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It’s only happened twice before in U.S. history. We talk about what to watch for on the eve of the president’s impeachment trial.
Meridith McGraw, White House correspondent for Politico. (@meridithmcgraw)
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Los Angeles Times: "Column: High politics and low will be on display in impeachment drama" — "The fix is in. The jury is anything but impartial. The verdict is pretty much foreordained.
"But that isn’t what this trial will be about.
"The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, expected to begin in earnest next week, is formally about a weighty constitutional question: Has Trump abused the powers of his office?
"But it’s also about politics, of course.
"To borrow from Clausewitz, impeachment is the continuation of politics — including election-year politics — by other means.
"That’s not a scandal. It’s an inevitable part of the way impeachment, the Constitution’s only method of sanctioning a president for misconduct, works.
"An impeachment trial may look like a legal proceeding, but it isn’t. It’s not in a court; it’s in the Senate, a body populated by 100 politicians. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will preside, but he’ll act only as a referee, not a judge."
Politico: "Trump tries scripting a made-for-TV drama out of his impeachment trial" — "He scrutinizes behind-the-scenes details of his television interviews, preferring to be shot in natural light and from the right side because he likes the way his hair looks from that angle.
"He cares about how the back-and-forth parrying with the White House press corps looks on TV, sometimes directing camera crews to move to the right or the left for the best shot.
"He notes how his aides perform on cable shows, closely watches TV ratings — compiled each week by a staffer — and manages how official speeches and announcements will look on screen.
"It’s all part of President Donald Trump merging his position as head of the executive branch with his role as executive producer of his presidency. White House aides and Trump allies are bracing for the Senate impeachment trial to put the president’s television-focused mind on full display during a memorable moment for his presidency."
PBS NewsHour: "As Booker drops out, Iowa polls show same 4 candidates atop Democratic field" — "Only three weeks remain before the Iowa caucuses kick off 2020 primary voting, and the volatile race is exposing new rifts in the Democratic field. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders seem to have abandoned a longstanding truce as they jostle with former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg at the top of the polls. And yet another candidate has dropped out. Lisa Desjardins reports."
NBC News: "Trump impeachment defense team expected to include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz" — "President Donald Trump's defense team for the Senate trial is expected to include former independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton, and defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
"Dershowitz's past clients include financier Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson. Also expected to join the team is Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr as Clinton special counsel, the source said. Another source familiar with the White House's plans said Pam Bondi, former Florida attorney general, will join the team as well.
"The legal team will be led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.
"Bondi will present during oral arguments, the source said."
The Hill: "GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff" — "Republicans are threatening to weaponize a fight on Senate impeachment witnesses amid growing concerns that moderates within their caucus could help Democrats call former national security adviser John Bolton to testify.
"After weeks of pledging that they would hold a quick trial with no witnesses from either side, Republicans — from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on down — are sending public warning shots that if their GOP colleagues open the door to Democratic witnesses they’ll respond in kind, forcing votes on a slew of controversial individuals.
"The pressure tactics are the latest shift in strategy as Republican leaders try to navigate the factions in their caucus, where moderates want to leave the potential for witnesses on the table and conservatives are anxious to quickly acquit President Trump."
This program aired on January 20, 2020.
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