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What Now?! – January 19, 2020

“The House Democratic managers argue the Senate must ‘eliminate the threat that the President poses to America’s national security’ in the 111-page legal brief they filed Saturday,” the Washington Post reports.

The brief also describes Trump’s conduct as “the Framers’ worst nightmare”

“With opening arguments in the Senate trial to begin Tuesday afternoon, the seven House managers had until 5 p.m. Saturday to file their brief describing why Trump should be convicted and removed from office. The White House defense team has until noon Monday to file its argument why he should be acquited.”

“President Trump launched his first formal attack on the House’s effort to remove him from office on Saturday, calling the Democrats’ impeachment case against him fatally flawed and ‘constitutionally invalid’ while blasting the effort as a political hit job by his adversaries,” Politico reports.

Said the lawyers: “This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election.”

New York Times: “The president’s lawyers did not deny any of the core facts underlying Democrats’ charges, conceding what ample evidence has shown, that he withheld $391 million in aid from Ukraine and asked the country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter. But they said Mr. Trump broke no laws and was acting entirely appropriately and within his powers when he did so.”

Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, Axios reports.

A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly told CNN the President has appeared “distracted” by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he “can’t understand why he is impeached.”

“President Trump delivered a dramatic account of the airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, joked that he doesn’t care if construction projects kill all the rattlesnakes and noted his indifference to the budget during a private dinner with deep-pocketed donors Friday night at Mar-a-Lago,” according to audio files obtained by the Washington Post.

“Trump, his tone subdued and conversational, explained his motivation for attacking Soleimani and recounted listening to an anonymous military official countdown to the Jan. 3 strike.”

“The president said nothing about an ‘imminent attack’ on U.S. interests or threats to four U.S. embassies as he previously has to justify the unilateral military strike that escalated tensions in the region and opened debate on presidential war powers.”

Iran’s supreme leader said President Trump is a ‘clown’ who only pretends to support the Iranian people but will “push a poisonous dagger” into their backs, as he struck a defiant tone in his first Friday sermon in Tehran in eight years, the AP reports.

The first U.S. Space Force uniforms were unveiled in a tweet from the Pentagon leading many to ask, “Why the camouflage?”

later tweet explained it was “saving costs of designing” a new one and so members “will look like their joint counterparts they’ll be working with on the ground.”

New York Times: “By the time the Senate opened impeachment trials for Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, its members pretty well knew the facts of the accusations against the presidents. None of them needed to turn on The Rachel Maddow Show to learn things they did not already know.”

“But as senators formally convened on Thursday as a court of impeachment in the case of Donald John Trump, new revelations were still emerging and important questions remained unanswered. The latest interviews by Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, as well as documents released by House investigators, only reinforced the reality that there is more still to be learned.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) will give his daily take on the Senate impeachment trial on Twitter “in order to make sure the trial is as transparent as possible.”

From his first dispatch: “I noticed there was less conversation today between R and D Senators. I think that’s natural, on the first day. But I hope that doesn’t become a habit during the trial. We need 4 votes to assure a fair trial, and that can only happen if we’re talking to each other.”

Senate impeachment trial rules call for the sergeant-at-arms to declare at the beginning of each day: “Here ye! Here ye! Here ye! All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment.”

Roll Call explains: “In the past, the Senate has preferred to expel the senator from office, rather than send him or her to jail, so as not to deprive a state of its full representation. Such confrontations have occurred so infrequently in the Senate’s history that ambiguity is more readily available than specifics.”

“No senator has ever been imprisoned by Senate officials, but in the past, the threat of arrest and jail has silenced even the most agitated senators.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned Senate Republicans in an interview in The Hill that a vote to impeach President Trump would be a career-ending decision.

Said Paul: “When it comes to whether or not you’re going to impeach a president of your own party, particularly over a policy difference or whether or not he has lack of decorum or whatever, I think that’s something that a lot of voters will not excuse.”

Politico: “Paul says if four or more of his GOP colleagues join with Democrats to entertain new witness testimony, he will make the Senate vote on subpoenaing the president’s preferred witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the whistleblower behind the Ukraine scandal — polarizing picks who moderate Republicans aren’t eager to debate. So he has a simple message for his party: End the trial before witnesses are called.”

Said Paul: “If you vote against Hunter Biden, you’re voting to lose your election, basically. Seriously. That’s what it is. If you don’t want to vote and you think you’re going to have to vote against Hunter Biden, you should just vote against witnesses, period.”

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

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