IF WE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, it’s that he uses the power afforded to him quite liberally, in a way that makes his opponents red with anger and most of his allies gleeful. We’ve seen it during Supreme Court confirmations, and now we’re seeing it with impeachment.
MCCONNELL has orchestrated the Senate trial of President DONALD TRUMP thusly: The president’s attorneys and the House impeachment managers each have 24 hours to use over the course of two calendar days to present their case, condensing the meat of the trial into what could be as short as four days in total. These rules will likely have the Senate in session all night and into the wee hours of the morning, as it tries TRUMP for high crimes and misdemeanors. Another highlight: Evidence gathered in the House investigation must be admitted by vote — nothing is automatic. MCCONNELL announced that he had the support of all Republican senators for his rule package weeks ago, essentially ensuring its passage.
THINK OF IT THIS WAY: This could be all over by sometime next week — ahead of the State of the Union on Feb. 4.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER called the resolution McConnell will formally introduce later today a “national disgrace,” and said it’s designed to acquit the president quickly. Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine on McConnell’s plan for a “speedy trial” … The resolution
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY as the trial gets started:
— IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON, Democrats and Republicans have their party lunches in the Capitol.
— AROUND 1 P.M., MCCONNELL will offer his resolution, which will detail the rules for the Senate’s trial. Each side has an hour for debate.
— AROUND 3 P.M., SCHUMER will move to amend the rule package to allow for witnesses and documents at the front end of the trial. That is also subject to debate for an hour on each side.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW: How exactly SCHUMER is going to try to amend the rule package. He can force one vote, or multiple votes seeking to amend the package in different ways. Democrats’ priority is to force votes on guaranteeing witnesses and document production as part of the trial. BUT: Democrats’ efforts to amend the package are almost certain to fail.
— ONCE DEMOCRATS finish trying to amend the rules, there will be a vote on the package and the trial will then begin.
DEMOCRATS’ HIVE MIND: The reason they want to try to force witnesses at the front end of the trial is threefold: If a witness is subpoenaed, it will take days to work out a deal for their testimony, so they might as well do it concurrent with the trial; why start hearing arguments and asking questions when you know there could be more information out there? And when the testimony from House managers and Trump’s defense team starts, there is no guarantee Republicans will allow witnesses.
JOHN BRESNAHAN and BURGESS EVERETT: “Here are the five Senate factions that will decide Trump’s fate”: “The Three Amigos, Part Deux: The Republican triumvirate of Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) have been the center of a media frenzy for weeks. … The key issue for this moderate group — and maybe the biggest question for the entire Trump trial — is whether there will be a fourth Republican who joins them. The likelihood of that happening is pretty low at this point, however.
“Republican Institutionalists: If Democrats are to get a fourth GOP vote for witnesses, their best bet is from a group of veteran Republicans who believe in protecting the Senate prerogatives or are retiring and thus have less to fear from a vengeful Trump. This group include Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).
“Trump Hardliners: [T]here are a number [of senators] — such as Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, for instance — who have blasted Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats and the media for a ‘sham impeachment’ that isn’t going to result in Trump’s ouster.
“Democratic Moderates: There’s a small group of Senate Democrats who are in play for GOP leaders and the White House. This group includes Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Doug Jones of Alabama, the most endangered Senate Democrat this fall, wants to hear from witnesses, but he has also called for Trump to ‘get a fair trial.’
“Trump Is Guilty Already Democrats: Like the Senate Republican Conference, most of the Democratic Caucus has already made up its mind — Trump is guilty, but let’s get more witnesses and documents anyway — even if they don’t say it publicly. So they’ll loudly back Schumer’s motions for witnesses, they’ll have sharp questions for Trump’s defense team, and they’ll complain mightily when the trial is over that Trump was acquitted by a Republican majority that is interested in political survival rather than the truth. And then they will use this case, and everything Trump has done over the last three years, to try to take over the Senate in November.”
NYT’S ANNIE KARNI with POTUS in Davos: “Before the Senate impeachment trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, President Trump was more than 4,000 miles away from Washington, in this glitzy Alpine village, planning to drive a competing narrative — one that has nothing to do with pressure on Ukraine, abuse of power or obstruction of Congress. …
“Mr. Trump, aides said, planned to highlight the first phase of his trade deal with China and another with Mexico and Canada, accomplishments he thinks are being overshadowed by a focus on an impeachment trial he is trying to dismiss as a ‘hoax.’ And the audience was expected to be friendly — to his face, at least — having warmed to him over the past two years because they have benefited from his policies.” NYT
JOHN HARRIS COLUMN: “Isn’t That Special: Trump, Impeachment and American Exceptionalism”
NEW … WAPO’S RACHAEL BADE and KAROUN DEMIRJIAN are writing a book about the impeachment process called “Impeached.” The book will be focused on Capitol Hill. William Morrow is the publisher, and Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer at Javelin sold the book. Here’s how they describe it: “Impeached” will be a “deftly reported inside look at the biggest constitutional showdown of our generation—Trump’s impeachment—with behind-the-scenes details about the historic interparty clash on Capitol Hill.”
Good Tuesday morning.
