Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ended Democrats' second day of opening arguments in President Trump's impeachment trial on Thursday with an impassioned speech arguing for Trump's conviction.

What he said: In a clip that's sure to be played on cable news all morning, Schiff closed by saying, "If you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters, because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost."

The big picture: Democratic House managers have roughly eight hours remaining later today to finalize their case against the president — with today's portion expected to focus on the obstruction of Congress impeachment article.

Highlights:

  • "He could release the aid or break the law. He chose to break the law," House impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said, referencing a Government Accountability Office report that found the administration violated the law when it withheld military aid to Ukraine.
  • House impeachment manager Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) pointed to phone calls made between Lev Parnas and Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as evidence of Giuliani keeping the president "informed about what was going on" regarding an alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine.
  • Schiff invoked Parnas' recently released notes, arguing they insinuated that the announcement of a Biden investigation was Trump's precondition for Ukrainian officials, not necessarily an actual investigation.
  • House impeachment manager Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) spent her part of the presentation debunking the Trump administration's position that the Biden family was engaged in corruption in Ukraine. She argued that "Trump didn't care about any of this until 2019" — when Biden looked like a 2020 frontrunner.

The other side: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) latched onto Garcia's presentation about the Bidens, stating on Twitter that it would require both Joe and Hunter Biden to be called as witnesses. He told reporters that he was "surprised" that Democrats made it so central to their early presentation.

  • Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) characterized impeaching Trump as a political act as extreme as a "death sentence" when speaking with reporters Thursday, saying that he doesn't think the case for impeachment has been made so far.

Spotted on the floor, via Axios' Alayna Treene:

  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) distributed several fidget spinners to GOP colleagues on the Senate floor before Thursday's proceedings began, per NBC News.
  • Senators slouched back in their chairs, some on the verge of nodding off, others yawning.
  • Democratic Reps. Nanette Barragán and Mary Gay Scanlon watched, while former Democratic Rep. Steve Israel sat in the visitor’s gallery. At one point, Sen. Thom Tillis moved to the visitor’s gallery to get a bird’s eye view.
  • Senate public galleries held nearly 200 people listening on Thursday, per the New York Times.

Watch:

What you need to know:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals early Wednesday, 11 hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to "drain the swamp."

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.