Updated Jan 16, 2020

Senate passes USMCA trade deal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate voted 89-10 Thursday to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), designed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Why it matters: The deal now heads to President Trump's desk for his signature, allowing the president to accomplish one of his biggest policy goals ahead of his 2020 re-election battle — hours before the official start of his impeachment trial

  • The Senate moved quickly to pass the deal just before it takes up the impeachment articles against Trump from the House, kicking off a trial that will monopolize its next few weeks of business.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: No traditional Republican would have agreed to this deal in the pre-Trump era. It's a deal tailor-made for organized labor and protectionist Democrats.

  • That Republicans are willing to vote for it is a testament to the awesome power Trump wields over his party.
  • Trump didn't care about traditional GOP trade priorities and he made Republicans irrelevant to the negotiations.

Worth noting: Democrats, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, realized that passing USMCA was just as important for their representatives in swing districts ahead of 2020, per Axios' Alayna Treene and Stef Kight.

  • The deal's passage provides Pelosi the ability to argue on the campaign trail that she can both impeach Trump — and still get significant legislation passed.

The other side: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were among those to oppose the deal's passage on the grounds that it does not address climate change.

  • Other senators to vote "no" included Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) — the only Republican senator to oppose the deal.

Go deeper: The trade deal that might survive impeachment

Go deeper

Republicans brace for domino effect on witnesses

Photo: Getty Images

If at least four Senate Republicans decide to vote with Democrats this week to subpoena witnesses and documents in President Trump's impeachment trial, Hill Republicans fear a potential domino effect, with additional GOP senators — especially those up for reelection in November — falling.

What they're saying: “You don’t want to be one of the first four. But no one gives a f*** about the fifth vote,” a GOP senate aide told Axios. “Especially for all of the 2020-ers. If it turns into a free vote, why wouldn’t you vote for witnesses?”

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 10: Vote to call witnesses fails

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Senate chamber after adjourning for the night during the impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer / Staff/Getty Images

The Senate voted Friday to move forward with Trump's impeachment trial without calling for additional witnesses or evidence, an expected result after two key Republicans decided to vote against it.

The state of play: The Senate voted to reconvene Monday at 11 a.m. ET with a final vote Wednesday at 4 p.m., after the Senate goes on recess for the weekend. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's last-ditch effort to get witnesses — forcing amendments to subpoena John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney and other officials — were shot down.

Trump snubs Pelosi handshake State of the Union address

President Trump snubbed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's handshake as he took the stage at the State of the Union address Tuesday.

  • The other side: Pelosi snubbed Trump back, introducing him only with the lead: "The President of the United States."
  • A speaker would have usually used the language: "I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the President of the United States."