NEW … UNITE THE COUNTRY, a super PAC aimed at boosting JOE BIDEN, is running a new ad in Iowa called “The Storm.” The spot shows stormy seas and on the screen flashes “Battling the Storm … Joe Biden. A President to Right the Ship. … The Democrat Who Can Lead Through the Storm,” all while Biden is talking about his experience working in government. The 30-second spot
SIX TICKETS OUT OF IOWA (or more), via Natasha Korecki: “The Iowa caucuses have ended a long line of weak White House bids, traditionally culling the presidential primary field to just two or three viable candidates. But this year’s unique dynamics have a very real scenario shaping up that could mean at least a half dozen — or maybe more — candidates move to New Hampshire and beyond …
“‘If you look historically, only three candidates have come out of Iowa earning delegates in the modern era; there’s never been more than three who have broken the 15 percent threshold,’ said Jeff Berman, a delegate guru now with the [Tom] Steyer team who was a key figure in Barack Obama’s successful 2008 campaign. In 2020, Berman said, ‘There may be more tickets out of Iowa than ever before.’ …
“The probability that Iowa fails to produce a breakout frontrunner and instead sends through more than a half-dozen candidates is the latest turn in a tumultuous primary that began with a historically large and diverse field. It’s indicative of a contest that’s long from settled; with just two weeks until the Feb. 3 caucuses, there’s still a looming question over what, exactly, the Iowa results will mean. Aides with [Amy] Klobuchar, Steyer and [Andrew] Yang indicated that there’s almost no scenario that would cause their candidate to drop out before New Hampshire.” POLITICO
BERNIE’S GOODBYE, via Des Moines Register’s Nick Coltrain: “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders made a plea Monday to his supporters in Des Moines: It’ll be up to them to carry his Iowa campaign across the finish line.
“The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump means he won’t be spending as much time in Iowa as he would have liked, he said at a Des Moines rally. But, he joked, it just means his campaign slogan — ‘Not me. Us.’ — will need to be a little more literal in the homestretch of the first-in-the-nation nominating caucus.
“‘Ironically, the “us, not me,” is becoming very much a reality in the last two weeks of this campaign, because I’m not going to be able to be here as much as I would like,’ Sanders told a crowd of more than 750 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. ‘So you guys are going to have to carry the ball.’” DMR
A PRIVATE PLANE went from Columbia, S.C., to Des Moines to DCA on Monday. On Saturday, it went from Burlington, Vt., to New Hampshire, and on Sunday it went on to Columbia. The jet
MEANWHILE … MIAMI HERALD: “Michael Bloomberg campaign scores prominent Miami politico as Florida primary nears,” by Joey Flechas: “Two-term Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, whose time in City Hall mirrors Bloomberg’s mayoral tenure in New York, is joining the campaign as a policy advisor and surrogate weeks before the first votes are cast in the 2020 presidential primary season. Diaz will serve as the campaign’s national political co-chair, along with former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Diaz will also co-chair Bloomberg’s Florida campaign.”
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — THE PRESIDENT was slated to give an address in Davos in the 5 a.m. hour Eastern time. At 6:15 a.m., he is slated to speak with Klaus Schwab, who runs the World Economic Forum. At 6:35 a.m., the president is scheduled to participate in a reception with the International Business Council. At 8:30 a.m., he is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. At 10:15 a.m., he will speak with Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga. At 11:20 a.m., he will meet with Pakistani PM Imran Khan. At 12:30 p.m., he will have dinner with CEOs before heading back to his hotel.
THE PRESIDENT’S OTHER DAVOS BILATS: Iraqi President Barham Salih; Nechirvan Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Follow along with Davos Playbook
BOSTON GLOBE: “Northeastern University student from Iran faces possible deportation,” by Jeremy Fox and Max Jungreis: “An Iranian student planning to enter Northeastern University for the spring semester was detained at Logan International Airport by immigration officials and a hearing will be held Tuesday in federal court to determine his status, according to lawyers and the university.
“Attorneys for Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, filed an emergency petition Monday night to block his deportation and allow him attend the university. They are set to go before a judge at 10 a.m. at US District Court in Boston.” Boston Globe
FOR THOSE KEEPING TABS — “Lev Parnas Asks Barr to Recuse Himself From Criminal Case,” by NYT’s Benjamin Weiser and Ben Protess: “Lawyers for Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who was involved in the campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rivals of President Trump, asked on Monday that Attorney General William P. Barr disqualify himself from overseeing his criminal case because he has too many conflicts of interest.
“Mr. Parnas, who was charged in October in Manhattan with violating federal campaign finance laws, requested that a special prosecutor instead be appointed to handle his case.
