BREAKING … SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI announced in a letter to Democrats that she is setting up a vote to send the articles of impeachment to the SENATE next week: “I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.
“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution.” The full letter … More from Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
TO REVIEW: DEMOCRATS say holding the articles fostered a conversation about whether witnesses should be involved in the impeachment trial. But, they concede, they were not able to win on other fronts. Many of their demands went completely ignored or dismissed by Senate Republicans. They didn’t get a say in the trial rules or even get to see the rules. But time was running out, and Democrats were beginning to get frustrated.
SO, LET’S PROJECT OUT A BIT: PELOSI is saying she’ll talk about this at caucus Tuesday. So, we can probably assume a Tuesday or Wednesday vote.
THE SENATE’S IMPEACHMENT GUIDELINES say this: “Upon such articles being presented to the Senate, the Senate shall, at 1 o’clock after noon of the day (Sunday excepted) following such presentation, or sooner if ordered by the Senate, proceed to the consideration of such articles and shall continue in session from day to day (Sundays excepted) after the trial shall commence (unless otherwise ordered by the Senate) until final judgment shall be rendered, and so much longer as may, in its judgment, be needful.”
REMEMBER: Next weekend is the three-day MLK weekend. The logistical elements of the trial will take a few days at the front end. The real trial won’t begin until post-MLK weekend in all likelihood. Senate GOP leadership has sent signals they intend to keep the trial going most weekends.
NEW SANCTIONS ON IRAN … From the White House briefing room this morning, Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO and Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN announced sanctions on eight top Iranian officials, Iranian steel and iron manufacturers and “three Seychelles-based entities.” Treasury’s press release
— POMPEO: “As long as Iran’s outlaw ways continue, we will continue to impose sanctions.”
— ON THE INTEL PROMPTING THE U.S. STRIKE … POMPEO: “We had specific information on an imminent threat. And those threats included attacks on U.S. embassies. Period, full stop. … We don’t know exactly which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear. … We would have been culpably negligent had we not recommended to the president that he take this action [on] Qassem Soleimani.”
— DEMOCRATIC SENATORS who received the classified briefing this week are already disputing Pompeo’s comments, accusing him of using an elastic definition of the word “imminent.”
— ON IRAN’S RETALIATORY STRIKES … POMPEO: “They had the full intention of killing U.S. forces, whether that was our military folks or diplomatic folks who were in the region.”
THE BEGINNING OF THE END? … AP/BAGHDAD: “Iraq’s caretaker prime minister asked Washington to start working out a road map for an American troop withdrawal … The request from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to his determination to push ahead with demands for U.S. troops to leave Iraq … In a phone call Thursday night, he told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that recent U.S. strikes in Iraq were an unacceptable breach of Iraqi sovereignty and a violation of their security agreements, his office said. …
“Abdul-Mahdi signaled he was standing by the push for the American forces to go despite recent signs of de-escalation between Tehran and Washington … Iraqis have felt furious and helpless at being caught in the middle of fighting between Baghdad’s two closest allies.” AP
— NOT SO FAST? … THE STATE DEPARTMENT put out a statement this morning saying, in part, “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East.” More from Bryan Bender
— POMPEO THIS MORNING: “Our mission set there is very clear. We’ve been there to perform a training mission to help the Iraqi security forces and to continue the campaign against ISIS — continue the counter-Daesh campaign. We’re going to continue that mission. But as times change and we get to a place where we can deliver upon what I believe and the president believes is our right structure, with fewer resources dedicated to that mission, we will do so.”
THEN THERE’S THIS … WAPO’S JOHN HUDSON, MISSY RYAN and JOSH DAWSEY: “On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen”: “The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
“The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.” WaPo
THE LATEST FROM TEHRAN — “Iran’s U.N. ambassador says missile strikes weren’t intended to kill Americans,” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly: “‘We said before we took our military action that we would choose the timing and the place, and we chose the place where the attack against (Iranian general Qasem) Soleimani was initiated,’ Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told CNN’s John Berman on ‘New Day’ Friday when asked about [VP Mike] Pence’s comments.
