mattered. Dershowitz had something larger and more profound to say, however: Donald Trump has the power to do just about anything he wants to do, and there’s nothing that the U.S. Senate can or should do about it. See also, A president ‘is not above the law,’ Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz asserts in batting back criticism of his impeachment defense, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, published on Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, 5 takeaways from the Senate’s first day of questioning, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, The 5 most interesting Q&As from the Senate impeachment trial, so far, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Trump legal team advances a startling defense against impeachment, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Karoun Demirjian, and Elise Viebeck, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “President Trump’s legal team offered a startling defense Wednesday as senators debated his fate in the impeachment trial, arguing that presidents could do nearly anything so long as they believe their reelection is in the public interest. The assertion from Alan Dershowitz, one of the attorneys representing the president, seemed to take GOP senators by surprise, and few were willing to embrace his argument. At the same time, Republican lawmakers were sounding increasingly confident about defeating a vote expected Friday over calling new witnesses in the trial, an issue that has consumed the Senate for the past several days.” See also, An Argument by One of Trump’s Lawyers, Alan M. Dershowitz, Stokes Fears of Unfettered Executive Power, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “When a lawyer for President Trump suggested to senators this week that whatever a president does in pursuit of re-election is inherently in the public’s interest, the moment crystallized fears among some of Mr. Trump’s critics about creeping presidential autocracy. ‘If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,’ said the lawyer, Alan M. Dershowitz. He sought on Thursday to clarify or walk back his remarks, saying on Twitter that they were mischaracterized.” See also, Senators grill impeachment managers and Trump defense in daylong question session,CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly, and Lauren Fox, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Impeachment trial of President Trump, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Fernando Alfonso III, and Mike Hayes, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Trump Impeachment Trial Offers Hints on Where Senators Stand on Witnesses, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Trump Impeachment Trial: What’s Happened So Far and What’s Next, The Wall Street Journal, updated on Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, Trump impeachment: Republicans aim to block witnesses as key vote approaches – as it happens, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh and Joan E. Greve, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, What we learned at the Trump trial Wednesday, Politico, Politico Staff, Wednesday, 29 January 2020.

White House has issued formal threat to Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, CNN Politics, Jake Tapper, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “The White House has issued a formal threat to former national security adviser John Bolton to keep him from publishing his book, ‘The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,’ sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. In a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, a top official at the National Security Council wrote the unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s book ‘appears to contain significant amounts of classified information’ and couldn’t be published as written. The letter, which is dated January 23, said some of the information was classified at the ‘top secret’ level, meaning it ‘reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave harm to the national security. The manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information,’ the letter read.” See also, Trump rages at Bolton and says his former national security adviser would have caused ‘World War Six,’ NBC News, Allan Smith, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “President Donald Trump slammed his former national security adviser John Bolton on Wednesday, bashing his former top aide after he reportedly contradicted a key element of the president’s impeachment defense in an upcoming book. Trump suggested that if Bolton, a conservative hawk, were still in the White House, the U.S. ‘would be in World War Six by now.’… Those comments came hours after another tweet in which Trump asked: ‘Why didn’t John Bolton complain about this “nonsense” a long time ago, when he was very publicly terminated.’ Bolton asserts he was not fired.” See also, Top Democrat Representative Eliot Engel reveals a private call with John Bolton that contradicts Trump’s claim that Bolton ‘didn’t say anything about the Trump-Ukraine scandal at the time Trump fired him. He said something to me.’ NBC News, Allan Smith, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Rep. Eliot Engel pushed back Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s claim that John Bolton didn’t complain about his conduct toward Ukraine, revealing that Bolton, only days after being ousted as Trump’s national security adviser, told him in a phone call to examine the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. ‘President Trump is wrong that John Bolton didn’t say anything about the Trump-Ukraine scandal at the time the President fired him,’ Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. ‘He said something to me.’ Engel said that he reached out to Bolton on Sept. 19 to ask if he would speak before the Foreign Affairs Committee regarding U.S. foreign policy. (Trump [says he] fired Bolton on Sept. 10; Bolton says he quit.) Engel said he then spoke with Bolton days later, in a call on Sept. 23, when Bolton ‘suggested to me — unprompted — that the committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.'” See also, Representative Eliot Engel says Bolton implied Yovanovitch ouster was improper, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 29 January 2020. See also, White House Assumed ‘Disgruntled’ John Bolton Would Write a Critical Book, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “When John R. Bolton’s book manuscript landed on the desk of a White House national security aide shortly after Christmas, no one had to page through it to know that the draft could upend the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Now the question of who did review the book — and to what extent — has become a subject of the Senate impeachment trial of Mr. Trump. The White House has acknowledged that National Security Council staff members reviewed the draft, and that they briefed the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone. But the president’s impeachment defense lawyers — Mr. Cipollone among them — insisted on Wednesday that they were unaware it contained the explosive revelation by Mr. Bolton, the former national security adviser, that Mr. Trump had directly linked aid for Ukraine to investigations he sought for personal gain.” See also, Bolton’s lawyer contends his book does not contain classified material and asks White House for expedited review so he can testify if called, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Josh Dawsey, and Karen DeYoung, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “An attorney for John Bolton has pushed back against the White House’s assessment that his book manuscript contains classified material and asked for an expedited review of a chapter about Ukraine in case the former national security adviser is called to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. The Jan. 24 email to the White House from Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, was in response to a letter from the National Security Council a day earlier warning that the manuscript contained “significant amounts” of classified material that could not be disclosed publicly. ‘We do not believe that any of that information could reasonably be considered classified,’ Cooper responded, according to a copy of the email he released Wednesday.” See also, When Will We See Bolton’s Book? The New York Times, Jameel Jaffer and Ramya Krishnan, published on Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The fate of his memoir is up to government censors. That’s troubling.”

To Senate Republicans, a Vote for Witnesses Is a Vote for Trouble, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “In the end, the impeachment calculation nearly all Senate Republicans are making is fairly simple: They would rather look as if they ignored relevant evidence than plunge the Senate into an unpredictable, open-ended inquiry that would anger President Trump and court political peril. As Republicans lined up on Wednesday behind blocking witnesses in the trial, their reasoning reflected the worry that allowing testimony by John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser whose unpublished manuscript contradicts a central part of Mr. Trump’s impeachment defense, would undoubtedly lead to a cascade of other witnesses. They in turn could provide more damaging disclosures and tie up the Senate indefinitely, when the ultimate verdict — an acquittal of the president — is not in doubt.”

Why The Guardian will no longer accept fossil fuel advertising, The Guardian, Anna Bateson and Hamish Nicklin, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “For anyone who believes the world faces an urgent climate crisis, it has been quite a year. The world’s leading scientists tell us we have just twelve years to change human behaviour to avert catastrophe. Teenage climate strikers inspire millions of people, young and old, to protest against inaction, and devastating bushfires sweep across much of Australia. This is the most important challenge of our times…. We have decided that we will no longer accept advertising from fossil fuel extractive companies on any of the Guardian’s websites and apps, nor in the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly in print. Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world.” See also, The Guardian ends advertising from fossil fuel companies because of climate change, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “The Guardian will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies and, in doing so, becomes the first major news organization to divest from industries that extract fossil fuels, company executives announced Wednesday.

Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters, Politico, Ben Schreckinger, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Allies of Donald Trump have begun holding events in black communities where organizers lavish praise on the president as they hand out tens of thousands of dollars to lucky attendees. The first giveaway took place last month in Cleveland, where recipients whose winning tickets were drawn from a bin landed cash gifts in increments of several hundred dollars, stuffed into envelopes. A second giveaway scheduled for this month in Virginia has been postponed, and more are said to be in the works.” See also, Trump Ally Darrell Scott Held Event Handing Out Cash in a Black Community, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “A nonprofit organization run by one of President Trump’s most prominent African-American allies recently held an event in a black community where it promoted Trump administration policies like criminal justice reform while doling out cash prizes to participants. The event, a ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ in Cleveland last month, was hosted by a charity group run by Darrell Scott, a longtime Trump surrogate who has also been advising his campaign. Organizers with the group, the Urban Revitalization Coalition, handed out thousands of dollars of cash stuffed in envelopes for an event it advertised as a ‘$25,000 Cash Giveaway.’ The event was first reported by Politico.”

