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.
New York Times: “The president capped his day with a meeting with several campaign aides, where he grilled them on how voters were receiving impeachment.”
“In his conversations with advisers on Thursday, Mr. Trump repeated once again that he could not believe he was facing such a predicament as impeachment. He said he wanted people to be prepared for a motion to dismiss and has hoped for one, even though Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has said the Senate will have to take up the matter.”
“A Georgia election server contains evidence that it was possibly hacked before the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 vote that gave Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp a narrow victory over Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams,” Politico reports.
“The incident, which occurred in late 2014, long before either of those elections, not only calls into question the integrity of Georgia’s voting machines during critical elections, but raises new questions about whether attackers were able to manipulate election data and voter information through the compromised server.”
Lev Parnas claimed on MSNBC that he was visited in jail by John Dowd, a former attorney for President Trump, who told him to cooperate and sacrifice himself for the president.
Said Parnas: “They tried to keep me quiet.”
New York Times: “Americans tuning in to witness electrifying exchanges in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump might be in for a shock themselves: Lawmakers could pull the C-Span plug and go into closed session at critical moments of debate over the conduct of the trial and the fate of the president.”
“While it seems anachronistic today given the expectation of wall-to-wall news coverage and an emphasis on government transparency, impeachment rules and precedent allow the Senate to clear the chamber of journalists and spectators and bar the doors so senators can talk privately among themselves for hours on end.”
“Nearly one dozen American troops were wounded in Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base. This week, they were medically evacuated to U.S. military hospitals in Kuwait and Landstuhl, Germany, to be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation,” Defense One reports.
Senior military and Trump administration officials had said on Jan. 8 that 11 Iranian missiles had caused “no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera.”
A new 7 News/Emerson College Poll in New Hampshire finds Bernie Sanders maintaining his lead with 23% of the vote, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 18%, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren at 14% each and Amy Klobuchar at 10%.
“In what’s shaping up to be one of the most expensive U.S. Senate campaigns of 2020, and the costliest in Arizona history, Mark Kelly (D) continues to dominate incumbent Sen. Martha McSally (R) on the fundraising front,” KTAR reports.
“Kelly’s campaign on Tuesday touted a 2019 fourth quarter total of over $6.2 million, more than 50% higher than McSally’s announced total of around $4 million.”
A new Morning Consult survey shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) retained his spot as the most popular senator in the country among his or her constituents.
On the opposite side, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) unseated Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the most unpopular.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said 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, The Hill reports.
Said Collins: “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.”
“Federal prosecutors in Washington are investigating a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document, and they appear to be focusing on whether the former FBI director James Comey illegally provided details to reporters,” the New York Times reports.
“The case is the second time the Justice Department has investigated leaks potentially involving Mr. Comey, a frequent target of President Trump, who has repeatedly called him a ‘leaker.’ Mr. Trump recently suggested without evidence that Mr. Comey should be prosecuted for ‘unlawful conduct’ and spend years in prison.”
“The timing of the investigation could raise questions about whether it was motivated at least in part by politics.”
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told CNN its impossible to compare President Trump to past holders of the office.
Said Brinkley: “We always are trying to compare presidents to each other, but we haven’t had an outlaw president before, and that’s what you have with Donald Trump.”
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.”
“I just got impeached for making a perfect phone call!”
— President Trump, on Twitter.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is atop polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, said Thursday he is worried about losing valuable time on the campaign trail while sits through an impeachment trial that could last for weeks, The Hill reports.
Said Sanders: “I would rather be in Iowa today. There’s a caucus there in two-and-a-half weeks. I’d rather be in New Hampshire and Nevada and so forth. But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job and I’m here to do my job.”
Coming soon: The 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Coloring and Activity Book by Sonya Saturday.
“Featuring more than 60 pages of liberal fun for the whole family.”
President Trump told reporters he doesn’t know Lev Parnas, the associated of Rudy Giuliani who has said the president knew about his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.
Trump acknowledged the two have a photo together, adding: “I meet thousands of people.”
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.”