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Friday, Jan 24th

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Dems mount preemptive strike on Trump's defense

Sylvia Garcia

House Democrats are trying to shatter President Donald Trump’s defense before it begins.

The seven House impeachment managers seeking Trump’s removal from office know they are about to cede the floor to the president’s legal team — perhaps for three full days — as soon as Saturday. So the House managers spent all day Thursday trying to preempt and outflank them.

On a day initially billed as a dry recitation of constitutional theory, Democrats instead launched a multimedia barrage featuring the president’s own allies, advisers and even his favored TV network as they tried to undermine his anticipated defense.

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Senate hears opening arguments making the case against Trump

Trump impeachment trial begins

House managers, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), began presenting three days of opening arguments Wednesday in the historic Senate impeachment trial of President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Earlier in the day, Trump said at a news conference in Switzerland that he “can live either way” with the Senate’s decision on whether to call witnesses in a trial focused on his administration’s conduct toward Ukraine.

The crux of the House case is the allegation that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a political rival, as well as his son Hunter Biden.

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Trump administration won't turn over auto import probe report, defying Congress

Importe autosThe Trump administration is snubbing Congress by refusing to turn over a report detailing an investigation into national security risks potentially posed by imported vehicles and auto parts, citing pending international negotiations and executive branch deliberations.

Congress inserted a provision in a spending bill last month demanding the White House turn over the long-secret government report that U.S. President Donald Trump used to declare in May 2019 that some unnamed imported autos pose risks to national security.

Trump opted not to impose any immediate tariffs on imported cars or auto parts because of the alleged security threat and then ordered another six-month review on a decision on tariffs of up to 25%.

The delay was to allow for more time for trade talks with the European Union and Japan.

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U.S. Senate rejects Democratic bid for documents in Trump impeachment trial

US Senate rejects Democratic appeal for documentsThe Republican-controlled U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic bid on Tuesday to force the White House to produce documents and evidence in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, an early sign the trial could proceed along lines favorable to Trump.

As the third impeachment trial in U.S. history began in earnest, senators voted 53-47 along party lines to block a motion from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena White House documents related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Schumer immediately introduced a second motion demanding a subpoena of State Department records and documents related to the matter. The Senate will debate the motion for up to two hours.

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McConnell softens hard-line tactics on Trump trial

Impeachment rules softened, but still stonewall

Senate Republicans on Tuesday backed down from an aggressive timetable and new restrictions on evidence in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, changing course after protests from senators like Republican Susan Collins of Maine.

Instead of cramming as many as 48 hours of opening arguments from House impeachment managers and the White House counsel into just four days this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolution will now give each side 24 hours to speak over three days. That could ultimately extend the trial by two days. And a controversial provision in the plan that would not have automatically included the House’s evidence was also scuttled from a previous draft.

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Schiff says NSA, CIA withholding Ukraine info due to White House pressure

Schiff says NSA, CIA withhoding documents

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged that the NSA and CIA may be withholding documents on Ukraine from Congress due to pressure from the White House, even as the Senate prepares to move forward on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Schiff was asked about a POLITICO report that intelligence agencies officials don’t want to testify in public during an upcoming hearing in the House Intelligence panel on global security threats, asking that the session be held in private instead. Trump slammed the intelligence chiefs one year ago for the assessment of Iran, calling them “extremely passive and naïve” on the issue.

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Collins says she's 'likely' to support calling witnesses for impeachment trial

Susan CollinsSen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Thursday that it's "likely" she would support calling witnesses after the initial phase of the impeachment trial but has not yet made a decision on any particular individual.

"While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful. It is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses at that point in the trial just as I did in 1999," Collins said in a statement, referring to the Clinton impeachment trial.

Collins is viewed as a crucial swing vote in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, particularly on the procedural fights over whether additional witnesses should be called or whether documents should be handed over.

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