Good morning. Today's newsletter is 1,443 words, a 5.5 minute read.
Officials in both parties tell me that — barring surprise new information — President Trump is on a glide path to swift acquittal at his Senate impeachment trial, despite a blizzard of evidence bolstering Democrats' accusations.
A source close to House Democrats sounded morose after Trump's defense team made its opening arguments yesterday: "I think our team feels like we did everything possible and are going to lose anyway."
Don't rule out the possibility that the necessary four Senate Republicans will vote to allow witnesses.
Senate sources say that about the only way the Trump team could mess things up now is to be overly shrill and overplay their hands when they continue their case on Monday,.
Online interest in the first three days of the Senate impeachment trial was barely half as strong as the first three days of House impeachment hearings, according to NewsWhip data provided exclusively to Axios' Neal Rothschild.
By the numbers: Stories about impeachment during the first three days of House impeachment hearings resulted in 32.5 million interactions (likes, comments, shares) on social media, per NewsWhip.
The bottom line: In these days of fragmentation and distraction, even the gravest constitutional process hasn't been enough to keep the country hooked.
On opening day of the defense case, President Trump's legal team didn't try to burn down the house by going after the Bidens, Axios managing editor David Nather reports from the Senate chamber.
In the chamber:
What to watch: Whether the Trump team stays focused on the legal issues or veers into attacks on the Bidens when they resume arguments Monday at 1 p.m.
Here are two graphics White House counsel Pat Cipollone displayed during his opening yesterday:
Ahead of the Iowa caucuses 8 days from now, the N.Y. Times says Sen. Bernie Sanders is "consolidating support from liberals and benefiting from divisions among more moderate" candidates, per the Times/Siena College poll:
Des Moines Register endorsement: "Elizabeth Warren will push an unequal America in the right direction."
"Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace — who has covered the Iowa caucuses since 1980 — is back in Des Moines, and talked to me ahead of a town hall he's moderating with Pete Buttigieg tonight at 7 ET.
Buttigieg senior adviser Lis Smith told me why the mayor is going on Fox News: "We know we can't win the primary or general by just talking to the same people over and over again."
P.S. A reporting tip from Chris Wallace ... Instead of just interviewing aides when he's doing background reporting, he tries to talk to the Cabinet members and lawmakers themselves: "Often they don't know what's out there, or don't know the talking points, and they tell you more!"
Ahead of tonight's Grammy Awards, Sean "Diddy" Combs called out the show for dissing rap and R&B stars, in a blazing speech that got a standing ovation from Beyoncé, Jay-Z and others, AP Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu reports.
The context: Over the years, the awards show has been criticized when Beyoncé, Kanye West, Eminem, Mariah Carey and others lose in major categories.
Synthetic frogs are challenging the science-class rite of passage, as school labs turn to reusable models that feel like the real thing, The Wall Street Journal's Tawnell D. Hobbs reports (subscription):
Why it matters, from The Journal: "[S]ome teachers ask: Are we protecting students too much from the messiness of real life and real science?"
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