Impeachment: The final vote is near. Here’s a look at the big week ahead

So, where’s the closure for a divided country? Well, Democrats and Republicans alike think it could come in November’s presidential election, but we’ve got to get through this week before we can even begin to think about all that.
After a contentious and relatively quick Senate trial, the Republican majority is set to acquit Trump of the two articles of impeachment on a mostly party line vote at 4 p.m. ET, on Wednesday.

The vote will punctuate a busy week in the Democratic primary and follow a highly anticipated State of the Union address from the President.

Monday: Iowans cast the first major votes of 2020 during the state’s caucuses. Meanwhile in Washington, house managers and the President’s defense team will deliver closing arguments in the Senate trial.
Tuesday: Trump will give his State of the Union address in the House chamber at 9 p.m. ET.

Wednesday: The Senate is expected to hold the final impeachment vote to acquit Trump at 4 p.m. ET.

Friday: 2020 Democrats face off in New Hampshire in the final debate before the state’s February 11 primary.

‘We are the jury tomorrow’

Ahead of Trump’s anticipated acquittal, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is seeking to shift Democratic energy away from the impeachment trial saga and toward the 2020 campaign as a focal point for defeating Trump.
“As upsetting as what’s going on in the Senate is, the thing that I’m always reminding voters of, especially in these closing days of the Iowa caucuses, is that yeah, the Senate is the jury today, but we are the jury tomorrow and we get to send a message at the ballot box that cheating, lying, involving a foreign country in our own domestic politics — not to mention abuse of power more broadly and (a) bad administration — that that’s not okay, that we can do better,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

Buttigieg said Sunday that he thinks Republican senators “know better” and that “the only shock waves that will reunite them with their conscience is a thumping at the ballot box for Donald Trump and those who supported him.”

Buttigieg, much like the other candidates in the crowded Democratic field, is pitching himself as the person to beat the President come November.

“That’s why it is so important right now, beginning tomorrow even here in Iowa, that we have a candidate, a nominee, a campaign that can deliver that, that can bring together that American majority that is ready for something completely different from a presidency like Donald Trump’s,” he said.

Republicans delicately navigate Trump criticism

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst on Sunday defended Trump asking Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival, but said he did so “maybe in the wrong manner.”

“Generally speaking going after corruption would be the right thing to do, he did it maybe in the wrong manner,” the Iowa Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“But I think he could have done it through different channels. Now this is the argument … that he should have probably gone to the (Department of Justice), he should have worked through the entities, but he chose a different route.”

For months, Republicans have generally refrained from criticizing Trump’s actions involving Ukraine, but some have begun to concede that he may have acted improperly. Still, the party has remained largely aligned with the President, arguing Trump’s behavior does not rise to the threshold necessary to remove him from office in the Senate impeachment trial.

Ernst’s comments were echoed by Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander who called Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine “inappropriate.” But Lamar said that “what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“I think he shouldn’t have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I’d say — improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is who decides what to do about that,” Alexander said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors. I don’t think it’s the kind of inappropriate action that the framers would expect the Senate to substitute its judgment for the people in picking a president.”

John Bolton subpoena?

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff declined on Sunday to say whether the House will subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton after the bombshell revelations of his unpublished draft manuscript first reported by the New York Times. Schiff, the leading impeachment manager, did caution that “the truth will come out” in one form or another.

“I don’t want to comment to this point on what our plans may or may not be with respect to John Bolton, but I will say this: whether it’s before — in testimony before the House — or it’s in his (forthcoming) book or it’s in one form or another, the truth will come out (and) will continue to come out,” Schiff said in an interview with CBS when asked if the chamber would subpoena the former Trump administration official.

Iowa ✈️ DC

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet will all return from Iowa to Washington, DC, to be present Monday during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
  • According to a campaign aide, Sanders will make it back to the nation’s capital Sunday night and return to Iowa Monday afternoon to watch the results of the caucuses with supporters.
  • Warren will likely go back to DC Sunday evening and also return to Iowa by Monday night for the caucuses, a Warren aide told CNN.
  • Klobuchar, after a brief showing at her Super Bowl party in Iowa, will fly back to the nation’s capital to be in attendance for the impeachment trial. She is planning to return back to the Hawkeye State Monday before her caucus event.
  • Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, who was campaigning in New Hampshire over the weekend, will fly to Washington for the trial and return to the Granite State on Monday night during the caucuses, according to spokeswoman Shannon Beckham.

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