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National News

    A dog feared lost but reunited with his family in Trotwood, Ohio nearly five months after they were separated by a Memorial Day tornado received the county’s No. 1 dog license for 2020. The tornado tore apart Semico and Anthony Harden’s house in the Westbrooke Village neighborhood and ripped apart the fence surrounding their backyard, where they had last seen Duke, their cane corso, before the storm. “We don’t know if he actually ran off or if the storm carried him off,” said Semico Harden. “But he wasn’t there.” Duke and two other dogs were presented with the first three tags of 2020 by Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith at an event Wednesday to promote the sale of dog licenses. Sorely missed The Harden family searched day after day, month after month for Duke, who is 2 1/2. With their home nearly destroyed, the family moved to a rental house in Vandalia, making the search for Duke more complicated. Duke was sorely missed by the Hardens, their 17-year-old son and infant daughter, Semico Harden said. “He’s a family dog. He’s really, really friendly. He’s extremely good with children,” she said. “Although he’s really, really big and mighty, he’s completely harmless. He’s just a lovable dog. He’s a big teddy bear.” The family posted Duke’s picture online and put flyers on posts around town and in businesses. “We plastered signs all over the place trying to find him,” Harden said. Calls came in of potential sightings: Duke was possibly spotted along Main Street, seen roaming along Germantown Street and living in the woods near Shiloh Springs and Olive Road. When it wasn’t raining, Anthony Harden searched and left food at the reported sites. “I really hunted him down,” he said. Another caller saw Duke’s picture up at a laundromat. It looked like the same dog he had seen earlier, also in the woods near Shiloh Springs and Olive Road. Harden raced out to investigate. It was the second tip reporting the same location. “I saw some paw prints,” he said. “I knew it was my dog from the prints.” He retrieved a T-shirt and a pair of shoes from home and set them out at the woods’ edge. “The next morning Duke was laying right there at the T-shirt and the shoes,” Harden said. “He just ran and jumped on me. Like he was happy.” It was Oct. 18, 2019. “He was only, like, five minutes away from our home, but he was missing for four and a half months,” Semico Harden said. Anthony Harden said Duke shed some of his 150 pounds through the ordeal and possibly sustained an injury to his hind left leg. “He lost a little weight. He had a limp that he didn’t have before. Maybe during the tornado something might have hit him,” Harden said. “You can’t tell when he’s running.” The family was out of their home until just before Christmas. Earlier this week, a new fence went up for Duke and his companion, Duchess. Duke was unlicensed, said his owners. Though it’s unclear if a tag would have brought Duke home quicker, the Hardens say it might have greatly improved the odds. “Getting tagged like that is extremely important,” Semico Harden said. “Had he had a tag and collar we probably would have gotten him back a lot sooner than we did.”
  • One person is dead and seven people were taken to Harborview Medical Center after a shooting Wednesday evening in downtown Seattle. The shooting happened shortly before 5 p.m. near Third Avenue and Pine Street by a Macy’s and McDonald’s. Investigators said the suspect fled and police are searching for him. They did not immediately release a description. The woman who died was in her 40s or 50s, a fire department spokesman said. The other shooting victims were: a 55-year-old woman in critical condition; a 9-year-old boy in serious condition; a 35-year-old man in stable condition; a 21-year-old man in stable condition; and a 34-year-old man in stable condition. It was not immediately clear how the others at Harborview were injured. The areas where the shooting victims were wounded include the legs, buttocks, chest and abdomen, according to Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Police said 45 units were dispatched to the shooting scene, and it happened as police were investigating another shooting nearby. Police did not say those two scenes were related. Officers and medics are providing first aid to those injured.
  • A warrant has been issued for the arrest of NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown following accusations that he and his trainer attacked another man near Brown's Florida home. Hollywood police spokesman Christian Latta said in a Wednesday news release that Brown faces charges of burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief. Officers responded Tuesday afternoon to a disturbance call, where the alleged victim said Brown and his trainer, Glen Holt, hit him, police said. Holt was arrested a short time later and charged with one count of burglary with battery. Officers attempted to make contact with Brown but were unsuccessful, Latta said. Police didn't immediately identify the alleged victim or what prompted the confrontation. Jail records didn't list an attorney for Holt, and it wasn't clear if Brown had a lawyer. Brown, who is a free agent, played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders last year but released before ever playing a regular-season game following several off-the-field incidents. He was then signed by the New England Patriots, who released Brown in September after a second woman in 10 days accused him of sexual misconduct.