Trump Signs Trade Deal With Canada and Mexico, The New York Times, Ana Swanson and Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “President Trump signed the revised North American Free Trade Agreement into law on Wednesday, fulfilling a key campaign promise and bringing more than two years of tumultuous negotiations over the continent’s trade rules to a close. The trade deal, now called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, updates the quarter-century-old NAFTA, with stronger protections for workers and the digital economy, expanded markets for American farmers and new rules to encourage auto manufacturing in North America.” See also, Trump shuns Democrats as he signs the bipartisan U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Politico, Sabrian Rodriguez, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed his signature trade deal with Mexico and Canada into law, sealing a big bipartisan win for him during his heavily partisan impeachment trial. But the celebration on Wednesday was far from bipartisan, as Trump excluded Democrats from the ceremony despite their key role in securing the final version of the deal that passed with overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate.” See also, House Democrats are not invited to revised North American Free Trade Agreement bill signing at the White House, CNN Politics, Haley Byrd, published on Tuesday, 28 January 2020: “When President Donald Trump signs his revised North American Free Trade Agreement agreement at the White House on Wednesday, congressional Democrats who played a central role in approving the pact won’t be there. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not been invited to the signing ceremony for the trade deal, a spokesperson for her office told CNN Tuesday morning. And Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat who shepherded the rebranded US-Mexico-Canada agreement to passage despite heightened tensions between the administration and congressional Democrats amid the contentious impeachment inquiry last year, is also not on the guest list. Nor are the other members of the House Democratic USMCA working group, who negotiated with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for months to obtain changes to the deal. It is typical for members of both parties to be present when major bipartisan pieces of legislation are signed at public ceremonies…. Politico first reported that key congressional Democrats have not been invited.”

One year into ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, migrants confront danger and instability, NBC News, Daniella Silva, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “This week marks the one-year anniversary of the implementation of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, and advocates say the rule has put tens of thousands of asylum-seekers in harm’s way while making it more difficult for them to access protection in the U.S. Nearly 60,000 people have been put under the program since it began on the border separating Tijuana from San Diego, according to data through December obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, at Syracuse University.”

Trump’s Immigration Rule Is Cruel and Racist, But It’s Nothing New, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “On Monday, the Supreme Court lifted a lower-court stay on a Trump Administration rule that will deny permanent-resident status to legal immigrants who are deemed likely to become ‘public charges,’ because they have in the past—or may in the future—receive public assistance, such as Medicaid or Social Security supplemental income. The rule has been called a humanitarian catastrophe, an act enabling racist and classist cruelty, and a throwback to the darker days of rejecting the neediest immigrants, be they Irish, Jewish, queer—or nonwhite. It is all of those things, but it is not, contrary to many comments, a drastic change in immigration policy. Like much that is Trumpian, the new rules, and the Supreme Court order allowing them to go forward, build logically on the last few decades of the American political conversation on immigration, race, and class.”

How Elizabeth Warren would fight election disinformation, Politico, Cristiano Lima, Wednesday, 29 January 2020: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday unveiled a plan to combat the spread of election-related disinformation, which proposes criminal and civil penalties for online voter suppression efforts and urges social media companies and campaigns to bolster their policies against deception. The plan includes three parts, outlining what 2020 presidential campaigns and tech companies should do and the steps a Warren administration would take to limit the spread of false and misleading information aimed at deceiving voters. Warren (D-Mass.) pledged that her campaign ‘will not knowingly use or spread false or manipulated information, including false or manipulated news reports or doctored images, audio, and videos on social media.’ And she called on other campaigns to make the same commitments.”

 

Thursday, 30 January 2020, Day 1,106:

 

