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National Govt & Politics
LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates
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LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

After a Tuesday night face off which featured a divide between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party, another ten Democrats will go on stage tonight at the Fox Theater in Detroit, for the second 2020 debate sponsored by CNN, with former Vice President Joe Biden headlining this gathering.

Biden's performance in the first debate in June was somewhat uneven, as Democrats will certainly be watching to see how he handles likely attacks from Cory Booker and others in this second debate.

First, let's remind everyone of which candidates will be on the stage in this second debate.

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LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

Follow along for the high points of the second debate:

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10:45 pm  - As the debate comes to a close, a liberal group - Democracy For America - puts out a statement praising Warren and Sanders from Tuesday night, and knocking most of the candidates on the stage tonight.  It seems to me that most every candidate is going to declare victory in the Spin Room tonight.

10:37 pm - The closing statements are including the websites for the various candidates - a reminder that they need more support in terms of money and the polls to get into the next debate.

10:30 pm - Time for closing statements to bring this second debate to a close.  It's always interesting to see who rolls their message right off their tongue, and who stumbles.

10:25 pm - What is Google showing tonight?  That some of those at the back of the pack are getting a lot more interest from viewers.

10:22 pm - CNN did not bring up the Mueller Report and the Russia investigation on Tuesday night, but did bring it up tonight.  Not surprisingly, the Democrats on stage are certainly all for investigating the President.

10:18 pm - Biden has certainly been under fire a lot in this debate.  I can easily find experts on social media tonight who think he's done great, and some who think he's leaking oil.

10:08 pm - Andrew Yang has already spoken more in this debate than in his first. 

10:05 pm - Mayor de Blasio has taken an interesting tactical move tonight in his debate answers, as he has used his time to ask direct questions of Biden and others on stage, instantly putting them on the defensive.

9:50 pm - All of the candidates were asked about why the Democrats lost Michigan in the 2016 election.  Biden goes back to the auto bailout under the Obama Administration, and notes that he's been endorsed by the Mayor of Detroit.

9:45 pm - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY will get a lot of attention for her line that she would “Clorox” the Oval Office if she's elected President.

9:31 pm - Bennet raises his voice and complains about the debate stage focus on what Biden was doing 50 years ago, making the case that schools in big cities like Detroit are just as segregated now as they were in the 1960's.

9:28 pm - Tulsi Gabbard lays into Harris about her record as state Attorney General in California in how she dealt with imprisoning marijuana suspects in jail, and her treatment of death row inmates.  “You owe them an apology,” Gabbard says.

9:20 pm - CNN's Jake Tapper tees it up for Kamala Harris to slam Biden over race issues, busing, and more, as Biden is really getting hammered in the last 25 minutes.

9:15 pm - Booker will get a lot of play on this jab at Biden.

9:07 pm - DeBlasio and Booker zero in on Biden, and the record of large numbers of deportations under the Obama Administration.  Booker sternly criticizes Biden for not saying whether he supported or opposed that policy. 

9:06 pm - Looks like some Republicans are watching.

8:59 pm - Biden takes flak from Castro as they break sharply over the question of whether crossing the border should be treated as an illegal action. 

8:55 pm - There are more demonstrators interrupting the debate, this time chanting about deportations of illegal immigrants, as Biden was getting ready to answer a question about the subject.

8:50 pm - The debate continues on health care - Biden spars with Harris over her health plan, as he rips de Blasio and Harris over their health care math on the cost of the Medicare For All idea.

8:45 pm - Under attack on her health care plan, Harris tries to channel Elizabeth Warren's rejoinder from last night about using Republican talking points - but it wasn't delivered as effectively.

8:41 pm - We're seeing some division like last night in the debate over health care, as Sen. Michael Bennet D-CO goes after Harris and her health plan, echoing Biden's arguments.  “It doesn't make sense to take away insurance from half the people in this room.”

8:39 pm - Harris quickly pivots on a health care answer to smack Biden, arguing his health care plan won't cover some 10 million people.  Biden disputes her assertion.

8:38 pm - The RNC quickly drops an email into the inbox of reporters: “Democrats Want To Make Private Health Insurance Illegal.”

8:34 pm  - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-NY does something that wasn't brought up last night, as she pivots from the health care debate among Democrats to hit President Trump. “Let's not forget what the Republicans are doing...their goal is to take away  your health care.”

