1 Is Trump’s Acquittal Imminent?
The Senate could end the impeachment trial against President Trump today. That’s because Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander says he’ll vote against allowing witnesses to testify in the Senate trial. Alexander, who has been seen as a key swing vote on the decision about witnesses, says that what President Trump did was “inappropriate,” but “not impeachable.” To review, four Republicans are needed to vote with all Democrats to have witnesses appear, and Maine's Susan Collins says she’s a “yes.” Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski says she’s still on the fence. What we know for sure is that Senators will vote on allowing witnesses today – and that if that happens, it will the first time in history that an impeachment trial – our nation has seen 20 of them – without a single witness. House Democrats argued that a fair trial requires witnesses and subpoenas for documents that have been blocked by the White House. Trump attorneys warn that calling witnesses and summoning documents could significantly lengthen the trial. Senators wrapped up two full days of questions to the two sides yesterday. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries said there is clear evidence of President Trump's wrongdoing in the Ukraine scandal and urged senators to remove Trump from office. Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin insisted that there is no proof that the President solicited or secured an illegal "quid pro quo" with Ukraine. California Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said Trump needs to be removed for an "ongoing abuse of power" that threatens the integrity of the upcoming election. Meanwhile, the hashtag ArrestRandPaul has been trending on Twitter after the Kentucky senator publicly outed the alleged Ukraine call whistleblower. In a remarkable moment, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to read his question aloud during day two of the Q and A portion of the trial. His question was about whether Obama administration holdovers and Democrats conspired with House staffers to impeach the president. When denied, Senator Paul read it out loud from a podium after storming out of the chambers.
2 America Sees The First Human To Human Transmission of Coronavirus
Illinois Department of Health officials are confirming the second case of coronavirus in the state. Director Ngozi Ezike says the second patient is the husband of the first confirmed case, a woman in her 60s who recently traveled to Wuhan where the virus originated. Ezike says this is the first confirmed case in the U.S. that was transmitted by human-to-human contact. Still, Ezike maintains that the risk to the general public "remains low" and citizens should not cancel any public activities. Ezike She says there are currently 21 individuals who are considered to be "under investigation" in the state for potential risk of symptoms. The couple remains hospitalized and in isolation. The World Health Organization is declaring a “global health emergency” because of the growing number of countries that are dealing with the virus. The drive behind that is due to fears that the virus may reach a nation that does not have a strong health care system. WHO officials said now it the time to make the declaration.
3 Pentagon Officials Brief on American Soldier Deaths, Coronavirus and Iraq Missile Strike
The Pentagon is confirming the loss of three American soldiers killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Earlier this week, U.S. forces recovered the service members' remains from the site of a surveillance plane crash in Taliban-controlled territory. Speaking with reporters, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also provided the latest on brain injuries suffered by Americans during the Iraq missile strike earlier this month. Esper said President Trump "understands the nature of these injuries" and he is very concerned about the health and welfare of all service members. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said they are assessing whether to deploy more air defenses to the region. Esper also addressed the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China. He said Defense personnel are not in direct contact with the 195 American evacuees, but they will not have access to any locations outside of their assigned housing.