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Saturday Stunner: Three of the top six women's seeds out at Australian Open
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Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying the country is facing a grave situation, held a politburo meeting on measures to fight a coronavirus outbreak concentrated in the central city of Wuhan, state television reported on Saturday.
Eye Opener: Democrats finish opening impeachment trial arguments
As the Democrats finish opening arguments in the impeachment trial, the president's team prepares to start their case in just a few hours – but a secret recording of the president may complicate their plans. Also, the death toll nearly doubles in China’s coronavirus outbreak with a new case confirmed here in the U.S.. All that and all that matters in today’s Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.
Impeachment live updates: Trump's lawyers to speak
House impeachment managers gave three days of opening arguments earlier this week.
9 highlights from the impeachment trial this week
House impeachment managers Reps. Adam Schiff (left) and Jerrold Nadler are seen in the Capitol before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Trump on January 23, 2020. | Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images House Democrats spent more than 20 hours making their case. This week, House Democrats, across three days and more than 20 hours, presented their opening arguments for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Last year, the House charged Trump with two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Exhaustive, direct, and at times emotional, Democrats’ case established the timeline for Trump’s actions when it came to conditioning military aid for Ukraine on political favors the president demanded. Over and over they emphasized: The president put his own interests above the country’s, and it’s entirely possible he’ll do it again. “You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, said when making the explicit case for Trump’s removal. “He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to.” Democrats also devoted significant time to preempting potential arguments from Trump’s defense, including debunking claims about former Vice President Joe Biden and Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company whose board Biden’s son Hunter sat on. “Vice President Biden’s conduct was uniformly validated by the witnesses in the House investigation who confirmed his conduct was consistent with US policy,” impeachment manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia said. The days, which began at 1 pm Eastern, as dictated by long-standing Senate rules, were long. And senators were put in a unique position: While serving as jurors inside the chamber, they were barred from talking, using cellphones, or drinking anything besides milk or water. The trial has forced the upper chamber out of its standard routine and into a new one, introducing some Republican senators to facts about the impeachment inquiry for the first time. Democrats aimed to connect with these lawmakers by making a two-part plea: Using more than 50 video clips, text screengrabs, and documents, they systematically laid out the evidence in the case. At the same time, they also made an emotional appeal to Republicans’ moral responsibility. “If you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed,” Schiff said. “Because right matters and the truth matters.” In the near term, Democrats are hoping to sway at least four Senate Republicans to vote in favor of more witnesses and evidence next week. Longer term, they’re trying to shape public opinion, with an election looming later this year. Here are the nine most important moments that capture this week’s historic, and often surreal, events. Next up, we’ll hear from Trump’s defense team. Democrats staged a marathon vote on amendments until 2 am Wednesday Tuesday went much later than most Senate sessions, blowing past both Chuck Grassley’s 9 pm bedtime and that of pretty much everyone else present. Much of the day was spent in a fiery debate over the rules of the trial. To kick things off, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a resolution outlining the rules on Monday — and the proposal was met with strong opposition from Democrats, because it postponed a vote on witnesses and additional evidence until later in the trial. “The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump, for President Trump,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at the time. Senate Democrats, led by Schumer, sought to change the measure, and introduced 11 amendments to do so. These covered a range of subjects and forced the Senate to vote on subpoenaing documents from government agencies and subpoenaing witnesses including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. All 11 amendments were shot down by Republicans, who remained almost completely united throughout these votes. As a result, the Senate will again debate the question of whether more testimony and documents will be considered as part of the trial, next week. By forcing vote after vote, however, Democrats were able to make their point: that they see this trial as skewed in