Donald Trump has lashed out at lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, again calling him “mentally deranged”, as Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell claims to have seen off the threatened Republican rebellion on subpoenaing new witnesses and hopes to press ahead with the president’s acquittal on Friday after a final question-and-answer session in the upper chamber today.
US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross is meanwhile in hot water after saying during an interview with Fox Business, with a staggering absence of basic compassion, that China being struck by the coronavirus “will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America”.
In a further embarrassing development for the president, a section of his US-Mexico border wall – which he once promised would be “impenetrable” – has been blown over in El Centro, California, after being hit by strong desert winds.
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Donald Trump’s attorney Pat Cipillone says Democrats attempting to impeach the president during an election year is “the most massive election interference we’ve ever seen”.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff slams Republican arguments against using subpoenas in a comprehensive case for impeachment:
“They would have you believe that any subpoena you issue as a part of your oversight responsibility that down the road reveals evidence that leads you to embark on an impeachment inquiry must be disregarded. That cannot [be] and is not the law.”
House leading Democratic manager Adam Schiff has responded to attorney Alan Dershowitz’ controversial claims during yesterday’s hearings about how the president cannot abuse his power if he works to re-elect himself in the national interest – even if it means demanding political investigations from a foreign country.
“It’s astonishing that on the floor of this body someone would make this argument. Now, it didn’t begin that way … but what we have seen over the last couple days is a descent into constitutional madness, because that way madness lies,” he says. “That argument may succeed here, now. That means we’re not back to where we were, we are worse off than where we were. That is the normalization of lawlessness. I would hope that every American would recognize that it’s wrong to seek foreign help in an American election.”
The senator who reportedly requested Chief Justice John Roberts to read the alleged identity of the whistleblower has chosen to do so himself during a press conference:
Important moment from today’s hearings: It appears the Chief Justice declined to read a question submitted as it identified the name of the alleged whistleblower whose anonymous complaint against Donald Trump sparked the impeachment inquiry against him:
“The Speaker allowed the articles to linger,” Jay Sekulow says, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to withhold the articles of impeachment temporarily before sending both to the Senate.
Donald Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow is arguing that the upcoming elections “complicates the situation for the American people” while slamming the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into the president, saying he would be “kicked off the ballot” in 2020 if the Senate voted to convict him.
Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read a question from Senator Rand Paul, which some reports indicate may have identified the alleged identity of the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump with an official anonymous complaint against the president’s phone call with Ukraine.
Jason Crow, a Democratic impeachment manager, says there is an abundance of evidence that “can help shed light” on Donald Trump’s connections to demands for Ukraine to launch probes into his 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, while withholding crucial military aid to the country as it fought a war with Russia.
The impeachment trial has resumed for another period of questioning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says nearly 100 questions were answered yesterday.
The Chief Justice has arrived in the Capitol and the proceedings are set to begin shortly.
The US Senate impeachment trial against Donald Trump is set to begin momentarily, with senators taking their seats for another day of proceedings at 1:00pm EST.
The questioning period of the trial will resume, as Democrats call for witnesses like former National Security Adviser John Bolton – who has a new book reportedly linking the president in first-hand conversations to the Ukraine scandal – to deliver testimony under oath. A vote on the decision of whether to add additional witnesses could arrive on Friday.
We’ll bring you live updates as they come in.
Tim Mullaney has a new Voices piece on The Independent today that looks at potential difficulties the president will face when campaigning on the economy, now that his policies are seemingly having an adverse impact just before the election:
Joe Biden has acknowledged he must pick a vice president capable of taking over the White House “immediately” if he wins the Democratic nomination, admitting to voters in Iowa this week: “I’m an old guy.”
Speaking openly about an issue that has followed the 77-year-old former vice president as he campaigns in the early-voting state, Mr Biden addressed his age and said he could of “at least eight women, at least four or five people of colour” who he believed were “totally qualified to be vice president”.
“But for me, it has to be demonstrated that whoever I pick is two things,” the 2020 hopeful continued. “One, is capable of [being] president because I’m an old guy.”
Mr Biden said he was serious as some in the crowd laughed, according to Washington Examiner, which first reported the quotes from the former vice president.
“Look, I thank God I’m in great health. I work out. No, I’m serious. You know, I work out every morning. I’m in good shape — knock on wood, as my mother would say,” he said.
Story to come…
House Foreign Affairs chairman hits hack at Don Jr over Bolton claim
Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee posted this thread on Twitter in response to Trump’s latest attack on Bolton unexpectedly revealing that the ex-national security adviser had also expressed his concerns about the administration’s approach to Ukraine to its own chairman, New York Democrat Eliot Engel.
When the president’s idiot son expressed scepticism, Engel came right back at him:
Trump administration to loosen restrictions on landmines
Here’s the president latest regulatory rollback in the name of free enterprise, this one empowering the US military to place deadly explosives to mame enemy combatants despite their being banned in over 160 countries.
Nancy Pelosi: ‘You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial’
The House speaker is currently giving her weekly press conference and has hailed her impeachment managers and been quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Paul Revere.
“You cannot be acquitted if you don’t have a trial,” she says on the president and the need to call John Bolton. “You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation and all of that.”
She also says the president’s legal team “disgraced themselves terribly”.
The Iowa caucus explained
On Monday, Americans will be be able to cast a vote for who they’d like to see become president of the United States for the first time this election year.
But why is it taking place in Iowa, a predominantly rural state with a relatively small and largely white population, only 16 per cent of whom turned out in 2016?
Graig Graziosi explains it all.
President lays into impeachment trial star as senators prepare for final Q&A
Trump has just issued his latest attack on Adam Schiff, saying he “only dreams of the Impeachment Hoax” and is “mentally deranged” – in his opinion.
In today’s second and final Q&A session of the impeachment, this is how long the senators have left to ask questions of the 16 alloted hours…
…and this is how many each senator has asked and who has yet to ask any at all.
Here are a couple of contrary interpretations.
White House adviser credits Trump for increasing US life expectancy
Kellyanne Conway has announced that American life expectancy has increased for the first time in four years and that drug overdoses are down for the first time in 29 years – although 70,000 died from overdoes, 48,000 of which were the result of the opiod crisis.
She credits a “whole of government approach to treat the whole person led by President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and really the entire administration”.