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US Politics 2020
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What A Day: Schiff drops the mic
Sarah (Crooked) firstname.lastname@example.org via gmail.mcsv.net
Jan 24, 2020, 9:35 PM (2 hours ago)
Friday, January 24, 2020
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA
-Sen. Lindsey Graham, on running not from his past, but to a toilet
In their third and final day of opening arguments, House impeachment managers turned to their obstruction of Congress charge against President Trump. Also, Rudy Giuliani launched his podcast in the most Rudy Giuliani way possible. A historic day all around.
House managers laid out exhaustive evidence that Trump has conducted a cover-up, to a bunch of Senate Republicans who are thus far complicit in it. Placing the administration’s defiance of subpoenas within a larger story, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) detailed the White House’s efforts to bury Trump’s wrongdoing even before the House investigation even began. Today marked Democrats’ last chance to persuade four Republican senators to vote next week to subpoena new witnesses and documents. (Not your last chance, though. Keep calling: 202-224-3121.)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) argued poignantly to that end as he closed the Democrats' case this evening, reminding senators of the threat Trump poses to the role the U.S. occupies as an example to the world, and the significance of a fair trial to the country's core identity. “I ask you. I implore you: Give America a fair trial. Give America a fair trial. She’s worth it.”
House managers have made a point to frequently ground their case in the weight of what’s at stake. Schiff closed his arguments on Thursday night with an emotional appeal to whatever’s left of GOP senators’ consciences: “If right doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter how good the Constitution is.... If right doesn’t matter, we’re lost. If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost.” Take a few minutes to watch the whole thing.
Some Senate Republicans have snuggled up to a new excuse for voting against witnesses: Trump would invoke executive privilege, they say, and the trial will drag on forever while subpoenas are tied up in the courts. That’s bullshit for a few reasons: a key witness has already said he’s willing to testify, most of the testimony in question would not be subject to privilege, and unlike in the House, Chief Justice John Roberts is sitting right there in a big fancy robe to rule on any challenges quickly. Also, if Trump tries to silence witnesses before the Senate trial, they can just remove him for obstruction. Simple!
It’s almost like the real reason GOP senators want to exclude new evidence is because it’s all astonishingly bad for Trump.
A newly released recording corroborates one of Lev Parnas’s explosive claims. In a small gathering, Parnas and Igor Fruman can be heard slandering then-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to Trump, who responds to a subordinate: 'Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.' (The President Is a B-Movie Mob Boss, exhibit 5837292: The White House has reportedly warned Republican senators, “vote against the President and your head will be on a pike.”)
If Mitch McConnell’s cover-up ultimately succeeds, the fight won’t end so much as shift to the 2020 election. Elizabeth Warren pledged today that if elected, she would release the administration’s concealed trove of impeachment-related documents on day one, and called on other candidates to promise the same, but it’s unclear whether they heard her over the deafening sound of Washington, DC, paper shredders.
The full story will come out eventually: The only question is whether Republicans can hold the lid on long enough to acquit Trump as painlessly as possible. The White House defense team will begin their opening arguments tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET, and try to ensure that Republicans do just that.
Make a little room in your inbox for our new Big Tent newsletter.
Starting 1/31, Crooked Media’s Editor-in-Chief Brian Beutler will walk you through the latest 2020 developments and unfolding Democratic debates in real time, from the campaign trail, to the Senate floor, to the Twitter battles that leave everyone feeling angry at the end. Because the issues we argue about, and how we work them out, will shape the future of the progressive movement we share. Plus he’ll round up Internet memes and shit, and that’s always fun.
New edition every Friday. Straight into your political, twitter-loving/hating hearts.
A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s regime says the Saudi government tried to kidnap him on U.S. soil. Abdulrahman Almutairi is a California-based comedian with a large social media presence, who began making videos criticizing MBS after his connection to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi became clear. In response, the Saudi government cut off his scholarship and health insurance, unleashed a torrent of threats, and, in the fall of 2018, sent an agent to the U.S. with Almutairi’s father in an attempt to kidnap him. The FBI was waiting to intercept them at the airport, and sent them back to Saudi Arabia. Almutairi continues to receive death threats on his phone.
Thirty-four U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iranian missile strikes in Iraq earlier this month. Once again, this is what the commander-in-chief of the armed forces dismissed as “headaches.”
The CDC has confirmed a second case of the Wuhan coronavirus in the U.S., and 63 potential cases are being monitored. China’s travel lockdown now extends to 36 million people.
At least two people were killed in an industrial explosion in Houston. It’s a persistent problem for the Houston area: a 2016 Houston Chronicle investigation found industrial explosions and chemical releases to be happening about every six weeks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blew up at NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly after she pressed him on Ukraine, and told her to point to Ukraine on map, so she pointed to Ukraine, and Pompeo said “people will hear about this.” Now you’ve heard about this.
President Trump has invited Israeli leaders to the White House next week, and said he’ll probably release his Middle East peace plan before the meeting. At last, the unveiling of the sheet of paper that says “peace :)” in Jared Kushner’s handwriting.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos compared ending abortion rights to ending slavery. Many would struggle to insult both everyone scarred by slavery AND everyone who’s fought for women’s reproductive freedom in a single comment, but that’s what makes DeVos a professional monster at the top of her game.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) will deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union on February 4.
Bernie Sanders has embraced Joe Rogan’s endorsement, sparking a Twitter backlash, which sparked several more iterations of Twitter backlash. (Subscribe to Big Tent!)
Tinder has a new panic button for when a date becomes unsafe, but whoops, the feature shares your data with ad-tech companies. As things usually go on Tinder, it looked better before we got to know it.
The Trump administration threatened to withhold federal funding from California if the state doesn’t stop requiring private insurers to cover abortions. The Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement at today’s March for Life anti-abortion rights rally, at which President Trump also spoke. The administration said it would withhold at least one health funding stream if California doesn’t commit to ending the requirement in the next 30 days. The announcement was also meant as a warning to several other states with similar rules. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) said California won’t back down.
The Equal Hope initiative will aim to eradicate cervical cancer in Chicago. The non-profit was created in 2008 with the goal of reducing breast cancer deaths in the city’s African-American population, and has brought the death disparity down significantly over the last decade. It’s now focused on eliminating the almost 100 percent preventable cervical cancer, which has much higher-than-average incidence and mortality rates in Chicago. Through a combination of outreach and partnerships with local healthcare providers, Equal Hope plans to change the culture around how cervical cancer is perceived and discussed.
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