The House of Representatives is slated to vote today to send the articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. Today’s vote will set in motion only the third presidential impeachment trial in all of U.S. history. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to name the impeachment managers in a news conference this morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in senators as jurors later this week, and the impeachment trial will start next Tuesday.
The Washington Post reports explosive new information at the center of the impeachment inquiry. New materials released by House Democrats show text messages between former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, in which the two have threatening exchanges about Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. In the text messages, Parnas and Hyde discuss how Yovanovitch was under surveillance. In one message, Hyde wrote, “They are willing to help if we/you would like a price. … Guess you can do anything in the Ukraine with money…what I was told.” In another message, Hyde described being in contact with a security team near the embassy, apparently monitoring her physical movements. He wrote, “Her phone is off. Computer is off. … They will let me know when she’s on the move.” Yovanovitch later received a call from the State Department and was told to leave Ukraine immediately. Her lawyer is now calling for an investigation. Yovanovitch has repeatedly said she felt threatened by Trump, who called her “bad news” in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. During this call, Trump also said of Yovanovitch, “She’s going to go through some things.”
Iranian leaders say they will seek to file a criminal case against the United States at the International Criminal Court over the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. This is Iranian judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili.
Gholamhossein Esmaili: “Our intention is to file a criminal case against the U.S. military, against the U.S. government and against the U.S. president himself in the Islamic republic, in Iraq and in the International Criminal Court.”
This comes as, in the United States, a revised version of a war powers resolution aimed at limiting President Trump’s ability to take further military action against Iran without congressional approval appears to have garnered enough votes to pass the Senate, after two more Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Todd Young of Indiana — came out supporting the resolution. A similar version of the legislation has already passed the House.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has obtained security camera footage that shows two missiles hitting Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran a week ago, killing all 176 people aboard. The plane, headed to Kiev, was mistakenly shot down by the Iranian military after Iran fired ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq that house Iraqi and U.S. troops in retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination.
In Des Moines, Iowa, six Democratic candidates took to the stage on Tuesday night in the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. For the first time this election cycle, every candidate on the stage was white: former Vice President Joe Biden; Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and billionaire investor Tom Steyer. After headlines, we’ll play highlights from the debate and host a roundtable.
In Puerto Rico, at least 5,000 people are living in shelters nearly one week after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island, causing at least $110 million in damage and plunging nearly the entire population into darkness in a mass power outage that lasted for days. Puerto Rico’s public power utility said on Monday electricity has been almost entirely restored on the island. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who traveled to Puerto Rico this week, is criticizing the Trump administration’s lack of aid to the island after the earthquake and has authorized the deployment of 115 National Guard members to Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans living in New York City are also criticizing the lack of aid to the island and are mobilizing to hold their own fundraisers, saying they don’t trust the federal government to help Puerto Rico, after its inadequate response to the devastating Hurricane Maria.
Human Rights Watch has blasted China in its new report, accusing the Chinese government of human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and protesters in Hong Kong, as well as efforts to censor Chinese citizens living abroad. This comes as China has barred the head of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth from entering Hong Kong to present the report. This is Kenneth Roth responding to officials’ claims they had barred his entry for “immigration reasons,” even though U.S. citizens are entitled to visit Hong Kong for up to three months without a visa.
Kenneth Roth: “Why did Beijing put forth this preposterous explanation for barring me? I think the reason is that the Chinese government is terrified of admitting this genuine desire for democracy on territory that they rule, because if they admit that this is an indigenous and natural, a spontaneous desire, rather than what they claim — it’s a foreign imposition, it’s Human Rights Watch inciting people — then what’s happening in Hong Kong might spread to the mainland. And that’s really the big fear.”
In Honduras, a new report by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University says that at least 15 women have been murdered in the first 14 days of this year. Violence against women, LGBTQ people, indigenous leaders and environmental activists has skyrocketed in Honduras under the U.S.-backed government of President Juan Orlando Hernández. Honduran media reports another migrant caravan has congregated in San Pedro Sula and is preparing to head north, as violence and poverty continue to push Hondurans to flee the country.
An American citizen has died in an Egyptian prison after a series of lengthy hunger strikes protesting his imprisonment. Moustafa Kassem was arrested in 2013 amid a massive crackdown following Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s military takeover of Egypt. Kassem said he had no links to politics or opposition groups, but he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on political charges he said were false. He died on Monday. Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. military aid, after Israel. President Trump has frequently praised Egyptian leader el-Sisi, even as he has imprisoned tens of thousands of people on political charges since 2013.
In Seattle, the City Council has voted to ban most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations in an attempt to obstruct multinational tech companies from influencing local elections. The legislation’s author, City Council President Lorena González, said the ban could potentially apply to Amazon, despite the company being based in Seattle, because the legislation will also cover businesses that are substantively owned by foreign investors. In a statement, González said, “We have an epidemic of big money in our elections, and this step helps to address the appearance and risk of corruption.”
The popular game show “Jeopardy!” has apologized, saying it never meant to broadcast this question about the location of the Church of the Nativity that sparked outrage last week.
Alek Van Houghton: “Church, 200.”
Alex Trebek: “Built in the 300s AD, the Church of the Nativity. Katie?”
Katie Needle: “What is Palestine?”
Alex Trebek: “No. Jack?”
Jack McGuire: “What is Israel?”
Alex Trebek: “That’s it. And that takes you to $2,200. You’re still in third place, however, which of course means that you get to go first in double jeopardy.”
In fact, the Church of the Nativity is located in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, which is occupied by Israel in violation of international law. After Palestinian and human rights activists called on “Jeopardy!” to apologize, the game show said that it had broadcast this question by mistake, after ruling during the show’s taping that the question was flawed and that “determining an acceptable response would be problematic.”
In Oakland, California, at least four people were arrested after sheriff’s deputies carried out a pre-dawn militarized raid aimed at evicting a group of mothers who had moved into a vacant house, owned by real estate investment firm Wedgewood Properties. The group, Moms 4 Housing, is fighting homelessness and real estate speculation that has made housing unaffordable in Oakland and across the country. Just after 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, dozens of armed deputies, including a tactical team, descended on the house on Magnolia Street, broke down the door with a battering ram and sent a robot into the house — allegedly to search for possible “threats.” The deputies then arrested two mothers who were living in the house, as well as two of their supporters. All four were released on bail Tuesday afternoon. This is Carroll Fife of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment speaking after the eviction.
Carroll Fife: “I just wanted to let y’all know. Don’t leave here today with your heads down like this was not a victory. The intention was not to get this house. The intention was to spark a movement. And the only way you should leave is if you don’t commit to that movement.”