Jan 26, 2020

Trump team opts to not burn down the house

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow holds the Mueller report as Rep. Adam Schiff and other impeachment managers listen. Photo: Senate TV via AP

On opening day of the defense casePresident Trump's legal team didn't try to burn down the house by going after the Bidens.

The state of play: The team put on a fairly conventional legal rebuttal — trying to poke holes in the House impeachment managers' case, and arguing that Democrats just don't have enough evidence of wrongdoing to throw Trump out of office — especially in a year when he's up for re-election.

  • "They have the burden of proof, and they have not come close to meeting it," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said.

In the chamber: 

  • Sen. Collins, Murkowski and Gardner were the most diligent notetakers of the Senate Republicans who are being eyed as possible votes to call witnesses.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney, sitting at the back of the chamber, and Sen. Lamar Alexander mostly sat back and listened.
  • Republicans mostly paid close attention to most of the presentations, though a few began looking away or reading as White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin spoke. Democrats looked more bored.
  • Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer listened closely, scowling.

2020 watch:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders sat slumped back in his seat, fidgeting or resting with his chin in his hand (though he leaned forward with a puzzled look when Philbin criticized Schiff).
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren spent a long time hunched over a legal pad, writing and not appearing to pay close attention — though she sat up and listened to Cipollone's closing remarks.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar took some notes and listened to some of the arguments, but often looked away and stared around the room.

What to watch: Whether the Trump team stays focused on the legal issues or veers into attacks on the Bidens when they resume arguments Monday at 1 p.m.

  • Either way, Cipollone said the team doesn't plan to take the full 24 hours — because they don't think they need it.

Go deeper: Impeachment trial draws shrugs — by design

Go deeper

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters gather at Hennepin County Government Plaza on Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Protests in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died shortly after a police encounter in Minneapolis, are ongoing as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week.

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,803,416 — Total deaths: 359,791 — Total recoveries — 2,413,576Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,720,613 — Total deaths: 101,573 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: The mystery of coronavirus superspreaders.
  4. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  5. World: Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S.
  6. 2020: The RNC has issued their proposed safety guidelines for its planned convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  7. Axios on HBO: Science fiction writers tell us how they see the coronavirus pandemic.
  8. 🏃‍♀️Sports: Boston Marathon canceled after initial postponement, asks runners to go virtual.
  9. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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