Dec 19, 2019

House Democrats' drama on delivering Trump's impeachment articles

Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Some House Democrats are pushing to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate — a potentially powerful weapon that could delay President Trump's trial.

Why it matters: It's leverage to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to agree to provisions, such as witnesses, that Senate Democrats want and McConnell initially rejected.

  • More controversially, it could be a mechanism to keep an open impeachment — with no acquittal — hanging over Trump.

There are risks, including a backlash by undecided voters in swing states.

  • But some Democrats argue that once acquitted, he could be even more unleashed.

After last night's votes, reporters sprinted from the floor to the Rayburn Room for a press conference where Speaker Pelosi did not commit to a timeline.

  • Pelosi said she was waiting until the Senate determines what the trial rules will be so she can get a sense of "the arena."
  • "We’re not sending them tonight," Pelosi said.
  • She said it would be difficult for the House to name impeachment managers until it's clear how the Senate intends to conduct the trial.
  • But she cited McConnell's comment that he's "not an impartial juror" as an example of what she doesn't consider a "fair trial."

The big picture: The trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump is expected to be acquitted (as President Clinton was after his impeachment), is expected to begin in January, and could be as short as two weeks.

What's next: McConnell tweeted that at 9:30 a.m. today, he'll speak on the Senate floor "about House Democrats' precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States" — a sly hint that the wily McConnell may be considering breaking precedent himself.

  • Pelosi will be holding her own weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m.

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.