- Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,197 words ... 4½ minutes.
President Trump's lawyers plan to make an aggressively dismissive case when the Senate impeachment trial opens this week.
The length and tone contrast with the 111-page, 319-footnote "Trial Memorandum" by the seven Dems who are House impeachment managers.
Why it matters, from Jonathan Swan: The Trump lawyers' blanket statements, and the brevity of their arguments, suggest they have confidence that the Senate Republicans won’t let the president down when their big loyalty test comes.
🥊 The most extraordinary line from the document, "THE HONORABLE DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, HEREBY RESPONDS":
Reality check: The Government Accountability Office found that the administration broke the law by withholding Ukraine aid — funds that impeachment witnesses said were in the interest of U.S. national security.
⚡ Breaking: Alan Dershowitz, a member of the Trump impeachment defense team, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the trial will be delayed and take much longer if witnesses are called.
Lev Parnas, the indicted Giuliani associate who went public with new evidence about Trump allies' activities in Ukraine, "has sought to fashion himself as the Joe Pesci version of John Dean" — casting himself as a repentant participant in a subversive operation, the WashPost's Roz Helderman and Paul Sonne write.
The intrigue: "In his choreographed transformation from a selfie-snapping Trump devotee to a self-described truth-teller embraced by many on the left, Parnas has blazed a path similar to that of Michael Cohen," the Post adds.
📺 Rachel Maddow, whose MSNBC prime-time show has been on for more than 11 years, had her largest audience ever on Wednesday when 4.5 million people watched her interview with Parnas, per AP.
In a speech in Oklahoma today, Mike Bloomberg will say that white privilege has brought him advantages, Alexi McCammond reports.
Bloomberg's speech in Tulsa is at the Greenwood Cultural Center, "the keeper of the flame for the Black Wall Street era" of the early 20th century.
Above, thousands attend the 2020 Women's March in Washington.
Crowds were noticeably smaller than in previous years, AP reports.
Inequality has become impossible to ignore both economically and politically — especially now that the U.S. is led by a billionaire president, and two billionaires are vastly out-spending the traditional 2020 Democratic candidates, Felix Salmon and Alexi McCammond write as part of our "What Matters 2020" series.
Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, Margaret Talev scooped.
Why it matters: Peek is the third to leave the sensitive job in six months.
Drudge nails the headline: "FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCE!"
The couple will be known as Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — styled like the title of his mother, who gave up "Her Royal Highness" and became Diana, Princess of Wales, after her divorce.
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