Politics Headlines

uschools/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Here is how the day is unfolding. Please refresh for updates.

7:21 p.m. Sekulow advises against president sitting in

The president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, responded to questions about the president's suggestion he would like to sit in on his own trial, but commented his counsel may recommend against it.

"His counsel might," Sekulow responded.

ABC's Katherine Faulders asked, "You don't think he should show up?"

Sekulow responded, "That's not the way it works. I mean, presidents don't do that."

Schiff resumed laying out the Democrats' arguments around 7:22 p.m., saying they have about two to two and a half hours left in the first day of their presentation.

5:17 p.m. Nadler raises Rudy Giuliani's role in Ukraine

After Schiff, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler returns to the lectern to tell more of what Democrats' call the president’s Ukraine scheme.

After being admonished by the chief justice last night, Nadler begins by striking an apologetic tone.

“Before I begin, I would like to thank the chief justice and the senators for your temperate listening and your patience last night as we went into the long hours,” Nadler, D-N.Y., says. “Truly, thank you.”

Nadler then asserts that the president’s actions were driven by a desire “to obtain a corrupt advantage for his re-election campaign.”

“As we will show the president went to extraordinary lengths to cheat in the next election,” Nadler says, recounting the president’s efforts to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Kyiv.

“The truth is that Ambassador Yovanovitch was the victim of a smear campaign organized by Rudy Giuliani, amplified by President Trump's allies, and designed to give President Trump the pretext he needed to recall her without warning,” Nadler says.

“With Ambassador Yovanovitch out of the way, the first chapter of the Ukraine scheme was complete. Mr. Giuliani and his agents could now apply direct pressure to the Ukrainian government to spread these two falsehoods,” Nadler says. “And who benefited from this scheme? Who sent Mr. Giuliani to Ukraine in the first place? Of course we could rephrase that question as the former Republican leader of the Senate Howard Baker first asked it in 1973: 'What did the president know and when did he know it?'”

- ABC News' John Parkinson

4:35 p.m. While some senators take detailed notes, one works the crossword

ABC News' John Parkinson was observing from the press gallery above the chamber during Schiff's presentation.

Here's what he wrote in his reporter's notebook:

Republican Sen. Rand Paul appears to be the least-interested senator at the trial, filling in answers on his crossword puzzle multiple times in the two o'clock hour. The Kentucky Republican still appears to be trying to hide his activities, using a piece of paper torn 90 percent from bottom to top to conceal both the crossword’s clues and the puzzle itself.

He lifts one side when he needs another clue, and the other when he is prepared to fill in an answer.

A little later, Paul had left the chamber but was soon spotted him through the doors of the GOP cloakroom, where he had kicked back in a leather chair and seemed to be watching the trial on television.

A spokesman for the senator explains: “All smart people do crossword puzzles.”

Republicans and Democrats -- except Rand Paul, that is -- seemed to be following Schiff’s presentation closely, with Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee taking meticulous notes that filled the page from margin to margin.

The Senate pages appear to be in a contest with each other – seemingly racing to replace half-empty glasses of water at the senators' desks -- without any encouragement from the senators. It seems that the refills are their primary task, much like a busser at a fancy steakhouse who never wants you to go thirsty. Neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have taken any notes but both seem to be paying close attention.

During the first hour of Schiff's presentation, the chamber appeared almost filled. But toward the end of his two-hour argument, several senators stood to take bathroom breaks. At this point, I counted 26 senators not at their desks, whereas the previous hour it was rare to find an empty seat. Score one for the Senate pages.

4:15 p.m. Outside the Senate chamber, Republicans argue nothing is getting done during trial

Republicans are honing their argument against witnesses, making an appeal to voters who say they’re fed up with Washington politics and want Congress to get stuff done.

“There’d be nothing else we could do in the interim,” said GOP Sen John Cornyn of Texas. “It would basically hijack the Senate.”

“Let's say a witness like Mick Mulvaney or John Bolton come. invariably the White House would claim executive privilege. There'd be a lawsuit filed in District Court in the District of Columbia that would then go to the Court of Appeals and then potentially the Supreme Court. That could take months,” he said. “In the meantime, the Senate can't do anything else, we can't confirm judges we can't have hearings, we can't even introduce legislation.”

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming offered a similar argument, saying the longer the impeachment trial goes on the less time the Senate spends on other issues. “I chair the committee that oversees infrastructure roads, bridges. we got it out of our committee, but because we're stuck with this and the longer you are going and the longer you're dealing with witnesses, the harder it is to get to the things that I hear about in Wyoming and I've heard about this past week," he told reporters.

--ABC News' Devin Dwyer

3:30 p.m. Trump tweets while Schiff speaks

After Schiff finishes what he calls his "introduction," McConnell asks that the Senate take about a half-hour break.

While Schiff was still speaking about the pressure campaign on Ukraine, President Trump tweeted "NO PRESSURE" while flying back from Davos, Switzerland.

Trump is expected back in Washington this evening.

2:32 p.m. Both Republicans and Democrats seem engaged with Schiff's presentation

Republicans and Democrats both seem very engaged, for the most part, with their binders filled with both sides briefs and taking notes.

During the arguments so far, the president's attorneys are listening -- sometimes White House counsel Pat Cipollone turns around to look at Schiff directly. They are passing notes but not smirking or laughing as anything is played. Their faces remain pretty neutral as the House presents their case and plays the video clips.

Four key GOP moderates -- GOP Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Gardner -- are all taking diligent notes, especially when Schiff discusses the need for witnesses and evidence.

When Schiff says this: "In 2016 then candidate Trump implored Russia to hack his opponent's email account, something that the Russian military agency did only hours later, only hours later. When the president said, hey Russia, if you're listening, they were listening." Sen. Lindsey Graham sat there and shook his head.

Later, when Schiff plays the video of the president saying "Russia if you're listening," he laughed quietly and smirked.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, also a lead manager, has been absent for most of Chairman Schiff's presentation. The reason is unclear but it could be that he is prepping for the Judiciary portion of the arguments given that the House Intelligence lawyers have a larger presence at the House impeachment managers table currently.

All other managers are seated at the table.

It's interesting to note the video clips Schiff and the Democrats are playing thus far. A lot of clips from former National Security Council Russia expert Fiona Hill and the former top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor -- some of their most credible witnesses in the open hearings.

At the same time, they play multiple video clips of Trump and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney -- with them saying publicly what they have denied.

One example is Trump on the White House South Lawn on Oct. 3: "They should investigate the Bidens. Because how does a company that's newly formed and all these companies, if you look -- and by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."

Another example: clips of Mulvaney's infamous exchange with ABC Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl on Oct. 17, admitting on camera what he completely reversed hours later in a paper statement denying he said anything of the sort.

"Mulvaney didn't just admit that the president withheld the crucial aid appropriated by Congress to apply pressure on Ukraine to do the president's political dirty work. He also said that we should just get over it," Schiff said, then playing the clip.

'Should the Congress just get over it? Schiff said after playing two of Karl's exchanges with Mulvaney back to back. "Should the American people just come to expect that our presidents will corruptly abuse their offices to seek the help of a foreign power to cheat in our elections? Should we just get over it? Is that what we've come to? I hope and pray the answer is no."

Schiff played a clip from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland speaking bluntly about the quid pro quo. "Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes," Sondland said in the clip of his testimony in the public House Intelligence hearings.

"This quid pro quo was negotiated between the president's agents, Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainian officials throughout the summer of 2019 in numerous telephone calls, text messages and meetings including during a meeting hosted by then national security adviser John Bolton on July 10th. ----- Near the end of that July 10th meeting, after the Ukrainians again raised the issue of a white house visit, ambassador sondland blurted out there would be agreement for -- once the investigations began," Schiff said.

Schiff made the argument that the White House is downplaying the call, saying it's just about the call and not the preparation leading up to the phone call and all the conversations around it and about it.

"As you consider the evidence we present to you, ask yourselves whether the documents and witnesses that have been denied by the president's complete and unprecedented obstruction could shed more light on this critical topic," Schiff said. "You may agree with the House managers that the evidence of the president's withholding of military aid to coerce Ukraine is already supported by overwhelming evidence and no further insight is necessary to convict the president," he said. "But if the president's lawyers attempt to contest these or other factual matters, you are left with no choice but to demand to hear from each witness with firsthand knowledge."

1:57 p.m. Schiff says the president's legal team can't contest the facts

Schiff attempts to bring all the threads of the Ukraine affair together for senators, accusing President Trump of using his office to pressure a foreign country to aid him politically ahead of the next election.

"President Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to a strategic partner at war with Russia to secure foreign help with his re-election. In other words, to cheat," he says.

"In this way the president used official state powers available only to him and unavailable to any political opponent to advantage himself in a democratic election. His scheme was undertaken for a simple but corrupt reason, to help him win re-election in 2020," Schiff continues.

Schiff defends the "overwhelming evidence" and record assembled by the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, despite Trump's "unprecedented and wholesale obstruction" of their investigation.

In gentler terms than yesterday, Schiff appeals to the Senate to vote in favor of hearing from additional witnesses.

"The House believes that an impartial juror upon hearing the evidence that the managers will lay out in the coming days will find that the Constitution demands the removal of Donald J. Trump from his office as president of the United States. But that will be for you to decide. With the weight of history upon you and as President Kennedy once said" "A good conscience is your only sure reward," he says.

He also takes a shot at the president's defenders and their argument, saying that former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and others are claiming a president can't be impeached for abusing power because they aren't contesting that he did so.

"When you focus on the evidence uncovered during the investigation you will appreciate there is no serious dispute about the facts," he says. "This is why you will hear the president's lawyers make the astounding claim that you can't impeach a president for abusing the powers of his office, because they can't seriously contest that that is exactly, exactly what he did," he says.

