The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi accuses Trump of 'bribery' in Ukraine dealings

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi says Trump bribed Ukraine | Takeaways from first public impeachment hearing | Who's testifying next | GOP senators back at long impeachment trial | Deval PatrickDeval PatrickPatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Buttigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism Deval Patrick knocks lack of diversity in Democratic debate MORE jumps into 2020 run | Dems face prospect of lengthy primary | Police respond to school shooting near Los Angeles | Therapy dogs visit Capitol Hill | Trump to hold Louisiana rally tonight



You know what the 2020 presidential race needs? More candidates.:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) announced this morning that he is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

His reasoning: "I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field. But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country."

Watch his announcement video on YouTube:

The campaign image he posted on Facebook:  


Buckle in, it's gonna be a long ride:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage, "There is no true front-runner in the Democratic presidential race -- and that opens up the specter of a long and divisive nomination fight within a party desperate to beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE in 2020." 

Timing: "At a time when some Democrats hoped that the field was being winnowed down, speculation is instead focused on possible late entrants to the field." 



It's Thursday! I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

Did someone forward this to you? Want your own copy? Sign up here to receive The Hill's 12:30 Report in your inbox daily:



Just now -- Pelosi compares Trump to Nixon:

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSekulow indicates White House not interested in motion to dismiss impeachment articles Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying Key House committee chairman to meet with Mnuchin on infrastructure next week MORE (D-Calif.) accused President Trump of "bribery" with Ukraine.

In her words: "The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That's bribery."

On whether bribery will be an impeachment article: "We haven't even made a decision to impeach. That's what the inquiry is about. And when the committees decide that, then they will decide what the articles are."

On Nixon: Pelosi said Trump's offenses by comparison make Nixon's "look almost small."


A shooting at a Los Angeles area school:

Via The Los Angeles Times, "At least five people were injured-- two critically -- in a shooting at Saugus High School when a gunman opened fire on the Santa Clarita campus early Thursday, authorities said."

What happened: "The shooting was reported at the campus at 21900 Centurion Way about 7:40 a.m., prompting a massive law enforcement response. Paramedics treated the wounded at the school while authorities searched for a 15-year-old boy suspected in the shooting. After a roughly hour-long search, authorities confirmed that the shooter is no longer a threat to the campus." 

Everything we know so far:



Two down, lots to go:

William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, testified yesterday in the first public impeachment hearing in 20 years. 



  1. William Taylor was a credible witness-- "The former West Point graduate and decorated Vietnam War veteran with the booming baritone voice proved to be an authoritative and credible witness, demonstrating a command of facts and providing detailed testimony based on his personal notes full of names, dates and places." 
  1. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters MORE keeps firm control on agenda-- Democrats successfully managed the tone of the hearing.
  1. GOP questioning has mixed results-- Republicans tried to portray the witnesses as unreliable, but their performance got mixed results.
  1. Surprises are possible-- Democrats didn't expect any new revelations, but Taylor had new information.
  1. Testimony seems unlikely to move needle-- There were no real fireworks, and both are obscure figures.

Context and details for each from The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis:



Check out the covers of the New York Post and the New York Daily News this morning: Photos:

From President Trump this morning: "[Rep. John Ratcliff (R-Texas)] asked the two 'star' witnesses, 'where is the impeachable event in that call?' Both stared straight ahead with a blank look on their face, remained silent, & were unable to answer the question.  That would be the end of a case run by normal people! - but not Shifty!" By the way: "Shifty" is Trump's nickname for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

The read on Fox News: CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter tweeted, "These are some of the descriptions of George Kent and Bill Taylor from Fox's prime time shows: 'Two homeless guys.' They 'looked like people who sat by themselves at recess.' And 'self-important' bureaucrats."  



Testifying tomorrow:

Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie YovanovitchLivestream of the hearing:


Testifying next Tuesday:

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanPresident Trump's intelligence community security blanket Whistleblower's lawyer questions GOP senator's whistleblower protection caucus membership White House limits number of officials allowed to listen to Trump calls with foreign leaders: report MORE, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council (NSC)

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence

Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid GOP chairmen seek interview with Obama officials as part of Biden-Ukraine probe Push to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war MORE, former special envoy to Ukraine

Tim Morrison, a top NSC official


Testifying next Wednesday:

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trial The Memo: Day One shows conflicting narratives on impeachment GOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aid MORE

Laura Cooper, a Defense official

David Hale, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.


Testifying next Thursday:

Fiona Hill, former NSC senior director for Europe and Russia


What to expect if impeachment goes to the Senate:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "With House Democrats aiming to vote on articles of impeachment by Christmas, Republicans view a trial as all but guaranteed but are warning they don't want to drag it out." 

How long the trial would last: "How long a trial could last is a rolling point of debate. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Hillicon Valley: Apple, Barr clash over Pensacola shooter's phone | Senate bill would boost Huawei alternatives | DHS orders agencies to fix Microsoft vulnerability | Chrome to phase out tracking cookies Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech MORE (R-N.C.) raised eyebrows by suggesting it could last six to eight weeks, longer than the proceedings against former President Clinton, which lasted just over a month." 

What we know:



I'll join your squad any day!:

During yesterday's first public impeachment hearing, Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) brought therapy dogs to Capitol Hill for members and staffers to pet -- and to love. 

The timing was a coincidence!: Via NBC's Haley Talbot, "'Just a happy coincidence' these therapy dogs are on Capitol Hill the same day as impeachment hearings begin we are told!"

And because this is the content I know you want to see today, here are some of the dogs on the job...

Meet Cedric. Cedric has so much love to give. Photo:

Meet Remy. Remy is working on his selfies. Photo:

Meet Panda. Panda is hoping for head scratches. Photo:

And here is Patti. Patti is just happy to be here. Photo:



I got a sticker to prove it: I love how similar this is to the "I voted" sticker. Photo:

Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea Bustos Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE gave head scratches: Here is Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), playing with one of the dogs. Photo:

And so did Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioLawmakers to question FAA chief on 737 Max review The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi accuses Trump of 'bribery' in Ukraine dealings Democratic chairman presses Transportation secretary over transparency in Boeing 737 Max probe MORE (D-Ore.): Here's a photo from Politico's Sarah Ferris:



So satisfying to watch:




The House and Senate are in. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and is leaving for Louisiana for a campaign rally later today. Vice President Pence is in California.

1:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence toured NASA's Ames Research Center.

1:30­­ ­­– 2:30 p.m. EST: The House votes. The House's full schedule today:

1:45 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on a confirmation. The Senate's full schedule today:

2 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

3:05 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence leaves Moffett Field, Calif., and heads back to Washington, D.C.

4:10 p.m. EST: President Trump leaves for Bossier City, La.

8:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence lands in Washington, D.C.

12:30 a.m. EST: President Trump gets back to the White House.



2:45 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence delivers remarks to NASA's Amex Research Center employees and guests. Livestream:

8 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Bossier City, La. Livestream:



Today is National Pickle Day.


Um, *click*?!:

Via The Washington Post's Antonia Noori Farzan, "[T]hree cows vanished during Hurricane Dorian. Months later, they've been found chilling on an island miles from shore." Details:


And because you made it to the end, here's dog following along during yoga. Such a talented pup!: