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Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) lamented during Thursday's portion of the Senate impeachment trial that Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be "thanking God" for President Trump.

"But nothing struck me more from [Rep. Sylvia Garcia]'s presentation than that quote from Vladimir Putin from November of this past year, so just a couple months ago. 'Thank God,' Putin said, 'Thank God nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in U.S. elections. Now they're accusing Ukraine. Thank God,' Putin says. 
Well, you've got to give Donald Trump credit for this. He has made a religious man out of Vladimir Putin, but I don't think — I don't think we really want Vladimir Putin, our adversary, to be thanking God for the president of the United States, because they don't wish us well. "

The big picture: Schiff is on his second day of presenting Democrats' case against Trump.

  • He opened Democrats' arguments on Wednesday by presenting a detailed timeline of actions by Trump and other administration officials against Ukraine. He's continued that strategy today — giving a prosecutorial breakdown of the abuse of power case against the president.
  • Schiff has also shut down calls for a potential witness swap in the trial. The pitch would have allowed members of the Biden family to testify in exchange for testimony from key Trump administration officials.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
13 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.