1:53 p.m. Schiff: 'remarkably consistent evidence of President Trump's corrupt scheme and cover-up'

Schiff offers an outline of what the managers have called President Trump’s “scheme” to pressure the Ukrainian prime minister and muddle the U.S. intelligence committee findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

"Over the coming days you will hear remarkably consistent evidence of President Trump's corrupt scheme and cover-up," Schiff says.

1:08 p.m. Schiff takes lead as Democrats begin 3 days of opening arguments

Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, begins to make the House case, arguments that could go as long as 24 hours over the next three days.

He starts by thanking the senators, referencing the late night less than 12 hours before.

"We went well into the morning as you know, until I believe around two in the morning, and you paid attention to every word and argument that you heard from both sides in this impeachment trial, and I know we are both deeply grateful for that," Schiff says, in a noticeably less combative tone than he took on Tuesday.

Schiff then outlines the history of why he says the framers included the power of impeachment in the Constitution.

He then details the specifics of the charges against President Trump.

12:20 p.m. GOP senators call Democrats' efforts so far a failure

Republican senators ABC News talked to this morning don't think their Democratic colleagues accomplished much during Tuesday's marathon session, although at least one acknowledged the fiery tone, which drew criticism from Chief Justice John Roberts, was not ideal.

"I thought the presentations had the unfortunate tone that impeachment is almost always going to have. Impeachment is not a pleasant process. It's largely a political process and political juices get flowing much hotter than they should in my view, and that was also the Chief Justice's thinking," says GOP Sen. Roy Blunt. He acknowledged the atmosphere in the Senate is generally much more cordial than in the House, and senators are used to working across the aisle with one another.

Overall though, he said he would categorize Tuesday's effort by the Democrats as a failure: "I think where House Democrats failed yesterday and maybe Senate Democrats failed, was trying to use the time in a way that would wear us out, or the chief justice, out, and deny the president's response, any response this week. Clearly, if they could have kicked this into today, and they would have started their three days tomorrow, the President wouldn't have had any chance to respond at all before the weekend was over and I think that was what they were trying to do. I think that's what we all thought they were trying to do," Blunt says.

Sen. Ron Johnson says, "I thought Chairman Nadler was, certainly didn’t help the case, accusing Republican senators of complicity in some kind of cover up. That's not helpful. I think the chief justice was very wise to try and bring them back into little, little more appropriate decorum."

Chief Justice Roberts scolded both House manager Jerry Nadler and the president's legal team -- White House counsel Pat Cipillone and his personal lawyer Jay Sekulow for their tone and language as the debate stretched into the early hours of this morning.

-- ABC's Sarah Kolinvosky

11:25 a.m. Schumer: 'A dark day and a dark night for the Senate'

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that the reason the Senate debate last until almost 2 a.m. this morning was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn't want to "interfere" with his promise to President Trump to get the impeachment trial over with as quickly as possible.

"It seems the only reason senator McConnell refused to move votes back a day is because it would interfere with the timeline he promised the president," Schumer says.

Appearing at a news conference with fellow Senate Democrats, Schumer tells reporters that McConnell refused to move votes to today and once again claimed Republicans " don't want a fair trial."

Noting the party-line votes in which Republicans repeatedly rejected Democratic amendments to call witnesses and subpoena documents now from the White House, State Department, Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget, Schumer calls Tuesday "a dark day and dark night for the Senate."

When a reporter asks, "Are you willing to let Republicans bring in former Vice President Biden or his son Hunter Biden in order to get the witnesses you want?" Schumer responds, "Look, the bottom line is that the witnesses should have something to do with and direct knowledge of the charges against the president. You know, we don't need witnesses that have nothing to do with this that are trying to distract Americans from the truth."

Then, when asked, "Would you cut a deal of any kind with Republicans?" Schumer answers,"Well right now, right now we haven't heard them wanting any witnesses at all, so our first question is to continue to focus our efforts and focus the American people on the need for a fair trial which means witnesses and documents -- witnesses and documents that, again, reflect reflect the truth.

And the bottom line is this: We don't know what these witnesses and documents will reveal. They could be exculpatory of the president. They could be incriminating of the President. These are certainly not Democratic witnesses or Democratic documents. We want -- as both of my colleagues said -- the truth. And that's what we're going to focus on," he says.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar tells ABC's Devin Dwyer she’s “less and less encouraged” but “still holding out hope” there will be witnesses in the trial.

Asked about reports that some Democrats are considering a possible deal in which they would get former national security adviser John Bolton if Republicans got the Bidens, the Democratic presidential candidate answers, “I know negotiations are going on but all I care about are relevant witnesses.”

11 a.m. Senate set to hear opening arguments, Trump calls trial 'a disgrace'

In about two hours, the Senate will begin to hear arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial, following a marathon opening day of acrimonious debate over the rules for the trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, was forced to revise his resolution outlining the Senate proceedings after several Republican senators privately voiced concerns about elements of the proposal.

The resolution, adjusted to allow House managers and President Trump’s lawyers to make arguments over three days instead of two, and change the rules for the admission of evidence, was adopted early Wednesday morning in a 53-47 vote along party lines.

Neither side filed motions ahead of proceedings Wednesday morning, clearing the way for House managers to begin their arguments after 1 p.m.

Traveling overseas, President Trump said he would be watching today's session and said his lawyers were doing a good job. He called the trial a "disgrace."

Under the rules of the trial, the president's lawyers and Senate allies could introduce a motion to dismiss the charges against Trump later in the Senate proceedings -- though top GOP senators have suggested they lack the 51 votes needed to end the trial.

The Senate spent Tuesday in silence, listening to the House managers and Trump’s defense team argue over eleven amendments introduced by Democrats to alter the resolution and issue subpoenas for witnesses and records.

Each measure was defeated in succession along party lines, though Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who urged McConnell to alter the underlying resolution, broke with Republicans to support one resolution giving more time for managers and the president’s lawyers to respond to motions.

Near the end of proceedings Tuesday morning, Chief Justice John Roberts, who spent most of the first day of the trial in silence, scolded both sides following a sharp exchange between Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, the lawyers leading Trump’s defense team.

“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” he said.

Nadler had urged the Senate to call former national security adviser John Bolton to testify, and called Cipollone a liar in a later exchange. The top White House lawyer told Nadler to apologize to the president his family, and the Senate.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(DAVOS, Switzerland) -- President Donald Trump appeared to brush off the traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussion-like injuries sustained by U.S. service members after Iran’s missile strike on a military base in Iraq, saying he did not consider them to be "very serious injuries."

"I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things," Trump said Wednesday at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. "But I would say and I can report it is not very serious."

Trump's comments drew criticism from veterans advocates who noted that since the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs have put in place procedures to treat and lessen the impact of traumatic brain injuries suffered from the blasts from roadside bombs and injuries considered to be the signature wounds of those conflicts.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military acknowledged that an additional number of service members had been flown from Iraq to Germany for observation nearly two weeks after the missile attack on the Al Asad airbase. Last week 11 service members were flown out of Iraq for further observation after presenting concussion-like symptoms.

When pressed by reporters, Trump continued his claim that the injuries weren't very serious relative "to other injuries I have seen."

"I have seen what Iran has done with roadside bombs to their troops. I have seen people with no legs and with no arms. I have seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war. And in fact many cases put those bombs ... put there by Soleimani who is no longer with us. And I consider them to be really bad injuries." Trump said. "No, I do not consider that to be bad injuries. No."

Trump’s remarks also drew swift criticism from veterans groups that have advocated for the victims from violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, tweeted: "The @DeptVetAffairs and hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 veterans disagree: research.va.gov/topics/tbi.cfm Don’t just be outraged by #PresidentMayhem’s latest asinine comments. Take action to help vets facing TBIs: uclahealth.org/operationmend/"

The @DeptVetAffairs and hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 veterans disagree: https://t.co/bsMBRhoTlP Don’t just be outraged by #PresidentMayhem’s latest asinine comments. Take action to help vets facing TBIs: https://t.co/xK1eyH1LJe https://t.co/HV9r0CxTHr

— Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) January 22, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as "a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury."

In addition, service members and veterans potentially have additional exposure to blasts, from combat and from training.

TBI injuries have been treated as the "signature wound" and "silent epidemic" of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where insurgents used roadside bombs to significant effect. While the blasts from those bombs caused serious physical injuries to U.S. service members, they also caused a much larger number of TBI injuries that were not immediately visible.

According to the VA, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) "reported more than 408,000 TBIs among U.S. service members worldwide between 2000 and early 2019."

The VA website adds, "The majority of those TBIs were classified as mild."

On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) acknowledged that "additional" service members had been identified as having potential injuries and were transported to Germany for observation.

Centcom did not say how many additional service members had been affected beyond the initial 11 reported to have been transferred out of Al Asad last week.

Initially there had been no reports of injuries or deaths resulting from the Iranian missile attack on the base, but concussion-like symptoms may take time before they fully present themselves.

"Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future," said Captain Bill Urban, a Centcom spokesman.

He added, "The health and safety of all service members is the greatest concern for all department leadership and we greatly appreciate the care that these members have received and continue to receive at the hands of our medical professionals."

A Pentagon spokesperson restated the importance that the military places on identifying traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the conflicts of the last two decades.

"Our research has been instrumental in the development of various breakthroughs to improve the lives of those individuals who have sustained brain injuries," said Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon spokesperson. "Our efforts must address the total picture -- before, during and after any blast exposure or injury."

Lawrence said the future of warfare requires "more advanced" thinking.

"We want to better mitigate risks and enhance cognitive function of our warfighters," she said. "We must address physical and mental health together."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for defamation alleging that the former secretary of state suggested the congresswoman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate was a "favorite of the Russians."

The lawsuit is in response to Clinton’s October 2019, interview with David Plouffe on "Campaign HQ," a podcast run by the 2008 Obama campaign manager, in which Clinton without naming names -- and just ahead of that month's Democratic presidential candidate debate -- said that a female 2020 candidate was a "favorite of the Russians" and was being "groomed' by Republicans for a third-party run.

