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Latest from Russell Mills

    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. 
  • Tuesday, Alaskans in the remote area of Totook Bay became the first US citizens to participate in the 2020 Census. The Constitutionally-mandated head count of people living in the US takes place every ten years. This year, people will have the option of completing the forms online, on paper, or over the phone. But those who fail to respond quickly will get a home visit from a Census Bureau employee known as an “enumerator.” In anticipation of the need for those home visits, the Census Bureau will hire hundreds of thousands of part-time, temporary workers. “We are hiring,” Emily Kelley tells KRMG. She serves as Partnership Coordinator for the Census Bureau in Kansas and Oklahoma. “In the Tulsa area, we have 37-hundred jobs available,” she said Tuesday. “The pay is between $15.50 and $17.00 an hour, and we would love to have anybody aged 18 and up who's looking for a job to consider applying for a position.” Applicants will need to pass a federal background check, and must have a driver's license and reliable transportation, she added. [Hear the KRMG In Depth Report on the 2020 Census] You can visit the US Census Bureau's website to learn more, and fill out an application. Notification asking people to respond to the census will be mailed out to most US residents in March.
  • 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.”
  • Oklahoma's lone Congressional Democrat has called on the United States Senate to take the “ethical and legal questions the House has sent over seriously,” and eliminate political partisanship from the process of impeachment. “The bottom line is, the public is counting on our senators to look past partisanship, and to hold a fair trial,” she told KRMG Wednesday. [CLICK HERE to listen to our KRMG In Depth Report featuring Rep. Horn, or use the audio player below] Horn spoke with our reporter shortly after leaving the House floor, where she had voted for the resolution to transmit two articles of impeachment to the Senate. She's been known to vote across party lines, as she did earlier this month when she voted against a non-binding resolution that would limit the president's ability to take military action against Iran. She voted that way, she says, because there's “a right way and a wrong way” for Congress to reassume its Constitutional role in determining when the nation goes to war. “My vote on that resolution was not a vote to give this, or any admistration, a blank check,” she said. “But I think that there is a right way to do this, and a wrong way to do this. And we have to make sure that administrations and presidents have the ability to respond to immediate and urgent threats, or to respond... when we have been attacked.” “I am frustrated by partisanship taking over knowing what, doing what is best,” she added.
  • Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. fired back at comments made by Governor Kevin Stitt about the state's Indian gaming compact Tuesday. In the morning, Gov. Stitt appeared on the KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter to discuss the first year of his administration (you can hear the entire conversation HERE). The topic of his dispute with the tribes over the gaming compact came up, and he stated that his office possessed copies of letters from Oklahoma tribes indicating that like him, they believed the gaming compact expired on January 1, 2020. Hoskin told KRMG that actually there were two such letters, sent years ago, both of which had since been disavowed by the tribes in question. [Hear the KRMG In Depth Report with Chief Hoskin HERE, or click on the audio player below] He also disputed the governor's claim that his nation operates a casino in Arkansas, where it pays a much higher rate than it pays in Oklahoma. Hoskins said the Cherokee Nation does not operate in Arkansas, although they're competing for one of only four casino licenses available in that state. Moreover, he argues with the governor's basic premise for the entire dispute. “At the end of the day, we've always been willing to talk about rates,” Hoskin told KRMG. “The governor's misleading people if he says we're not.” Because of how differently Arkansas operates gaming, he said, it's an “apples and oranges” comparison to gauge the tribe's Oklahoma operations. He expressed optimism that the governor will eventually sit down and negotiate exclusivity fees, as is allowed under the current compact. “No one is going to negotiate with a phony deadline over their heads, and they're not going to negotiate with threats being made,” he told KRMG. “We're just not going to do it.”
  • A group that represents a coalition of churches, non-profits, and elected leaders from across Tulsa has issued a call for inclusion and transparency in the hunt for a new police chief. Mayor G.T. Bynum has already held a series of three town hall meetings to get public input on the process, but Greg Robinson with the group “Demanding a JUSTulsa” tells KRMG more can be done. [Hear our KRMG In-Depth Report on “Demanding a Just Tulsa” HERE, or click on the audio player below] The group, he said Monday, wants “a national search for the best police chief possible, the naming of those finalists. And then, to have the community be able to speak with them, ask their questions, and provide that feedback to the mayor.” Several elected leaders have joined with Demanding a JUSTulsa in calling for a broad search, and signed a letter sent to the mayor last Friday. Here is the group's statement, issued Monday: On Friday, North Tulsa elected leaders delivered another letter to Mayor Bynum on behalf their constituents, echoing calls from the community for the mayor to deeply and intentionally engage Tulsa citizens in the selection of the city’s next Chief of Police. The letter, which has already been signed by over concerned 100 Tulsa residents, comes roughly a month after these elected leaders demanded citizen input be integrated into the selection process, calls on the mayor to (among other things) create a citizen selection committee to determine finalists, hold town halls with all candidates for public input and feedback and commit to hiring a police chief who will make creating an unbiased, equitable culture of policing their top priority. The letter also calls on the mayor to honor the demand of Tulsans to immediately end his contract between the city and A&E’s ‘Live PD’ television show. In addition to submitting the letter, these North Tulsa elected officials and other community leaders will host a press conference outside of City Hall on the morning of Monday, January 13th at 11AM, reiterating the calls made in the letter. “For the past two years, our constituents have asked you to respond to their legitimate concerns about policing. The police-involved killings of Terence Crutcher, Joshua Harvey and other unarmed persons of color and the lack of accountability for their deaths opened deep fissures of mistrust with the very police officers who have taken an oath to protect and serve them,” the letter to the mayor states. “To mend these wounds, we and our constituents expect you to continue to hear and respond to their requests. To date, you have been responsive, and we look forward to a continued partnership.”
