The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats turn to obstruction charge

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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: Democrats turn to obstruction charge | What to watch on trial's fourth day | GOP warns of 'drawn out' battle over Bolton | Trump complains about starting defense on Saturday: 'Death Valley' on TV | Latest impeachment ratings | Senate candy desk gets restocked | Second coronavirus case in US | Officials brief senators on outbreak | Trump to hold NH rally on eve of primary | Michigan governor to give Dem response to State of the Union | National Peanut Butter Day


A quick detour from the impeachment trial:

Top health officials are briefing senators about the outbreak of the new coronavirus. http://bit.ly/2NVC1BW

Which agencies are briefing senators: Officials from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The State Department. http://bit.ly/2TRN1UI


Confirmed this morning -- a second case of coronavirus in the United States:

Via The Hill's Peter Sullivan, the CDC just confirmed a second U.S. case of coronavirus in the United States. http://bit.ly/2NY2df4

Where: In Chicago

Who: A woman in her 60s who had traveled to Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak.

Any other cases?: Officials are investigating 63 cases in 22 states, but only two have been confirmed as the coronavirus.



Via CNET, "A never-before-seen virus detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan has claimed at least 26 lives and infected hundreds of Chinese citizens with a pneumonia-like illness, according to China's National Health Commission. The virus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31 and has been under investigation since. Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome." https://cnet.co/2vcOJpg


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 cmartel@thehill.com -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE is not happy about the timing:

The president tweeted this morning, "After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin' Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.." http://bit.ly/2NY6E9I



Today is the last day for Democratic opening arguments. Democrats are expected to focus on the second article of impeachment: obstruction of Congress. Full preview: http://bit.ly/2RNpBx1

Helpful timeline:



Holy Hershey's!!:

Back story to the candy: "The famous candy desk on the Senate floor is getting restocked on Friday after hungry senators diminished the supply during the early days of the impeachment trial." Via The Hill's Alex Gangitanohttp://bit.ly/2tEtFI9

Aw, there was cake!: A birthday cake for Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry says Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' | EPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler| EPA sued over rule extending life of toxic coal ash ponds Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (D-Del.) was spotted near the Senate. (Via NBC's Alex Moe) Photo of the pre-sliced cake: http://bit.ly/2tMnDoJ 

Extra security screening for reporters: "Trial is underway but reporters are waiting to go through the extra layer of security SSA put in the gallery. The police officer is stopping people to check their wrists, for smart watches?" (Via The Hill's Jordain Carney) Photo: http://bit.ly/38FrzGL




On Tuesday: Roughly 11 million people watched the trial.

On Wednesday: 8.9 million people watched.

From Reuters, https://reut.rs/2RQg0pa


For context: Via The Hill's Joe Concha

"20.5M watched the Kavanaugh hearings

19.5M watched Comey testify before the Sen. Intel Cmte

16M watched Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenPress: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE testify Oversight Cmte 

13.1M watched Day 1 of the House impeachment hearings" http://bit.ly/38Ft0VF


But, but, I have already run out of impeachment-related puns:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney and John Kruzel, Republicans are warning their colleagues that a battle over executive privilege by calling on former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Sunday shows - Virus surge dominates ahead of fraught Thanksgiving holiday Bolton calls on GOP leadership to label Trump's behavior 'inexcusable' MORE to testify at the impeachment trial could draw out the trial by weeks, if not months. http://bit.ly/2TVH6xJ

 What could happen -- a length legal battle: "GOP senators expect Trump to make good on his suggestion that he could invoke executive privilege to avoid complying with subpoenas stemming from the trial. Legal experts are divided over exactly how the dispute would unfold, and under what timeframe, but some believe it could lead to a lengthy court battle involving largely untested legal questions." 


Just sit back and hear your name:

Via The Hill's Jordain Carney, "Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  New DOJ rule could allow executions by electrocution, firing squad MORE and his son Hunter Biden aren't on trial in the Senate, but that's done little to stop them from dominating the conversation in the Capitol." http://bit.ly/37p0hUL

How so: "The GOP feud with the Bidens has loomed over President Trump's impeachment trial, from the dozens of mentions by the House impeachment managers to questions being fielded by senators amid the media frenzy. The pattern has become self-fulfilling: The more House managers mention the Bidens, the more Senate Republicans bring them up, the more Senate Democrats get asked about them as potential witnesses." 



Ready to rebut:

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been chosen to deliver Democrats' response to President Trump's State of the Union address on Feb. 4. http://bit.ly/2vmVLYV



Oh, hello there!: 



The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is in Rome.

6 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceSpaceX capsule arrives at International Space Station The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - World reacts to news of second COVID-19 vaccine with 90 percent efficacy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down MORE met with Pope Francishttp://bit.ly/2GhWwVa

12:15 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen Pence attend a reception for military spouses in Rome.

12:05 p.m. EST: President Trump arrives at the National Mall for the March for Life.

12:15 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the 47th annual March for Life.

3 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBiden faces challenges, opportunities in Middle East O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report MORE.

4:15 p.m. EST: President Trump delivers remarks to mayors on "transforming America's communities." 

January 30: The Hill is hosting an event, "A More Perfect Union?" Details and how to RSVP: http://bit.ly/2NX2miT

February 10: President Trump is holding a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on the eve of the first-in-the-nation primary. http://bit.ly/38CDCV0



11:45 a.m. EST: Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Claremont, N.H. Livestream: https://cs.pn/38HL0id


1 p.m. EST: The Senate impeachment trial against President Trump continues. Livestream: https://cs.pn/3aOLghc



Today is National Peanut Butter Day.


And to get your weekend off to an entertaining start, here is a dog who requires LOTS of attention in the car: http://bit.ly/2GleiXz