The exchange with Plouffe came as a part of a much longer conversation centered on possible Republican paths to victory in 2020. Clinton suggested that President Donald Trump's campaign would try to deflect votes from the eventual Democratic nominee toward that third-party candidate.

At the time there were five Democratic women running for president: Gabbard, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, California Sen. Kamala Harris and author Marianne Williamson. However, the comment appeared to be aimed at Gabbard.

At the time, Clinton's spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN in response to a question about whether she was referring to Gabbard simply said, "If the nesting doll fits." However later that same night Merrill clarified Clinton's comments on Twitter tweeting "Folks, listen to the podcast. She doesn't say the Russians are grooming anyone. It was a question about Republicans."

Folks, listen to the podcast. She doesn’t say the Russians are grooming anyone. It was a question about Republicans.
Cc:@VanJones68 https://t.co/xU7WAob0Ve

— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 19, 2019

On Wednesday in answer to an ABC News question about Clinton's response to the lawsuit, Merrill said, "That's ridiculous."

Gabbard on ABC's The View in November said "It's offensive to me as a soldier, as an American, as a member of Congress, as a veteran, and frankly as a woman, to be so demeaned in this way," Gabbard, who is a major in the Hawaii National Guard told the hosts. "I am a patriot, I love our country ... I have dedicated almost my entire adult life to protecting the safety, security and freedom of all Americans in this country.

Also in November, Gabbard's legal counsel released a statement calling on Clinton to hold a press conference to "verbally retract -- in full -- your comments. We also demand that you immediately publish this full and fair retraction on the twitter account @HillaryClinton."

Clinton never did.

In the lawsuit, Gabbard said that her decision to step down as Democratic National Committee Vice Chairwoman in order to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 was perceived as a "slight" by Clinton. Shortly after her endorsement the lawsuit claims “Clinton’s agents emailed Tulsi to tell her that the Clinton team “no longer trust[s] [Tulsi’s] judgment,” and Tulsi was told that the Clinton team would never forget this.”

Gabbard’s lawyers say that Clinton’s remarks caused her to suffer “ significant actual damages, personally and professionally, that are estimated to exceed $50 million -- and continue to this day.”

In a statement, Gabbard’s legal counsel Brian Dunne wrote, “one would expect someone of Mrs. Clinton’s political background to act with a greater level of maturity and dignity, but her personal hostility toward Rep. Gabbard apparently clouded Mrs. Clinton’s reason and blinded her to U.S. defamation laws. She resorted to a damaging whisper campaign founded on lies, and when presented with the opportunity to retract her damaging remarks, she refused. Rep. Gabbard must defend her good name and hold Mrs. Clinton responsible. This lawsuit intends to do just that.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Val Demings speaks on the Senate floor during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Jan. 21, 2020, in Washington, DC. - (ABC News)(NEW YORK) -- Florida Rep. Val Demings, a House manager during the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, joined ABC's The View, on Wednesday morning, reinforcing her dedication to ensuring a fair trial and not letting the defense turn the trial into a "circus."

"I believe the president's team -- and the president of course -- is trying to turn this very serious trial into a circus," Demings told the hosts. "We're going to do everything we cannot to let them do this."

She went on to remind the senators of the oath they've taken to do impartial justice.

"What has been shocking thus far is that we know that every senator in the chamber took an oath that he and she would administer impartial justice," she said when pressed by the hosts on Tuesday's trial. "Based on the arguments put on by the president's team and based on the votes as we saw them yesterday, I am hoping that every senator before this trial is over will remember the oath that they've taken and take it very seriously."

Demings continued, "The american people deserve to see a fair trial and we are going to do everything on our side to make sure they get one."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's resolution -- or rules for the conduct of the Senate impeachment trial -- and amendments were brought to the floor for hours of debate on Tuesday.

Demings reflected on her law enforcement background during her speaking time, rebuking the president's actions listed in the second article of impeachment -- or obstruction of Congress -- questioning the president's attempt to conceal evidence of his conduct.

"President Trump did not take these extreme steps to hide evidence of his innocence or to protect the institution of the presidency," she said. "As a career law enforcement officer, I have never seen anyone take such extreme steps to hide evidence allegedly proving his innocence. And I do not find that here today."

She continued to direct her arguments toward the Republican senators , and the table occupied by Trump's legal team.

"The president is engaged in this cover up because he is guilty and he knows it," she said. "And he knows that the evidence he is concealing will only further demonstrate his culpability."

She added, "Notwithstanding this effort to Stonewall our inquiry, the House amassed powerful evidence of the president's high crimes and misdemeanors."

Demings also made an argument in favor of an amendment to subpoena the State Department for documents related to Ukraine.

She didn't back down during Tuesday's debate on her support for witnesses and evidence to be admitted during the trial, as is custom for other trials.

"Let me say witnesses that are called, we want to make sure that we see witnesses because every trial does, and documents because every trial does," she said, adding that she would only call material witnesses who have first-hand knowledge of the president's July 25 call with Ukraine President Voldymyr Zelenskiy.

McConnell did make one surprise concession during Tuesday's debate -- agreeing to admit evidence into the record.

As a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, Demings actively participated during the impeachment inquiry process, even questioning witnesses before each panel.

She is also one of the first women to serve as a House trial manager during a Senate impeachment trial -- as this marks only the third trial in U.S. history.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she chose the impeachment managers based on their experience as litigators and investigators with an emphasis on "comfort level in the courtroom" and "making the strongest possible case to defend our constitution."

While Demings may be the only trial manager without a law degree, she is also the only one to serve in law enforcement -- serving 27 years in the Orlando Police Department. During her tenure at OPD, she became the first female police chief in 2007.

"Our job is to communicate that the president clearly abused the office. He abused the sacred trust of the American people," Demings told The View hosts. "He betrayed his oath, and then he obstructed everything that Congress tried to do to investigate the president of the United States. The president using his office to try to coerce a foreign power into cheating."

The trial resumes Wednesday afternoon, as the House managers begin their opening arguments.

Demings said she understood why some of the senators were tired at the end of the day, as the debate went on for more than 12 hours.

"Our job is to continue to advance the job down the field," she said "Yesterday, we did a pretty good job of doing that."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Chief Justice John Roberts, presiding over the Senate impeachment trial, scolded both President Donald Trump’s defense team and House managers after a tense exchange between the two sides in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

As both sides debated one of several proposals from Democrats seeking additional witness testimony, Rep. Jerry Nadler, one of the House impeachment managers, accused Trump’s counsel of making false statements and restricting witness testimony.

“So far I'm sad to say I see a lot of senators voting for a cover up, voting to deny witness -- an absolutely indefensible vote, obviously a treacherous vote,” Nadler said at the bottom of the midnight debate hour.

He went on to accuse Senate Republicans of voting “against an honest trial” and “against the United States.”

Taking his turn at the mic, White House counsel Pat Cipollone fired back directly at Nadler.

“The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you for the way you’ve addressed this body,” Cipollone said. “This is the United States Senate. You're not in charge here.”

Trump’s other lead impeachment attorney, Jay Sekulow, accused the House impeachment managers of trying "to shred the Constitution on the floor of the Senate."

"The Senate is not on trial," Sekulow said. "The Constitution doesn't allow what just took place."

Sekulow continued Cipollone's charge against Nadler with a more aggressive tone before the chief justice spoke up at the end of the hour.

“I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and president’s counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body,” Roberts said. “Those addressing the Senate should remember where they are.”

The comment was the first time the chief justice stepped into the rhetorical fray during a that lasted some 13 hours.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(DAVOS, Switzerland) -- President Donald Trump Wednesday said that while he would prefer to see a lengthy Senate impeachment trial with witnesses, "national security" concerns would probably prevent that from happening.

“I would rather go the long way," Trump said. "I would rather interview Bolton," he said, referring to his former national security adviser who has said he's willing to testify at the Senate trial if subpoenaed. "I would rather interview a lot of people.”

However, Trump then cited "problems" that he said would likely prohibit Bolton from testifying.

"The problem with John, is that it's a national security problem,” Trump said. “He knows some of my thoughts he knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain layer and it's not very positive and then I have to deal on behalf of the country? It’s going to be very hard it's going to make the job very hard.”

He added, “When you have a national security, you could call it presidential prerogative ... I call it for national security reasons, executive privilege, they say—so that would john would certainly fit into that.”

But potential national security concerns aren't the only reason Trump has reservations on Bolton testifying. He also noted Bolton's abrupt departure from the White House in September saying, “you don’t like people testifying when they didn’t leave on good terms.”

He said that his break with Bolton was “due to me, not due to him.”

The president fired off attacks at Democrats and the impeachment trial while speaking to reporters at a surprise news conference in Davos, Swtizerland, where he spent the previous day meeting with world leaders touting the U.S. economy.

He directed specific attacks at House managers Rep. Jerry Nadler, whom he called a “sleazebag,” and Rep. Adam Schiff, whom he labeled a “con job” and a “corrupt politician.”

While hurling insults at the impeachment trial and the Democrats arguing against the president, Trump did say that he would "love" to attend his own trial and "“sit right in the front row and stare into their corrupt faces.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


JasonDoiy/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The moderators in the Feb. 7 Democratic primary debate have been announced.

ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, World News Tonight anchor and managing editor David Muir and ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis will moderate the debate, which airs Friday, Feb. 7, from 8 p.m. ET to 11 p.m. ET. They will be joined in questioning by WMUR-TV Political Director Adam Sexton and WMUR-TV News Anchor Monica Hernandez.

The debate is hosted by ABC News, ABC's New Hampshire affiliate WMUR-TV and Apple News.

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee announced the qualifying rules for the matchup.

