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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to delay sending the two articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Republican-controlled Senate, as she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sparred Thursday over her unprecedented move. In a historic vote Wednesday, the House of Representatives impeached President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But Pelosi then said she’d delay sending the charges to the Senate until she is certain there will be a fair trial. Majority Leader McConnell has said he is not an impartial juror and has vowed to closely coordinate any impeachment trial with the White House.
House lawmakers left Capitol Hill Thursday for a two-week vacation, meaning the battle over sending the articles of impeachment will continue into the new year. This is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters Thursday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I was not prepared to put the managers in that bill yet because we don’t know the arena that we are in. Frankly, I don’t care what the Republicans say.”
And this is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking from the floor of the Senate.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Some House Democrats imply they are withholding the articles for some kind of leverage so they can dictate the Senate process to senators. I admit I’m not sure what leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want. Meanwhile, other House Democrats seem to be suggesting they would prefer never to transmit the articles. Fine with me.”
In more news on impeachment, the most influential evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, has turned against Trump in an editorial entitled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.” The magazine founded by Billy Graham accused Trump of having a “grossly immoral character.”
And on Thursday, President Trump met with New Jersey Congressmember Jefferson Van Drew at the White House, after Van Drew announced he would switch parties and become a Republican following his decision to vote against impeaching President Trump.
Seven Democratic presidential candidates took the stage for a televised debate Thursday night at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. During the debate, the on-stage candidates — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang — spoke about impeachment, money in politics, immigration, the economy, climate change, healthcare and education. Meanwhile, off stage, two prominent presidential candidates of color — Corey Booker and Julián Castro — ran ads on Thursday to remind voters they are still in the race. The Democratic National Committee has come under fierce criticism for its debate criteria, which excluded Booker and Castro from the debate stage Thursday. After headlines, we’ll spend the rest of the hour hosting a roundtable discussion about Thursday’s debate.
The Senate passed a $1.4 trillion spending package Thursday to avoid a government shutdown. The package includes a $738 billion defense bill — one of the most expensive military bills in U.S. history. The spending package also includes $1.4 billion for Trump’s border wall and allocates $25 million for gun violence research for the first time in 20 years.
The House has passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — the replacement for NAFTA, or the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The new deal includes stronger labor and environmental provisions. American labor groups have backed the new trade deal. This is AFL-CIO labor union president Richard Trumka.
Richard Trumka: “It’s going to take a few years to begin to reverse the bad and the evil that was done by NAFTA, the harm that was done to our economy and to the manufacturing sector in our economy and to other sectors, as well. So, it’s going to take eight, 10, 12 years for this process to work through and reverse itself. But you never get to the end product if you don’t start somewhere.”
The original North American Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1994, devastating the livelihood of small farmers across Mexico.
In Lebanon, President Michel Aoun has named a former education minister and university professor as the next prime minister, after massive anti-government protests forced Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in late October. Hassan Diab is a professor at the American University of Beirut who is backed by Christian and Shiite political parties, including Hezbollah. On Thursday, crowds poured into the streets of Beirut and other cities to protest Diab’s nomination. This is Marwa El Basha in Beirut.
Marwa El Basha: “We are here today because we are not satisfied with the newly imposed prime minister, that was imposed without our consent nor the consent of many in Lebanon. We went to the streets to make our voice heard.”
In Brazil, the number of people killed by police is soaring. Last year, the police killed an average of 17 people every single day, according to official government data. But human rights activists say off-duty and retired police officers also regularly carry out extrajudicial killings as part of a state-sanctioned war on crime stoked by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said criminals should “die like cockroaches.”
In Sudan, hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets across the country to mark the first anniversary of the mass popular uprising that ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir. The protesters demanded justice for those killed during the popular protests last year and vowed to continue the political revolution. This is Fatma Ali.
Fatma Ali: “Thank God, the revolution is moving toward the right direction. But there’s still more to be done in the state. We’re asking about all those responsible. Where are they? And why aren’t they being punished? Those who are corrupt, such as the former President Omar al-Bashir, he should not be treated like a president. Al-Bashir belongs on trial at The Hague.”
In Washington state, Republicans are calling on their fellow Republican state lawmaker Matt Shea to step down, after a new report commissioned by the Washington state House Republicans found that Shea participated in domestic terrorism. The report found Shea planned, engaged in and promoted armed conflicts of political violence against the U.S. government between 2014 and 2016 as a leader of the anti-government Patriot Movement. The report also says Representative Matt Shea has cultivated close ties with armed anti-government militias since being elected in 2008. Representative Shea is resisting calls to resign, writing on Facebook Thursday night, “I will not back down. … Stand strong fellow Patriots.”
Amazon is facing criticism over its home security camera and “smart home” product called Ring, after a data leak exposed the personal information of over 3,000 users. The data breach, first exposed by Buzzfeed News, included emails, passwords and other sensitive information that would allow hackers to access live camera footage from inside every room of people’s homes. The data breach follows criticism over Ring’s cooperation with more than 400 police departments, giving cops the ability to use homeowners’ camera footage in their investigations. In October, a group of 30 civil rights groups published a joint letter demanding that lawmakers stop the police partnership, calling it a threat to civil rights and liberties, especially for black and brown communities.