favor of Trump. Chief Justice John Roberts admonishes Democrats and Republicans As Vox’s Sean Collins reported, one of the tensest moments during the trial took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when Rep. Jerry Nadler accused Senate Republicans of being complicit in a “cover-up” of Trump’s actions. “Will you choose to be complicit in the president’s cover-up?” Nadler asked. “So far, I’m sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses — an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote.” White House counsel Pat Cipollone shot back in a dramatic fashion, arguing that Nadler needed to apologize to the president for his comments. “You don’t deserve, and we don’t deserve, what just happened,” Cipollone told senators, slamming the House case as “false.” Following this back-and-forth, Chief Justice John Roberts, in one of his most notable moments in the trial thus far, wound up admonishing both of them, cautioning them to remember that they were speaking to the world’s “greatest deliberative body.” “Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,” Roberts said. Later in the week, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told Politico that she had passed Roberts a note expressing her discomfort with Nadler’s rhetoric, shortly before the justice made his remarks. The Senate has had a longstanding fixation on decorum, and lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have previously been disciplined for allegedly “impugning” another senator. Democrats provided a detailed timeline for Trump’s actions The first day of House Democrats’ opening arguments were heavily focused on laying out the exact timeline of the charges that Trump faced. The impeachment managers provided a month-by-month chronology of all the meetings, calls, and emails that led to a hold on military aid to Ukraine, and the recurring demands for political investigations into Joe Biden and alleged 2016 election interference. Because of the linear and comprehensive presentation, Democrats drew an incredibly effective and easy-to-follow through line with the evidence they have. “If we don’t stand up to this peril today, we will write the history of our decline with our own hand,” Schiff said. Democrats also repeatedly called out the ways that additional evidence and witnesses could further bolster the case. Mulvaney was central to inquiries about putting a hold on the military aid to Ukraine, for example, and his testimony would likely shed more light on them. Schiff asked Republicans to risk their careers Schiff, in a pointed moment on Wednesday night, called out the political realities that surround this trial. For Republicans, a vote against Trump either on procedure or on the final conviction could mean they lose support from the GOP base in elections down the line, given how much Republican voters still back Trump. According to a Gallup poll, 88 percent of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing as president. And while roughly a third of Republicans think it’s likely he may have done something illegal, a Pew poll finds that 86 percent do not want to see him removed. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, a vulnerable Republican who initially broke with Trump in his support of the national emergency to fund the border wall, is among the lawmakers to experience the backlash of bucking the president firsthand. While Tillis ultimately reversed his position, he dealt with the threat of a potential primary challenger after announcing his original opposition. Schiff confronted this dynamic head-on this week, calling for Republicans to have the “courage” to make the decision that they think is right, even if it endangers their seat. “They risked everything, their careers,” Schiff said, when describing the testimony of officials like former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. “And yes, I know what you’re asked to decide may risk yours too. If they can show the courage, so can we.” In a later statement on Friday, Schiff more explicitly spelled out the pressure Senators could be facing from Trump himself, citing a CBS News report, which featured a source noting that lawmakers had been warned they’d find their “head ... on a pike” if they defied the President. Multiple Republicans rejected this claim and were riled up by this framing as the Democrats’ arguments wrapped. It’s evident, though, that Trump has a strong hold on the GOP — and has been known to threaten those who go against him in the past. Jerry Nadler dismantled a central plank of Trump’s defense — using Trump defenders Lindsey Graham’s and Alan Dershowitz’s own words House Democrats spent much of their second day preemptively combating anticipated arguments from Trump’s defense, including the claim that the articles of impeachment don’t meet the threshold that’s needed to remove him from office. So far, Trump’s counsel has argued that his actions do not constitute a crime or a violation of the law, and as such are not an impeachable offense. This reasoning is flawed for a variety of reasons, as Vox’s Ian Millhiser has explained, and it appears both Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Trump counsel Alan Dershowitz once agreed. In fact, impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler cited both when he argued that abuse of power is an impeachable offense, a position that many constitutional scholars have reaffirmed. Graham said much the same when he was an impeachment manager during President Bill Clinton’s trial in 1999: “It doesn’t even have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you’ve committed a high crime.” Sylvia Garcia debunked the Joe Biden and Burisma conspiracy theory Because Republicans haven’t been able to engage in the substance of the charges that have been brought against Trump, they’ve repeatedly aimed to redirect the focus to former Vice President Joe Biden, who pressed for the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin when he was in office. A debunked Republican conspiracy theory has suggested that part of the reason Biden did this was to protect his son Hunter Biden, who was sitting on the board of a natural gas company called Burisma, from further scrutiny. There is no evidence to suggest this is the case, a point that House impeachment manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia emphasized. “Every witness with knowledge of this issue testified that Vice President Biden was carrying out official US policy,” she said. Some Republicans argued that Democrats’ focus on Biden was a mistake, because it opened the door to criticism of the candidate. Democrats, meanwhile, likely took this tack because Republicans were going to go after him anyway. Adam Schiff answered the big question: Why Trump should be removed One of the most stunning moments of the trial took place on Thursday evening, when Schiff confronted the central question of these proceedings: Should Trump be removed from office? His arguments were directly aimed at Republicans, who will need to weigh whether they think the president should not only be convicted of the actions he’s charged with, but removed from his post as a result. Schiff plainly laid out the biggest reason for convicting Trump: to ensure that he doesn’t do all of this again. “No one is really making the argument, ‘Donald Trump would never do such a thing,’ because of course we know that he would, and of course we know that he did,” Schiff said. “We all know what we’re dealing here with this president.” He emphasized that Trump could continue to do a lot of damage by prioritizing his personal interests over those of the country, even in the limited time between now and the November election. “He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to,” Schiff said. “This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed.” Democrats emphasize the importance of acknowledging obstruction of Congress Friday’s arguments were dedicated heavily to breaking down the case of the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress. House Democrats emphasized that the president’s decisions to defy subpoenas for documents, and direct other administration officials to do the same in response to subpoenas for witness testimony, demonstrated Trump’s fixation on simply doing whatever he wants, with little sense of accountability. By setting a precedent for this type of behavior, Trump was establishing a much more expansive sense of what the president is capable of doing, the managers argue, depriving Congress of its ability to check the executive. “Only his will goes,” Nadler said. “He is a dictator. This must not stand and that is another reason he must be removed from office.” As Schiff noted, if a president was fully empowered to obstruct Congress, an impeachment inquiry couldn’t even really take place. “If there is no article two there, let me tell you something, there will be no article one,” he said. Schiff fact-checks Republicans before they even present Because of the timing of the impeachment trial, Trump’s defense counsel will now have three days to offer their arguments for the case, and the prosecution will not have the ability to directly respond. In anticipation of this set-up, Schiff predicted arguments Republicans were likely to make about what they’ve described as a rigged process, and rebutted them point by point. If they say the process was unfair, because of “secret” depositions in the basement of the Senate that didn’t allow Republicans to participate: “Every Democrat, every Republican on three committees could participate know how we did it in those super secret depositions, you can look this up yourself because we released the transcripts. We got an hour, they got an hour. We got 45 minutes, they got 45 minutes.” If they attack the impeachment managers: “You can expect attacks on all kinds of members of the House that have noting to do with the issues before you. When you hear those attacks, you should ask yourself — away from what do they want to distract my attention. Because nine times out of ten it will be the president’s misconduct.” If they say calling witnesses will make the trial too long: “Is it too much fatigue to call witnesses and have a fair trial? Are the blessings of freedom so meager that we will not endure the fatigue of a fair trial?” Schiff said that the Republican arguments were serving as a diversion: “When they say the process was unfair, what they really mean is don’t look at what the president did. For God’s sake, don’t look at what the president did.”
