Main business of impeachment trial expected to start next Tuesday
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell just indicated that the main business of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate will begin next Tuesday.
That will follow some procedural steps later this week, after the articles of impeachment are transferred from the House to the Senate, such as the swearing in of those Senate members expected to be directly involved.
Next week there could be a vote on the rules but McConnell expects that opening arguments will begin on Tuesday.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Mike Rounds said that McConnell’s trial plan will guarantee votes on calling witnesses hearing new evidence, Reuters reports, and that’s expected to happen after the opening arguments are presented.
As someone just said: Go get him Liz! We’ve added Elizabeth Warren’s letter to our original post now, if you want to see what she told the SEC financial watchdogs, in relation to accusations that Trump tipped off pals while at Mar-a-Lago about a planned US hit on Iran, which just maybe prompted some allegedly illegal share manipulation………
Fresh details on the impeachment trial
US Senate leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell has laid out the next steps in the impeachment process.
Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will oversee the trial of Donald Trump in the US Senate (where most observers think there is zero chance of the president being removed from office but there is a growing chance that witnesses will be called in a trial laying out the details of Trump’s conduct in relation to Ukraine and alleged abuse of office).
McConnell said “in all likelihood” the trial proper will begin next Tuesday (after this week’s procedural steps)…although maybe with a debate on the rules (scream emoji).
The Democratic debate in Des Moines tonight and the impeachment trial of Donald Trump beckon, but there is no shortage of drama in US politics as these key events loom. There’s plenty more action to come but here are the main happenings so far:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just weighed in on the report that Russian operatives have hacked into Ukrainian gas company Burisma, an entity at the heart of the Trump impeachment inquiry.
- Hillary Clinton is questioning whether reports of the Burisma hack mean American democracy is being set up once again for the kind of election interference that tarnished 2016, and again in Donald Trump’s favor…
- Democratic 2020 candidate Elizabeth Warren is calling for an official insider trading probe into whether stocks were manipulated by people acting on tip-offs from Donald Trump while they were at Mar-a-Lago over the winter holiday period that a key US military action was planned against Iran.
- There will be a vote tomorrow in the House on plans to send the articles of impeachment (aka congressional charges) against Donald Trump to the US Senate, ready for his trial there, which is then likely to begin in short order.
Speaker weighs in on Russian hack reports
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is weighing in on the reports that Russian operatives have hacked into Ukrainian gas company Burisma, where Joe Biden’s son Hunter used to work, seeking dirt to throw into the US 2020 presidential election.
The Guardian’s senior political reporter Lauren Gambino reports.
Hillary Clinton spoke out on the issue a little earlier.
Pelosi went on to say: “We only learned of this hacking through the press. Congress must be briefed on what the Administration knows about this attack and why the President doesn’t have a plan to protect our elections.”
Warren calls for Trump insider dealing inquiry
Democratic 2020 candidate and financial regulation champion Elizabeth Warren has written to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking for an investigation into whether Donald Trump tipped off associates that some sort of US hit on Iran was planned, which may have led to some nefarious trading in defense company shares based on insider information.
The hit turned out to be the assassination of senior Iranian general Qassem Suleimani earlier this month, after he disembarked from a plane in Iraq.
There were some unusual movements in US stock and commodities prices thereafter, which drew suspicion, the Daily Beast reported.
You can read the letter from Warren and Chris Van Hollen below:
Russia interfered to assist Trump in 2016 – Mueller
Following Hillary Clinton’s tweet just now, here’s a reminder of a key finding from last year’s report by special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian operatives linked to the Kremlin, and that Trump obstructed justice during that investigation.
“The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome.”
Our succinct summary story on all this, when the Mueller report was made public in April of 2019, with key extracts from the report is here and below.
Clinton warns on Russian hacking
The former US secretary of state and presidential candidate memorably and, to the shock of many, beaten by Donald Trump in 2016 in an election that was tarnished by Russian interference, has just taken to Twitter.
She’s reacting to a New York Times story that Russian operatives have hacked into Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry, potentially seeking damaging information about Hunter Biden’s stint as a director of that company, which could damage his father, Joe Biden.
Democratic 2020 candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden is Trump’s main competition, currently, for the White House in this November’s US presidential election.
“Russians appear to be re-running their 2016 hacking playbook, once again to benefit Donald Trump. Will the media play along again? Will the GOP open the door again?” Clinton just pondered.