8:33 pm - The debate begins on health care, just like on night one, this time focusing on Medicare For All, and a health plan set out by Kamala Harris.  Biden blasts it as too expensive, and stands by the current system, which he was involved in setting up. "Obamacare is working...build on Obamacare"

8:25 pm - Being a radio guy, my ear hears things - Kamala Harris's microphone seems like it's not working correctly.

8:23 pm - The debate is on hold because of a group of protesters inside the Fox Theater.  Booker had to stop his opening speech for about 45 seconds.

8:22 pm - Andrew Yang starts by talking about his plan to give everyone $1,000 a month.  He spoke for less than three minutes in the first debate.  He's getting one minute right now.

8:16 pm - “I'm Jay Inslee and I'm running for President.”

8:13 pm - The debate starts with opening statements.  New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio goes first.  It's still quite amazing that the Mayor of the largest city in the United States isn't having much of an impact on this race.  DeBlasio immediately reaches out and takes a jab at both Biden and Harris.

8:10 pm - I thought that's what I heard, but I wasn't sure.

8:06 pm - Here's the view of the ten Democrats on stage tonight:

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LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

8:00 pm - As we wait to get started, there are still press releases being churned out about last night's debate.

7:55 pm - It's possible that half of the candidates on the stage tonight will not qualify for the next debate in September.  So far, seven candidates are locked in for the Houston debate - Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren are in - while Castro, Klobuchar, and Yang might still qualify.

7:50 pm - My father - who grew up just outside of Detroit - checks in via email with a memory of his childhood at the same place where the debate is being held tonight.

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LIVE UPDATES: Night two of the Democratic debates

7:45 pm - President Trump isn't here, but he's certainly the elephant in the room for the Democratic candidates - and the President knows it.

7:40 pm - Before this debate begins, what about Tuesday night?  A lot of political know-it-alls argued that Elizabeth Warren was the winner of the first night, including GOP pollster Frank Luntz.

7:30 pm - After last night's debate spent over 30 minutes on the subject of health care - specifically the pros and cons of “Medicare For All” as backed by Senators Sanders and Warren - one would expect that subject will come up tonight for the second group of Democratic candidates.  And watching from afar are some Democratic U.S. Senators, who make the argument that the Trump Administration deserves more mention for trying to repeal the Obama health law.

7:20 pm - What's the buzz on the ground here in Detroit?  It's pretty basic stuff - will Joe Biden do well tonight?  If he has another uneven performance, that's going to be the top story in the morning.  No one is quite sure whether Kamala Harris will go after Biden again, but it seems likely that Cory Booker will make that effort.  From Nevada, we get this perspective from longtime political reporter Jon Ralston.

7:15 pm - The Biden campaign will have a full roster of surrogates to speak to the press after the debate - but that may depend on how Biden does in the debate.   After the first debate in Miami - when Biden encountered some turbulence courtesy of Kamala Harris - most of his surrogates did not show up in the 'spin room' after the debate.  We'll see the Mayor of Atlanta and some members of Congress show up here once this second gathering is done.

