- Key: “President Trump has fallen into a pattern of behavior: this is not the first time he has solicited foreign interference in an election, been exposed, and attempted to obstruct the resulting investigation. He will almost certainly continue on this course... We cannot rely on the next election as a remedy for presidential misconduct when the President is seeking to threaten the very integrity of that election...
- “By his actions, President Trump betrayed his office. His high crimes and misdemeanors undermine the Constitution. His conduct continues to jeopardize our national security and the integrity of our elections, presenting great urgency for the House to act. His actions warrant his impeachment and trial, his removal from office, and his disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
- The committee contends that Trump committed criminal bribery and wire fraud as part of the abuse of power umbrella: "President Trump’s abuse of power encompassed both the constitutional offense of 'Bribery' and multiple federal crimes."
- Dissenting view: Ranking Republican Douglas A. Collins of Georgia writes that the evidence fails “to establish any impeachable offense … The accountability to the American people comes at the ballot box, not in House Democrats’ star chamber.”
HAPPY TRIALS: The White House launched an aggressive defense of close coordination with the Senate on an impeachment trial — despite blowback from Democrats insisting that such a move flies in the face of Republican lawmakers' constitutional obligation to be impartial jurors.
Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general who recently joined Trump's impeachment team, told Fox News on Sunday that the White House "should and will work hand-in-hand" with the Senate as the chamber prepares to hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office next month.
- "We wouldn't be doing our jobs if we weren't working hand in hand with the Senate to clear the president of this charade, this sham, that started with [Intelligence Committee Chair] Adam Schiff... And we're not going to let it continue in the U.S. Senate," Bondi told Chris Wallace.
This cements a new front in the impeachment wars: Democrats spent the weekend slamming Senate Majority Mitch McConnell for saying there was "zero chance" the president would be removed and promising "total coordination" with the White House on how to handle the trial. "There will be no differences between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this," McConnell told Fox News late last week.
- Reactions from the left: McConnell's comments were like “the foreman of the jury saying he’s going to work hand in glove with the defense attorney," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), said on ABC's "This Week": “That’s in violation of the oath that they’re about to take, and it’s a complete subversion of the constitutional scheme."
- From the right: The Constitution requires senators to take an oath to render "impartial justice" at the start of any impeachment trial, but several Republicans argued that such impartiality doesn't cover politics, our colleagues Seung Min Kim, Karoun Demirjian and Steven Mufson reported.
- “[I've] clearly made up my mind. I’m not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
It may be impossible for the Senate to hold a truly unbiased trial in today's political climate, one key legal expert says: "The Constitution may demand more than most politicians are willing to give," Jonathan Turley, whom Republicans called as a witness during a recent impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary, told Power Up on Sunday.
Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said that it's not just Republicans who would be breaking the oath of impartiality: Democrats also seem to have pre-determined views on whether Trump should be removed.
- "It is curious that many voters want to see a preordained position from their members on both sides of this impeachment -- and that senators on both sides have yielded to that pressure," Turley told us.
- "Historically, we've celebrated the moment when senators have transcended party loyalty," Turley told us. "The seven Radical Republicans [also referred to as "Republican Recusants"] that acquitted Andrew Johnson remain profiles of courage studied in history books... traditionally both the Constitution and cultural norms celebrate the image of the unbiased senator."
On The Hill
WHAT'S NEXT?: The House will hold a vote on Wednesday that is all-but-certain to impeach Trump. All 100 senators would then serve as jurors in a trial over whether to convict Trump on the two articles of impeachment. Two-thirds of those present would be required to vote to convict.
Here's where House lawmakers currently stand:
- That little blue dot in a sea of red is Jeff Van Drew: Yet our colleagues scooped over the weekend that after meeting with Trump on Friday, the anti-impeachment Democrat from New Jersey decided to join the Republican Party in the coming days.
- But at the moment, there are more moderate Democrats getting on board with impeachment, despite the political risks in their districts: Anthony Delgado (D-N.Y.) announced yesterday he's "yes" on impeachment.
- His predicament: "Through it all, Mr. Delgado has tried to strike a balance, cultivating relationships with Republicans — with his wife, he was one of only a few House Democrats to show up this week at the White House Congressional Ball, even as the Judiciary Committee was debating the articles of impeachment — while offering unsparing criticism of the president’s conduct," the New York Times's Emily Cochrane writes.
The next phase: Negotiations over parameters of an all-but-certain Senate trial and whether witnesses will be called to testify -- all of which will ultimately be decided by McConnell.
- Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer made several procedural demands in a letter to McConnell to ensure a trial hears "all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly" and that it passes "the fairness test with the American people."
- He wants subpoenas for those yet to testify: Part of Schumer's proposal "includes subpoenas issued by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; and Michael Duffey, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney, Blair and Duffey had been subpoenaed by the House committees and defied the summons; Bolton has not been subpoenaed but indicated he would fight one in court," our colleagues Seung Min, Karoun and Steven report.
- From McConnell's spokesman Doug Andres: The majority leader “has made it clear he plans to meet with Leader Schumer to discuss the contours of a trial soon. That timeline has not changed.”
