The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump beefs up impeachment defense with Dershowitz, Starr

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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: Trump adds Dershowitz, Starr to impeachment defense team | Trial poses challenging test for John Roberts | Republicans threaten to call controversial witnesses if Bolton testifies | Pompeo says he never heard about efforts to surveil Yovanovitch | Trump accuses Dems of 'rigging' election against Sanders | How Biden could benefit from Warren, Sanders feud | Trump meets champion LSU football team | Women's March on Saturday



Calling O.J.'s 'Dream Team':

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE's defense team is adding Ken Starr and Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzCellphones haven't stopped cops from lying — only courts can do that Moussaoui says he now renounces terrorism, bin Laden The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Frist says Manhattan Project-like initiative necessary to fight virus; WH to release plan for easing lockdowns MORE for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.

Who else will be involved in the trial: "[T]he team will also consist of former attorneys Jane Raskin and Robert Ray, as well as former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi." Ray followed Starr as independent counsel and wrote the final report on former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance McCain's reset: US-Vietnam relations going strong after 25 years Facebook ad boycott is unlikely to solve the problem — a social media standards board would MORE after his impeachment trial. The team was first reported by The New York Times Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanDoes Donald Trump even want a second term? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from the protests The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from weekend protests across the US MORE.

What to know about Alan Dershowitz: He is a Harvard law professor who has defended clients such as Jeffrey Epstein and O.J. Simpson.

What to know about Ken Starr: He led the investigation into Bill Clinton.



"this is definitely an 'are you f**** kidding me?' kinda day."


Happy Friday! 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.

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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will be off on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enjoy the long weekend!



Walking across the street to the loud playground:

Via The Hill's John Kruzel, "Chief Justice John Roberts will soon discover firsthand that while the Supreme Court and the Senate sit on adjacent Washington city blocks, the two institutions occupy separate worlds."

How so: "Roberts on Thursday appeared in the Senate in his black robes to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, leaving the collegiality of the court for a chamber marked in recent years by partisan fighting ... There he raised his right hand and swore to do "impartial justice" -- the kind of oath he is more accustomed to hearing from advocates before the Supreme Court." 

How this will be the toughest test yet for Roberts:


Republicans are threatening that two can play this game:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, Republicans are warning that if Democrats fight to have former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonJudge lifts restraining order on Mary Trump on eve of book's release The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Juan Williams: Trump's silence on Russian bounties betrays America MORE testify in the impeachment trial, they will force a slew of controversial witnesses in retaliation.

Why: "The pressure tactics are the latest shift in strategy as Republican leaders try to navigate the factions in their caucus, where moderates want to leave the potential for witnesses on the table and conservatives are anxious to quickly acquit President Trump." 

How this could play out:



Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMore Republicans should support crisis aid for the Postal Service GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Maine) said she will "likely" support calling witnesses in the impeachment trial.

Collins said in a statement: "While I need to hear the case argued and the questions answered, I tend to believe having additional information would be helpful. It is likely that I would support a motion to call witnesses at that point in the trial just as I did in 1999." 


Nevah heard of it:

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze Pompeo formally rejects Beijing's claims in South China Sea Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones MORE said he had not heard of any efforts to surveil former ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchMarie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Cheney clashes with Trump Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November MORE

In Pompeo's words: "Until the story broke ahead, to the best of my recollection I had never heard of this at all," Pompeo said. Pompeo also said he plans to look into the allegations. 

Keep in mind: This is the first comment from Pompeo about allegations that Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' MORE's associates surveilled Yovanovitch as they pushed for the diplomat's removal. Pompeo had faced pressure to address anything he knew about potential threats to her safety.



Donald J. Trump, campaign pundit:

President Trump accused Democrats of trying to keep Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups | Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects| Russian mining giant reports another fuel spill in Arctic Biden lets Trump be Trump Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects MORE (I-Vt.) off the campaign trail by forcing him to serve as a juror.

Trump tweeted: "They are rigging the election again against Bernie Sanders, just like last time, only even more obviously. They are bringing him out of so important Iowa in order that, as a Senator, he sit through the Impeachment Hoax Trial. Crazy Nancy thereby gives the strong edge to Sleepy ... Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Biden campaign slams White House attacks on Fauci as 'disgusting' Biden lets Trump be Trump MORE, and Bernie is shut out again. Very unfair, but that's the way the Democrats play the game. Anyway, it's a lot of fun to watch!" 


Meet the beneficiary of the Warren-Sanders fight -- Joey B!: 

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, Former Vice President Joe Biden may benefit from  the dispute between Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

What could happen in Iowa: "Biden, who after downplaying expectations in Iowa is now signaling he believes the state's caucuses are in play for his campaign, could end up benefiting if voters in the state are turned off by the fight between his two progressive rivals." 

What the fight could mean for Sanders: "Allies of Biden say that while Sanders has been ascending in the polls, the fight could bring down his popularity -- particularly with women who see his fight with Warren as petty and sexist. They also think it could provide a nice contrast for Biden." 






What we know about the flashcards:



The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Trump is heading to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., later today.

2:30 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump posts video of herself wearing mask during stop at women's center Statue of Melania Trump set on fire in Slovenia The Memo: Trump gambles on school push MORE leave for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

6:30 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a roundtable with supporters in Palm Beach.

7 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at a closed press joint fundraising committee dinner. 

Saturday: The Women's March. Details and logistics:



11 a.m. EST: President Trump and Vice President Pence met with the 2019 College Football National Champions, the Louisiana State University Tigers. Livestream:



Today is National Hot Buttered Rum Day.


The deal with the new DCA:

Via Washingtonian's Andrew Pressman, "How Excited Should We Be About Reagan National Airport's Upcoming New Terminal? Nobody will miss the current setup. Our take on what's replacing it."


And to get your holiday weekend off to the right start, here's a dog who wants to make sure his owners are getting enough rest: