This week, with just a few days til 2020 and 311 days till the 2020 presidential election, Trump, though on holiday at Mar-a-Lago, nevertheless kept his impeachment and his ire at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi close by his side.
On Christmas night, Trump focused a significant amount of energy not on his family, but on his phone, sending out copious tweets attacking Pelosi, who led the impeachment charge against him, and who is currently withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until the GOP-dominated Senate lays out a clear plan as to what Trump’s trial in the Senate will look like.
“Why should Crazy Nancy Pelosi…be allowed to Impeach the President of the United States?” Was the general flavor of Trump’s Christmas night tweet frenzy.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already proclaimed that he won’t be an impartial juror in Trump’s trial.
“Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with the White House counsel,” McConnell told Fox New’ Sean Hannity. “There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this.”
In the House, Republicans walked in lock step in their opposition to impeachment, presenting a defense of Trump that consisted largely of deflection. In the Senate, however, some Republicans are not comfortable with McConnell’s planned impartiality.
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has voiced her concern this week. “In fairness, when I heard that, I was disturbed,” she said.
Referring to not only McConnell, but also to many GOP lawmakers who have already indicated they will not be impartial, Murkowski said, “For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or, on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong.”
Elsewhere in the world this week, a Saudi court sentenced five people to death for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family. Khashoggi’s gruesome murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul brought global condemnation and cast suspicion on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Lawyers concluded that Khashoggi’s killing was not premeditated, though evidence had been found that a hit team was sent to the Consulate to dispatch Khashoggi. Outside Saudi Arabia, questions remain as to what Crown Prince bin Salman may have had to do with the killing.
In North Korea, a promised “Christmas gift” to the U.S., widely interpreted by the White House to mean a provocative North Korean weapons test, never came. U.S. intelligence remains watchful.
“Maybe it’s a nice present,” joked President Trump when asked how he would respond if North Korea fired a missile over the holidays. “Maybe it’s present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. … You don’t know. You never know.”
Back in the U.S., where health care has been ranked among the worst among the industrialized countries, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to fight for its life. This week, a court ruling that further jeopardizes the ACA by declaring it unconstitutional may actually empower Democrats. As the GOP continues its attempts to dismantle the ACA while offering no palatable replacement, more Americans are beginning to feel the crisis our health care is in.
Additionally, more Americans are discovering how the ACA benefits all Americans with protections such as for pre-existing conditions and full coverage for physical exams. This has given Democrats the opportunity to demonstrate their support for protecting the ACA, as well as their desire to create a health care system that works for more Americans, as Republicans appear to be working to restrict access even more. Democrats won the House majority in 2018 in large part on their message of protecting the ACA and its protection for preexisting conditions.
Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said “I think it’s an opportunity to reset with the new year to remind people that there’s a very real threat to tens of millions of Americans. We Democrats are always striving to improve the system, but, at a minimum, the American people expect us to protect what they already have.”
President Trump resumes lashing out against impeachment on Twitter | CBS Evening News [2019-12-26]
Lou Dobbs Tonight 12/26/19 SHOW| Breaking Fox News December 26, 2019 [2019-12-26]