NPR reporter: Pompeo asked me to find Ukraine on a map
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Deval Patrick announces six-day bus tour in New Hampshire
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President Trump's Legal Team To Begin Impeachment Defense
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No Wonder the Impeachment Trial Is Such a Mess
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial has finally begun, complete with 100 senators who serve as both judges and jurors, several members of the House of Representatives who act as prosecutors, a defense team of lawyers, and presiding over the whole affair, the Supreme Court’s John Roberts. All of these people, except for the defense counsel and the chief justice, are politicians who have now either leaped or been forced into a judicial role. This highlights a dangerous characteristic of the impeachment process: It permits, and even invites, the injection of a massive amount of politics into what is, or at least should be, a judicial proceeding. Given that the politics of the past generation has been particularly vitriolic, impeachment thus presents a ripe opportunity for the political element to further weaken the rule of law.Cynics would say that law and politics have always been hopelessly intermixed, and that impeachment is no different. But the Anglo-American tradition at least has a pretense of keeping the law, the courts, and the judges apolitical, and to some, it’s much more than pretense.What’s the difference between law and politics anyway? Or perhaps a better starting point is, what’s the difference supposed to be? One of the classic metaphors for explaining the distinction is a ball game. The rules of the game are the law, and the referees are the judges. The players are politicians and other political actors, such as public-interest groups or lobbyists; the teams are political parties; and the ways in which the various players and teams use the rules to get what they want during the game are politics.But this doesn’t get it quite right, so we need to make some adjustments. First, the players themselves get to choose the referees. Second, they can collectively overrule the referees. Third, if enough of the players agree, they can rewrite the rules, even to the disadvantage of other players or the opposing team. Fourth, the players can make the crowd in the bleachers (U.S. citizens) play by the rules as well. Finally, the players can have a big influence on the people who aren’t even in the stadium (citizens of foreign countries).While this is a more accurate picture, it’s also a more confusing one. But it does show something essential to the separation of law and politics: For a player, the rules can be either an obstacle to what she wants to achieve or a means of achieving it, depending partly on whether she can manage to change the rules.People are willing to put up with such a system, even when it costs them a short-term gain, for three main reasons. First, they value the long-term stability that the rules achieve, because if those rules are applied consistently, outcomes of future conflicts are relatively predictable. Second, a consensus exists among the players that all sides will abide by the rules even when it costs a side one of these short-term gains. Third, the rules are supposedly impartial, not inherently favoring one side or another.But for more than a century in American legal circles, this framework has been under attack. First came the legal realists, who denounced the very idea of an abstract, objective set of apolitical legal principles. Judicial decisions, the realists declared, were influenced just as much by what the judge had for breakfast—or what lurked in his Freudian unconscious—as by the impartial dictates of law. Next came the critical legal studies movement, a legacy of the New Left and the 1960s, best described as a strange bedfellows mash-up of Karl Marx and Harvard Law School. Judicial decisions weren’t unconscious at all, argued the crits: Judges had known all along that they were handing down diktats that favored the establishment while cloaking those decisions, and themselves, in the regal impartiality of the law, which in fact wasn’t impartial. The game, they contended, was rigged.All of this by itself would have done a lot to blur the lines between law and politics, but it’s been helped along in the past half century by an inordinate amount of judicial activism. Activism is neither liberal nor conservative; rather, it can be used in the service of either philosophy. It’s simply what happens when a judge bases her decision more on her subjective beliefs about what the law ought to be than on an objective analysis of what the law currently is. Earl Warren is the textbook example. He had a classic response when hearing from lawyers who stated the law during oral argument before the Supreme Court. “Yes,” Warren would ask, “but is it right, is it fair?” Oliver Wendell Holmes’s statement from decades earlier was a prescient riposte to such activism: “I hate justice,” he wrote, “which means that I know if a man begins to talk about that, for one reason or another he is shirking thinking in legal terms.” Or, as he is supposed to have once told an idealistic advocate arguing for justice and fairness, “This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.”