Jan 26, 2020

Trump approaches speedy acquittal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Officials in both parties tell Axios that — barring surprise new information — President Trump is on a glide path to swift acquittal at his Senate impeachment trial, despite a blizzard of evidence bolstering Democrats' accusations.

Why it matters: Trump has a decent chance of avoiding witnesses and of losing zero Republican votes on conviction. When the news of Trump's Ukraine scandal broke, few thought every single Republican in the House and Senate would have his back. Bill Clinton pined for such unity. 

  • A source close to House Democrats sounded morose after Trump's defense team made its opening arguments yesterday: "I think our team feels like we did everything possible and are going to lose anyway."
  • "It feels like maybe we’ll still get a witness, but more likely not, and even if we do it won’t matter," the source added.
  • "The GOP gamble is always that most voters don’t care about process ... Up to us to make them pay for this."

Yes, but: Don't rule out the possibility that the necessary four Senate Republicans will vote to allow witnesses.

  • But the Trump team seems confident they won’t.

Senate sources say that about the only way the Trump team could mess things up now is to be overly shrill and overplay their hands when they continue their case on Monday,.

  • The biggest way the Trump lawyers could do that is by delving deeply into the Bidens' role in Ukraine.
  • People in both parties echoed an observation of CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin during yesterday's coverage: "If you're winning, shut up. That's, I think, ... the guiding principle of what they're doing."
  • Yesterday's presentation was also short because Trump didn’t want his lawyers wasting time on Saturday, which he tweeted "is called Death Valley in T.V."

Go deeper: Impeachment trial draws shrugs — by design

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. 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.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

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. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

Go deeper: Twitter vs. Trump... vs. Twitter

42 mins ago - Politics & Policy