“‘And we do not consider a high number of casualties as an instrumental element in our calculations.’ … ‘[W]e are not interested, we are not looking after killing Americans within this operation.’” CNN
… AND ON THE CRASH — VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY (@ZekenskyyUa): “Had a phone call with @SecPompeo. Grateful for the condolences of the American people & valuable support of the U.S. in investigating the causes of the plane crash. Information obtained from the U.S. will assist in the investigation.”
Happy Friday afternoon.
JOBS REPORT — “U.S. adds 145,000 jobs; unemployment holds at 3.5%,” by AP’s Josh Boak: “[T]he job market remains strong at the start of 2020 even if hiring and wage gains have slowed somewhat more than a decade into an economic expansion. … Annual wage growth fell in December to 2.9%, down from an annualized average of 3.3% a year earlier, a possible sign that some slack remains in the labor market and that unemployment could fall even further from its current half-century low. …
“The prospect of a stable job market, a pick-up in global growth, supportive central banks, an easing of trade tensions and U.S. economic growth of around 2% should be a positive for this year. … Retail sales during the crucial holiday shopping improved 3.4% compared to the prior year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. … Still, the report suggests a lingering weakness in manufacturing.” AP
BIG MILESTONE — CNBC: “Dow breaches 29,000 for the first time”
HMM … BLOOMBERG’S CHRIS STROHM: “U.S. Probes If Russia Targeting Biden in 2020 Election Meddling”: “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials are assessing whether Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden in its ongoing disinformation efforts with the former vice president still the front-runner in the race to challenge President Donald Trump, according to two officials familiar with the matter. …
“Part of the inquiry is to determine whether Russia is trying to weaken Biden by promoting controversy over his past involvement in U.S. policy toward Ukraine while his son worked for an energy company there.” Bloomberg
— “‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020,” by NYT’s Matthew Rosenberg, Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger: “The National Security Agency and its British counterpart issued an unusual warning in October: The Russians were back and growing stealthier. Groups linked to Russia’s intelligence agencies, they noted, had recently been uncovered boring into the network of an elite Iranian hacking unit and attacking governments and private companies in the Middle East and Britain — hoping Tehran would be blamed for the havoc.
“For federal and state officials charged with readying defenses for the 2020 election, it was a clear message that the next cyberwar was not going to be like the last. … Yet interviews with dozens of officials and experts make clear that many of the vulnerabilities exploited by Moscow in 2016 remain. Most political campaigns are unwilling to spend what it takes to set up effective cyberdefenses. Millions of Americans are still primed to swallow fake news. And those charged with protecting American elections face the same central challenge they did four years ago: to spot and head off any attack before it can disrupt voting or sow doubts about the outcome.” NYT
TRUMPOLOGY — POLITICO MAGAZINE’S MICHAEL KRUSE: “Trump’s Art of the Steal”: “For as long as he has been in politics — in fact, for longer — he has been a ruthlessly effective practitioner of the art of parroting others’ most provocative, salacious ideas. ‘There are a lot of people that think …’ ‘That’s what I heard …’ ‘Some people even say …’ His gossipy M.O. was a staple of his campaign, propelling his historic victory, but it also has driven the scandal that has consumed his presidency — ‘I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike,’ he said on the now well-known call last July with President Volodymyr Zelensky. …
“In some sense, the entire impeachment process is a collision between Trump’s magnification of random, unverified rumors and an official regime of fact and process. The outcome will determine more than whether Trump is removed from office. It may well establish a new standard for what our government defines as true.” POLITICO Magazine
ELAINA PLOTT’S NYT debut, from Avalon, N.J.: “He Was Cruising in a G.O.P. Primary. Then Trump Endorsed an Ex-Democrat: David Richter had been the front-runner in his House primary in New Jersey. That changed when the Democratic incumbent announced he was becoming a Republican, with the president’s support.”