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  • A judge has ruled that a three percent assessment levied on hotels of 110 rooms or larger in Tulsa violates state law, but the dispute between hoteliers who support the city's Tourism Improvement District and those who oppose it will likely continue. Tulsa County District Court Judge Linda Morrissey ruled last week that the city ordinance which created Tulsa's TID violated state law. She says the statute specifies TIDs must include all hotels of 50 rooms or larger. Attorney Kyden Creekpaum, who represents Tulsa Hotel Partners, LLC defended the ordinance in court, while the city largely sat mute. He argues that the intent of the statute specifies no such thing. [Hear Part One of the KRMG In Depth Report on the TID, with attorney Kyden Creekpaum] The actual law reads: “Without limiting or expanding the preceding sentence or any other provision of this act, such a district may be comprised of a designated geographical area within the municipality and limited to only those properties within such geographical area on which a hotel or motel having 50 or more rooms available for occupancy is located, if the sole purpose of the district is to provide marketing services for private or public events reasonably calculated to increase occupancy and room rates for such properties as a class.” Lee Levinson is one of the owners of the Aloft Hotel downtown, as well as an attorney who argued against the TID in court. [Hear Part Two of the KRMG In Depth Report on the TID, with attorney Lee Levinson] He tells KRMG that he welcomes the ruling, and accepts the finding of the court regarding the state statute. But the real issue for himself and those who sued the block the ordinance, he said, was transparency. Most of the seats on the board that would spend the TID money belonged to Visit Tulsa, the travel and tourism entity which is a branch of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce. “Had there been a TID where the hoteliers, including the Aloft, would have had control of the TID, where we had the voting control,  and we could decide where the money was spent, and had transparency - know where it was - that TID probably would have passed,” Levinson said. “They could have got support.” Creekpaum said the issue may well end up back in court. “Well, we're definitely pursuing all of our options, we're planning to continue this fight,” he said. “I mean, it's not over here.”
  • Seventeen more people in central China have been diagnosed with a new form of viral pneumonia that has killed two patients and placed other countries on alert as millions of Chinese travel for Lunar New Year holidays. In total, 62 cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported the new cases in a statement Sunday.  Nineteen of those individuals have been discharged from the hospital, while two men in their 60s — one with severe preexisting conditions — have died from the illness. Eight are in critical condition. At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three U.S. airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China. The list includes Thailand and Japan, which have together reported three cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan. In the most recently diagnosed group, ages ranged between 30 and 79, Wuhan’s health commission said. Their initial symptoms were fever and cough. The health commission’s statement did not say whether these patients had visited the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been suspended after many infected individuals reported having either worked at or visited the venue.
  • In a 171 page submission made to the U.S. Senate on Monday, President Donald Trump's legal team said the impeachment charges submitted by the House do not identify any violations of criminal law and should immediately by dismissed by Senators. 'The articles should be rejected and the President should immediately be acquitted,' the legal brief states, arguing the charge of 'abuse of power' does not state an impeachable offense - even though that charge was drawn up by the House in 1974 against President Richard Nixon. 'House Democrats’ novel conception of “abuse of power” as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,' the Trump brief states. 'It supplants the Framers’ standard of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” with a made-up theory that the President can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'' On the question of whether President Trump held back military aid for Ukraine while pressing the Ukraine government to announce investigations related to Joe Biden and his son, the White House legal team says there is no evidence to support those claims. 'The most important piece of evidence demonstrating the President’s innocence is the transcript of the President’s July 25 telephone call with President Zelenskyy,' the trial brief states, referring to the call which President Trump has repeatedly said was 'perfect.' 'President Trump did not even mention the security assistance on the call, and he certainly did not make any connection between the assistance and any investigation,' the White House legal team states, without mentioning that a hold was put on the aid to Ukraine 90 minutes after that phone call concluded on July 25, 2019. From the White House on Monday, the President tweeted out his familiar opposition to the impeachment trial, continuing to characterize the House impeachment process as unfair. Minutes after the White House filed its trial brief, Democrats in the House responded to his initial 'answer' to the Senate trial summons. 'The House denies each and every allegation and defense in the Preamble to the Answer,' the nine page response began. 'He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit,' referring to the President's interactions with the leader of Ukraine.  'President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment,” the House reply added. “That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong,' the House concluded.
  • Police in Oklahoma City say that for the second time in a month there was gunfire inside a northwest Oklahoma City mall.  Police said there were no serious injuries, although one person suffered a minor shrapnel wound when gunfire erupted just before 8 p.m. Saturday near the theater inside Penn Square Mall, police said. Police Lt. Michelle Henderson said two off-duty officers working security in the mall chased the male suspect out of the mall and the man escaped. No arrests had been announced Sunday morning. A Dec. 19 shooting near a shoe store in the mall left one man wounded and another man in custody on an assault and battery charge.
  • In the first legal submissions of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Democrats on Saturday said the President had violated his oath and should be removed from office, while the White House denounced the impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as 'constitutionally invalid.' In their 111 page legal brief, Democrats said the President had abused his power by trying to pressure the government of Ukraine into announcing investigations against Joe Biden, all in an effort to help Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid. Democrats said the very public effort by President Trump to block top White House officials from testifying before Congress - as they defied subpoenas for the impeachment investigation - was a violation of the Constitution. 'In exercising its responsibility to investigate and consider the impeachment of a President of the United States, the House is constitutionally entitled to the relevant information from the Executive Branch concerning the President's misconduct,' Democrats wrote. 'The Framers, the courts, and past Presidents have recognized that honoring Congress’s right to information in an impeachment investigation is a critical safeguard in our system of divided powers,' that trial brief added. In their initial answer to the Senate summons for this impeachment trial, the White House delivered a seven page legal rebuke to Democrats. 'The Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime of violation of law whatsoever,' wrote White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote,' the President's legal team concluded. 'The notion that President Trump obstructed Congress is absurd,' said sources close to the President's legal team. The White House has until 12 noon on Monday to file a trial brief to the Senate; Democrats would have until 12 noon on Tuesday to file a rebuttal. The Senate will reconvene as a court of impeachment on Tuesday afternoon. Senators must still approve rules to govern the first phase of the trial. Senate Republicans have said they would base that rules plan on one approved by the Senate for the start of the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999. That rules resolution gave each side 24 hours to make their opening arguments - which would likely be split up over three or more days on the Senate floor. Like 1999, it's possible the Senate may also take an early vote to dismiss the case entirely, an outcome preferred by President Trump.

