What Now?! – January 11, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats that she expects to send the articles of impeachment against President Trump over to the Senate next week to launch his long-awaited trial, the Washington Post reports.

Said Pelosi: “I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate… I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”

Playbook: “The Senate’s impeachment guidelines say this: ‘Upon such articles being presented to the Senate, the Senate shall, at 1 o’clock after noon of the day (Sunday excepted) following such presentation, or sooner if ordered by the Senate, proceed to the consideration of such articles and shall continue in session from day to day (Sundays excepted) after the trial shall commence (unless otherwise ordered by the Senate) until final judgment shall be rendered, and so much longer as may, in its judgment, be needful.’

“Remember: Next weekend is the three-day MLK weekend. The logistical elements of the trial will take a few days at the front end. The real trial won’t begin until post-MLK weekend in all likelihood. Senate GOP leadership has sent signals they intend to keep the trial going most weekends.”

President Trump told Fox News that Iran Gen. Suleimani was plotting to bomb “four embassies” probably including the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Said Trump: “I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies.”

Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.”

“The White House is considering expanding its much-litigated travel ban to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus on immigration issues by President Trump,” the AP reports. “A document outlining the plans has been circulating the White House, but the countries that would be affected are blacked out.”

“You know it’s interesting, as I’m saying this stuff — you know, ‘They want crime, they want chaos’ — I’m saying all this stuff and then I say, ‘Gee, now I sort of understand why they hate me for it.’” — President Trump, quoted by the Washington Post, in a rare moment of self-reflection before adding, “But it’s true.”

President Trump “actually was surprised” his decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani wasn’t “a unifying event for the country,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN.

Said Haberman: “He actually was surprised this was not more of a unifying event for the country, which is what he expected it was going to be. Something more along the lines of what you saw around the Iraq War lead-up.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told the Bangor Daily News that she is working with a “fairly small” group of senators to ensure that an initial resolution on President Trump’s impeachment trial rules allows for witnesses.

Said Collins: “I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement on how to proceed with the trial that will allow the opportunity for both the House and the president’s counsel if they choose to do so.”

President Trump told Fox News that “for the sake of the office” he will invoke executive privilege to try to block former National Security Adviser John Bolton from testifying during the Senate impeachment trial.

“The U.S. military recently targeted but failed to kill Iran’s senior military commander in Yemen around the time it conducted the drone strike that killed an Iranian commander in Baghdad,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The highly classified operation against Abdul Reza Shahlai in Yemen shows that the U.S. operation that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week was more ambitious and multifaceted than the Trump administration has disclosed.”

“U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are assessing whether Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden in its ongoing disinformation efforts with the former vice president still the front-runner in the race to challenge President Trump,” Bloomberg reports.

“The probe comes as senior U.S. officials are warning that Russia’s election interference in 2020 could be more brazen than in the 2016 presidential race or the 2018 midterm election.”

Preet Bharara slams Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) for asserting on Fox Newsthat Democrats “are in love with terrorists. We see that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families.”

“I realize that you are a politician and that hyperbolic, hyperpartisan claptrap is the unfortunate fashion of the day. But even allowing for the new normal of nastiness in political rhetoric, your casual slur of countless good Americans hits a new bottom…”

“You are not a talk radio host or a carnival barker. You are a pastor, an attorney and a sitting member of Congress. Therefore, the evidence would suggest you should know better. To utter such garbage, which you know to be false and defamatory, goes against all the training and teaching you must have received. But you got your cheap shot across, and perhaps that’s all that matters to you.”

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) apologized for accusing Democrats of being “in love” with terrorists. Said Collins: “Let me be clear: I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists, and I apologize for what I said earlier this week.”

David Brooks: “Donald Trump is impulse-driven, ignorant, narcissistic and intellectually dishonest. So you’d think that those of us in the anti-Trump camp would go out of our way to show we’re not like him — that we are judicious, informed, mature and reasonable.”

“But the events of the past week have shown that the anti-Trump echo chamber is becoming a mirror image of Trump himself — overwrought, uncalibrated and incapable of having an intelligent conversation about any complex policy problem.”

President Trump has failed in his legal bid to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed against him from advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of raping her 24 years ago, the New York Times reports.

Wall Street Journal: “For decades, Donald Trump has depended on loyalists to take care of especially sensitive and difficult tasks. These guardians of his image—including the Red-baiter Roy Cohn, the tabloid publisher David Pecker and the lawyer Michael Cohen —learned a hard lesson from their service. They pledged fealty to Mr. Trump and dedicated themselves to shielding him. For a while, they became wealthier and more powerful through their association with him. But Mr. Trump ultimately offered little back in protection or respect.”

Axios: “As Taiwan’s January 11 presidential election approaches, the Chinese government is spreading disinformation and taking coercive political maneuvers aimed at convincing voters Taiwan is helpless without China.”

Nikkea Asian Review: Five things to know a day before Taiwan elections.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the state will reject the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under a recent Trump administration order, the AP reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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