The slightly modified criteria for the debate, which is sandwiched evenly between the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, includes the previous criteria of qualifying through the polling and grassroots thresholds but it also includes a new, second pathway to qualify. Any candidate who is awarded at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention based on the results of the Iowa caucuses, as reported and calculated by the Iowa Democratic Party, will be able to participate.

Forty-one pledged delegates are up for grabs in Iowa on caucus night.

To clinch a podium on the debate stage, candidates can also meet both the polling and grassroots fundraising requirements, with the same thresholds as the January debate. The polling requirement will no longer include Iowa polls because, as the DNC says in its news release, "a candidate’s support in Iowa will be reflected through the results of the Iowa caucus instead of Iowa-specific polling."

The first pathway of the polling requirement is the four-poll threshold: candidates must earn at least 5% support in four national or early state polls from New Hampshire, Nevada and/or South Carolina. In order to count as qualifying polls, the polls must be sponsored by different organizations, or if sponsored by the same organization, cover different geographical areas.

The second pathway is the early state polling threshold: Candidates must get at least 7% support in two early state polls, again from only New Hampshire, Nevada and/or South Carolina. Unlike the first path, these polls can be sponsored by the same organization and can also be conducted in the same geographical area.

The polls must be released between Dec. 13 through Feb.6, the day before the debate. Additionally, the polls must be sponsored by one of the organizations or pairs of organizations from the following list determined by the DNC: The Associated Press; ABC News/Washington Post; CBS News/YouGov; CNN; Fox News; Monmouth University; NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist; NBC News/Wall Street Journal; NBC News/Marist; New York Times/Siena College; Nevada Independent/Mellman Group; Quinnipiac University; University of New Hampshire; USA Today/Suffolk University; Winthrop University.

The DNC said it could add another Nevada-specific and/or South Carolina-specific polling sponsor to this list.

To meet the grassroots fundraising threshold, candidates must accrue at least 225,000 individual donors and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories or the District of Columbia.

Candidates have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 6 to hit this threshold.

With the donor requirement still intact, the rules appear to preclude presidential contender Michael Bloomberg from qualifying for the debate since he is self-funding his campaign and not soliciting any donations. He has met the polling threshold, according to an ABC News analysis.

"I hope the DNC change its rules -- I’d gladly participate -- but I’m not going to change my principles," Bloomberg wrote in a CNN op-ed. "So I’m traveling the country taking my message directly to voters – and as a result, President Trump is now finally facing opposition from a candidate in the battleground states."

The DNC outlined the new rules on Friday for the crowded field of 12. More details for this debate, including moderators, will be announced at a later date.

Under these new rules, the candidates who appear to have cleared the polling and grassroots fundraising thresholds, according to an ABC News analysis, are former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, billionaire Tom Steyer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Andrew Yang, the political novice who missed the cut for the January debate but was the only candidate of color who participated in the December clash, has met the donor requirement but remains two polls shy of crossing the polling threshold, according to an ABC News analysis. None of the other candidates have a single qualifying poll.

The New Hampshire debate, which will be held at St. Anselm College in Manchester, will air across ABC, WMUR-TV, which is owned by Hearst Television, Apple News and on ABC News Live, ABC's streaming channel available on the ABC News site, app, and OTT media services.

The DNC previously announced two other debates that will held throughout the month of February. NBC News and MSNBC, in partnership with The Nevada Independent, hosts a Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas prior to Nevada's caucuses. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute co-host the debate before South Carolina's primary on Feb. 25 at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina and Twitter will be a debate partner.

Qualifying criteria for those two debates have yet to be announced.

Throughout 2019, the party imposed more rigorous qualifying rules as the primary season deepened -- oftentimes putting the committee at odds with the presidential contenders, leading to lower-polling candidates being excluded from the stages.

This is the second debate hosted by ABC News following September's matchup at Texas Southern University, a public, historically black university in Houston, which was co-hosted with Univision. That debate featured a roster of 10 candidates, with Biden and Warren, the two polling front-runners at that point in the primary, tangling on the same stage for the first time. They have since stood shoulder-to-shoulder at center-stage in every matchup succeeding that debate.

The ABC News Democratic Debate will air live nationally on the ABC Television Network and locally on WMUR-TV. ABC News will livestream the debate on ABC News Live featured on Apple News, Roku, Hulu, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the ABC News site and mobile phone apps. WMUR-TV will also livestream the debate on www.WMUR.com and WMUR’s mobile app.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


drnadig/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- In a marathon session that began around 1 p.m. ET Tuesday and lasted nearly 13 hours into the early morning Wednesday, the Republican-led Senate rejected all 11 Democratic-proposed amendments en route to approving the rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

The only changes to the rules proposed Monday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came earlier Tuesday when Republicans reversed their original call for arguments to take place over two days, and instead agreed that arguments would take place over a three-day period. McConnell also agreed to have evidence from the House inquiry automatically admitted as evidence in the Senate trial.

The rules were approved by a party-line vote, 53-47, after more than 12 hours of debate that left many Senate members exhausted by the time the Senate was adjourned shortly before 2 a.m.

Here is how the day unfolded:

1:55 a.m. Final amendments fail and vote on rules passes

Following the rejection of three additional amendments regarding the trail's timing and procedures, the Senate approved the rules of impeachment as put forth by Sen. McConnell.

The vote passed along party lines 53-47. The Senate then adjourned after nearly 13 hours.

1:19 a.m. 8th amendment to subpoena John Bolton fails following clash

The eighth amendment of the evening, on the question of whether to subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify in the impeachment trial, failed along party lines, 53-47.

The vote followed a clash between impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

“Ambassador Bolton was appointed by President Trump and has stated his willingness to testify in this trial," Nadler said. "The question is whether the Senate will be complicit in the president's crimes by covering them up.”

Cipollone, in response, blasted Nadler's characterization, saying, "Mr. Nadler, you owe an apology to the president of the United States and his family, you owe an apology to the Senate, but most of all, you owe an apology to the American people.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, overseeing the trial, admonished both sides for the rhetoric.

The Senate is now debating additional amendments to the rules related to the trail's timing and procedures.

12:02 a.m. 7th amendment fails, on to the 8th amendment involving John Bolton

The seventh amendment of the evening, to "prevent the selective admission of evidence and to provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential materials," again failed along party lines, 53-47.

The Senate will now take up the question of whether to subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who Democrats believe could further tie Trump to the Ukraine affair.

11:21 p.m. 6th amendment fails, but debate continues

Chuck Schumer's sixth amendment, to subpoena testimony from Mick Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey, failed -- again along party lines.

And after a brief, five-minute break it was on to the seventh amendment of the evening to "prevent the selective admission of evidence and to provide for appropriate handling of classified and confidential materials."

The amendment would require "that if, during the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump, any party seeks to admit evidence that has not been submitted as part of the record of the House of Representatives and that was subject to a duly authorized subpoena, that party shall also provide the opposing party all other documents responsive to that subpoena."

10:33 p.m. 5th amendment fails, onto the 6th

The fifth amendment proposed by Democrats -- to subpoena Department of Defense documents -- has failed along party lines, 53-47, and it is on to the sixth amendment.

Schumer's sixth amendment would subpoena testimony of Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mick Mulvaney, and Michael Duffey, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget. Debate on the sixth amendment is starting now.

A brief "quorum call" was held earlier in which Sen. McConnell asked Sen. Schumer to dispense with the debate and "stack" the remaining amendment votes we have.

But Schumer responded that he believes each of the remaining votes are extremely important to the country and the Senate will take each of these votes. Schumer offered to put off the remaining votes until Wednesday, but McConnell did not agree to it.

9:53 p.m. Debate begins on 5th amendment

After a pause, a debate began on Schumer's fifth amendment to subpoena Department of Defense documents. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow kicked off talk and will reserve some of their one hour to respond to the White House argument on this amendment.

9:29 p.m. Schumer's 4th amendment fails

Schumer's fourth amendment -- to compel testimony from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney -- failed, in a 53-47 vote along party lines.

Just prior, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., had argued in favor of the amendment.

"President Trump’s total obstruction makes Richard Nixon look like a choir boy," he said, after listing the Nixon aides who cooperated with Congress during Watergate.

"Mr. Mulvaney was at the center of every stage of the president's substantial pressure campaign against Ukraine," Jeffries said. "Based on the extensive evidence that House did obtain, it is clear that Mulvaney was crucial in planning the scheme, executing its implementation and carrying out the coverup."

He said a fair trial "demands" that Mulvaney testify.

9:23 p.m. 'Can we please start?'

Add White House counsel Pat Cipollone to the name of those hoping for Tuesday night's proceedings to end.
Cipollone pleaded with senators to start the trial, hitting Democrats on the multiple amendments they are continuing to debate.

"If we keep going like this it will be next week," Cipollone said, prompting laughs from the Republican senators, including McConnell, who smirked through Cipollone’s remarks.

"We’re here to have a trial," he said.

8:03 p.m. White House comments on proceedings, motion to dismiss

Eric Ueland, the White House Legislative Affairs director, who has been in the chamber for the trial, left the door open to the Trump team putting forward a motion to dismiss as early as Wednesday.

"Such motions could be filed as late as 9 a.m. tomorrow morning," he told ABC News as he stepped out of the chamber.

it is unclear when such a motion would get a vote.

Ueland also said the president is being kept "constantly updated" while in Davos "and is very impressed" with his team’s performance.

"There is a very good infrastructure in place to keep the president updated -- while he's in Davos -- the ins and outs of what’s going on here on the floor," he said.

7:24 p.m. GOP-controlled Senate rejects Democrats' effort to subpoena OMB records

McConnell calls for a vote to table, or set aside, Schumer's amendment calling for the Senate to subpoena the Office of Management and Budget for documents related to the military aid to Ukraine.

The amendment is killed 53-47 along strict party lines -- just as happened with the two previous Democratic amendments.