Washington Insider

  • In a 171 page submission made to the U.S. Senate on Monday, President Donald Trump's legal team said the impeachment charges submitted by the House do not identify any violations of criminal law and should immediately by dismissed by Senators. 'The articles should be rejected and the President should immediately be acquitted,' the legal brief states, arguing the charge of 'abuse of power' does not state an impeachable offense - even though that charge was drawn up by the House in 1974 against President Richard Nixon. 'House Democrats’ novel conception of “abuse of power” as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective,' the Trump brief states. 'It supplants the Framers’ standard of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” with a made-up theory that the President can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'' On the question of whether President Trump held back military aid for Ukraine while pressing the Ukraine government to announce investigations related to Joe Biden and his son, the White House legal team says there is no evidence to support those claims. 'The most important piece of evidence demonstrating the President’s innocence is the transcript of the President’s July 25 telephone call with President Zelenskyy,' the trial brief states, referring to the call which President Trump has repeatedly said was 'perfect.' 'President Trump did not even mention the security assistance on the call, and he certainly did not make any connection between the assistance and any investigation,' the White House legal team states, without mentioning that a hold was put on the aid to Ukraine 90 minutes after that phone call concluded on July 25, 2019. From the White House on Monday, the President tweeted out his familiar opposition to the impeachment trial, continuing to characterize the House impeachment process as unfair. Minutes after the White House filed its trial brief, Democrats in the House responded to his initial 'answer' to the Senate trial summons. 'The House denies each and every allegation and defense in the Preamble to the Answer,' the nine page response began. 'He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit,' referring to the President's interactions with the leader of Ukraine.  'President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment,” the House reply added. “That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong,' the House concluded.
  • In the first legal submissions of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Democrats on Saturday said the President had violated his oath and should be removed from office, while the White House denounced the impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress as 'constitutionally invalid.' In their 111 page legal brief, Democrats said the President had abused his power by trying to pressure the government of Ukraine into announcing investigations against Joe Biden, all in an effort to help Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid. Democrats said the very public effort by President Trump to block top White House officials from testifying before Congress - as they defied subpoenas for the impeachment investigation - was a violation of the Constitution. 'In exercising its responsibility to investigate and consider the impeachment of a President of the United States, the House is constitutionally entitled to the relevant information from the Executive Branch concerning the President's misconduct,' Democrats wrote. 'The Framers, the courts, and past Presidents have recognized that honoring Congress’s right to information in an impeachment investigation is a critical safeguard in our system of divided powers,' that trial brief added. In their initial answer to the Senate summons for this impeachment trial, the White House delivered a seven page legal rebuke to Democrats. 'The Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime of violation of law whatsoever,' wrote White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote,' the President's legal team concluded. 'The notion that President Trump obstructed Congress is absurd,' said sources close to the President's legal team. The White House has until 12 noon on Monday to file a trial brief to the Senate; Democrats would have until 12 noon on Tuesday to file a rebuttal. The Senate will reconvene as a court of impeachment on Tuesday afternoon. Senators must still approve rules to govern the first phase of the trial. Senate Republicans have said they would base that rules plan on one approved by the Senate for the start of the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999. That rules resolution gave each side 24 hours to make their opening arguments - which would likely be split up over three or more days on the Senate floor. Like 1999, it's possible the Senate may also take an early vote to dismiss the case entirely, an outcome preferred by President Trump.