  • A gunman opened fire in downtown Seattle on Wednesday night, killing one person and wounding seven others, authorities said. Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said authorities began receiving calls at about 5 p.m. Wednesday of multiple gunshot victims. One person was found dead in a heavily trafficked area of downtown and five others were taken to a Seattle hospital, he said. The Seattle Times reported later Wednesday evening that police said seven people were being treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds. Susan Gregg, a spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center, said a woman was in critical condition, a man was in serious condition and five other men were in satisfactory condition with gunshot wounds to the legs, chest, buttocks and abdomen. Police Chief Carmen Best said what they believe is a lone suspect fled and police are searching for him. Multiple police units, including homicide and gang units, are at the scene, she said. Tyler Parsons was working the register inside Victrola Coffee Shop nearby when the shooting occurred, the Seattle Times reported. He heard no shots — they play music loud in the store, Parsons said — but customers started dropping to the ground. People were running behind the register, taking cover. He hustled five or six customers inside a back storage area, along with a coworker. He waited a couple of minutes before walking back out. Parsons went into the building lobby and saw two victims: one outside, lying in front of the building, visibly injured but alive and moving. The second was inside the lobby, up against the security desk, with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg. He muttered, “I think I got shot, I think I got shot,” Parsons said. Samantha Cook, 40, of Edmonds, said she was refilling her transit card in Westlake Station when she heard the shots. “I was on the first set of escalators,” Cook said. “There were a lot of gunshots that started going off — maybe 10 or 11. It was just rapid fire.” The scene was chaotic, she said. It's the third downtown Seattle shooting in two days. Police found a man with a gunshot wound in a mall stairwell Tuesday afternoon, who later died at a hospital. Police shot a person in another area of downtown Seattle earlier on Wednesday.
  • A South Carolina elected official who endorsed Joe Biden last month is switching her allegiance to Bernie Sanders in the state's first-in-the-South presidential primary, saying she had viewed the former vice president — whose support in the state is considered deep -- as “a compromise choice.” Dalhi Myers told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she was making the change in part because she values what she sees as Sanders' strength in being able to go toe-to-toe with President Donald Trump in the general election. “I looked at that, and I thought, 'He's right,'' said Myers, a black woman first elected to the Richland County Council in 2016. “He's unafraid and he's unapologetic. ... I like the fact that he is willing to fight for a better America — for the least, the fallen, the left behind.' Sanders, a Vermont senator, frequently calls out what he sees as Trump's dishonesty, referring on the campaign trail to the president as a “pathological liar.' Biden, whose relationships in South Carolina go back decades, has led polling in the state, particularly among the black voters who make up most of the state's Democratic primary electorate. Sanders, whose 47-point loss to Hillary Clinton in 2016 in South Carolina blunted the momentum generated in opening primary contests and exposed his weakness with black voters, has focused on strengthening his ties in the state's black community. In December, Myers, a corporate lawyer in Columbia, was among more than a dozen South Carolina elected officials to endorse Biden, saying at the time in a release from the Biden campaign that he was 'the only candidate with the broad and diverse coalition of support we need to win' against Trump in the general election. Initially, Myers said she backed Biden because she saw him as a candidate who could possibly appeal to Republican voters disenfranchised by the president. 'It was a compromise choice,' she said. 'I didn't find anybody's candidacy electrifying, but I did find Joe Biden's candidacy to be reassuring in a sort of normal, American kind of way.' But over the ensuing weeks, Myers said she started to feel that Biden's candidacy, while familiar and perhaps comfortable, wasn't going to be enough to inspire the young voters whom she sees as necessary to a Democratic general election win. When questioned how someone who considered herself a conservative Democrat could support a candidate like Sanders, whose proposals including “Medicare for All” suggest government growth on an as-yet unknown scale, Myers said she did have some concerns but expressed doubt that such measures would ever become law without changes. “Medicare for All will have to go through Congress,' she said. “He's not going to pull a Donald Trump.' Ultimately, Myers said her decision wasn't necessarily about her personal preferences. “I'm a 50-year-old-black woman, and I tend to be middle of the road,' Myers said. “I'm voting what I think is best for all of us, not just me. ... I'm not a left-wing liberal. I'm not even a left-wing Democrat. But I am a realist.' ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at https://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • The Seattle Fire Department says six people were shot downtown Wednesday night, and one of those people has died.