Schumer announces a fourth amendment -- to subpoena testimony from acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

With it still unclear how many more amendments Democrats might offer -- and how many more hours of debate that might mean -- the Senate then breaks for dinner.

As GOP senators leave the chamber -- many grabbing phones and furiously typing on their electronics -- they’re huddling just off the floor to enjoy a dinner of pizza.

7:10 p.m. A long day for senators, stuck in seats, listening to hours of arguments

The first long day of the president's impeachment trial has taken its toll on senators, who have been forced to sit in silence, relying on water and snacks to sustain them through hours of debate over the resolution setting the parameters for the impeachment trial.

The first person caught dozing was Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho.

At about 5:30 p.m., as Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., spoke in favor of an amendment to subpoena the State Department for records, Risch was slumped over with his head resting in his right hand, and appeared to be sleeping or close to it, though he stirred repeatedly to rub his eyes.

Risch perked up later as Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, and Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, took to the floor following Demings.

"What time is it?" Risch could be heard asking when Schiff appeared to run over the time allotted for the managers. He then started tapping the face of his wristwatch, which echoed through the chamber.

Other senators relied on gum and mints to stay alert. GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina was seen popping a mint into his mouth at about 6:10 p.m. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon was seen chewing on his pen.
The Senate is expected to break for dinner between 8 and 9 p.m. ET after a vote to table the Democrats' third amendment, which seeks to subpoena the Office of Management and Budget for records.

7:04 p.m. Sekulow argues Ukraine aid ultimately delivered without investigation announcement

The president's personal attorney and part of his defense team Jay Sekulow repeated arguments from Republicans that the Trump administration ultimately provided aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and went further than aid provided by the Obama administration.

Sekulow said that the fact that the aid was ultimately provided without an announcement of an investigation into the Bidens or Burisma undercuts the Democrats' argument that Trump held back the money for his own political benefit.

6:39 p.m. House manager Jason Crow argues OMB documents would show Trump used national defense funds for his political benefit

House manager Jason Crow begins his argument in favor of the amendment to subpoena the Office of Management and Budget by sharing some of his personal history as an Army Ranger serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Crow is in his first term in Congress and served in the 82nd Airborne Division before joining the 75th Ranger Regiment, with which he served two tours in Afghanistan as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force.

He says the decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine was "personal" to him and that OMB played a key role in the decisions to hold back aid approved by Congress.

"These documents would provide insight into critical aspects of the military-aid hold. They would show the decision-making process and motivations behind President Trump's freeze. They would reveal the concerns expressed by career OMB officials including lawyers that the hold was violating the law. They would expose the lengths to which OMB went to justify the president's hold," he says.

"They would reveal concerns about the impact of the freeze on Ukraine and U.S. national security. They would show senior officials repeatedly attempted to convince President Trump to release the hold. In short, they would show exactly how the president carried out the scheme to use our national defense funds to benefit his personal political campaign," Crow says.

6:20 p.m. Senate rejects second Democratic amendment, for State Department documents, also along party lines

Schiff appeals directly to the senators sitting silently in the chamber in his argument that they should vote to subpoena the State Department for additional evidence in the impeachment trial.

"You're going to have 16 hours to ask questions. Sixteen hours -- that's a long time to ask questions. Wouldn't you like to be able to ask about the documents during that 16 hours?" Schiff says.

Schiff references the "three amigos," three administration officials who took the lead in the administration's policy in Ukraine.

Although Ambassadors Kurt Volker and Gordon Sondland both testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry, Schiff pointed out that the third "amigo" -- former Energy Secretary Rick Perry -- has thus far refused to cooperate with investigators or provide any documents.

"Wouldn't you like to know? Don't you think the American people have a right to know what the third Amigo knew about this scheme?" Schiff asks.

McConnell calls for a vote to table Schumer's second amendment, calling for the Senate to subpoena the State Department for documents related to the administration's involvement in Ukraine and decision to withhold military aid. That amendment is tabled -- or killed-- along party lines, just his first one calling for White House witnesses was rejected.

Schumer then offers a third amendment to subpoena the Office of Management and Budget for documents.

Some color from our reporters inside the chamber watching from above in the press gallery:

During the defense’s statements, the most aggressive Republican note takers were GOP Sens. Murkowski and Collins (two of the four Republicans we are watching closely). The two women wrote for multiple minutes as White House counsel Pat Cipollone spoke.

A few aides have been walking on and off the floor to deliver notes to members, who for the most part remain quiet and attentive.

Also coming on and off the floor -- Senate pages who have been vigorously delivering water glasses to both the House legal team and the members over the last few minutes.

6:05 p.m. Chief Justice John Roberts has to be back at his first job Wednesday morning

Even as it's unclear how much longer the Senate will go Tuesday night debating Democratic amendments, one of the few people in the chamber who will have to be back at work first thing Wednesday morning -- running an entire branch of government -- is the chief justice.

He’ll preside over oral arguments at the Supreme Court in a major case involving religion and school choice that public school unions say is “crucial” for their funding. That begins at 10 a.m.

The senators and other staff presumably won’t be back in business until midday when the trial’s opening arguments are expected to begin at 1 p.m. and Roberts will need to be back on the Senate dais as presiding officer.

5:20 p.m. Democratic Rep. Val Demings argues Senate must subpoena State Department documents

House manager Val Demings is now making an argument in favor of an amendment to subpoena the State Department for documents related to Ukraine.

Demings, 62, made an impression in questioning witnesses when the testified before both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.

Unlike the other House managers, Demings doesn't have a background as a litigator but she did work in the criminal justice system as the first female police chief in the Orlando Police Department, where she served for 27 years.

A Florida State University and Webster University graduate, Demings is the only member of the managing team without a law degree, and the only member with a law enforcement background.

4:40 p.m. Senate rejects Schumer amendment calling for a subpoena for White House witnesses and documents

On a party line vote, 53-47, the Senate votes to put aside -- or kill -- Schumer's amendment to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House.

Schumer proposes a new amendment to subpoena documents from the State Department related to calls between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy.

There will be another two hours of debate on that amendment. McConnell says he will move to table that amendment as well.

4:14 p.m. Trump's lawyers argue all the Democrats's subpoenas have been invalid

Patrick Philbin, one of the lawyers on Trump's defense team, pushes back on the Democrats' argument that the White House refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

He says the White House did respond to subpoena requests with a letter laying out why it saw the subpoenas were invalid -- primarily that the House had not voted to authorize an official impeachment inquiry.

"All of those subpoenas were invalid," he says. "And that was explained to the House, to manager Schiff and the other chairman of the committees at the time in that October 18th letter. Did the House take any steps to remedy that? Did they try to dispute that? Did they go to court? Did they do anything to resolve that problem? No."

After Philbin finishes, Schiff speaks again.

"Let's get this trial started, shall we?" Schiff says in response to the president's lawyers' claim that Democrats are pushing for more evidence because the House's case isn't strong enough.

"We are ready to present our case. We are ready to call our witnesses. The question is will you let us?" he asks.
As arguments conclude, McConnell makes a motion to put Schumer's amendment aside.

3:42 p.m. Former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake watches from Senate Gallery

Former Sen. Jeff Flake is in the chamber. He is seated in the upper level that is reserved for staff and guests. He looked over to the press area where reporters are seated and smiled.

The former senator and fierce Trump critic announced in 2017 that he would not seek reelection.

Flake notably has said that if the Senate held a secret ballot to remove Trump from office, more than 30 Republicans would vote to oust him.

3:34 p.m. House manager Zoe Lofgren says documents Democrats want subpoenaed would reveal 'the truth'

House manager Zoe Lofgren argues Schumer's amendment to subpoena key evidence from the White House would circumvent Trump's efforts to block the House impeachment investigation by refusing to release documents or blocking officials from cooperating.

She says evidence released through Freedom of Information Act requests and messages from Ruddy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas made public after the House impeachment vote show that the White House documents could further implicate the president in wrongdoing concerning the withheld aid to Ukraine.

"The documents include records of the people who may have objected to this scheme, such as Ambassador (John) Bolton. This is an important impeachment case against the president. The most important documents are going to be at the White House. The documents Senator Schumer's amendment targets would provide clarity and context about president Trump’s scheme," Lofgren says.

"We don't know with certainty what the documents will say. We simply want the truth ... whatever that truth may be. So, so do the American people. They want to know the truth. And so should everybody in this chamber regardless of our party affiliation," she adds.

Lofgren points out that multiple witnesses in the House investigation testified they took detailed, handwritten notes around relevant events like the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy.

She says documents like those notes would provide a first-hand look at how Trump's behavior was perceived by those around him at the time.

3:26 p.m. Schiff argues the president's lawyers didn't even mention the rules resolution

After the break, Schiff pushes back on accusations from the president's lawyers that the House impeachment proceedings were unfair and that Republicans and representatives of the president weren't allowed to participate. He says it is "just plain wrong" to say Republicans weren't allowed in the depositions with witnesses or that the president wasn't allowed to send a representative to Judiciary Committee proceedings.

"I’m not going to suggest to you they are being deliberately misleading here, but it is just plain wrong. You have also heard my friends at the other table make attacks on me and chairman Nadler. You will hear more of that. I am not going to do them the dignity of responding to them, but I will say this. They make a very important point, although it's not the point I think they're trying to make," Schiff said.

"When you hear them attack the House managers, what you are really hearing is 'we don't want to talk about the president's guilt. We don't want to talk about the McConnell resolution and how patently unfair it is,'” he continued.

2:55 p.m. Inside the Senate chamber, senators taking notes, exchanging messages

As the Senate took a break, ABC's Mariam Khan reports senators, for the most part, were sitting quietly at their desks while Cipollone, Sekulow and Schiff took turns speaking.

Senators seem to be paying close attention, maintaining eye contact with the speakers, and taking notes.

As Schiff spoke about the charges against the president, Trump’s key allies -- GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham, David Perdue, Jim Risch, James Inhofe, and several others -- stared stoically ahead.

