Pelosi says delaying articles of impeachment achieved ‘very positive’ results

Pelosi says delaying articles of impeachment achieved 'very positive' results.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has no regrets.

That’s what she told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday during an appearance on ABC’s This Week. Pelosi was referring specifically to her decision to withhold articles of impeachment against President Trump from the Senate, thus delaying an impeachment trial. While Republicans have criticized her methods, and even some Democrats grew tired of the hold up, Pelosi thinks it has produced some “very positive” results by giving time for new documents to come to light. Plus, it allowed former National Security Adviser John Bolton to announce he’s prepared to testify should the Senate issue a subpoena.

Pelosi said the delay has made it clear that witnesses and documentation are required for a fair trial, otherwise the whole thing is a “cover-up.” Regardless, it sounds like even Pelosi thinks it’s time to move on now; she told Stephanopoulos the House will decide on when to send over the articles next week. Tim O’Donnell

“No, no, no,” Speaker Pelosi tells @GStephanopoulos when asked if she has “second thoughts” about waiting to send the articles of impeachment, adding that it “produced a positive result” and highlights the importance of having “witnesses and documents.”

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 12, 2020

Tim O’Donnell
White House press secretary dismisses critics, saying she’s ‘unorthodox’ like Trump

10:34 p.m.

Jacquelyn Martin/AFP via Getty Images
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham is defending the fact that she doesn’t hold regular press briefings, saying it’s because President Trump is “unorthodox in everything he’s done” and his “press secretary and everyone else in the administration is reflective of that.”

On Saturday, 13 former White House press secretaries and foreign service and military officials wrote an op-ed for CNN on the importance of press briefings. The White House’s last traditional press briefing was on March 11, Axios reports, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was still press secretary. The op-ed writers said the “process of preparing for regular briefings makes the government run better,” and “using the powerful podiums of the State Department, Pentagon, and White House is a powerful tool for keeping our allies informed and letting our enemies know we are united in our determination to defeat them both on the battlefield and in the world of public diplomacy.”

In response, Grisham told Axios’ Mike Allen that the op-ed was “groupthink at its finest.” She said the press has “unprecedented access to President Trump, yet they continue to complain because they can’t grandstand on TV. They’re not looking for information, they’re looking for a moment.”

The op-ed writers, she continued, “know my boss has probably spoken directly to the press more often than all of theirs did combined. They know the press secretary briefs in the absence of the president, and this president is never absent — a fact that should be celebrated. Like so many trailblazers, history will look back in this presidency with praise. Until then, I’m comfortable with how I do my jobs, and my team and I are always available to the press.” Catherine Garcia

2020 Democratic Race
Elizabeth Warren says she’s ‘disappointed’ Bernie Sanders is ‘sending his volunteers out to trash me’

9:18 p.m.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is “disappointed” in the talking points being distributed to volunteers working with the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaign, and hopes Sanders “reconsiders” using them.

Politico obtained a copy of the script, which volunteers reference while speaking with potential voters. It focuses on several of his fellow Democratic presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. For Warren, volunteers are given the option of saying “I like Elizabeth Warren. In fact, she’s my second choice.” They are then instructed to bring up their “concern” about her, primarily that she is “bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

“I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” Warren told reporters on Sunday. “Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time. He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build.” She added that in 2016, “we all saw the impact of factionalism,” and she hopes “Bernie reconsiders and turns his campaign in a different direction.”

Sanders called the situation “a little bit of a media blow up, who kind of wants conflict.” Warren is “a very good friend of mine,” he continued, and “we have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. People sometimes say things that they shouldn’t have. You heard me give many speeches. Have I ever said one negative word about Elizabeth Warren? No, of course I didn’t.” Catherine Garcia

hollywood 411
1917 beats Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at the box office

8:48 p.m.

Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images
The World War I drama 1917 dethroned Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at the box office, earning $36.5 million during its first weekend of wide release.

Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 opened in limited release on Christmas, and received a major publicity boost last weekend, when the movie won the Best Motion Picture — Drama award at the Golden Globes. Mendes also picked up the Best Director statue. The film tells the story of two young British soldiers who are racing to save hundreds of their fellow troops.

This was the first weekend since its debut in December that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was not in the top spot at the box office; it earned $15 million, bringing its worldwide total to $990 million. Catherine Garcia

sundays are for football
NFL’s future, present on display Sunday thanks to a pair thrilling QB matchups

1:49 p.m.

Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Sunday’s pair of divisional round clashes features four of the game’s best quarterbacks, offering an exciting look at a changing of the guard at the position.

The early game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans on CBS at 3:05 p.m. E.T. will pit two of the brightest young stars in the league against each other. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes already has an MVP award under his belt, and the prolific passer will now try to add a Super Bowl trophy to his collection. He’ll have to go through Houston’s Deshaun Watson first, though. Watson shrugged off a rough start to his postseason career last year with an iconic performance a week ago in a come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round. Watson and Mahomes figure to take over as two of the league’s first-rate players for a long time and, if they stay healthy, there’s a good chance this won’t be the last time they face each other in the playoffs.

