Republicans May Gamble on a Swift Trump Trial
When it comes to impeachment, there’s one thing House Democrats and Senate Republicans might agree on: quicker is better.
With the House Judiciary Committee poised today to split along party lines in approving articles of impeachment alleging President Donald Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress, consensus is growing among Senate Republicans on allowing a short trial that could lead to his acquittal without having testimony from any witnesses.
Dispensing rapidly with the matter would allow Republicans to head into early presidential voting — which starts Feb. 3 with the Iowa caucuses — behind a president who can argue he’s been absolved of wrongdoing.
Trump and his allies have cast the impeachment inquiry as a “witch hunt.” Polls indicate the probe has done little to erode his support among his base.
With a conviction by a Republican-led Senate all but impossible, both parties may have an incentive to turn the matter over to the court of public opinion sooner rather than later.
Decision time | The U.K. votes in a general election today to determine whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives get the mandate he wants to “get Brexit done,” or Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn replaces him in 10 Downing Street to pursue his “radical agenda” of wealth redistribution. Broadcasters will release their exit poll after voting ends at 10pm, and results from the contests in 650 districts will be declared throughout the night, with the Liberal Democrats and other minority parties also fighting for seats.
Climate moonshot | A radical plan to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent is quickly running into opposition. Governments from the European Union’s east threatened to torpedo a pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 unless they get more financial aid. The airline industry also signaled it’s ready for a fight, while a push to regulate green finance was snarled in a dispute over whether to include nuclear power.
Trade offs | As the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free-trade agreement awaits a vote next week in the U.S. House, Erik Wasson, Josh Wingrove and Eric Martin take a closer look at the winners and losers. Political leaders, steel industries and online shoppers stand to benefit, while U.S. drug companies, Mexican businesses and Canadian dairy farmers come off second-best.
Russian cash | An indicted associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani got $1 million from an account in Russia in September, a month before he was charged with conspiring to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns. The payment to Lev Parnas raises new questions about the work he and his associate Igor Fruman were doing and who they were doing it for.
Andean unease | To the outside, Peru looks like an island of calm in the sea of unrest sweeping South America. But as John Quigley reports, President Martin Vizcarra’s decision to dismiss the opposition-controlled Congress this fall has put the country on an uncertain course, winning him allies and emboldening detractors as protests rock the region.
What to Watch
- Israel is heading to its third election in less than a year after the Knesset voted today to dissolve itself early and call a March 2 poll.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets today with the new leaders of her junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, nearly a week after they set out demands to remain in government.
- Google and Facebook will come under greater scrutiny from Australia’s competition regulator as the government seeks to rein in the market dominance of the digital giants.
- Malaysia has confirmed its first case of polio in almost three decades, sparking fears that the disease is spreading across the region after the Philippines declared an epidemic in September.
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And finally … Carlos Ghosn, the former corporate colossus arrested in Japan last year, lives on bail in a modest Tokyo house and is followed by men in dark suits and unmarked sedans whenever he leaves, Matthew Campbell, Kae Inoue and Ania Nussbaum report. The former Renault and Nissan chief must list everyone he meets each month and has been permitted a single call with his wife since April. Ghosn, who denies wrongdoing, faces the first of two trials on financial misconduct charges next year.
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