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How Nancy Pelosi bested Mitch McConnell on the impeachment showdown

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she will send the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate “soon.” The short pause between the House vote and handing the articles to the Senate has been largely due to new information being released despite the president’s block on documents and people testifying.

A Washington Post column by Henry Olsen explained that Pelosi clearly bested Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the showdown on impeachment.

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“Withholding the articles allowed her to show progressives that she would fight, not just acquiesce, to remove Trump from office,” wrote Olsen. “She also wins by pinning the blame for Trump’s eventual acquittal on McConnell. Democratic failure to persuade Trump backers to even consider impeaching the president has always meant the Senate trial’s outcome is a foregone conclusion. By holding the articles and forcing McConnell to do what he was going to do — run the trial his way — Pelosi gives Democrats a scapegoat for their eventual failure to remove Trump. They can blame McConnell’s allegedly unfair and prejudicial rules for the debacle rather than their own failure to bring even a small portion of the non-Democratic electorate behind them. Since Democrats already view McConnell as a mendacious partisan, this is an easy sell.”

Trump will never be completely exonerated, despite his lobbying efforts to Republican senators. Unless McConnell decides to hold a legitimate trial, the outcome will forever be seen as the questionable and corrupt resolution of a sham trial and process.

By pushing the timetable back, Pelosi also worked outside the distractions of the holidays to ensure Americans were paying attention.

“Now, however, they won’t be able to start the trial until after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend,” Olsen explained.

He explained that no matter what Pelosi did, she knew she had the weaker hand without a Senate leader willing to hold a trial.

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“Pelosi was always going to be playing a weak hand once the articles left the House. She’s played a poor hand exceedingly well, using the articles to give a boost to her chances of returning as speaker next year. That’s an excellent use of a holiday vacation period,” Olsen closed.

Read the full piece at the Washington Post.

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GOP senators are questioning allegiance to Trump as impeachment becomes a reality: Morning Joe panel

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According to members of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.

Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators -- including several who are retiring -- are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.

"David Ignatius, you know, we've known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers," Scarborough began. "I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that's coming in, that's come in since the House impeached."

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Furious Trump grilling aides on how impeachment is playing with voters: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, a furious Donald Trump spent Thursday afternoon huddled with close White House aides worrying how voters are reacting to his impeachment as it heads to a Senate trial.

Following an afternoon where he tweeted about how unfair the impeachment process has been ( “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!” he wrote) -- and snapping at reporters -- the Times reports the president later bunkered down with staffers to discuss what to do next.

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The Trump administration misled the country by saying there were ‘no casualties’ from Iran attack: report

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After Iran targeted missiles at U.S. military personnel in Iraq in retaliation for the kill of a top general, the Trump administration declared that there were no casualties from attack, and — at least for the time being — it allowed the conflict to de-escalate.

But on Thursday night, a new report from Defense One revealed the initial claim that there were “no casualties” from the attack was false. It reported that 11 U.S. troops were injured in the attack and taken to hospitals to be treated for “traumatic brain injury.”

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