That’s where the other quarterback matchup comes in. This one consists of two veterans who long ago established themselves as premier players and likely Hall of Famers. The Seattle Seahawks, led by Russell Wilson, will travel to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to take on the Packers and Aaron Rodgers at 6:40 p.m. E.T. on Fox. This isn’t the first rodeo for Wilson and Rodgers, both of whom have numerous playoff appearances and a Super Bowl ring each. They’ve faced off against each other in the postseason before, as well, when the Seahawks prevailed in overtime to win the NFC championship.

Sunday, in other words, has the best of both worlds. If you want a look into the future of the league, Watson and Mahomes have you covered. If you want to see some familiar faces who know what it takes to win in the postseason, Wilson and Rodgers are back once again. Tim O’Donnell

Sunday shows
Defense secretary believes U.S. embassies were likely targets, but ‘didn’t see’ specific threats from Iran

12:57 p.m.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has remained somewhat under-the-radar during the United States’ flirtation with conflict with Iran, ceding center stage to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but he opened up about his stance on the situation Sunday during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Esper stood by President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike earlier this month in Iraq, arguing that the U.S. is safer now because of it. He didn’t, however, appear to convince host Margaret Brennan with his response to her question about the intelligence the U.S. received on potential direct threats prior to Soleimani’s death.

Trump previously said Washington received word of an attack against multiple U.S. embassies in the region, though that’s been disputed, and it remains unclear if there was knowledge of any tangible threat, or if the decision was based on a wider assessment. Esper noted that he shared the president’s view that embassies could have been the targets, but he didn’t have much of an argument when Brennan pointed out that sounded more like an assessment than real intelligence. Esper acknowledged he “didn’t see” anything specific in terms of threats against the embassies, but that didn’t change his expectation that they were the most likely targets.

NEWS: @EsperDod tells @margbrennan he “didn’t see” specific evidence showing Iran planned to strike 4 U.S. embassies, despite @realDonaldTrump saying an attack at multiple embassies was “imminent.” Watch more of Esper’s interview on @FacetheNation today.

— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 12, 2020

White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, meanwhile, defended the “exquisite intelligence” gathered by the U.S. in the lead up to Soleimani’s death. Tim O’Donnell

2020 Campaign
Bernie Sanders’ campaign is reportedly saying Elizabeth Warren can’t bring any ‘new bases’ to the Democratic Party

12:31 p.m.
The campaign team for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is ramping up its criticism of the candidate’s fellow Democratic presidential contenders, Politico reports.

Politico obtained scripts of talking points the campaign is using to persuade voters who are currently backing other candidates. Notably, the script goes after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a longtime personal friend of Sanders and his closest ideological ally in the race. The two have refrained from criticizing one another throughout the race so far (although there’s been a couple of small battles between the campaigns), so the script comes across as a bit of a surprise. Per Politico, the talking points paint Warren as a candidate who appeals to “highly-educated, more affluent people,” but is unable to bring new bases to the Democratic Party. In other words, Sanders’ campaign is arguing Warren won’t be able to sway any voters who support President Trump like Sanders would.

It certainly reads more critically than anything Sanders has directed at Warren in the past, though staffers are also given the option of opening their discussion by acknowledging they like Warren and consider her their second choice, so not everyone thinks the tactic is worth getting too shocked over.

The takeaway from this script is that the Sanders campaign’s persuasion tactic vis a vis Warren supporters is to acknowledge their shares goals, position them as allies, and make an electability argument for Bernie.

— Sam Adler-Bell (@SamAdlerBell) January 12, 2020

The Sanders campaign is reportedly going after former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, too. Their scripts reportedly make the case that Trump would “clobber” Biden on his support for the Iraq War and free trade agreements, while pointing out that Buttigieg lacks support from young and black voters. Read more at Politico. Tim O’Donnell

australia fires
Australian PM concedes mistakes, but likely won’t drastically shift climate policy in light of fires

10:55 a.m.

David Mariuz-Pool via Getty Images
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday conceded he’s made some mistakes since the worst season of bushfires ever recorded in Australia broke out, The New York Times reports. He said he wouldn’t have taken a heavily criticized family vacation to Hawaii in December while firefighters battled the blazes if he knew what he knows now, while acknowledging there were things he “could have handled on the ground much better.”

He also called for a government inquiry into its response to the natural disaster. At least 28 people have been killed in the fires, including a firefighter who died overnight in the state of Victoria.

But despite the government now having a “new appetite” to take on a more direct role in the reaction to the fires, Morrison’s words won’t be of much comfort to everyone. David Speers, the journalist who interviewed the prime minister Sunday, said his commitments will still likely fall short of many Australians’ hopes. Many feel Morrison, who leads the conservative Liberal Party, has implemented weak policies that have failed to curb the country’s carbon emissions, and his plan in wake of the fires doesn’t appear to be a dramatic shift toward combating climate change. Instead, he reiterated he doesn’t want to put jobs at risk or raise taxes to lower emissions, and would rather enhance the country’s policies for disaster management and relief, which he believes is just “as much a climate change response as emissions reductions.” Read more at The New York Times and BBC. Tim O’Donnell

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The Week · by Authors · January 12, 2020

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