Lamar Alexander, Key Republican Senator, Plans to Oppose Move for New Evidence in Impeachment Proceeding, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane, and Patricia Mazzei, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said late Thursday that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted ‘inappropriately’ in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial. Mr. Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans had lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents on Friday and press toward a quick acquittal in the third presidential impeachment trial in history. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders…. In announcing his stance, Mr. Alexander effectively conceded that the president had engaged in a corrupt effort to leverage taxpayer money to advance his own political objectives — the basis of the abuse-of-power charge against him — but said he had concluded such actions were not impeachable…. Bracing for a likely defeat of their efforts to force witnesses to be heard at the trial, Democrats forecast what is likely to be their message after the verdict is reached, asserting that Mr. Trump’s acquittal would be illegitimate because the trial was flawed. ‘He will not be acquitted,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, told reporters at her weekly news conference. ‘You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.'” See also, Day in Impeachment: Lamar Alexander Says Democrats Proved Their Case, But It’s Not Impeachable, The New York Times, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Six Takeaways From Senators’ Questions to Impeachment Lawyers, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Why Block Impeachment Witnesses? Republicans Have Many Reasons, but Democrats Have Counterarguments For All of Them, The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Senator Alexander calls Trump’s actions ‘inappropriate’ but rejects witnesses in impeachment proceeding, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Paul Kane, and Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Senate appears ready to reject witnesses in Trump impeachment trial; acquittal vote possible on Friday, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Seung Min Kim, and David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The impeachment trial of President Trump is headed for a critical vote Friday that will determine whether the Senate hears from witnesses over allegations that the president pressured Ukraine to launch investigations for his own political benefit. But Senate Republicans are increasingly confident no new testimony will be heard and they can start on a sprint toward Trump’s acquittal.” See also, Live Blog: Susan Collins a yes on witnesses in Senate impeachment trial, and Lamar Alexander is a no, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Lamar Alexander’s yes-he-did-it statement on Trump, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Friday, 31 January 2020. See also, 4 takeaways from the final day of questions in Trump’s impeachment trial,The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Trump’s Impeachment Trial–Live Analysis, The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Live Blog: Impeachment trial of President Trump, CNN Politics, Meg Wagner, Make Hayes, and Fernando Alfonso III, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, What we learned at the Trump trial Thursday, Politico, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Live Blog: Trump impeachment trial: potential swing senator Lamar Alexander says he will not support witnesses, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh, Joan E. Greve, and Paul Owen, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, John Roberts publicly rejects Rand Paul’s whistleblower question in Senate impeachment proceeding, CNN Politics, Phil Mattingly, Manu Reju, Paul LeBlanc, and Chandelis Duster, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday publicly refused to read a question from Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky during the Senate impeachment trial that named the alleged Ukraine whistleblower. ‘The presiding officer declines to read the question as submitted,’ Roberts said after receiving the question card.”

In contrast with Trump legal team, Justice Department lawyer James Burnham says House can impeach over defied subpoenas, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen and Katelyn Polantz, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “A Justice Department lawyer said Thursday in federal court that the House can impeach a president over ignored subpoenas, a noted contrast to what lawyers for President Donald Trump are arguing at his Senate impeachment trial this week. Asked by a federal judge what the House can do to enforce its subpoenas, Justice Department lawyer James Burnham said without hesitation that the House can use its impeachment powers, among other options, like withholding appropriations. A few hours later, lead Democratic House manager Adam Schiff mentioned Burnham’s assertion during Trump’s impeachment trial. ‘In the category of you can’t make this stuff up,’ Schiff said on the Senate floor. ‘The judge says if the Congress can’t enforce its subpoenas in court, then what remedy is there? And the Justice Department lawyer’s response is impeachment.’ Eliciting laughter from the senators, Schiff, a California Democrat, continued, ‘You can’t make this up. I mean, what more evidence do we need of the bad faith of this effort to cover up?'”

New recording shows access Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman had to Trump at Mar-a-Lago donor event, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Paul Sonne, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Ten days before Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman dined with President Trump at his Washington hotel, they were part of a small group of Republican Party donors who met with the president at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, a new recording shows. The two men — who later assisted Rudolph W. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine — were part of a gathering held in an ornate room of the property and also attended by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, according to the video and people in attendance. While it was known that Fruman and Parnas had attended an event at Mar-a-Lago, the focus of the event, the timing and who else was in attendance had not been made public. The April 2018 meeting came days before the two men took part in a donor dinner with the president at his Washington hotel, an encounter captured on a video released last week by Parnas’s attorney.” See also, Recording Surfaces of Another Trump Meeting With Parnas and Fruman, The New York Times, Ben Protess and Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “A lawyer for Lev Parnas, the former associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani who has offered to testify at the impeachment trial, released a new recording on Thursday of Mr. Trump meeting in April 2018 with a small group of donors at his private club in Florida. The recording documented the presence of Mr. Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, at the club, Mar-a-Lago, with the president, the first of two such donor gatherings they participated in with him that month. They met with him again 10 days later, on April 30, at his Washington hotel.”

