On the opening day of just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, the Senate approved the rules for the trial of President Trump in a party-line vote, following a nearly 13-hour marathon session. Republican senators rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses, including former national security adviser John Bolton. Democrats repeatedly accused the Republican leadership of orchestrating a cover-up by blocking witnesses at this stage in the trial. This is House impeachment manager Jerry Nadler.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler: “Ambassador Bolton has made clear that he is ready, willing and able to testify about everything he witnessed. But President Trump does not want you to hear from Ambassador Bolton. And the reason has nothing to do with executive privilege or this other nonsense. And the reason has nothing to do with national security. If the president cared about national security, he would not have blocked military assistance to a vulnerable strategic ally in the attempt to secure a personal political favor for himself. No, the president does not want you to hear from Ambassador Bolton, because the president does not want the American people to hear firsthand testimony about the misconduct at the heart of this trial.”
The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Since the House vote to impeach Trump, more evidence has come to light about the Trump administration’s actions, but it remains unclear if any of this evidence will be presented to the Senate. Just before midnight, the Office of Management and Budget released nearly 200 pages of heavily redacted records related to the Trump administration’s handling of aid to Ukraine.
President Trump called climate activists “prophets of doom” in his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On the top of this year’s agenda at Davos is climate change. Teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who is attending Davos, responded to Trump by saying, “In case you hadn’t noticed, [the world] is currently on fire.” Spain’s new leftist coalition government has declared a climate emergency and says it will send ambitious climate legislation to the parliament within 100 days. The legislation, aimed at avoiding the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, will include achieving zero carbon emissions in Spain by 2050.
In Australia, uncontrollable fires are continuing to rage across the continent. Officials are warning residents near the capital’s suburbs to take shelter inside their homes today as a massive fire approaches the Canberra airport. In addition to killing 29 people and more than 1 billion animals, the unprecedented fires in Australia have also released massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, which will even further fuel the climate crisis.
In Syria, Russian-led airstrikes killed at least 40 people in the northwestern province of Idlib Tuesday as the Russian-backed Syrian government continues its offensive to take control of the last major Syrian territory controlled by anti-government forces. Residents say at least eight children were among the victims.
Lebanon has formed a new government, amid months of massive anti-government demonstrations against corruption and economic inequality that forced former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign in October. On Tuesday night, new Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced a Cabinet of 20 ministers he said were independent. But experts and protesters say the ministers represent Lebanon’s existing parties and entrenched political elites. This is protester Rabih al-Zein.
Rabih al-Zein: “This establishment and these leaders do not represent us. This government doesn’t reflect us. We want a government made of our own. We want the money that was stolen. We want healthcare, power supply and early parliamentary elections.”
In immigration news, a Honduran mother and her two young daughters have been deported to Guatemala despite pleas from lawyers and advocates to halt the deportation because the two children had been ill and recently hospitalized. The family’s attorney said the girls — ages 18 months and 6 years old — were in no condition to be deported, but a federal judge in McAllen, Texas, upheld the removal on Monday. Over 200 Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers, including at least 50 children, have already been deported to Guatemala.
Meanwhile, the Mexican National Guard on Monday attacked members of a caravan of asylum seekers at the Guatemala-Mexico border as the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador seeks to prevent the asylum seekers from reaching the United States border. Troops with riot gear were filmed chasing and pushing asylum seekers, who are mostly from Honduras, tackling them to the ground and throwing what appears to be tear gas.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sparked controversy by slamming presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders in a new documentary series and refusing to say whether she would support Sanders if he wins the presidential nomination in an interview yesterday. But Tuesday night, Clinton backpedaled, writing, “The number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”
On Tuesday, the psychologist identified as the “architect” of the CIA’s torture program testified for the first time in the war court at Guantánamo Bay. James Mitchell was in the courtroom for a pretrial hearing for five 9/11 suspects who had been subject to torture, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation. In 2014, James Mitchell confirmed he personally waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times.
The Guardian reports Jeff Bezos’s cellphone was hacked by an infected video file sent by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The hacking reportedly occurred in 2018 and included large amounts of data extracted from Bezos’s phone only hours after he received the video sent by the Saudi crown prince. Jeff Bezos is the head of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, which reported extensively on the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA says Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s killing. The Saudi Embassy denies that the kingdom hacked Bezos’s phone.
In Boston, an Iranian student attending Northeastern University was detained at the airport and then deported from the United States, despite arriving to Boston’s Logan International Airport with a valid student visa Sunday. Twenty-four-year-old Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein was deported Monday even though a Massachusetts district court judge granted him an emergency stay of removal. In response, the ACLU of Massachusetts said, “Given the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies and CBP’s troubling practice at Logan Airport of sending students with valid visas back to Iran, it is shameful that the government defied a federal court order and deported Shahab without due process.”
In Phoenix, Arizona, the family of a 19-year-old black teen who was shot by police with a rubber bullet in the chest and tackled to the ground is demanding the officers be immediately fired. Dion Humphrey has a developmental disability and is a sickle cell patient. He was attacked by police on January 10 when the officers allegedly confused him for his older half-brother who had an arrest warrant. The officers shot him with a rubber bullet, tackled him, stepped on Humphrey’s back, denied him medical attention, and interrogated him for seven hours. This is Dion Humphrey speaking to the family’s spokesperson, Rev. Jarrett Maupin, in the hospital.
Rev. Jarrett Maupin: “So, Dion, you’re here. You survived your encounter with police. How are you feeling? How does your body feel?”
Dion Humphrey: “I’m feeling like I’m — my body, like burning. The pain that I have, the incident done, that I have right here, is burning. And it’s hard for me to breathe. And it’s just so heavy.”
Rev. Jarrett Maupin: “And this is from the police beating you up?”
Dion Humphrey: “Yes.”
In Brazil, federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald, after The Intercept published the “Secret Brazil Archive.” The series offers new and damning insight into the sweeping anti-corruption campaign that brought down former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and paved the way for the election of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The move to file a criminal complaint against Greenwald has sparked international outrage, and many are condemning the move as an attack on the free press in Brazil. We’ll go to Brazil for more on this story later in the broadcast.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about sunscreen, saying that seven chemicals can be absorbed into the bloodstream after only a single application of sunscreen. The levels of the chemicals absorbed exceed safety standards and have not been fully tested. The FDA is calling on the sunscreen industry to conduct further testing, but it is not telling people to stop using sunscreen.
Boeing has officially stopped production of the flawed 737 MAX airliner, which has been grounded worldwide since March following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed all 346 people on board. Recently released internal emails show Boeing employees talking about deceiving federal regulators and joking about potential safety flaws in the plane’s design.
In California, the Oakland City Council has passed the Fair Chance Access to Housing Ordinance, which will prohibit landlords from asking potential tenants about their criminal history. The new measure will also prohibit landlords from rejecting tenants for having a criminal record. The Berkeley City Council is expected to vote on a similar ordinance next month.
In New Jersey, Rutgers University has named its first African-American president in the school’s 253-year history. Jonathan Holloway is a historian, author and expert in African-American studies, specializing in post-emancipation U.S. history. He previously served as the provost of Northwestern University and, before that, as the dean of Yale College.