Moderate GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski -- who are seated next to each other -- are taking copious amounts of notes, their faces expressionless.

While Schiff was speaking, Graham started to look a little bored, shifting in his seat constantly. While senators cannot speak to one another during the proceedings, he scribbled out a note on his legal notepad and shared it with his seat mate, Sen. John Barrasso.

Barrasso read the note, exchanged a knowing look with Graham and the two quietly chuckled.

When Schiff went on about the need for witnesses, Graham appeared to smirk.

When Schiff played a video of Trump saying he wanted to hear from witnesses, Minority Leader Schumer began to grin widely. He looked pleased.

Meanwhile, senators are still getting messages from the outside world. Aides are discreetly walking on to the floor to hand deliver paper messages to senators. Senate pages are walking around filling up water glasses.

2:39 p.m. Trump's lawyers argue the Democrats failed to pursue their case in the courts

Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow begins his argument by slamming the process in the House impeachment inquiry.

"And what we just heard from manager Schiff, courts have no role, privileges don't apply, what happened in the past we should just ignore. In fact, manager Schiff just said try to summarize my colleagues defense of the president," Sekulow says.

"He said not in those words of course, which is not the first time Mr. Schiff has put words into transcripts that did not exist. Mr. Schiff also talked about a trifecta," Sekulow says.

"I'll give you a trifecta. During the proceedings that took place before the Judiciary Committee, the president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses. The president was denied the right to access evidence. And the president was denied the right to have counsel present at hearings. This is a trifecta that violates the Constitution of the United States. Mr. Schiff did say the courts really don't have a role in this. Executive privilege, why would that matter? It matters because it is based on the Constitution of the United States," Sekulow continues.

The president and his counsel could not participate in person during the depositions that House Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight committees held but once the hearings moved to the House Judiciary Committee, the White House and the president chose not to participate even though they were invited to present a defense.

Pat Cipollone also says that Schiff was keeping Republicans out of the impeachment depositions. That is not true. Republicans on the committees mentioned participated in the depositions.

Sekulow argues that the only reason we are here is because Democrats want the president removed from office.
"What are we dealing with here? Why are we here? Are we here because of a phone call? Or are we before a great body because, since the president was sworn into office, there was a desire to see him removed," he says.

He says that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed her impatience and contempt for the proceedings and waiting for the courts to rule when she said "we cannot be at the mercy of the courts."

"That is why we have courts ... to determine constitutional issues of this magnitude," he says, "although it should be noted that the administration has argued that the courts should not have a role here."

2:13 p.m. GOP's Collins pressed to have arguments take place over three -- not two -- days

ABC's Trish Turner on Capitol Hill reports aides to moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins say she and others raised concerns about trying to fit the 24 hours of opening statements in two days under the proposed rules and the admission of the House transcript of the evidence into the Senate record.

Her position has been that the trial should follow the Clinton model as much as possible, the aides say. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement, they say.

Later, during a break, a Republican senator -- who asked not to be quoted -- said the discussion of the tweaks to McConnell's resolution was the topic of discussion at the GOP lunch today.

Some of the key senators, like Collins, “were clearly concerned about the topics around which changes were made," this senator said, reports ABC's Trish Turner.

”It was clear there was quite a bit of concern,” so it was changed, the senator said.

Sen. Ron Johnson said, “There was pretty strong feeling which is why it got changed,” saying the concern extended even beyond moderate senators. Republicans wanted to take an argument away from Schumer, he said. "We are not trying to hide testimony in the wee hours of the morning.”

2:08 p.m. Trump tweets from Switzerland

Trump appears to be monitoring the Senate trial from his trip to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum, reports ABC's Elizabeth Thomas.

A few minutes after he left a dinner with global chief executive officers, the last scheduled event of the day in Davos, Trump tweeted, "READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!" -- one of his favorite defenses, as he has often said before, referring to his calls with Ukraine's president -- calls which he calls "perfect."

1:34 p.m. Schiff says Trump is arguing there is nothing Congress can do about his conduct

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff makes his first remarks in Tuesday's session, speaking on behalf of the House impeachment managers against McConnell's resolution.

He says Trump is arguing that there is nothing Congress can do about the behavior in question in the trial and the trial won't be fair if both sides are blocked from introducing new evidence.

"If a president can obstruct his own investigation, if he can effectively nullify a power, the Constitution gives solely to Congress and indeed the ultimate power, the ultimate power the Constitution gives to prevent presidential misconduct, then the president places himself beyond accountability, above the law," Schiff says.
"It makes him a monarch, the very evil which against our Constitution and the balance of powers the Constitution was laid out to guard against," he says.

Schiff continues to focus on the ability for the Senate to immediately hear from witnesses and receive additional documents before continuing with the trial.

“If the Senate votes to deprive itself of witnesses and documents the opening statements will be the end of the trial,” Schiff says.

Earlier on the Senate floor, McConnell said votes on subpoenas and witnesses should not happen until later in the trial, as outlined in the procedural resolution his office announced Monday. Most Americans, Schiff said, don’t believe there will be a fair trial and that Trump will be acquitted.

“Let’s prove them wrong! How? By convicting the president? No.” Schiff says. “By letting the House prove its case."

Schiff makes the case for additional evidence and witnesses in the Senate trial, with the help of the president's own words.

While speaking on the Senate floor, Schiff plays several clips of Trump. The first shows Trump saying he wants witnesses, and another featuring the president saying Article II of the Constitution gives him the right to do "whatever I want."

"The innocent do not act this way," Schiff says.

This trial, he added, should not "reward" the president's obstruction by letting him determine what evidence is seen by the Senate.

He also pushed back on the criticism that the House had not exhausted its legal efforts in court to obtain access to witnesses and evidence.

Continuing to mount a legal case, Schiff argues, would encourage Trump to "endlessly litigate the matter in court on every judgment," essentially filibustering the impeachment process.

Schiff spoke after White House counsel Pat Cipollone spoke briefly on behalf of Trump, in support of the rules and calling on the Senate to acquit the president as soon as possible.

1:20 p.m. Senate considers rules resolution that now calls for 24 hours of arguments over three days

With Chief Justice John Roberts presiding, the Senate begins considering the rules resolution proposed by McConnell that Democrats strongly object to as unfair.

The trial resumed at 1:17 p.m. after being scheduled to resume at 1 p.m.

In a major change, the proposed rules would now allow each side to make their case in a total of 24 hours over three -- not two -- days.

It also means the whole trial will likely take longer.

McConnell's team is expected to confirm that evidence from the House inquiry will now be admitted but not new evidence obtained since the House vote to impeach the president on Dec. 18.

Someone can object to that evidence being admitted, according to the proposed change.

12:35 p.m. McConnell says 'finally, some fairness' in opening remarks

Majority Leader McConnell begins his opening remarks -- before the formal start of the trial at 1 p.m. -- by saying, "finally, some fairness."

"This is the fair road map for out trial," he says of the proposed rules resolution he will soon formally introduce, saying it will bring the "clarity and fairness that everyone deserves."

Minority Leader Schumer calls McConnell's rules "completely partisan" and "designed by President Trump and for President Trump," adding they would mean "a rushed trial with little evidence in the dark of night."

Schumer says the McConnell rules are "nothing like the Clinton rules," saying that includes allowing a motion to dismiss the case to be made at any time.

As the senators argue, Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the Senate trial, arrives on Capitol Hill.

12:25 p.m. Key GOP senators say they're on board with McConnell's proposed rules

Heading in their weekly closed-door GOP lunch, key senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska say they’re on board with the McConnell's rules resolution, both indicating that it looks the same to them as the Clinton trial rules resolution.

Romney calls the difference between the Trump trial and Clinton resolutions “insignificant,” while Democrats have said there are major differences, accusing Republicans of using the rules to engineer a "cover-up."

“You’ll get what you need in eight-hour blocks or 12-hour blocks,” Romney says, referring to the length of each of the two days Democrats would have to present their case.

Murkowski echoes Romney, saying,“It’s the same 24 hours (as in Clinton), so what’s the difference if it’s eight hours or 12?”

Earlier, in a statement, Romney says, "If attempts are made to vote on witnesses prior to opening arguments, I would oppose those efforts."

11:31 a.m. Schumer says McConnell's proposed rules will force debate into the 'dead of night'

Ahead of the Senate trial, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sharply criticizes the procedural rules outlined by McConnell Monday night.

Schumer takes issue with provisions he says would force debate into “the dead of night” and warns GOP moderate senators he will force an initial vote on whether to allow senators to review documents and question witnesses.

“Right off the bat, Republican senators will face a choice about getting the facts or joining leader McConnell and President Trump in trying to cover them up,” Schumer tells reporters.

“A trial with no evidence is not a trial at all. It’s a cover-up,” Schumer says.

“This is a historic moment,” Schumer adds. “The eyes of American are watching. Republican senators must rise to the occasion.”

When asked if he plans to force votes to oppose McConnell’s decision to split the 24 hours designated for opening arguments over two days, Schumer says “wait and see.”

Schumer says he will ask that White House documents be subpeonaed. including phone records between Trump and Ukraine's president, and other call records between administration officials about the military aid meant for Ukraine that Trump directed be withheld.

10:15 a.m. House managers complain about proposed trial rules

About three hours before they will appear on the Senate floor, House impeachment managers, led by House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, hold a news conference to complain about McConnell's proposed rules, which would give them 24 hours over just two days or present their case, possibly meaning their arguments going past midnight.

"This is a process where you do not want the American people to see the evidence," Schiff says.

"We could see why this resolution was kept from us and the American people,” he says, calling it “nothing like” the Clinton resolution in terms of both witnesses and documents.

“It does not prescribe a process for a fair trial and the American trial desperately want to believe that the Senate ... will give the president a fair trial,” Schiff says.