  • So much for the Senate's quaint rules and tradition. Almost immediately after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in Wednesday's session of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, bored and weary senators started openly flouting some basic guidelines in a chamber that prizes decorum. A Democrat in the back row leaned on his right arm, covered his eyes and stayed that way for nearly a half-hour. Some openly snickered when lead prosecutor Adam Schiff said he'd only speak for 10 minutes. And when one of the freshman House prosecutors stood to speak, many of the senator-jurors bolted for the cloak rooms, where their phones are stored. “I do see the members moving and taking a break,” observed freshman Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, one of the House prosecutors, in mid-speech at the center podium. “I probably have another 15 minutes.” The agony of the senator-jurors had begun to show the night before, with widespread but more subtle struggles to pay attention to opening arguments. Gum-chewing, snacking, yawning and alleged napping could be seen throughout the cramped chamber. Around midnight, things got looser. Senators paced and chatted near the wall. Then the prosecutors and Trump's defense team got into a back-and-forth over who was lying and making false allegations about Trump's pressure on Ukraine to help him politically. Roberts admonished everyone to tone it down. The Senate, he reminded those gathered, is the “world's greatest deliberative body,' functioning, for now, as a court of impeachment. It has a tradition of civility — and for grave and rare impeachment trials, specific rules: No coffee or snacking on the floor. No pacing, note-passing, working on other matters or chit-chat. Technically, only water is allowed in the Senate chamber, but there have been exceptions in years past for milk and even eggnog. “There's coffee, but it's miserable coffee” in the cloakrooms, according to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. “I mean you would wish it on a Democrat, no one else,” he said, adding, 'Just joking.” It's all designed to focus the senator-jurors on the issues at hand. So napping is not, in theory, part of the plan. But for many, Wednesday hurt. Roberts had gaveled Tuesday's session closed at 1:50 a.m. Fewer than 12 hours later, the senators were back, with little sleep, for more of the same impeachment story, told by Schiff and his team in exhaustive detail. Even with Roberts' scolding still fresh, many senators were in no mood for rules or traditions. Well into Schiff's second hour of opening arguments, he moved on from discussing the first of two charges against Trump. 'Now let me turn to the second article,' Schiff said. That prompted several senators to shift in their seats and smile at each other in apparent bemusement. It also sparked a small exodus for the cloakroom, especially on the Republican side, including Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Within the first hour, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia could be seen at his desk in the back row, leaning on his right arm with a hand covering his eyes. He stayed that way for around 20 minutes, then shifted to rest his chin in the same hand, eyes closed, for about five more minutes. Despite the late-night votes, Warner's day had started as scheduled at a 10 a.m. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Crow, a military veteran speaking on the impact of Trump's holdup of military aid to Ukraine, had trouble holding the Senate's attention. Some senators left their seats and headed to cloakrooms, stood in the back or openly yawned as he spoke. At one point during his address, more than 10 senators' seats were empty. Crow wondered aloud if the Senate wanted to take a recess. No dice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there would be no break until dinner, more than an hour later. The water-only practice seemed to be one guideline the senators could get around by tradition. Cotton, R-Ark., for example, was seen drinking a glass of milk early in the day. Spokeswoman Caroline Tabler said Cotton was drinking skim milk — a nice complement to the chocolate snacks he and other senators were getting in their cloakroom and from one lawmaker's desk. Like so much about the fusty Senate, even the beverage exceptions are rooted in history. Cassidy told reporters that milk joined water as the officially permitted drinks in the Senate chamber in the 1950s. Cassidy, a doctor, said that at the time, milk was believed to be a treatment for stomach ulcers. According to the Senate Historical Office, Sen. Robert LaFollette, R-Wis., drank eggnog during a 1908 filibuster, and Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, while still a Democrat in 1957, drank orange juice during his record 24-hour filibuster against the Civil Rights Act. Factoids aside, the novelty of the impeachment trial had clearly worn off Wednesday. Senators had heard the Trump-Ukraine story before, many times. Their boredom, one Republican senator suggested, had become a challenge to the prolific House managers' strategy. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said the less wordy president's legal team had “read the Senate” better. “It was a long day and the House managers did a lot of repeating the same material,' Rounds told reporters. 'I’ve got 20 pages of notes, and towards the end, we were basically hearing the same thing over again. It was a diatribe.” ___ Associated Press Writers Alan Fram, Eric Tucker and Matthew Daly contributed to this report. ___ Follow Kellman on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com//APLaurieKellman