[Buckner Melton: The weaponization of impeachment]The legal realists would argue that all judging is activist, that even a judge who believes he is showing restraint brings his own predilections to the mix. Nevertheless, some judges apparently try hard either to show restraint or at least to mask their activism. One sign that a judge is trying to keep herself out of the equation is whether she likes the result of the case. If she wishes that A had won but she nevertheless felt constrained by the law to rule for B, it’s a good sign that she’s trying to avoid activism.There have been periods of particularly strong judicial activism throughout our history, but rarely have they been as sustained and visible as the generally liberal activist phase of the past few generations, with its catchphrase of the “living Constitution.” This era has further confused the public’s thinking about the law and politics distinction, because activism invites judges to behave sometimes as if they’re frustrated politicians.Activism is so widespread on the bench because, in the words of that great jurist Yoda, it’s “quicker, easier, more seductive” than judicial restraint. With activism, the law is always what the judge thinks it ought to be, so the judge always gets the result he thinks he should get, and because the law always agrees with him, he’s validated by the experience. But despite this, judges and courts constantly assert that they don’t play politics, which helps explain why the country is not only confused but cynical about law’s supposed apoliticality.Chief Justice John Roberts, who will play a key role in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, seems determined to uphold this fiction. “We don’t go about our work in a political manner,” Roberts said in September. “That’s not how we at the Court function, and the results in our cases do not suggest otherwise.” In making this claim, which strains credibility, Roberts completely ignored some breathtakingly political decisions in the Court’s history that nearly every law student studies, including a few in which Roberts himself has been an activist. These cases have involved topics as varied as slavery, labor law, economic regulation, contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Yet Roberts, and many others, staunchly maintain that such decisions are law, not politics. No wonder people are confused.With the Trump impeachment, the country is getting a high-profile lesson in this muddling of law and politics. Normally the activism-restraint battle takes place mainly in the courts among jurists. But impeachment is a judicial proceeding conducted by a legislature full of politicians. Many of those politicians are lawyers who should know the difference between law and politics, but their refusal either to recognize this, or else to point it out, is making the confusion worse than ever.There’s a lot the Constitution doesn’t tell us about impeachment, which has led to endless debate over some key impeachment issues. The most celebrated one, of course, is the exact—or even approximate—meaning of “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” But a few things are relatively clear. First, despite the recent, incessant protestations of politicians and commentators to the contrary, it’s partly a judicial process. The constitutional text regarding impeachment speaks explicitly of a trial, an oath for senators, conviction, and judgment. This isn’t the language of politics (unless you’re a crit). Impeachment’s history as of 1787, moreover, was that of a parliamentary judicial procedure. Next is the fact that impeachment is delegated to Congress—that is, to politicians. Third is the clear bifurcation of “the sole power of impeachment,” which goes to the House of Representatives, and “the sole power to try all impeachments,” which the Senate possesses.So here’s the problem. In this age when law and politics have already converged, impeachment, with its judicial and political elements, forces Congress to ask a question it would really rather not have to answer: Is there really a difference between the two, and if so, which one should predominate in impeachment?There are advantages and drawbacks to both the political and judicial approaches. If members of Congress treat impeachment as political, then it’s simply a tool politicians can use to score political victories large and small, short and long term, and the rules don’t matter. But that can make the politicians seem not just petty but downright subversive of the established constitutional order, given the Constitution’s textual restrictions on the process. If they treat impeachment as judicial, on the other hand, then they can seem to rise above mere party politics into the impartial realm of the law and act for the good of the nation and our constitutional system. In that case, they have to at least appear to play by a stricter, more weighty set of rules, some of them deeply rooted in the American legal tradition, others announced by the Constitution itself.But the politicians, being politicians, would like to have their cake and eat it too. That has led a lot of the major congressional players in the Trump impeachment to be obviously inconsistent.Take the bicameral approach, for instance. House Republicans have attacked the Democratic majority for rushing the impeachment process, for refusing to wait until the courts had weighed in regarding Trump’s refusal to let his people testify before Congress. The hackneyed Democratic response, sometimes couched in terms of constitutional duty, is that the House, having “the sole power of impeachment,” doesn’t need to wait for the courts. House Democrats have a point. But then Nancy Pelosi, who has spoken loudly of constitutional duties and the rule of law, did something bizarre. Having gotten the House to pass two articles of impeachment in something of a rush, Pelosi then stalled, refusing to send them on to the upper house in an expressed attempt to influence Senate trial procedures. She thus blithely ignored the only other time the Constitution uses the word sole: when the document gives the exclusive power over impeachment trials to the Senate. High-flown constitutional duty had suddenly morphed into political tactics.