  • Iran can't match the United States in a head-to-head military confrontation, so it's expected to attack using other methods, and everyone who uses the Internet could potentially be at risk. US Senator James Lankford (R-Okla) held a conference call earlier in the week with leaders from across the state to stress the urgency of protecting homes, businesses, even governmental agencies from possible attacks. His office tweeted out some alarming statistics Friday. Iran's not the only threat. The US Army recently issued a ban on the popular social media app “Tik Tok,” barring its installation on any government-owned or issued devices. The use of the app is also strongly discouraged by any military members, even on their own devices. The reason: The app was developed and issued by a Chinese company believed to have close ties with its government. Chris Carter is CEO of Approyo, a company which manages SAP solutions for hundreds of clients in the US and abroad. [Hear the KRMG In Depth Report on cyber security concerns by clicking HERE or use the audio player below] He echoes Sen. Lankford's concerns, and urges businesses of all sizes to have a thorough check of security protocols conducted. “Get an organization, and we recommend several organizations, to come in there and to a top-to-bottom security assessment of your organization - from your laptops, to your handhelds, to your servers, to your network, to your ports.” Home users, he says, should connect to the Internet through a virtual private network (VPN),  and change their passwords weekly. He also advises that people update, and regularly run, security software to scan for viruses and malware. It's also wise to avoid clicking on links contained in text messages or emails
  • At a local Tulsa restaurant, talk of the recent clash between the US and Iran largely centered on two themes: Support for the president, but concerns that a new war could erupt in the Middle East. KRMG spoke with about a dozen people Tuesday to hear their thoughts on the recent developments regarding a US missile strike which killed a prominent Iranian general, and the subsequent missile attack launched at bases in Iraq occupied by coalition forces. Hear what people had to say by clicking HERE, or use the audio player below. KRMG would like to get your opinion as well. Hit the “open mic” on the KRMG app, text us at 95920, or visit the KRMG Facebook page to share your thoughts.
  • Business owners along Tulsa's popular Cherry Street District want their customers to know that while there's road construction planned for the next several months, they've laid plans to minimize the impact on traffic to and from their establishments. Michael Bausch, owner of Andolini's and several other restaurants in Tulsa, also serves as president of the Cherry Street Business Association. He points out that the businesses in the district support hundreds of employees. It serves all Tulsans as a thriving commercial corridor, as well. The district comprises an area centered along East 15th Street between Peoria and Utica. Bausch says Cherry Street businesses generate more income per square foot than in any other area of town, and that a large majority of those businesses are locally owned. So a drop off in business there, he says, would impact the city as a whole. While street parking will not be allowed in the construction zone, there will still be two lanes open at all times during the project - just as there were before the work got under way. And, Bausch points out, almost all the parking in the area is in lots, not along the street. Hear our In Depth Report on the Cherry Street work HERE, or click the audio player below.
  • On December 31st, 1949, KRMG radio began broadcasting at 740 kHz on the AM band in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is the only radio station that has remained on the air every day since, and one of the few that has never switched call letters or that original broadcast frequency. There have  been many changes over the years, certainly, as the station changed with the times. All this year, the station will celebrate the milestone, and begin counting down to its 75th anniversary. CLICK HERE to hear our special In Depth Report on the history of KRMG, or use the audio player below.
  • Russell Mills

    Anchor/Reporter

    Russell Mills came to Tulsa in 1991 with an AA degree in Broadcast Journalism and a new family. He worked in local television for more than 20 years as a show producer, assignment editor, and online content director. He built one of the first television news websites in the country and helped pioneer streaming audio and video, especially as it related to weather and live news coverage on the Internet. Russell says working for KRMG fulfills a longtime dream. "I worked in newsrooms for a long, long time before finally getting the chance to get out and cover the news in person. I can't tell you how much I love doing just that -- driving toward the big story to talk to the people involved gets my adrenaline going like almost nothing else in life." Russell grew up in Bozeman, Montana then spent several years as an "itinerant musician and restaurant worker," living in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California before finally starting college at 28 and discovering broadcasting as a possible career path. He is married to Shadia Dahlal, a nationally-known Middle Eastern Dancer and instructor, and has two stepchildren. You can connect with Russell via his Facebook page. 

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  • 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.