SOMEONE TO WATCH: A band of about 30 freshman Democrats strategized a way to counter the perception of partisanship by crafting a campaign to draft Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial, our colleague Rachael Bade scooped.
- The reasoning behind putting the libertarian who left the Republican party earlier this year in the small group responsible for arguing the case for removing Trump in the Senate: It could help "reach conservative voters in a way Democrats can’t" and "provide Democrats cover from GOP accusations that they’re pursuing a partisan impeachment," Rachael reports.
It would be a capstone on an extraordinary political evolution for the Michigan lawmaker. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who is leading the effort to draft Amash, told Rachael that the Michigan independent has agreed to consider the offer if he is asked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will be making a decision on trial managers this week.
- “There couldn’t be anyone perhaps in the entire U.S. House . . . whose general political views are as polar opposite from many of us in the Democratic Caucus, and that’s what makes it such a powerful statement: that on the issue of our responsibility to our Constitution, we are perfectly aligned,” Phillips told Rachael, who notes "[he] said he had an 'epiphany' on the idea Friday night and has been shopping it around ever sense."
UNITED NATIONS CLIMATE TALKS END IN DISAPPOINTMENT: "Global climate talks lurched to an end here with finger-pointing, accusations of failure and fresh doubts about the world's collective resolve to slow the warming of the planet — at a moment when scientists say time is running out for people to avert steadily worsening climate disasters," our colleagues Brady Dennis and Chico Harlan report from Madrid.
After more than two weeks, there is little to show for it: "Negotiators failed to achieve their primary goals," our colleagues write. "Central among them: persuading the world’s largest carbon-emitting countries to pledge to tackle climate change more aggressively beginning in 2020."
- Key quote: "You have the science crystal on where we need to go. You have the youth and others stepping up around the world in the streets pressing for action,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s like we’re in a sealed vacuum chamber in here, and no one is perceiving what is happening out there — what the science says and what people are demanding.”
What happened: "Small and developing countries accused the United States and others, such as Brazil and Australia, of obstructing key parts of the negotiations and undermining the spirit and goals of the Paris accord," our colleagues write.
- The goal had been to produce details on how the Paris agreement would be implemented: "U.N. Secretary General António Guterres spent much of this year pleading with countries to produce more aggressive plans to combat global warming over the coming year," our colleagues write, noting such plans did not emerge.
There is some progress: Though it wasn't coming from Madrid. "European leaders on Friday pledged to eliminate their carbon footprint by 2050," our colleagues write. But even that proposal sparked controversy as Poland refused to sign on to it.
MALALA ON A DECADE OF TEEN GIRL ACTIVISM: TeenVogue editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay asked Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Taliban militants for fighting for girls' right to go to school in Pakistan, to reflect on the rise of youth activism that defined the decade. It's part of the magazine's year-end package to close out the teen years of this millennium (aka the #20Teens).
- Yousafzai other emerging teen girl leaders: "We have seen huge progress over the last few years, and now to see that young girls like Emma [González] and Greta [Thunberg] are coming forward and they're talking about climate change, they are talking about gun violence, and they're talking about these different issues that are impacting all of us and especially what's going to affect the future generations," she said. There are hundreds and thousands of women and girls in all parts of the world who are standing up. Some of them we don't even know — their names would never be known — but they're changing their communities."
- On millions of young people mobilizing for action on climate change: "For me to see millions and millions of young people, not just in the U.S., not just in the U.K. — the so-called developed countries — but from all across the world, in Pakistan, in India, in Kenya, you see these young girls, especially women that are coming forward, and you also see older people in the crowds — I think that's when you realize how powerful the voices of these young people can be. And I think awareness is important. That's the first step towards a change."
- What do the next 10 years hold: "What has given me hope is that the last decade was a decade of youth activism, but the next one is going to be about youth change-making, and that's what gives me hope. It's like we have done our activism; we have done enough to raise our voice. And I think the next step is now let's make the change, let's be the change-makers, let's get more involved in this."
In the Media
WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW:
It's finals week and Congress is cramming: "This could be the week that broke Congress," Fox News's Chad Pergram reports. Outside impeachment, Congress is expected to unveil a spending plan to avert a government shutdown today, and then try to squeeze in a vote on the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement known as the USMCA.
If you read one thing about 2020: Our colleague Robert Samuels has a searing and in-depth look at South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg's decades-long struggle to understand and appeal to black Americans.
- "He even had to be talked out of being inaugurated at noon on New Year’s Day, when many of his black residents would still be in church," our colleague writes about when Buttigieg became mayor. “Who doesn’t know that?” said Oliver Davis, a city council member.
- Fast forward to this year: Buttigieg announced his candidacy at an old Studebaker plant in the city, our colleague writes. "The crowd was overwhelmingly white Many older black residents, Davis said, would not attend even if they were interested. It was Sunday morning, and they were in church."
Some states are investing almost no money in next year's census: California is set to spend $187 million "to prod its nearly 40 million residents to participate in the 2020 census," the Times's Michael Wines and Jose A. Del Real report. Texas meanwhile has no such plans as lawmakers there have declined to spend any money to assist census efforts, despite the fact that it is second only to California in population.