— “Democratic Lawmakers Try to Boost Asian-American Vote in Battleground States in 2020,” by WSJ’s Eliza Collins: “The lawmakers, who are involved with ASPIRE PAC, a political group that supports Asian-American and Pacific Islander candidates, each intend to ‘adopt’ a state, where they will hold events to try to counteract what the head of the group believes has been an organized effort by the Republican Party to appeal to these voters. …
“The program, details of which were shared with The Wall Street Journal, is relatively modest. It involves a half-dozen Asian-American and Pacific Islander members of Congress and will likely cost up to $100,000, [ASPIRE PAC Chair and Rep. Grace] Meng said. She believes that could make a difference in a state like Pennsylvania, which Ms. Meng has adopted.” WSJ
THE POLICY PRIMARY — “Is there a ‘Warren Doctrine’? These are the foreign policy veterans who are quietly advising her campaign,” by CNN’s MJ Lee: “[T]hese interviews paint a picture of a second-term senator who is deeply weary of U.S. military interventions, resists drawing distinctions between domestic and foreign policies, and has attracted to her presidential campaign a number of career diplomats who say Washington, as one adviser described it, is in urgent need of a ‘substantial rethink’ of how it conducts foreign policy.
“Those who spoke with CNN described emails, group text chains and conference calls where they brainstorm responses to urgent international events, help draft campaign statements and policy papers, and flag developments that they believe should be top of mind for Warren and her senior aides. They coordinate closely with Warren’s top foreign policy aide, Sasha Baker.” CNN
— ALSO SPOTTED in the story: Ilan Goldenberg, Jarrett Blanc, Alexandra Bell, Brittany Brown, Hady Amr, Mike Fuchs, Laurel Miller, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Robert Ford and Dave Rank.
— “How Pete Buttigieg would address infrastructure,” by Kelsey Tamborrino and Sam Mintz: “Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveiled a plan to pour more than $1 trillion into creating millions of jobs and updating U.S. infrastructure with an eye toward fending off the effects of climate change. The 17-page plan calls for working with states, cities and local governments to build sustainable infrastructure that also builds ‘opportunity, equity, and empowerment.’
“The proposal promises to create 6 million jobs with ‘strong labor protections;’ ensure access to clean drinking water while lowering water bills across the U.S. and protecting against lead in paint and water; repair roads and bridges in poor condition by 2030; and invest in sustainable infrastructure that enables 50 percent of the country to grow over the next 10 years.” POLITICO … The plan
— AMY KLOBUCHAR is out with a plan for ensuring equal rights and opportunities for disabled people. She calls for fully funding the IDEA, passing health care legislation “to expand access to home and community-based services,” expanding hiring tax credits and training programs, and more. Medium post
— “Steyer wants climate change refugees to enter U.S. legally,” by AP’s Will Weissert: “Like a lot of his White House rivals, Steyer is promising to use executive action to reinstate Obama administration protections for people brought to the country illegally as children. He’d do the same to nullify President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and end the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.” AP
SPEAKING OF CLIMATE REFUGEES … AFTERNOON READ from THE NEW YORKER’S CAROLYN KORMANN: “The Cost of Fleeing Climate Change: How an adoption racket in Arkansas offered a way off the Marshall Islands.”
AP’S TODD RICHMOND in Woodridge, Ill.: “Army Reserve leaders accused of mishandling assault claims”: “Amy Braley Franck, a civilian victim advocate with the 416th Theater Engineer Command, provided the AP with documents that show the command launched internal investigations into at least two complaints rather than refer them to the Army’s criminal investigation division as required by military policy and federal law. In a third case, they placed an alleged victim on a firing range with someone she had accused of sexual harassment, causing her to fear for her safety.
“Commanders also have failed to hold monthly sexual assault management meetings, as required by DOD policy since 2006. And they ran the company without a sexual assault response coordinator for nearly a year and suspended Braley Franck after she alerted the Army to the internal investigations, she said.” AP
TV TONIGHT — Bob Costa sits down with Jake, NYT’s Carl Hulse, WaPo’s Ashley Parker and WSJ’s Nancy Youssef at 8 p.m. on PBS’ “Washington Week.”
TRANSITIONS — Neil Grace is now head of North America media relations at McKinsey. He previously was senior comms adviser at the FCC.
BONUS BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Freddy Gray, deputy editor of The Spectator and editor of Spectator USA, is 4-0. How he got his start in journalism: “I worked at Mizz Magazine, which believe it or not is a teenage girly magazine. I discovered, in their archives, that they had given Kate Moss her first photoshoot, which they liked and so kept me on. I then went to work as a reporter at The Catholic Herald, a weekly newspaper, which is when I realised I wanted do journalism for life.” Playbook Q&A