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We’re covering the latest developments in the impeachment trial and last night’s Democratic presidential debate. We’re also introducing a major project involving the largest known leak of location-tracking data.
Ms. Pelosi is seeking to pressure Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, over the terms of the trial. But she also risks appearing to politicize a process that she has presented as a somber constitutional duty.
Some Democrats have suggested the possibility of denying Mr. Trump the chance to clear his name by never sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Mr. McConnell’s response: “Fine with me!”
What’s next: House lawmakers left Washington on Thursday for a two-week recess, so the dispute is unlikely to be resolved until the new year.
Closer look: Mr. Trump and his re-election campaign have embraced the challenge of convincing voters that he is right and his accusers are wrong.
Related: Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine, called for Mr. Trump to be removed from office, the most notable dissent to date from the religious conservative base that has long supported him. (Read its editorial here.)
Another angle: Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey pledged his “undying support” to Mr. Trump on Thursday as the lawmaker officially announced that he was becoming a Republican.
Perspective: Writers from our Opinion section ranked the candidates’ performance.
The details: Watch highlights and see which candidates got the most speaking time.
The road to a North American trade pact
The House overwhelmingly approved the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on Thursday, the result of an unusual partnership between Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s top trade negotiator, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The deal, which comes after nearly a year of negotiations, fulfills Mr. Trump’s pledge to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. It also satisfies nearly every Democratic priority, including strengthening environmental protection and labor standards.
What’s next: The measure is expected to be considered for a vote in the Senate early next year.
Another angle: Congress approved $1.4 trillion in spending on Thursday, averting a shutdown.
How Amazon squeezes sellers
Twenty years ago, the online retailer began allowing companies to list items on its site for a cut of the sale, enabling Amazon to become the one-stop shop that it’s known as today.
The move initially empowered sellers, giving them access to millions of customers. But bit by bit, they’ve lost control.
Amazon punishes businesses if their items are cheaper elsewhere. It also pushes them to use the company’s warehouses and to buy ads on the site.
How we know: The Times spoke to more than 60 current and former Amazon employees, sellers, suppliers and consultants, who detailed how the company dictated the rules, sometimes changing them with little warning. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity, for fear of retaliation.
Response: Amazon says that the rules are necessary to give customers a good experience and that it has invested billions of dollars to support sellers. “If sellers weren’t succeeding,” said one Amazon executive, “they wouldn’t be here.”
If you have time this weekend, this is worth it
Twelve million phones, tracked
The Times recently obtained a data file that contained 50 billion pings from more than 12 million smartphones, revealing the exact locations and activities of millions of people in America over several months from 2016 to 2017. The information was provided to us by sources who were alarmed by the power of the location-tracking industry.
Late-night comedy: For the hosts, the impeachment vote was the gift that kept on giving.
What we’re reading: New York magazine’s examination of this year’s internet archetypes (VSCO girl, wife guy…). Katie Rosman, a Styles reporter, says she loves the piece “even if I don’t understand many of its sentences.”
Now, a break from the news
Seasons occur because Earth, like most planets, does not spin perfectly upright. Its “axial tilt” is a jaunty 23.5 degrees. Uranus, by comparison, spins at 98 degrees.
Earth’s tilt helps moderate our solar exposure. The four seasons are comparatively mild and, thanks to our proximity to the sun, relatively brief.
Much of Uranus, by contrast, spends winters in permanent darkness and summers under constant sunlight. And those seasons last decades in Earth years.
“If there were creatures on Uranus — and I don’t think there are — seasonal affective disorder would be a lifetime thing,” Heidi Hammel, a planetary scientist, told The Times.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Mike Ives, on the briefings team, wrote the Back Story we used today for last year’s winter solstice. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the legislative career of Joe Biden.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Something bought and soled (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• To create an authentic portrait of a gritty, soon-to-be bygone part of New York, our photographer used a laborious 19th-century technique called tintype.