Without documents, Schiff said, you can’t determine which witnesses to call and what to ask them.

He was joined by the full managing team.

He also said McConnell is “compressing the time of the trial,” citing the extended 12-hour days for arguments.

Schiff says managers will appeal to the senators Tuesday to “live up to the oath that they have taken.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, who along with Schiff, will take the lead for the Democrats, said "there is no other conceivable reason the deny witnesses."

Nadler adds that all the Senate is doing is to “debate whether there will be a cover up,” accusing Republicans of “being afraid of what the witnesses will say.”

Schiff wouldn’t say if the House would use all 24 hours for their arguments and a full 12 hours each day but said that should be up to the House, and not the Senate in the trial rules.

9:19 a.m. House managers claim "ethical questions" about White House counsel Cipollone

House managers send a letter to a member of Trump’s legal team Tuesday morning stating that he was a “material witness” to the impeachment charges brought by the House. The managers, led by Schiff, claim there are “serious concerns and ethical questions” surrounding White House counsel Pat Cipollene’s role as Trump’s top impeachment lawyer.

“You must disclose all facts and information as to which you have first-hand knowledge that will be at issue in connection with evidence you present or arguments you make in your role as the President’s legal advocate so that the Senate and Chief Justice can be apprised of any potential ethical issues, conflicts, or biases,” the House managers write in a letter to Cipollone.

ABC News reported Friday that Cipollone would continue to lead the president’s defense through the impeachment trial along with the president's personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow.

They’re joined on Trump's defense team by former independent counsel lawyers Ken Starr and Robert Ray who were both involved in investigating and prosecuting the impeachment case against President Bill Clinton.

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Jeff Neira/ABC(WASHINGTON) -- Mike Bloomberg's campaign has won the support of a significant voice in the House of Representatives. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., announced Tuesday evening that he would endorse the former New York City mayor's bid for the White House.

Rush is Bloomberg's fourth endorsement in a rapidfire slew of congressional endorsements, joining Reps. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Max Rose, D-N.Y.

Rush, however, carries special clout as a prominent figure among the African American community, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a longtime civil rights activist. He was also a co-founder of the Black Panthers movement in Illinois in the 1960s. Rush is the first African American House member to endorse Bloomberg.

He previously endorsed and supported Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., prior to her exit from the Democratic primary.

Rush was an early endorsement for then-freshman Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 election.

The endorsement comes on the heels of a speech Bloomberg gave on the eve of Martin Luther King Day in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on racial wealth disparities -- highlighting the Greenwood neighborhood riots that ravaged an affluent black community in 1921. Moreover, Bloomberg acknowledged his own white privilege and said he would likely not be in the position he is in if he were black.

"Mike gets it, he instinctively understands that economic opportunity -- economic equity -- has been and for far too long, ignored for African-Americans," Rush said in a statement. "He alone, among the current Democratic candidates, has been the clearest, the most focused, and the most reasonable voice for addressing the depressed state of the African-American economy. His Greenwood Initiative is not only inspirational, it's practical and it's doable."

Bloomberg's hopes for the Democratic nomination intertwine with past struggles on the issue of race. He kicked off his campaign with an apology for discriminatory stop-and-frisk policing when he was mayor of New York City and has continued efforts to build trust and support in black and brown communities.

Rush will now serve as a national co-chair for the Bloomberg campaign, and advise on "a number of key political and policy issues," the campaign said in announcing Rush's endorsement.

Bloomberg thanked Rush for his endorsement, calling him a "force for change."

"Congressman Bobby Rush has dedicated his life to building a more open, inclusive, equitable, just and prosperous America," Bloomberg said in a statement. "I'm honored to have his support -- and as our campaign continues to build momentum, we will benefit from the wisdom and advice he will offer."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton levied scathing attacks on Sen. Bernie Sanders in a new Hulu documentary and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Clinton, who competed for the 2016 Democratic nomination against Sanders and won, claimed that Sanders is unlikeable and has been relatively unaccomplished during his congressional tenure.

“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said in the documentary. “He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

Clinton would not pledge to support Sanders if he won the 2020 Democratic nomination citing the wide Democratic field and concerns about Sanders’ online supporters, calling them “Bernie Bros.”

“I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season,” Clinton said. “I will say, however, that it’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it.”

When asked about Clinton's comments, Sanders responded, "On a good day, my wife likes me, so let’s clear the air on that one” Sanders said jokingly when asked about Clinton's comments. “Look, today, right now I’m dealing with impeachment.”

“Secretary Clinton is entitled to her point of view, but my job today is to focus on the impeachment trial. My job today is to put together a team to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of the United States of America," Sanders added.

Asked further why he thought Clinton was still talking about 2016, Sanders said: “That is a good question. Ask her.”

The Sanders campaign echoed a similar sentiment in a statement released Tuesday.

“My focus today is on a monumental moment in American history: the impeachment trial of Donald trump," statement from the senator read. "Together, we are going to go forward and defeat the most dangerous president in American history.”

Sanders, in a CBS interview Monday, said he didn’t agree with the social media attacks waged by his supporters. Instead, he urged them to “engage in civil discourse.”

In the interview, Clinton also weighs in on the controversy surrounding a 2018 private meeting between Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others. Reports from CNN, claimed Sanders disagreed with her that a woman could win in 2020 against President Donald Trump. Warren confirmed the report and Sanders vehemently denied them.

Clinton said the argument is “part of a pattern.”

“If it were a one-off, you might say, ‘OK, fine.’ But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me,” Clinton said. “I just think people need to pay attention because we want, hopefully, to elect a president who’s going to try to bring us together, and not either turn a blind eye, or actually reward the kind of insulting, attacking, demeaning, degrading behavior that we’ve seen from this current administration.”

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Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- A lawyer for Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who was indicted on campaign finance charges, called on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from overseeing the case, arguing it would create a "public appearance of a conflict of interest."

"Due to the conflict of interest of your being involved in these matters as Attorney General, and in an effort to preserve the public trust in the rule of law, we request that you recuse yourself," Joseph Bondy, Parnas' attorney, wrote in a letter filed to the court on Monday.

Bondy suggested the Department of Justice appoint a special prosecutor from outside the department to handle the case.

In his request, Bondy outlined several examples of why the attorney general should step back, including his involvement in President Donald Trump's Ukraine policy -- as Barr was named during the president's July 25 call with the Ukraine that sparked the impeachment storm on Capitol Hill.

The New York City bar also advised Barr to disqualify himself from the case.

Bondy said "evidence has been brought to light" linking Barr to not only Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, but other prominent GOP lawyers like Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova, which he said creates a "public appearance of a conflict of interest.”

He argued that "actual harm" was done to his client, because of perceived "delays in the production of discovery in his federal case." In other words, Bondy said Parnas was unable to turn over documents in a timely manner in order to comply with the congressional subpoenas sent during the impeachment inquiry.

The letter did not however give any details as to how the discovery was delayed.

"This conflict of interest appears to have caused actual harm to Mr. Parnas," Bondy said, adding that his client couldn't dig up enough evidence "in time for congressional investigators to make complete use of his material or properly assess Mr. Parnas as a potential witness."

Parnas’ attorney also said prosecutors "refused" to meet with Parnas so he could give them the information he had on Trump, Giuliani, Toensing, diGenova and "others."

The Justice Department has declined to comment.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has apologized after a prominent surrogate published a negative op-ed about Sanders' 2020 rival former Vice President Joe Biden.

Author Zephyr Teachout penned the op-ed in the Guardian, which claimed "Joe Biden Has a Big Corruption Problem." The op-ed included sharp attacks of Biden's candidacy.

“Some think nominating Joe Biden, a moderate white man who calls himself “Middle Class” Joe, makes sense. But Biden has a big corruption problem and it makes him a weak candidate," wrote Teachout. "I know it seems crazy, but a lot of the voters we need -- independents and people who might stay home -- will look at Biden and Trump and say: 'They’re all dirty.'"

The Sanders campaign recently promoted the op-ed in a newsletter called the "Bern Notice."

In an interview with CBS, Sanders apologized.

”It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way. And I'm sorry that that op-ed appeared," Sanders said Monday.

"[Joe] is a decent person. He is a friend of mine. People like him. And we're not going to make personal attacks on Joe Biden but I think the record shows that Joe's history in the Senate and my history in Congress are very different," Sanders added.

“Thanks for acknowledging this, Bernie. These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president,” Biden said in a tweet reacting reports of Sanders apology late Monday night.

The apology comes after the Sanders campaign has been criticized for sharpening attacks of their opponents. Sanders denied responsibility for volunteer talking points that attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren's ability to expand the Democratic electorate. Biden also accused Sanders' campaign of sharing what he called a “doctored video” misleading voters about his stance on Social Security.

Sanders was also asked if he approves of his supporters who attack his opponents online.

"No, I really don't," he said. "If anyone knows me, what I believe is we need a serious debate in this country on issues. We don't need to demonize people who may disagree with us."

Instead, Sanders urged his supporters to communicate civilly.

"I appeal to my supporters: Please, engage in civil discourse," he added. "And by the way, we're not the only campaign that does it. Other people act that way as well. I would appeal to everybody: Have a debate on the issues. We can disagree with each other without being disagreeable, without being hateful. That is not what American politics should be about."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jeff Neira/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Mike Bloomberg is being visited by the specter of campaigns past.

Mark Green, Bloomberg's Democratic opponent in the 2001 NYC mayoral race, is announcing that this week, he will file an official complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Bloomberg News for "illegal corporate in-kind contributions" to the billionaire former mayor of New York's presidential campaign.

Green, who served from 1994 through 2001 as New York City’s first public advocate, was, at the time of his mayoral run, the prohibitive favorite of what unexpectedly became one of the more narrow elections in recent memory. Green ultimately lost to Bloomberg by a small margin.