  • With opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump expected to begin in coming days, the White House on Friday unveiled a team of legal experts including former Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr, and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to defend the President on Capitol Hill. 'President Trump has done nothing wrong and is confident that this team will defend him, the voters, and our democracy from this baseless, illegitimate impeachment,' White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a written statement. 'The President looks forward to the end of this partisan and unconstitutional impeachment,' Grisham added. The Trump legal team members will join White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow in defending Mr. Trump. Here is the list provided by the White House: + Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel, Whitewater investigation + Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School + Pam Bondi, Former Attorney General of Florida + Jane Serene Raskin, Private Counsel to President Donald J. Trump + Eric D. Herschmann, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres LLP + Robert Ray, Former Independent Counsel. While Dershowitz is a famous legal mind, Starr is the more political figure, given that his Whitewater investigation launched the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1999. And his appearance immediately drew the evil eye from allies of the former President. Democrats mocked the choices. 'If President Trump is looking to turn the impeachment trial into a reality TV show, he chose the right team with Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr, and Robert Ray,' said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). But this is the U.S. Senate, not the People's Court.  'Well, that's their choice,' Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said of Starr during a Friday interview on MSNBC. 'But it's a weird choice.' The choice of Starr also drew a profane response from Monica Lewinsky, who was the focus of Starr's investigation. The Senate impeachment trial resumes on Tuesday with votes expected on the rules to govern the initial phase of the Trump impeachment trial.
  • President Donald Trump said Thursday that he did not know Lev Parnas, an indicted business associate of Rudy Giuliani who claims the President knew all about Giuliani's efforts to oust the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, as well as behind the scenes work to get Ukraine to announce investigations related to Joe Biden, in order to help Mr. Trump's 2020 re-election bid. 'I don't know him. I don't know Parnas,' the President said a number of times to reporters at the White House. 'I don't know him at all. Don't know what he's about,' Mr. Trump added. But in interviews with MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times, Parnas has said the President is not telling the truth about his efforts to put pressure on the leader of Ukraine. Documents and electronic messages provided by Parnas to the House Intelligence Committee in recent days included a letter that Rudy Giuliani wrote in May 2019, asking for a meeting with the newly-elected Ukraine President, in which Giuliani said he was 'private counsel to President Donald J. Trump.' 'I don't know anything about the letter,' President Trump said, praising Giuliani's time as mayor but not addressing what he did for Trump in Ukraine with Parnas and others. Also denying any knowledge of Parnas's claims was Vice President Mike Pence. 'I don’t know the guy,' Pence told reporters during a visit to Florida on Thursday, as the Vice President said the claim by Parnas that Pence knew about pressure being put on the Ukraine leader was 'completely false.' Democrats used those denials to question why Pence's office has refused to declassify further impeachment answers from a State Department official detailed to his office. Some Democrats have raised the possibility of asking to hear testimony from Parnas in the Trump impeachment trial, though any request for witness testimony must get a majority of Senators. As of now, most Republicans remain hotly opposed to any new witnesses, arguing the Senate should not have to find evidence which the House did not uncover. 'That's not our job,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). 'Our job is to look at what they brought us and decide if that rises to the level of impeachment.' Perdue was part of the ceremonial first day of the Senate impeachment trial - just the third time a President has faced such a challenge in U.S. history. Opening arguments will take place next Tuesday.
  • Just before the official start of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday that the White House had broken federal law by withholding over $200 million in military aid for Ukraine, as Democrats said the new findings should be aired before the Senate in coming days. 'Faithful executive of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law,' wrote Thomas Armstrong, the General Counsel of the GAO. Democrats immediately latched on to the government watchdog opinion to reinforce their impeachment arguments. 'This is an important ruling that deserves a thorough hearing in the impeachment trial,' said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the floor of the Senate. 'GAO confirmed the President broke the law,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. 'When President Trump froze congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine, he did so in violation of the law and the Constitution,' said Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT). 'The GAO has confirmed what we’ve always known: President Trump abused his power,' said Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME). 'Another fact for the Senate to consider.' 'The hold Trump ordered was illegal,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). The law in question is known as the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974,' which was passed after President Nixon had refused to release money approved by Congress.