In a historic vote Wednesday, the House of Representatives impeached President Trump, marking only the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached. This is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opening the impeachment debate on the House floor Wednesday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Our Founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House. That is why today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States. If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”
Lawmakers voted 230 to 197 in favor of the first article of impeachment against Trump: abuse of power. They voted 229 to 198 in favor of the second article of impeachment against the president: obstruction of Congress. The two articles center on how President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden, and then how Trump tried to cover up his actions. Following the votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would hold the articles back from being sent to the Senate until Democrats were convinced the trial would be fair. Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell has said he is not an “impartial juror” and that he would closely coordinate a Senate impeachment trial with the White House Counsel’s Office, leading Democrats to accuse McConnell of trying to preside over a sham trial. Click here for more on the historic impeachment vote.
On the same day as the impeachment vote, President Trump gave his longest rally speech to date in Battle Creek, Michigan. Trump lashed out at Democrats, the impeachment proceedings, the FBI and the late Michigan Congressmember John Dingell, whose wife, Congressmember Debbie Dingell, voted for Trump’s impeachment Wednesday. This is Trump speaking about how Congresswoman Dingell called him to thank him for honoring her husband after his death.
President Donald Trump: “She calls me up: ’It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled. Thank you so much, sir.’ I said, ’That’s OK, don’t worry about it.’ Maybe he’s looking up. I don’t know.”
The late Congressmember John Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history, and he served in World War II.
While the rest of Capitol Hill was focused on impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through 11 federal district judge nominations. McConnell’s deal with Democrats to expedite the nominations of the judges is part of the Trump administration’s sweeping effort to reshape the judicial system, pushing courts to the right.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz says the FBI should have considered halting its surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page during testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday. Horowitz’s testimony comes after the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — known as the FISA Court — issued a public order accusing the FBI of misleading the court to gain approval for the Carter Page wiretap, and ordering the FBI to propose changes in how its investigators seek permission for domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens. We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.
Seven Democratic presidential candidates will participate in a televised debate tonight at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The debate will be co-hosted by ”PBS NewsHour” and Politico and will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The candidates on stage will be Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang. The Democratic National Committee has come under fierce criticism for its debate criteria, which excluded prominent candidates of color Cory Booker and Julián Castro. Cory Booker and other presidential candidates have signed a letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez urging the DNC to change its qualification criteria for upcoming debates in January and February.
In New Orleans, a federal appeals court has struck down a central part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional. The appeals court did not invalidate the rest of the law, although the ruling leaves the future of President Obama’s signature healthcare law in limbo. Seventeen million Americans could lose their healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act if the law is thrown out entirely.
In Australia, protesters have set up tents outside the prime minister’s home to demand urgent action on climate change, as Australia recorded its hottest day ever on record. On Wednesday, the average temperature soared to 107.4 degrees Fahrenheit, beating out the previous record, which had been set on Tuesday, only 24 hours earlier. Uncontrolled wildfires are raging across Australia, sending thick black smoke billowing across the continent, with smoke alarms going off in homes and offices across Sydney. On Tuesday, ABC News journalists were forced to broadcast the nightly news outside after smoke from the nearby fires set off the studio’s alarms in the capital Canberra. This is 14-year-old Ambrose Hayes speaking at the protest outside the Australian prime minister’s home Wednesday.
Ambrose Hayes: “We want to be listened to. We want a future. And if our government doesn’t act, there will be more protests like this. There have been so many recently, and this just shows how much of an issue this is.”
A new study has found United Nations peacekeepers stationed in Haiti between 2004 to 2017 fathered and abandoned hundreds of children there. The study is based on interviews with over 2,000 Haitians who lived near the U.N. peacekeepers’ bases and who spoke about the sexual exploitation and abuse of Haitian women and girls as young as 11 years old. The study is the latest evidence of international peacekeepers’ pattern of sexual abuse in Haiti — which included trading food for sex with women and children in desperate poverty.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, families are suing some of the world’s biggest tech companies after their children were killed or injured working in the country’s cobalt mines. The lawsuit accuses Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tesla and others of knowing that the cobalt used in their products could be linked to child labor. The families say extreme poverty drove their children to work in the dangerous mines, where they were paid as little as $2 a day. Some of the children were buried alive in tunnel collapses, while others were paralyzed or maimed. Democratic Republic of Congo produces 60% of the global supply of cobalt, which is used to produce the lithium batteries that power electric cars, laptops and smartphones.
A former Argentine police officer accused of carrying out torture and crimes against humanity during Argentina’s dictatorship has been extradited from France to Argentina. Mario Sandoval lived in France for more than 30 years, where he lectured at the New Sorbonne University. He was finally extradited Monday, more than a decade after his role in Argentina’s brutal dictatorship was revealed by an investigation in the Argentine newspaper Página/12.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 25 journalists were killed in 2019 and over 250 are in jail in relation to their work in countries around the world. The deadliest countries for journalists in 2019 were Syria and Mexico. The biggest jailers of journalists are China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
In Bolivia, prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for longtime Bolivian President Evo Morales, accusing the ousted leader of sedition and terrorism. Morales was forced to leave Bolivia after being ousted in what he and many others describe as a military coup. Morales says he has a right to return to Bolivia and help his Movement Toward Socialism party campaign in upcoming elections. This is Morales speaking from Argentina.
Evo Morales: “They need to let me enter Bolivia. I’m not a candidate, I won’t be a candidate in these elections, but I have a right to participate in politics like any politician.”
The Supreme Court has upheld protections for people who sleep or camp outdoors, after refusing to hear a case over whether cities could criminalize homelessness. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place an appeals court ruling that says the Constitution does not allow cities to prosecute people for sleeping or camping outside unless the city provides shelter for every single unhoused person in their jurisdiction. The legal decision comes as soaring rents and deepening economic inequality have led homelessness rates to soar in some U.S. cities. Click here to see our full report on the homelessness crisis in San Francisco, California.
In news on voting rights, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation to restore voting rights to more than 80,000 residents on probation or parole. The measure will take effect in March. Meanwhile, in Georgia, officials have removed more than 300,000 registered voters from the rolls. State officials say the voters were “inactive” and that the move is part of a routine maintenance. But voting rights activists say the purge, only three months before Georgia’s primary election, is undemocratic and part of a longer history of voter suppression in Georgia.
Uber has agreed to pay $4.4 million to settle sexual discrimination charges. The settlement stems from an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that found Uber “permitted a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation against individuals who complained about such harassment.”
The video surveillance footage of serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s first reported suicide attempt in July is reportedly missing. Prosecutors say the video of the area around Epstein’s jail cell inside the Manhattan Correctional Center on July 23 could not be located. Authorities have brought separate criminal charges against two prison guards who were on duty in August on the night Epstein reportedly hung himself.
In Wisconsin, a teenager is facing life in prison after she confessed to killing a 34-year-old man who she says raped her and trafficked her for sex. Randy Volar began sexually abusing Chrystul Kizer when she was 16 years old. He filmed the abuse. In February 2018, Volar was arrested on charges of child sexual assault — but he was then released without bail. Volar, who is white, remained free despite police having evidence he was sexually abusing a dozen black girls. In June 2018, Chrystul killed him after she says he attacked her when she refused to have sex with him. Chrystul is now facing charges of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence in Wisconsin.