“‘It is in the public interest to remove this matter entirely from the Department of Justice,’ Mr. Parnas’s lawyers wrote to Mr. Barr. The lawyers, Joseph A. Bondy and Stephanie R. Schuman, argued that federal prosecutors working for Mr. Barr should not be involved in his case because Mr. Barr had participated in some of the same activity for which Mr. Parnas was being investigated.” NYT
PLAN B … WAPO’S ROBERT COSTA and RACHAEL BADE: “Trump’s lawyers, Senate GOP allies work privately to ensure Bolton does not testify publicly”: “President Trump’s legal defense team and Senate GOP allies are quietly gaming out contingency plans should Democrats win enough votes to force witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, including an effort to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from the spotlight, according to multiple officials familiar with the discussions. …
“One option being discussed … would be to move Bolton’s testimony to a classified setting because of national security concerns, ensuring that it is not public.” WaPo
WSJ’S GREG IP in Davos: “Mnuchin Warns U.K., Italy Over Digital-Tax Plans”: “Italy and Britain will face U.S. tariffs if they proceed with a tax on digital companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned.
“Mr. Mnuchin issued the warning after France agreed to delay the imposition of its own digital tax in the face of threats of steep U.S. tariffs on French exports. Mr. Mnuchin said French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to hold off on the tax through the end of the year while the two countries work out a permanent resolution.
“The truce is ‘the beginning of a solution,’ Mr. Mnuchin said an interview with The Wall Street Journal at a Journal-sponsored event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.” WSJ
FOR YOUR RADAR … REUTERS/BEIJING: “With millions of Asians traveling on Tuesday for the Lunar New Year holiday, authorities in China confirmed that a new virus could be spread through human contact, reporting 15 medical staff had been infected and a fourth person had died. The chilling update on the coronavirus outbreak that began in the central city of Wuhan sent shivers through financial markets, as the World Health Organization called a meeting for Wednesday to consider declaring an international health emergency.”
REMEMBER HIM? … TEXAS TRIBUNE: “Big bucks — and a big donor — fuel Allen West’s bid for Texas GOP chair,” by Patrick Svitek: “For months, the race for Texas GOP chair has been in full swing, with incumbent James Dickey and his high-profile challenger, Allen West, appearing at a slew of at times feisty forums.
“But it was not until last week that the two had to disclose their campaign finances for the first time — and West’s report brought something of a bombshell: Not only did the former Florida congressman raise nearly half a million dollars — a large amount for such an election — but $250,000 of it came from a single person. That person: Richard Uihlein, the conservative megadonor and shipping supplies magnate from Illinois.”
BOOK CLUB — Rev. Al Sharpton’s “RISE UP: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads,” will be published by Hanover Square Press on Sept. 15, covering “the highlights of the Obama administration, the 2016 election, and Trump’s subsequent hold on the GOP.”
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPOTTED: Chuck Schumer on an Acela train arriving to D.C. late Monday night.
TRANSITION — Tim Urban is now a senior principal at Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group. He previously was a principal at EY.
ENGAGED — Blake Waggoner, a PR strategist and Targeted Victory and John Kasich alum, and Erin Bottger, state government affairs manager at Verizon, got engaged Saturday. They met 10 years ago while working at the Nebraska GOP and reconnected when Waggoner moved back from D.C. Pic
BIRTHWEEK (was Monday): CBS’ Peter Greenberg
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Becca Glover, director at the Brunswick Group. A fun fact about her: “I have a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the first 12 seasons of ‘The Simpsons.’ My favorite vignette for Halloween (Treehouse of Horrors) episodes is ‘The Attack of the 50 Foot Eyesores.’” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) is 59 … Eric Holder is 69 … Gary Locke, former Commerce secretary and U.S. ambassador to China, is 7-0 … Will Holley, partner at Firehouse Strategies … Sam Feist, CNN Washington bureau chief and SVP … Matt Hoye, CNN WH supervising producer … Getty photographer Win McNamee (h/ts Kevin Bohn) … Tyler Cowen, GMU economist and Marginal Revolution blogger, is 58 … Matt Cooper … John Shinkle … L.A. Times’ Jen Haberkorn … Will Bunch is 61 … Nahiomy Alvarez … Lynn Schusterman is 81 … Jim Davidson … Joe Donoghue … Bob Sensenbrenner … Chris Donovan, executive editorial producer at ABC News, is 45 … Josh Isay, CEO at SKDKnickerbocker … former Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) is 62 … Edelman’s Sean Neary and Lyla Shaibi … Annie Swenson … POLITICO Europe’s Helen Collis … Michael Comer, digital director for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) …
… Jonathan Grella, president and CEO of JAG Public Affairs … James Waters is 41 … Michael Anderson … Bailey Roman, Iowa trip director for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign (h/t Casey Clemmons) … Christopher Spillane … Michael Vanzetta … Jack Weiss … Brian Kupfer is 45 … Roberto Coquis … Alex Plitsas is 35 … Morgan Currier … Matt Friedman, communications and outreach manager for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission … Elizabeth Wickett … Cindi Leive … Jordan Grossman … Collin Hansen … Forrest Brown … Tommy McKone … Ron Bell … Tony Reinke … Kyle O’Connor … Caite Irvine … Margaret Olmos … Josh Warren … Michael Lemov … Katie Loovis … Rich Juliano … Len Colodny is 82 … Cynthia Faulkner … Amy Allman … Steve Rosenthal is 67 … Campbell Spencer (h/ts Teresa Vilmain and Shari Yost Gold) … Jeff Simmons … Marisa Renee Lee … Oliver Griswold