Green's complaint now alleges that Bloomberg News is proffering biased coverage of the 2020 primary -- putting out negative stories on Bloomberg's opponents while avoiding scrutiny of their eponymous candidate.

Green alleges in the complaint he will file that Bloomberg News' coverage is a "coordinated contribution by a corporation to a candidate."

Green points to the memo that went out to the Newsroom staff after Bloomberg announced his bid for the Democratic nomination -- saying that the outlet would maintain its "tradition" of not investigating Bloomberg, his family or foundation, and that in the interest of fairness it would "extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries."

His allegation of coordination rests on the perspective that Bloomberg News is not providing fair and balanced coverage of the 2020 primary as behooving Bloomberg. In an interview with ABC News, Green outlined his proof as "admittedly, a content analysis of their coverage, which is one-sided."

He likens Bloomberg News as tantamount to a personal PAC for Bloomberg's campaign.

"It's not money -- Mike doesn't need money," Green said, adding it's more the lack of inquiry that serves Bloomberg. "The point is not that Mike is corrupt -- but that the process might be," he said.

ABC News has reached out to Bloomberg News for comment.

The Bloomberg presidential campaign declined to comment.

In a memo to newsroom staff sent the same day Bloomberg announced his presidential candidacy, John Micklethwait, Bloomberg News' editor-in-chief, sought to make clear how the news organization would handle coverage.

"We cannot treat Mike's Democratic competitors differently from him. If other credible journalistic institutions publish investigative work on Mike or the other Democratic candidates, we will either publish those articles in full, or summarize them for our readers -- and we will not hide them, "the memo read. "For the moment, our P&I team will continue to investigate the Trump administration, as the government of the day. If Mike is chosen as the Democratic presidential candidate (and Donald Trump emerges as the Republican one), we will reassess how we do that."

Though Green says the "in-kind" issue his complaint outlines is not about money - Green told ABC that it feels like déjà vu all over again from his 2001 run against Bloomberg -- when Bloomberg also poured enormous sums from his personal fortune into the race: $74 million in total.

"It feels like oh here we go all over again - like are you kidding?" Green told ABC.

"He's trying to do in this run for president what he did for mayor: he's trying to buy it, 'fair and square,'" Green said, clarifying that he meant that last quip as tongue-and-cheek.

The subjective nature of Green's complaint may blunt the impact it could have: news coverage is not the typical kind of corporate in-kind contribution investigated by the FEC; it looks more primarily at campaign finance violations, issuing fines and guidance to campaigns about adhering to election law. Moreover -- the FEC does not currently have a quorum: four commissioners are required to authorize an investigation; there are currently three.

With Bloomberg's unorthodox run for the White House, however, comes a unique situation: most candidates don't own media companies. Thus what might be considered as an "in-kind" "coordinated contribution" takes on fresh nuance.

Green says that he's concerned "there need to be more bright line tests" in FEC regulations.

"We are getting close to a system where only billionaires need apply."

Dovetailing with the populist tone he takes towards the electoral system, Green tells ABC he supports Massachusetts Sen.Elizabeth Warren's candidacy; Warren has built her bid for the Democratic nomination on denouncing big money in politics. Green says he has not spoken with the Warren campaign and is not working in coordination. Asked to confirm this, the Warren campaign declined to comment.

Bloomberg and Green have a decades' long history.

Their nail-biter bid for Gracie Mansion in 2001 took a bitter turn towards the end: in the contest's final 24-hour stretch, Green's campaign put out a negative TV ad on Bloomberg based on the sexual harassment suit filed against Bloomberg alleging that he told a pregnant female employee to "Kill it."

The ad seized on the explosive allegation at the time and underscored that the purported remarks might make New Yorkers rethink supporting Bloomberg.

The New York Times reported at the time that Bloomberg responded to the ad saying that Green "has no shame and is absolutely desperate."

ABC News asked Green if there was any lingering animus between Bloomberg and himself: Green said no.

"Am I upset about a race from 19 years ago?" Green told ABC. "My goodness, there's a statute of limitations on election results, and a statute of limitations on being a sore loser."

"In fact, Mike and I like each other. We get along, personally," Green continued. "Whatever motivation some critic might attribute is irrelevant to whether {Bloomberg} has violated FEC law."

Green added that after Bloomberg beat him in 2001, after calling to congratulate him first, Green called two days later and apologized for running the "Kill it" ad.

"I didn't want to run it -- then after being carpet-bombed by his negative ads, I felt like I had to," Green said, adding that Bloomberg accepted his apology, but didn't want to continue that conversation.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Rosenzweig, the former senior counsel to Ken Starr, who led the Whitewater investigation into former President Bill Clinton that resulted in Clinton's impeachment, slammed President Donald Trump's defense going into his Senate impeachment trial as being akin to the "scream of a wounded animal" and "a raging against the tide."

"At this point, I see President Trump's response to the impeachment as completely outside of the box of normal discussion," Paul Rosenzweig said on the latest episode of ABC News' "The Investigation" podcast on Tuesday.


The first impeachment trial in more than 20 years is expected to kick into gear this week with the first oral arguments from both Democrats and Republicans in front of all 100 U.S. Senators, who will hear evidence and deliberate as jurors over the coming weeks.

In briefs filed on Monday, the president's high-powered legal team blasted the impeachment as a "brazenly political act by House Democrats" and called on senators to "speedily reject" the charges.

The House impeachment managers, who are tasked with arguing in favor of Trump's removal from office, have asserted that "despite President Trump's stonewalling of the impeachment inquiry, the House amassed overwhelming evidence of his guilt."

"I would have thought that the allegations against the president would have actually merited serious consideration by the Senate and by Republicans in the House," Rosenzweig continued. "But apparently we are going to reduce impeachment to nothing more than…a partisan fight over a highway bill, and it should be something more."

While the rules set to govern the Senate trial remain largely opaque, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have advocated for the same set of standards Clinton faced more than two decades ago. Democrats, however, have repeatedly noted that witnesses were subpoenaed and testified during the Clinton trial -- McConnell has signaled a simple-majority vote over whether to call witnesses could go up in the Republican-controlled chamber once the trial starts.

Rosenzweig, who's now a resident senior fellow of national security and cybersecurity at the conservative think tank R Street Institute, laid out other distinctions between the Clinton era and now, too.

"I don't think that the comparison to the Clinton model is very apt at all," Rosenzweig said. "Bill Clinton himself testified before the grand jury and even went so far as to give DNA evidence. Today, by contrast, the House investigation was stymied at every turn by President Trump, who has turned over almost no documentation at all, who tried to stop every witness from testifying [and] who did not testify himself and refused to do so."

"The comparison, I think, is apples to clouds," Rosenzweig added.

Starr, the independent counsel behind the Whitewater investigation, now stands on the defense side of an impeachment battle. Last week, the White House announced he would be representing the president as defense counsel.

The Whitewater investigation ultimately turned up evidence of Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, the fallout from which led Congress to pass articles of impeachment against Clinton in 1998.

Rosenzweig said Starr's appointment as defense counsel in the impeachment trial will set him at odds with arguments he made more than 20 years ago in Clinton's case. Notably, in his report to Congress, Starr called the White House efforts to invoke executive privilege for senior aides "patently groundless."

"I don't see [Starr's] current position as consistent with the arguments he made about Clinton. So I assume he's changed his mind," Rosenzweig said.

Rosenzweig also took issue with a legal position taken over the weekend by another of the president's defense attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, who made the case on Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos that impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors" -- outlined in the U.S. Constitution -- constitute "criminal behavior."

"It's really hard to take Professor Dershowitz seriously. I'm sorry, but what he's saying is essentially nonsense," Rosenzweig said. "If you read the record of the framing of the Constitution, the entire thrust of what the founders were opposed to was abuses of power."

Setting aside the legal stipulations expected at the Senate trial, Rosenzweig concluded that one element of the president's defense strategy is already set in stone: speed.

"I think their strategy is very simple: to move as fast as they can because they know they have the votes, avoid as much evidence as possible [and] don't engage on the facts because the facts don't really support them," he said.

Regardless of the outcome, Rosenzweig anticipated that the events in the coming weeks will be seen as "a watershed moment in American history."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Alan Dershowitz, the celebrity lawyer and Harvard professor emeritus named to President Donald Trump’s legal team last week, is already facing questions about his defense of the president in light of comments he made 21 years ago about impeachment.

Appearing on ABC News' This Week with George Stephanopolous on Sunday, Dershowitz argued that impeachment of a president requires proof “of an actual crime,” and that Trump can’t be removed for abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, the two impeachment articles approved by the House last year.

“It needn't be a statutory crime, but it has to be criminal behavior, criminal in nature,” he said.

Dershowitz, speaking on This Week and making the same argument in other interviews, has cited former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis, who served as President Andrew Johnson’s defense counsel in the first Senate impeachment trial in 1868, and argued on the Senate floor that the framers of the Constitution believed a president could only be impeached for criminal conduct.

But Dershowitz appeared to make a very different argument in 1998 when he appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live and said impeachment didn’t require the president to commit a crime.

"It certainly doesn't have to be a crime if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don't need a technical crime,” he said in comments unearthed by CNN.

Dershowitz, a self-described liberal Democrat who said he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, opposed President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and wrote a book on the subject in 1998. He also consulted with Clinton's legal team during his impeachment.

Pressed on his decades-old comments in an MSNBC appearance on Monday, Dershowitz said he was making the "same argument."

“It doesn’t have to be technical crime because at the time the framers wrote the Constitution, there was no criminal code,” he said.

Dershowitz echoed that in a statement to ABC News, saying, "That’s still my position. It has to be criminal -- like, akin to treason or bribery. Not abuse or obstruction."

On his role defending Trump, Dershowitz said he has a "limited role" in the Senate trial.

"I’m only in the case as of counsel on the constitutional criteria for impeachment. I’m not involved in the strategic decisions about witnesses or fact," he said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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