Jan 29, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 412 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: New impeachment phase revives Senate

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Senate is an entirely different chamber during today's question and answer portion, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.

  • Senate aides darted around the room passing senators notes and whispering in their ears. They appear to be coordinating and revising questions, as well as queuing up the next question.

The big picture: Republicans are hammering away at the standards for conviction.

  • House managers argue Trump didn’t care about corruption, because he just wanted Ukrainian President Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Bidens and was not as concerned that it was actually carried out.
  • Trump's team is focused on the precedent they will set if they allow witnesses. Patrick Philbin, an attorney for Trump, argues that the House process was insufficient and if they concede on the witness vote, then future impeachment proceedings will insist on investigations continuing in the Senate.

Reality check via the N.Y. Times: "Frank O. Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and the author of a recent book on impeachment whose scholarly work on the topic was cited by Mr. Trump’s legal defense team in a brief, called Mr. Philbin’s claim 'a complete fantasy' and 'made up.'"

Democrats were focused on witnesses:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said there is "no way" for senators to render a verdict without hearing testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and other top Trump officials.

Between the lines: Republicans seem increasingly confident they will reach at least 51 no-votes on witnesses by Friday:

  • Sen. Cory Gardner: "I do not believe we need to hear from an 18th witness."
  • Sen. Pat Toomey: "I’m very, very skeptical that ... criteria is going to be met" to call more witnesses.

The other side: “I hope we can get witnesses and documents. It’s an uphill fight. Is it more likely than not? Probably no. But is it a decent good chance? Yes,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.”

Go deeper: Highlights from the trial

Bonus: Pic du jour
Screenshot: Letter from White House

The White House says Bolton's book contains top-secret information.

  • The development, first reported by CNN's Jake Tapper, sets up a potential legal battle between Bolton and the White House over the book's publication, scheduled for March 17.
2. What you missed

An LA Fire Department helicopter rescuing a resident from the rooftop of a 25-story high-rise apartment building, Jan. 29. Photo: ABC7 Los Angeles via AP

  1. The Federal Reserve will keep interest rates between the target range of 1.5% and 1.75%.
  2. Penn National Gaming has agreed to buy a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for $136 million — a deal that values the company at $450 million. Go deeper.
  3. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will sell its newspaper operations to publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. for $140 million. Go deeper.
  4. Boeing said it lost money last year for the first time since 1997.
3. 1 fun thing

Axios' Ina Fried with the mega-pro tip:

Screenshot: Ina Fried/Twitter

Credit is due to AJ, Ina’s partner and a 20-year nanny.

Mike Allen