Politics

Trump wondered how long Ukraine could last in fight with Russia, recording shows

President Donald Trump wondered how long Ukraine would survive in a fight against Russia, according to an audio recording from a private dinner in which he also calls for the summary dismissal of then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. A recording of the April 30, 2018, dinner was released Saturday by a lawyer for Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Parnas was one of the attendees at the dinner, which was held at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. "Think Russia ever goes in and gets Ukraine?" Trump asks one companion. "They would love to but they’re scared of you," someone replies. About halfway through the 90-minute conversation, one of the participants mentions Yovanovitch as a Democratic holdover and all...

Senate Republicans eye quick Trump acquittal after witness vote

Senate GOP leaders are strongly considering a move to quickly end President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial next week if a motion to call additional witnesses is defeated, according to three top Republican senators. The Republican strategy — which is still fluid — could mean senators have limited time between key procedural votes and the final vote on whether to convict the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. And with the odds growing against additional witnesses being called, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will face critical decisions on how fast he can bring the proceedings to an end. “The question is going to come to ‘Have you heard enough to make a decision or do you want witnesses?’ If people say, ‘We’re ready to vote,’ we’re going to vote right t...

Democrats see Trump lawyers boosting their own case for witnesses

Senate Democrats had a surprising takeaway on Saturday: President Donald Trump’s lawyers are making their argument for them. In their fight to win new witnesses and evidence, Democrats latched onto a line from White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin — that “cross-examination in our legal system is regarded as the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth.” Given the stiff opposition from the Trump administration and Republicans to hearing from witnesses with direct knowledge of the president’s actions in the Ukraine saga, Democrats almost couldn’t stand the irony. “I was absolutely stunned that they would consistently say that cross-examination is the greatest engine for truth and we’re playing a shell game,” said Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), referring to c...

Pompeo’s upcoming Ukraine trip just got more awkward

Mike Pompeo was already expecting to navigate a political minefield when he landed in Kyiv next week. But after the secretary of State’s explosion at a respected NPR journalist, his trip just got a little more complicated. Following a contentious radio interview in which Mary Louise Kelly asked several probing questions about Ukraine, America’s top diplomat shouted at length and swore at the “All Things Considered” host in his private living room at the State Department, she said in an emailed statement on Friday. Pompeo then summoned aides to bring him a blank map, and demanded that she point out the location of Ukraine, a 230,000-square-mile expanse of land that straddles the geopolitical fault-line between Europe and Russia. “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” he asked her—a qu...

Even Before Mike Pompeo’s Blowup, State Department Insiders Were Feeling Undermined

On Friday, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly found out just how sensitive the issue of impeachment has become at the State Department. During an interview, she asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whether he owed an apology to Marie Yovanovitch, the career diplomat and ambassador to Ukraine who Trump had called "bad news," and then attacked on Twitter when she testified at the House impeachment hearings last fall. “I’ll say only this,” Pompeo responded, “I have defended every State Department official.” Pressed on when he had defended Yovanovitch, Pompeo repeated the same line; he soon abruptly ended the interview, called the reporter into his private room, and, according to Kelly, profanely chewed her out. I was not surprised that a question about his relationship with the departme...

Female prisoner dies after guards ‘did not stop her being beaten with soap bars’

A female prisoner died after guards did not intervene while she was being beaten with a sock filled with bars of soap, it is claimed in a lawsuit set to be heard in the US.Nicole Rathmann was attacked by another inmate as she lay on her bunk at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

AOC and Michael Moore urge Iowa voters not to 'play it safe' as they stand in for Sanders

Two of Bernie Sanders’s highest-profile allies, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, filled in for him on the campaign trail Friday night, speaking to a rally here at the University of Iowa, as the Vermont senator participated in the impeachment trial in Washington, D.C. 

Marsha Blackburn’s Vindman vendetta

Marsha Blackburn has it out for Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman. The freshman senator from Tennessee has been on a multi-month, multimedia crusade against Vindman, who flagged President Donald Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president to the top National Security lawyer and testified to House impeachment investigators that he considered it improper. And she’s stepping up the offensive right in the middle of the Senate impeachment trial. This week she tweeted Vindman was “vindictive,” questioned his patriotism and attempted to tie him to the still-anonymous whistleblower, who sparked the impeachment effort by reporting Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the intelligence community’s inspector general. Vindman testified that he doesn’t know who the wh...

The US government will reportedly evacuate its diplomats and citizens from Wuhan on a chartered plane amid the coronavirus outbreak

A chartered Boeing 767 will transport US diplomats, citizens, and their families from Wuhan to some location in the US, according to the Wall Street Journal.

POLITICO Playbook: Schiff — and what’s next

WRAPPING UP SCHIFF: Rep. ADAM SCHIFF (D-Calif.) — who has quickly been vaulted to a position of prominence atop the Democratic Party — wrapped up his prosecution of President DONALD TRUMP last night around 9 p.m. after three days of tight and compelling testimony. HOW DO YOU JUDGE THE JOB SCHIFF and the Democrats did? Their rhetorical skills, their preparation and the depth of their argument have been roundly praised by both parties and most all observers. It’s very clear that Democrats knew exactly what they were doing by making SCHIFF the lead manager, and filling his team with talented orators. SCHIFF did seem to tick off Republicans, or at least give them a reason to say they’re ticked off — more on that below. — WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT SCHIFF: NYT, by Sheryl ...

Schiff attacked, Dem divide on Trump verdict? and other news from today’s impeachment trial

White House and personal lawyers to the president will begin their opening arguments Saturday by attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, who is vying to unseat the president in the 2020 contest. This story will continue to be updated. Keep scrolling for other recent highlights. 12:05 P.M. Trump’s legal team launches attack on Dem case President Donald Trump’s lawyers laced into the House’s impeachment case Saturday, opening their defense with pointed efforts to seed doubt in GOP senators’ minds about Democrats’ push to remove Trump from office. Trump’s top lawyer Pat Cipollone and his deputy Michael Purpura repeatedly sought to poke holes in the evidence that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals. They contended that central witnesses in th...

Biden picks up another high profile endorsement in Iowa as voting nears

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden picked up another high profile endorsement on Saturday in Iowa, where the party’s nominating contest kicks off in nine days, after U.S. congresswoman Cindy Axne said she was backing the former vice president. Axne, a freshman U.S. lawmaker and moderate, is the latest in a slew of big-name endorsements for Biden in Iowa which could have an impact on undecided voters as caucus day nears on Feb. 3. Two former Iowa Democratic governors, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, have backed Biden, as has another U.S. House member, congresswoman Abby Finkenauer.