  • A California judge on Wednesday set a May hearing to decide if prosecutors have enough evidence to go to trial against a man suspected being the notorious 'Golden State Killer' who eluded capture for decades. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Steve White ordered the preliminary hearing for Joseph James DeAngelo to start May 12. That's more than two years after investigators said new DNA techniques linked the former police officer to at least 13 murders and more than 50 rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s. The rapist would break into couples' suburban homes at night, binding the man and piling dishes on his back. He would threaten to kill both victims if he heard the plates fall while he raped the woman. Defense attorneys had argued in court filings that they need another year to sort through the 250,000 pieces of evidence turned over by prosecutors. Prosecutors said they expect to call 150 witnesses over eight to 10 weeks, The Sacramento Bee reported. White said he had to consider that witnesses and victims are growing older. “I wish to make the case that there cannot be a case that’s too big to go to trial,” White said, drawing applause from victims sitting in the courtroom when he set the date. One man in the audience earlier shouted “Amen' when a prosecutor said aging rape victims deserve to see the case advance, the Bee reported. “Given the number of charges in this case, the amount of discovery is extraordinary,” supervising public defenders Alice Michel and Joseph Cress wrote in seeking the delay. “If forced to set a preliminary hearing date at this time, the defense will be unable to provide competent and effective representation for Mr. DeAngelo.” Prosecutor Thien Ho countered that DeAngelo, 75, is responsible for the volume of charges. “It was the defendant who decided to embark upon a crime spree that spanned 10 counties,” Ho said. Some witnesses now are in their 80s and 90s, he told the judge, and a Santa Barbara investigator recently died from cancer in his 70s. Prosecutors from Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Orange and Ventura counties in April said they would seek the death penalty if DeAngelo is convicted, making their announcement shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom put a moratorium on executions so long as he is governor.
  • Health officials said Wednesday they are actively monitoring 16 people who came into close contact with the traveler to China who became the first U.S. resident with a new and potentially deadly virus. The man, identified as a Snohomish County, Washington, resident is in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn't considered a threat to the public. The hospitalized man had no symptoms when he arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last week, but he started feeling ill. He had traveled to China in November, flying home to Washington state Jan. 15 before the start of U.S. airport screening. Investigators will make daily phone calls to those 16 who had contact with him, including some who sat near him on his flight, to check if they have symptoms. They will not be asked to isolate themselves unless they start feeling ill. “This may be a novel virus, but this is not a novel investigation,” said John Wiesman of the Washington State Department of Health at a Wednesday briefing for reporters. The patient is doing well in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle. The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia
  • A doorbell-ringing prank led a man to chase and ram a car full of teenagers, killing three, a survivor said. Three other teen boys were injured when their Toyota Prius was struck, went off the road and slammed into a tree Sunday night in Temescal Valley, about 60 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. A witness chased the other car, a Honda Infiniti, and alerted California Highway Patrol officers who found it parked at a nearby home and arrested Anurag Chandra on suspicion of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Chandra, 42, remained jailed without bail on Wednesday. It wasn’t clear whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. Calls to the California Highway Patrol seeking updated information on the crash were not immediately returned Wednesday. The chase began after the friends dared one boy to either jump into a pool at night or play “ding dong ditch,” the driver, 18-year-old Sergio Campusano, told KNBC-TV. One of the boys got out of the car at the home of a stranger, rang the doorbell and then ran back to the car after a man opened it, Campusano said. Campusano drove away, but then found he was being followed. 'I just saw these brights behind me, and I realized he was getting closer and closer,' he said. The Infiniti nudged the back of the Prius. “My friends started screaming. They’re like: ‘Make it to the freeway! Make it to the freeway, like, try to lose him there,' ” Campusano said. Instead, Campusano decided to head for a friend’s home, but the Infiniti caught up with his car. “I just saw him ram his car into my back and I whipped into my window and I blacked out,” he said. He woke up on the floor. The crash killed 16-year-olds Daniel Hawkins of Corona; Drake Ruiz of Corona; and Jacob Ivascu of Riverside, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office. Campusano survived along with 13-year-olds Joshua Hawkins and Joshua Ivascu. “I loved each and every one of them. I still do. And I’m going to really miss them all,' said Campusano, who had a bandage on his forehead. 'They were all a part of me. I don’t know what I’m going to do without them.' Chandra already was facing criminal charges in connection with alleged domestic violence, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported, citing court records. He was charged last month with misdemeanor battery on a spouse or cohabitant and willful injury to a child — his daughter — stemming from a Sept. 9 incident, the newspaper said.