Trump Administration Unveils a Major Shift in Medicaid, Allowing States to Cap Medicaid Spending, The New York Times, Abby Goodnough, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for many poor adults, a major shift long sought by conservatives that gives states the option of reducing health benefits for millions who gained coverage through the program under the Affordable Care Act. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said states that sought the arrangement — an approach often referred to as block grants — would have broad flexibility to design coverage for the affected group under Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor that was created more than 50 years ago as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. The announcement by Ms. Verma, who often speaks of wanting to ‘transform’ Medicaid, comes as her efforts to let states require adults on Medicaid to work or train for a job — which led to 17,000 people in Arkansas losing coverage in 2018 — are mired in court battles.” See also, Trump administration’s Medicaid block-grants option touches off ideological fight, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein, Thursday, 30 January 2020. See also, Trump administration pushes forward conservative transformation of Medicaid, Politico, Rachel Roubein and Dan Diamond, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “A new block grant program, rejected by Congress just three years ago, will face swift resistance from Democrats and expected legal challenges.”

Trump Administration Moves to Ease Rules Against Killing Birds, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The Trump administration will move on Thursday to weaken a century-old law protecting migratory birds by dropping the threat of punishment to oil and gas companies, construction crews and other organizations that kill birds ‘incidentally’ in the course of their operations. The proposed regulation, if finalized, would cement a legal opinion that the Department of Interior issued in 2017. The agency’s top lawyer argued that previous administrations had interpreted the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 too broadly, and that only actions explicitly intended to kill birds should be forbidden under the federal law. The death of a bird from an oil slick, the blade of a wind turbine or the spraying of illegal pesticides would no longer trigger penalties. That interpretation has already had significant consequences for thousands of migratory birds. According to internal agency documents recently obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration has discouraged local governments and businesses from taking simple precautionary measures to protect birds, and federal wildlife officials have all but stopped investigating most bird deaths.” See also, A controversial Trump legal opinion weakened a law to protect birds. Now it might be made permanent. The Washington Post, Darryl Fears and Juliet Eilperin, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The Trump administration is working to cement new standards weakening enforcement of the century-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Interior Department officials said Thursday that they will propose regulations clarifying that individuals and industrial operators, such as oil, gas and wind companies, will not be penalized if they accidentally kill birds — even on a massive scale.”

E. Jean Carroll, a woman who says Trump raped her, seeks his DNA, Associated Press, Jennifer Peltz, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Lawyers for a woman who accuses President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter. Advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney Thursday for Trump to submit a sample on March 2 in Washington for ‘analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress.'” See also, E. Jean Carroll, New York writer who accused Trump of raping her, wants a sample of his DNA, The Washington Post, Michael Brice-Saddler, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “E. Jean Carroll, a New York-based writer who last summer accused President Trump of raping her in the 1990s, requested on Thursday that he submit a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on the black coat dress she said she was wearing during the alleged assault. Carroll’s lawyers served notice to a Trump attorney Thursday, asking that Trump provide a sample for ‘analysis and comparison against unidentified male DNA present on the dress,’ the Associated Press first reported. Carroll’s lawyers requested Trump provide the DNA sample on March 2 in Washington.”

More U.S. Troops Sustain Brain Injuries From Iran Missile Strike in Iraq. The Number, Which Has Steadily Increased Since the 8 January Attack, Is Now at 64. The New York Times, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The Defense Department said on Thursday that 64 troops had sustained traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian ballistic missile strikes on Ayn Al Asad Air Base in Iraq this month, up 14 from an earlier announcement this week. The number, which has steadily increased since the Jan. 8 attack, is a clear indicator of the lasting and unseen effects so common in America’s long wars, made strikingly prevalent by the roadside bombs scattered in Iraq and Afghanistan that killed and maimed thousands of troops.”

Trump’s border wall, vulnerable to flash floods, needs large storm gates left open for months, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “President Trump’s border wall probably will require the installation of hundreds of storm gates to prevent flash floods from undermining or knocking it over, gates that must be left open for months every summer during ‘monsoon season’ in the desert, according to U.S. border officials, agents and engineers familiar with the plans. The open, unmanned gates in remote areas already have allowed for the easy entry of smugglers and migrants into the United States.”