[Jane Chong: This is not the senate the Framers imagined]If the constitutional niceties of impeachment are to be observed, then the best way for Pelosi and the House managers to influence Senate decisions would be to do so judicially and constitutionally, through the managers’ pleadings and motions. That’s been done since the very first federal impeachment, in 1797. But Pelosi wasn’t willing to wait for that. Worse, she doubled down on the “constitutional duty” argument when defending her decision to withhold the articles. “Our Founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president,” she said. “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.” She was wrong. Many of the Founders feared potential collusion between the president and the small, aristocratic Senate.Pelosi’s thinly disguised political maneuvers look even worse in light of one of the Republicans’ few really solid arguments. As they have noted repeatedly, House and other Democrats have been calling for Trump’s impeachment since his inauguration. The persistent efforts by a vocal faction of congressional Democrats to impeach Trump on several occasions taint, to a large degree, the actual impeachment. In light of those earlier activities, the current proceedings seem like nothing more than the latest attack in a three-year political offensive that has been in continuous search of a justification.To be sure, Pelosi and the House Democrats do have some degree of cover for these missteps. The House by its nature is more volatile than the Senate, and it’s designed to be, including during impeachment proceedings. It’s likewise more partisan, and according even to the more restrictive judicial view of impeachment, it’s meant to function somewhat like a grand jury, in which the subjects of investigation have always had fewer rights than defendants in full-blown criminal trials. Nevertheless, when one’s oft-proclaimed solemn constitutional duties dovetail so nicely with one’s blatant and highly partisan politics, eyebrows are bound to go up, and so they should.The Senate—which, according to the Constitution and the terms of its oath, is to serve as an impartial court—has less cover than the House. On top of that, the senators have so far handled things even more oafishly than their House colleagues. The most severe transgression, without a doubt, has come from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In his remarks on the Senate floor on December 19, McConnell harped on the law, talking about the importance of due process and Senate’s constitutional duty to be more deliberative than the House. But he also self-servingly misrepresented Alexander Hamilton’s position, erroneously claiming that in The Federalist Papers, Hamilton wrote that impeachment decisions were to be partly political. (Hamilton stated that the offenses, not the process, were political, and that the Senate was to act in an independent and impartial manner.) This misrepresentation echoed McConnell’s inexcusable declaration two days earlier. “I’m not an impartial juror,” he stated flatly. “This is a political process.” He was thereafter echoed by other senators. Yet last week these senators formally swore, orally and in writing, that in the impeachment trial they would “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.” Even if one truly thinks that impeachments are purely political, such gross hypocrisy should trouble everybody who believes in the rule of law.One important element of the rule of law is that the other person’s rule-breaking doesn’t entitle you to break rules as well. The law doesn’t allow vigilantism. If we’ve gotten to the point where A need not play by the rules because B isn’t doing so, then the social contract has been broken, and we’re back to the state of nature. This is, sadly, the case: McConnell and the Senate Republicans have as much as told House Democrats, “You’ve played politics in your rush to impeach Trump; now it’s our turn.” This kind of tit for tat is to be expected in the political arena, but in the judicial world, it can be disastrous. It destroys the stability and predictability that are the whole point of law, and replaces them with political whim masquerading as principle.Then there’s former Vice President Joe Biden’s statement in early December that he wouldn’t comply with a Senate subpoena. The problem is that blatant refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena is the precise basis for the second article of impeachment against Trump, which makes Biden, and by association his fellow Democrats in the House, look very bad. Biden has since walked that statement back, but not uncategorically. “I would honor whatever the Congress in fact legitimately asked me to do,” he said, suggesting that the Senate might do something illegitimate (such as, perhaps, serve him with a subpoena motivated by partisanship). This language is disturbingly reminiscent of President Richard Nixon, who announced during the Watergate investigation that he “would abide by a definitive decision of the highest court” (my emphasis). Ultimately he did comply with the courts’ orders, but not until a unanimous Supreme Court ruling (with one justice sitting the game out) told him to.All of this fumbling with conflicting legal and political notions has the congressional leadership looking either hypocritcal or incompetent; take your pick. Given that nearly all of the key congressional figures in this business—including McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and for good measure, former Senator Biden—are lawyers with ethical obligations as well as legal training, both possibilities are frightening.As the impeachment of Donald Trump wears on, and despite all the talk about the Constitution, the Founders, and sacred and solemn duties, the process seems less and less like a battle of principle. Every day it becomes more like a street fight in which nobody truly cares about the long-term consequences for the American constitutional system and our sense of the rule of law. And that’s a terrifying thought.
Two Teenagers Accused of Murdering Their Mothers And Siblings In Separate Incidents Days Apart
Colin Jeffrey Haynie, 16, allegedly killed his mom and three siblings in Grantsville, Utah, on January 17. Days later, Landon Durham allegedly murdered his mother and brothers in Munford, Alabama.