  • Jenks has grown a lot during the past few years, but the city is gearing up for what Jenks Chamber of Commerce President  Josh Driskell says will be a game-changer: the new outlet mall. It's set to open in the middle part of next year. He says it will bring in lots of shoppers and lots of spending all over Jenks. “They're going to be in downtown Jenks, they're going to be visiting Riverwalk, they're going to be visiting restaurants all throughout the community,” Driskell said. Besides the mall, there are other notable projects, including a new hotel that recently broke ground near the Gateway Mortgage headquarters near Highway 75. Driskell said there could be a new office building coming to that area too. He says city leaders are also excited about a new octopus exhibit at the Oklahoma Aquarium which is expected to boost attendance figures there when it opens in March.
  • Beginning up to 24 hours of opening arguments, House impeachment managers started Wednesday to lay out the basics of their case against President Donald Trump, arguing the evidence is overwhelming that the President is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 'Ultimately, the question for you is whether the President's undisputed actions require the removal of the 45th President from office,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who opened the House presentation with a speech of over two hours. 'Over the coming days, you will hear remarkably consistent evidence of President Trump's corrupt scheme and cover up,' Schiff added, arguing that Mr. Trump tried to use Ukraine to do his 'political dirty work' in an effort to smear former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats charge the President withheld over $200 million in military aid for Ukraine in a bid to force the government to announce an investigation of Biden, and another investigation into what Schiff labeled 'that crazy conspiracy theory,' where Ukraine - and not Russia - hacked Democrats during the 2016 campaign. At the first break of the afternoon, the sharp break along party lines was clearly evident as Senators spilled out of the chamber. 'So far, we haven't heard anything new,' Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters just off the Senate floor.  'What we ought to be presented is evidence by witnesses that have personal knowledge,' Cornyn said, drawing an approving reaction from Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, who was waiting to speak to reporters. But Cornyn made clear those witnesses should have testified in the House - not in the Senate, as Democrats have asked the Senate to hear testimony. Asked if there was any deal in the works between the two parties to have witness testimony - where Democrats would be able to call former Trump aide John Bolton, and Republicans would question Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden - Schumer told reporters that was not happening. 'That's not even on the table,' Schumer said. Under the rules, House prosecutors have up to 24 hours - over three days - to present their case, which means they could be talking on the Senate floor through Friday. For now, there was no evidence that it was changing any GOP minds. 'I stayed awake, but I didn't hear anything new,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
  • Spain’s new government declared a national climate emergency on Tuesday, taking a formal first step toward enacting ambitious measures to fight climate change. The declaration approved by the Cabinet says the left-of-center Socialist government will send to parliament within 100 days its proposed climate legislation. The targets coincide with those of the European Union, including a reduction of net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Spain’s coalition government wants up to 95% of the Mediterranean country’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2040. The plan also foresees eliminating pollution by buses and trucks and making farming carbon neutral. Details of the plan are to be made public when the proposed legislation is sent to parliament for approval. More than two dozen countries and scores of local and regional authorities have declared a climate emergency in recent years. Scientists say the decade that just ended was by far the hottest ever measured on Earth, capped off by the second-warmest year on record. Also Tuesday, young climate activists including Greta Thunberg told the elites gathered at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland they are not doing enough to deal with the climate emergency and warned them that time was running out.