The other billionaire in the Democratic race, Tom Steyer, released today an ad that takes a direct hit at Trump where it hurts the most.
“When he calls himself a billionaire businessman who’s good for the economy, I’ll remind him I’m an actual billionaire with a ‘B’, and he’s a fake billionaire with a capitol ‘C’, for ‘con man’, ‘crook’ and ‘criminal’.”
The president and his net worth is a sensitive subject for the president. Trump and his lawyers have been fighting the release of his tax returns for years, the case for which was agreed to be heard by the Supreme Court.
Trump has repeatedly thrown hits at Steyer, tweeting in April that “weirdo Tom Steyer… didn’t have the ‘gut’ or money to run for president” months before Steyer launched his presidential campaign.
Steyer and fellow billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg have spent $106m and $211m in advertising for their campaigns, respectively. While Bloomberg has not qualified for tonight’s debate, Steyer narrowly qualified after polls in early voting states Nevada and South Carolina showed a surge of support.
Though he won’t be on the debate stage in Iowa tonight, billionaire and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has over 1,000 staffers across the country. Over 700 are based in 33 states while hundreds more work out of Bloomberg’s campaign headquarters in Manhattan, Politico reported this morning.
Since his late entry into the Democratic pool in November, Bloomberg is running an unconventional campaign that focuses on the states whose primaries fall on Super Tuesday, March 3.
To attract staffers to his campaign, Bloomberg has been offering salaries that “far exceed typical wages paid by his opponents,” Politico reported. The campaign has also agreed to pay the staffers through the November election, regardless of whether he wins the primary.
As the House Democrats move to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, a reckoning in the Republican party is slowly taking place.
Moderate Republicans have been indicating they would be open to letting witnesses testify in a trial, rather than speedily dismissing the articles of impeachment, as Trump has indicated he would like to see.
Roy Blunt, a Republican senator from Missouri, told the Washington Post “certainly, there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss” the articles of impeachment without a trial. Other moderate Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have also indicated they are inclined to see if they would need more information that would merit a trial.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has proved himself an ally rather than foe of Trump during the impeachment process, will have to parse out how quickly he can dismiss the articles of impeachment while getting enough votes to do so.
“If the existing case is strong, there’s no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation. If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached,” McConnell told reporters this morning.
Here’s a bit more on how those impeachment managers will be selected. These managers will be the ones to present the Senate with the case to remove Donald Trump from office.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not said when she will announce who the managers are. “I’ll let you know,” Pelosi told CNN earlier today. “I’ll announce them when I do.”
(This is a joke, by the way.)
And the debate tomorrow on whether to send the articles to the Senate will likely be short since House Democrats have the majority on their side of Congress.
(This is not a joke.)
Pelosi says House will vote tomorrow to send articles of impeachment to Senate
Multiple reporters on Capitol Hill are reporting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will be voting tomorrow to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate tomorrow. Though the House will be deciding whether to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, the timing of when the articles of impeachment will be sent is still unclear.
Though she was expected to do so today, Pelosi did not name the impeachment managers, the House Democrats who would serve as prosecutors for the caucus in making the case to the Senate to remove President Donald Trump from office.
House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler just told CNN that he “would expect” to be named as one of the impeachment managers, but said he doesn’t know who Speaker Nancy Pelosi will name.
Happy Tuesday and welcome to the politics live blog! This morning is the calm before the storm for what’s gearing up to be the next stage in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
House Democrats are holding a meeting this morning where they are expected to discuss sending over the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The caucus is expected to vote on impeachment managers, the lawmakers who will serve as prosecutors for the House Democrats as they make the case to the Senate for why Trump should be removed from office. House majority leader Steny Hoyer said a House vote on these managers could happen as early as Wednesday.
Here’s what else is happening today:
- Attorney general William Barr has escalated pressure on Apple to help the justice department unlock a pair of iPhones the gunman in the December shooting of the Florida Navy base, who killed three people, used to provide more information on the shooting. Yesterday, Barr said that the attack was an act of terrorism.
- Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2bn of defense funding to support his border wall construction, the Washington Post reported last night. The Pentagon funding would be taken from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding and would help construct 885 miles of the wall by 2022.
- Tonight is anticipated to be the biggest night of the 2020 presidential campaign so far. Six candidates will be on the debate stage in Iowa tonight: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren. We’ll be covering all that’s happening in the land of 2020 all day – stay tuned!