Exclusive: State Department cable reveals new Trump policy expanding landmine use. This reverses an Obama administration restriction on landmine stockpiles and use in war. Vox, Alex Ward, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “In yet another reversal of an Obama-era policy, President Donald Trump will allow the US military to again use landmines in conflicts around the world. According to an internal State Department cable obtained by Vox, Trump has rescinded former President Barack Obama’s 2014 directive to no longer ‘produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines,’ known as APLs, which are small explosive devices placed under, on, or near the ground. The cable also lifts the Obama administration’s restriction on deploying landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula.” See also, Trump to reportedly allow use of landmines, reversing Obama-era policy, The Guardian, Julian Borger, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The US will end its moratorium on the production and deployment of landmines, in another reversal of Obama-era policies and a further breach with western allies, it has been reported. The defence secretary, Mark Esper, confirmed that a policy change was imminent but refused to describe it. Vox published a leaked state department cable rescinding Barack Obama’s 2014 ban on production or acquisition of anti-personnel landmines (APLs). The 2014 directive brought US policy more in line with the 1997 mine ban treaty outlawing the weapons because of their disproportionate harm to civilians. Obama did not join the treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention, reserving the right for the US to use landmines on the Korean peninsula. The treaty has been signed by 164 countries, including all of America’s Nato allies.”

House Votes to Repeal 2002 Military Authorization in Bid to Rein in Trump on Iran, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “The House on Thursday moved to block President Trump from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress, voting to repeal a 2002 war authorization and to bar him from using federal funds to mount an unauthorized strike against Tehran. The bipartisan votes reflected a Congress that has grown weary of military conflict and skeptical of the president’s expansive war-making power after years of intractable hostilities in which thousands of American troops have died. It amounted to another attempt by the Democratic-led House to place a constitutional check on Mr. Trump, as the Senate was on the brink of deciding whether to convict him of impeachable offenses and remove him from office. The measures, opposed by the vast majority of Republicans, were all but certain to die in the Republican-controlled Senate. But in voting to repeal the 2002 law, the House was moving to reclaim congressional war powers by revoking a measure that three successive presidents have used to justify all manner of strikes without securing prior approval from the legislative branch.” See also, House approves war powers legislation pulling authority back to Congress, Politico, Jesse Naranjo, Thursday, 30 January 2020.

Three Democratic attorneys general sue to have Equal Rights Amendment added to the Constitution, CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Three attorneys general of states that recently ratified the Equal Rights Amendment are suing to have the amendment added to the Constitution, challenging a Justice Department opinion that the deadline for passage expired decades ago. In a complaint filed Thursday, the attorneys general of Virginia, Illinois and Nevada are asking the US District Court in Washington, DC, to force the archivist of the United States, who administers the ratification process, to ‘carry out his statutory duty of recognizing the complete and final adoption’ of the ERA as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. The ERA would ban discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee equality for women under the Constitution.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says China’s coronavirus ‘will help’ bring jobs back to the U.S., The Washington Post, Rachel Siegel, Thursday, 30 January 2020: “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Chinese coronavirus — which has killed 171 in China and infected more than 8,100 people — could “help” to bring jobs to the United States because companies will be moving operations away from impacted areas…. During an appearance Thursday morning on Fox Business, Ross said that he didn’t ‘want to talk about a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,’ and expressed sympathy for the victims. But he said the pneumonia-like virus would be a consideration for American businesses that are scrambling to determine how the outbreak will affect their supply chains. He pointed to the 2003 SARS epidemic, the ‘African swine virus’ and now coronavirus as ‘another risk factor that people need to take into account.’… But public health experts were quick to criticize Ross’s comments as inaccurate and dangerous, saying such messaging could suppress reports of new infections. Meanwhile, health officials are up against the spread of false information on social media, from conspiracy theories to deceitful claims of magical cures. And Facebook, Google and Twitter are scrambling to crack down on the spread of dangerous health disinformation. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said that American companies would have more reason to be concerned about gun violence or measles outbreaks stateside ‘in terms of actual risk to their health than coronavirus.'”

Eliciting laughter from the senators, Schiff, a California Democrat, continued, “You can’t make this up. I mean, what more evidence do we need of the bad faith of this effort to cover up