  • Mayor G.T. Bynum has confirmed to KRMG that he will name TPD Major Wendell Franklin as the next police chief for the city of Tulsa. Franklin, 46, had most recently served as commander of the department's Headquarters Division. In a public forum featuring the four finalists for the position held last Friday, Franklin spoke about the importance of using modern technology and data-driven decision making to enhance public safety. And, he promised to make the gathering and dissemination of that data as transparent as possible. Franklin was promoted over three deputy chiefs who were also finalists, Jonathan Brooks, Eric Dalgleish, and Dennis Larsen. Franklin grew up in Tulsa, and at only two years old, lost his mother to violence. But, he said Friday, he hadn't planned on a career in law enforcement until after he graduated from Booker T Washington High School. He enrolled at Tulsa Community College, where a counselor steered him toward criminal justice. He has served with the department for 23 years. 
  • Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has announced a temporary halt to its production of certain Excedrin headache pills, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to CNN and WSYR-TV, the company said in a statement Tuesday that it “discovered inconsistencies in how we weigh ingredients for Excedrin Extra Strength Caplets and Geltabs, and Excedrin Migraine Caplets and Geltabs.” The inconsistencies should not affect customer safety, the statement read. The company added that it is “working hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible” but could not say when it would start producing the items again, the outlets reported. “Other Excedrin products are available along with other pain-relieving drugs, but dosages may differ,” the statement said. WSYR reported that some drugstores had a shortage of Excedrin products as a result. Read more here or here.

Washington Insider

  • Beginning up to 24 hours of opening arguments, House impeachment managers started Wednesday to lay out the basics of their case against President Donald Trump, arguing the evidence is overwhelming that the President is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. 'Ultimately, the question for you is whether the President's undisputed actions require the removal of the 45th President from office,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who opened the House presentation with a speech of over two hours. 'Over the coming days, you will hear remarkably consistent evidence of President Trump's corrupt scheme and cover up,' Schiff added, arguing that Mr. Trump tried to use Ukraine to do his 'political dirty work' in an effort to smear former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats charge the President withheld over $200 million in military aid for Ukraine in a bid to force the government to announce an investigation of Biden, and another investigation into what Schiff labeled 'that crazy conspiracy theory,' where Ukraine - and not Russia - hacked Democrats during the 2016 campaign. At the first break of the afternoon, the sharp break along party lines was clearly evident as Senators spilled out of the chamber. 'So far, we haven't heard anything new,' Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told reporters just off the Senate floor.  'What we ought to be presented is evidence by witnesses that have personal knowledge,' Cornyn said, drawing an approving reaction from Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, who was waiting to speak to reporters. But Cornyn made clear those witnesses should have testified in the House - not in the Senate, as Democrats have asked the Senate to hear testimony. Asked if there was any deal in the works between the two parties to have witness testimony - where Democrats would be able to call former Trump aide John Bolton, and Republicans would question Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden - Schumer told reporters that was not happening. 'That's not even on the table,' Schumer said. Under the rules, House prosecutors have up to 24 hours - over three days - to present their case, which means they could be talking on the Senate floor through Friday. For now, there was no evidence that it was changing any GOP minds. 'I stayed awake, but I didn't hear anything new,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).
  • The first substantive day of President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial turned into a late night, insult-filled battle between House prosecutors and the President's legal team, as Republicans voted down repeated efforts by Democrats to have the Senate subpoena witnesses and documents related to the Ukraine impeachment investigation. 'They will not permit the American people to hear from the witnesses,' Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said, taking direct aim at the President's lawyers. 'And they lie. And lie and lie and lie.' That prompted an immediate response from White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who demanded that Nadler apologize, accusing him of making repeated false allegations about President Trump. 'The only one who should be embarrassed, Mr. Nadler, is you,' Cipollone said. Just before 1 am, Chief Justice John Roberts warned both sides to tone it down, his first real foray into the impeachment trial. 'I think it is appropriate at this point for me to admonish both the House managers and the President's counsel, in equal terms, to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body,' as the Chief Justice made clear the debate was not following along the lines of civil discourse. 'I do think those addressing the Senate should remember where they are,' Chief Justice Roberts added. Democrats kept the Senate working past midnight in a bid to put Republicans on the record on calling witnesses like former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and other top officials who defied subpoenas from the House. 'The House calls John Bolton. The House calls Mick Mulvaney,' Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said at one point. 'Let's get this trial started, shall we?' But with Republicans sticking together, GOP Senators defeated a series of Democratic amendments to an impeachment rules resolution on identical votes of 53-47 - straight along party lines. Democrats said there was only one reason why Republicans were not looking to hear from new witnesses - because they don't want to hear the real Ukraine story. On the other side, Republicans joined the White House legal team in blasting the demands of Democrats. 'The only thing that’s rigged is Democrats’ perpetual effort to undo the results of the 2016 election,' said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). In the end, no Republicans broke ranks, as the GOP defeated 11 different amendments by Democrats to change the GOP rules plan, bringing about a final vote over 12 hours after the Senate convened.