Trump’s Lawyers Are Getting Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment All Wrong
Yes, the 17th president was acquitted on similar charges—but bribery likely played a role.
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Florida sits on $900M in aid while storm victims wait
HUD's disaster recovery grants are slow to go where they're needed
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California Woman Dies After Getting Caught In Raisin Processing Machine
Yaneth Lopez Valladares was working at the Del Rey Packing plant in Sanger, near Fresno, in California. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
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Powerful lawmakers join effort to kill surveillance program protected by Trump administration
NSA phone snooping system leaked by Snowden is on the rocks with Republicans and Democrats.
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5 Republican AGs who may drown a Democratic White House
The end of a gentleman’s agreement in 2016 helped launch a new level of activism among state attorneys general.
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Trump moves to gut Obama housing discrimination rules
New rules may make it easier to deny loans to people of color.
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Biden takes the lead in NYC donor chase
Top Democratic donors in New York are lining up behind Biden after weighing their options through 2019.
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Trump's legal team to launch unbridled attack on Biden
“Believe me, you'll hear about that issue,” Jay Sekulow says.
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Forget impeachment. Republicans fear Ukraine revelations could spill into election.
It’s not impeachment that’s worrying Republicans. It’s the months of steady revelations about the Ukraine saga that could follow.
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Former US Rep. Pete Stark, California Dem who helped draft ObamaCare legislation, dies at 88
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, an outspoken progressive California Democrat who was an anti-war activist, died at his home in Maryland on Friday at age 88, his family said.
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Virus anxieties cast shadow over Year of the Rat festivities
Chinese communities in Australia and New Zealand were among the first to greet the Year of the Rat on Saturday but Lunar New Year celebrations globally were marred by anxieties about the virus outbreak that has disrupted festivities in China.
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Trump impeachment trial, Grammy Awards, NFL Pro Bowl: 5 things you need to know this weekend
President Trump's defense team gets a chance to make its case at the impeachment trial, Lizzo may own the Grammys and more news to start your weekend.       
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Trump's legal team to begin defense arguments at U.S. Senate impeachment trial
Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump will begin his defense at the Senate impeachment trial on Saturday, offering a rebuttal to Democratic charges that he abused his power and previewing more detailed arguments planned for next week.
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How Super Sniffer Dogs Are Helping Detect Disease Around The World
Our canine buddies can do more than play fetch. Turns out dogs' incredible sense of smell is a secret weapon in medicine.
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Hong Kong Leader Declares Coronavirus Emergency And Halts Official Trips to China Mainland
As of Friday, five confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection had been identified in Hong Kong.
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Macron pleads with Trump not to cut off U.S. support for French forces in Africa
The White House may stop helping France fight African jihadis with drones and refueling planes. Experts say that could open the door to more terrorism.
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United Nations rules Myanmar must protect Rohingya Muslims
Simon Adams, Executive Director for the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, joins CNN International to discuss the UN's historic court ruling that Myanmar must prevent genocide
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This fall-apart roasted pork shoulder with rosemary and garlic is the weekend meal your family craves
When it's dark and dreary outside, a communal family dinner with roast pork, sweet potato fries, green beans and brownies for dessert feels like a little oasis in the cold.
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Grow your likes: the unstoppable rise of the Insta plant
They’re green, photogenic and social media starsInstagram may well have changed the way you garden, even if you don’t have an account. From the plants you buy – and where you buy them – to the gardens you visit, the platform has driven a profound change in the tastes and habits of even established gardeners, not to mention encouraging a new generation of green fingers.Plants have been inspiring artists for hundreds of years, so they are well suited to the photo app. A younger generation (urban, cash-strapped, Insta-obsessed and renting) are driving houseplant sales, sharing pictures of their plant babies instead of the human ones they can’t afford. From the dramatic structure of mother-in-law’s tongue to blousy tea roses, you can say a lot about your taste through the species you share. Connecting with nature reduces stress, much needed in these chaotic times; even bursts of online greenery, amid Instagram’s sometimes frantic commercialism, are a tonic. Continue reading...
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