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January 1, Impeachment Acquittal Eminent, But… Pelosi Persists



This Day in History | 1865

The U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the United States. 

Good morning Middle Americans. 

Sen. Lamar Alexander, (R-TN) pretty much ended the Democrats’s hopes of hearing from more witnesses late Thursday night. There remain only two Republican senators, Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME),  who have voiced support for more witnesses. There would need to be four Republicans to vote yes on witnesses to force the issue. 

But… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that her caucus isn’t giving up. During a news conference yesterday, she said – “we’ll see” when asked about the possibility of pursuing more impeachment charges against President Trump if he is acquitted. 

While it looks like the Senate Impeachment Trial is wrapping up soon, former Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman continue to provide information to the press, that makes the media curious about the pair’s ties to the president’s inner circle.  But here’s the thing, a big part of the GOP’s and the DNC’s functionality depends on selling the donor class access to political celebrities. Donald Trump’s magnetism is probably stronger than any pols in modern American political history – and thus he’s attracted a unique blend of donors to events like the one we talk about featuring RNC Chair Rona McDaniel. 

Also today – The U.S. government continues to crack down on travel to and from China, as it issues a “red alert” about the global coronavirus. 

Finally President Trump has recently touted the fact that American farmers are still with him, and that may be true. But new data from the Federal Farm Bureau shows farm bankruptcies jumped 20% in 2019. 

Read all about it

– Fraser Dixon 

Trump Impeachment Trial Could End Soon

(AP) — Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee declared late Thursday night he will oppose calling more witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, all but dashing Democratic efforts for more testimony and pushing the Senate toward an imminent vote to acquit the president.

A vote on witnesses, expected Friday, could lead to an abrupt end and assured acquittal in only the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. Trump was pressing for action in time for his State of the Union address, and that now seems likely. As the Senate adjourned late Thursday, it set the date for Tuesday night’s speech.

Despite the Democrats’ singular, sometimes-passionate focus on witnesses after revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, the numbers are now falling short. It would take four Republicans to break with the 53-seat majority and join with all Democrats to demand more testimony.

Chief Justice John Roberts, in the rare role presiding over the impeachment trial, could break a tie, but that seems unlikely.

Alexander said in a statement there was “no need for more evidence,” giving the Trump team the likelihood of a Senate vote in its direction.

Read more here

Pelosi Hints House Could Still Pursue Trump if Senate Acquits

(ABC News) – As the Senate appeared to be moving toward acquitting President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday refused to rule out further action to hold the president accountable.

Pelosi was asked whether the House would attempt to compel former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify in the lower chamber should the Senate trial end without his testimony.

“This is in the Senate now,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said, holding onto optimism that the upper chamber would call witnesses. “I hope and I pray that the senators can handle the truth and listen to not only John Bolton, but other witnesses as well.”

She added, “We’ll see what happens after that.”

See the news conference here

New Video Shows Indicted Giuliani Associate with RNC Chief Ronna McDaniel

(Politico) – New video released by the attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who worked to drum up an investigation of Joe Biden out of Ukraine, appears to show Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman mingling with Trump and GOP officials at a donor event in April 2018.

The recording appears to have been by Fruman, who was indicted along with Parnas on campaign finance charges last year, and is further evidence that Parnas and Fruman were invited to several events with Trump—who has since claimed not to know them—and other high-ranking GOP officials.

The video shows RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel greeting Fruman with a hug and saying, “I’m so glad you’re here,” before asking whether he’s ever been to Trump’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago.

Find out more here

U.S. Issues Coronavirus ‘Red Alert’

(NY Times) -The State Department on Thursday night issued a travel advisory telling Americans not to travel to China because of the public health threat posed by the dangerous new coronavirus. The department set the new advisory at Level 4, or red — its highest alert, reserved for the most perilous situations.

“Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice,” the State Department said. “Commercial carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China.”

The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global emergency after cases were discovered in more than a dozen countries.

Farm Bankruptcies Jump 20% in 2019

(Farm Bureau) – While well below historical highs, Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies in 2019 increased by nearly 20% from the previous year, according to recently released data from the U.S. Courts. Compared with figures from over the last decade, the 20% increase trails only 2010, the year following the Great Recession, when Chapter 12 bankruptcies rose 33%.

During the 2019 calendar year there were 595 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies, up nearly 100 filings from 2018 and the highest level since 2011’s 637 Chapter 12 filings. Given that there are slightly more than 2 million farms in the U.S., the 2019 bankruptcy data reveals a bankruptcy rate of approximately 2.95 bankruptcies per 10,000 farms, slightly below the rate of 2.99 filings per 10,000 farms in 2011.

Learn more here

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