  • Facing opposition from within Republican ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an amended rules proposal on Tuesday to govern the start of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, most significantly giving more time for House prosecutors and the President's lawyers to make their opening arguments. The changes came after a lunch meeting of GOP Senators, where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and others expressed reservations about the idea of forcing each side to cram 24 hours of opening arguments into just two days. 'She and others raised concerns about the 24 hrs of opening statements in 2 days,' a spokeswoman for Collins told reporters. Along with that change, McConnell backed off a provision which would not allow evidence from the House impeachment investigation to be put in the record without a vote of the Senate. The changes were made as House prosecutors and the President's legal team made their first extended statements of the Trump impeachment trial. 'Why should this trial be any different than any other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn't,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he made the case that the Senate rules would not pass muster in a regular courtroom. 'This idea that we should ignore what has taken place over the last three years is outrageous,' said Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, who joined White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in arguing against the impeachment charges. 'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,' Cipollone said, in one of the first direct jabs of the impeachment trial. “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” Cipollone added. While there were GOP differences on the rules package offered by Republican leaders, GOP Senators stuck together on the first substantive vote of the impeachment trial, defeating an effort by Democrats to subpoena certain materials from the White House. The first vote was 53-47 to block an amendment offered by the Democratic Leader, Sen. Schumer.  It was straight along party lines. A second vote along party lines blocked a call by Democrats to subpoena documents from the State Department. Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.
  • A GOP rules plan for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump unveiled by Senate Republicans on Monday could pave the way for the trial to be finished in as little as two weeks, as the plan envisions squeezing 48 hours of opening arguments into just four days, with the option of voting on the impeachment articles without any additional witnesses or evidence. 'Just because the House proceedings were a circus that doesn’t mean the Senate’s trial needs to be,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who fully endorsed the proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While GOP Senators said the plan would be modeled on a bipartisan rules deal at the start of the Clinton impeachment trial, there were two notable differences from 21 years ago, governing opening arguments, and the submission of evidence. While each side would get 24 hours to make their opening arguments, this GOP plan would force that time to be used in just two days - raising the specter of an impeachment trial which could stretch well into the night because of those time constraints. Another change would require an affirmative vote by the Senate to simply put the investigatory materials from the House into the trial record, something which was done automatically in the Clinton impeachment trial. Also, even if extra witnesses were approved by Senators, it would not guarantee their testimony on the Senate floor, as there would have to be a vote after the depositions on whether the witness would testify publicly. With a Tuesday debate set on the rules, Republicans also made clear they would not support any move to add witnesses until after opening arguments have been completed. 'If attempts are made to vote on witnesses prior to opening arguments, I would oppose those efforts,' said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). Meanwhile, Democrats roundly denounced the GOP rules details. 'The proposal that Majority Leader McConnell just released looks more like a cover up than a fair trial,' said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). 'Mitch McConnell doesn't want a fair trial, he wants a fast trial,' said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). 'It's all about the cover up,' said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). 'These are not the Clinton rules.' 'There’s nothing in this resolution that requires hearing witnesses or admitting evidence — which is unlike any trial I’ve ever seen,' said Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN). 'Under this resolution, Senator McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, who promised to offer amendments to the plan on Tuesday afternoon. Debate and votes on the rules resolution will start on Tuesday afternoon - and could turn into an extended battle on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
  • 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.