Dec 18, 2019

The highest drama comes home

Trump departs the White House for a “Merry Christmas” campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Here's a split screen for the ages: While House Democrats are impeaching President Trump, he'll be firing up supporters at an election rally in Michigan.

Why it matters: This is the perfect encapsulation of the impeachment process.

  • Some Democrats wore black today, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lamented Trump gave Democrats "no choice" but to impeach.
  • Trump watched the House proceedings on TV from his residence at the White House, sources told Axios’ Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene.
  • Trump this morning: "Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!"
  • New development: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats have approached him and Pelosi about delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in an effort to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a more favorable Senate trial. 

Vice President Mike Pence jumped ahead to Michigan, bussing around the state, headlining a “Workers for Trump” and visiting a diner and a Christmas-themed shop where he was encircled by elves, Santas, snowmen and diehard supporters.

Photo: Jonathan Swan/Axios

The other side: Previewing one line you’ll hear a lot more from Team Trump, Pence said the only bipartisan vote you’ll see today is the vote against impeachment, Swan notes from Saginaw, Michigan.

  • "Speaker Pelosi said the House would not impeach unless it was 'compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan,'" House Republican Doug Collins said today in Washington.
  • "Well, it’s not bipartisan. It’s not compelling. It’s not overwhelming."
  • Reality check: No Republicans will vote for impeachment. Several Democrats are expected to vote against at least one article of impeachment.

Between the lines: Some centrist Democrats have expressed frustration that Pelosi hasn't provided more support.

  • "There's been no guidance from the Speaker. We're getting all these ads run against us and there's no backup. So where are the ads? We’re getting pummeled with ads. So I’m curious, where the hell is the cavalry?" a Democratic congressman from a Trump-won district told Alayna.
  • Worth noting: The progressive nonprofit House Majority Forward announced a $2.5 million ad buy last Friday thanking vulnerable Democrats for supporting a bill designed to lower prescription drug prices.

The bottom line: There's some irony in Pelosi impeaching Trump.

  • Video emerged today of Trump telling Wolf Blitzer in 2008 that it'd have been "wonderful" if Pelosi and Democrats impeached George W. Bush.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.

Minneapolis will ban police chokeholds following George Floyd's death

A memorial for George Floyd at the site of his death in Minneapolis. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of police chokeholds and will require nearby officers to act to stop them in the wake of George Floyd's death, AP reports.

Why it matters: The agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which has launched an investigation into Floyd's death while in police custody, will be enforceable in court.