The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senators brace for floor fight as trial nears end

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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: Impeachment trial nears endgame | Senators expect drawn-out floor fight | What to watch for | Romney, Collins to vote for witnesses; Alexander a 'no' | Three scenarios for how trial could play out | Bolton book reportedly says Trump asked him to set up Giuliani meeting in Ukraine | Race to finish line in Iowa | Biden backers worry about low-key campaign | Trump tries to steal Dem's thunder | Biden visits Dairy Queen | Super Bowl appetizers

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOrange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus Why Bernie Sanders won the debate Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response MORE, rebel ~with~ a cause:

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) will vote with Democrats to allow additional witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MOREhttp://bit.ly/38X7ZWE

I.e.: Romney wants to hear from former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Bolton's lost leverage Azar downplays chance Trump will appoint coronavirus czar MORE

Is this a surprising move?: Not really. Romney has said he thinks Bolton should testify and was widely expected to vote in favor or witnesses.

Is Romney the only Republican to vote in favor?: No, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (R-Maine) announced last night that she will vote in favor of calling witnesses. Collins is a moderate Republican who up for reelection, so this wasn't surprising either. http://bit.ly/3aXgZwB

Who else to watch: Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children MORE (R-Tenn.) announced last night that he will vote with Republicans. That means Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (R-Alaska) is the only undecided Republican.

Where Democrats stand on the witness vote: Democrats need four Republican votes to call additional witnesses and documents. So far, they have two. It looks like Republicans will get two -- possibly three -- votes for witnesses, making a 50-50 vote. If Murkowski votes for witnesses that would put pressure on Chief Justice John Roberts from Democrats to break the tie. But senators on both sides seem confident he won't.

 

CAN'T STOP ME NOW:

Here's a sketch of Romney drinking chocolate milk on the Senate floor -- BYU Creamery chocolate milk, I might add. Sketch from the Senate floor: http://bit.ly/2UdbTq7

 

Happy Friday! January is finally coming to an end after what has felt like its own year.

 

Filing from New Hampshire in the lead-up to the presidential primary in 11 days, 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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LATEST WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

Breaking — to the manuscript:

Via The New York Times’s Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanChris Wallace 'horrified' by CNN's Acosta's conduct: 'It's not our job to one-up presidents' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senators brace for floor fight as trial nears end MORE and Michael S. Schmidt, “More than two months before he asked Ukraine’s president to investigate his political opponents, President Trump directed John R. Bolton, then his national security adviser, to help with his pressure campaign to extract damaging information on Democrats from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript by Mr. Bolton.” More from the manuscript: https://nyti.ms/3aWkTpw

Just now — President Trump responded to the Times report: "I never instructed John Bolton to set up a meeting for Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani: Bloomberg 'jeopardized' stop and frisk by 'overusing it' Giuliani asked for post-9/11 mayoral election to be canceled so he could stay in office: book House panel says key witness isn't cooperating in probe into Yovanovitch surveillance MORE, one of the greatest corruption fighters in America and by far the greatest mayor in the history of N.Y.C., to meet with President Zelensky. That meeting never happened." http://bit.ly/2tm7ypG

 

Happening today -- But first, a floor fight:

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney, "the Senate is moving into the final phase of President Trump's impeachment trial, but senators expect a drawn-out floor fight before final votes on two articles of impeachment either late Friday or early Saturday morning." http://bit.ly/3aYU7gi

Livestream of today's trial: It unsurprisingly starts at 1 p.m. EST. https://cs.pn/2RHHZIX

 

THREE SCENARIOS FOR HOW THE TRIAL COULD PLAY OUT:

Scenario One: The Senate rejects calling witnesses and moves to acquit Trump: "This appears to be the most likely outcome as the pool of potential Republican votes is quickly shrinking." 

Scenario Two: The Senate deadlocks in a 50-50 tie: "Normally when the Senate deadlocks, Vice President Pence is taxied to the chamber so he can cast a deciding vote. But Pence does not have a role in the Senate's trial, as Chief Justice John Roberts is the presiding officer. If Roberts casts a tie-breaking vote, he would put himself in the middle of a fierce political fight."

Scenario Three: The Senate votes to call witnesses: The most unlikely scenario at this point. "Democrats must win over four GOP senators to win the witness vote, or three senators with the backing of Roberts, which would lengthen the trial. With Alexander and Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (R-Kansas) both saying they will oppose witnesses, this option looks increasingly unlikely." 

Context and details for each scenario from The Hill's Jordain Carney: http://bit.ly/2S90YuL

 

NEW DETAIL -- WHY THE TRIAL COULD DRAG ON UNTIL NEXT WEDNESDAY:

Via Politico's John Bresnahan, "The Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump could drag into next week, even as GOP leaders appear to have the votes needed to prevent additional witnesses and testimony from being offered, according to Republican senators and aides." https://politi.co/2u6YKEp

Why: "Republican sources suggest the trial could extend into Wednesday of next week. The House Democratic managers and the White House want more time for closing arguments, and there are scheduling concerns due to the Iowa caucuses on Monday and Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday." 

 

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Show us your photos, senator!: Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDemocrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Republicans give Barr vote of confidence Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe MORE (D-Vt.) has been snapping photos on his camera throughout the trial. Photo of Leahy taking a photo in the Senate: http://bit.ly/2RMRNBA

John Roberts is still perfecting his poker face: "This is how Chief Justice looked at [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren [D-Mass.] for a solid 5+ seconds after reading the question" (Via WFLA's Heather Monahan) Photo: http://bit.ly/36NufAC

^Back story to his facial expression: In her question, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE (D-Mass.) asked, "At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?"  http://bit.ly/38SOSgj

Oh mannnn, this caption is perfect:

See for yourself -- watch: http://bit.ly/37J7sXW

This is a pretty accurate impersonator: A John Bolton impersonator was on Capitol Hill yesterday. Photo: http://bit.ly/2OivDEZ

 

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

This sounds to me like someone who has no idea who is playing in the Super Bowl:

Via CNN's Ryan StruykPresident Trump was asked this morning who he wants to win in the Super Bowl. http://bit.ly/2RLVE1q

Trump's response: "Well, I love them both, let's just say. But I will tell you, some two very interesting teams and interesting players, some really great players. And it's going to be hopefully a great Super Bowl." 

  

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Hello, it is me. The shiny object:

Via The Hill's Niall Stanage in Des Moines, Iowa, President Trump tried to steal Democrats' thunder last night by holding a campaign rally in the Hawkeye State. http://bit.ly/37RDLnS

"Trump's rally, held at a packed 7,000-capacity arena at Drake University, was a clear piece of counterprogramming, aimed at ensuring that Democrats 'just down the street' cannot drown out the president's voice in Iowa as the climax of their highly competitive contest looms." 

 

ALSO FROM IOWA -- BIDEN BACKERS ARE A BIT CONCERNED:

Via The Hill's Reid Wilson in Waukee, Iowa, "as [former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE's] rivals draw large crowds of energetic supporters in a variety of communities between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, some of his fans worry that Biden's decidedly more low-key approach underscores a glaring weakness: Everyone likes Joe Biden. Few seem enthusiastic about him." http://bit.ly/2S5kush

 

Dairy Queen sounds great right now, tbh:

 

Op-ed: http://bit.ly/2UbSdmw

 

NOTABLE TWEETS

Fancy running into you here!:

 

Behind-the-scenes — this is pretty funny to watch:   

Watch: http://bit.ly/37GI0Ct

  

ON TAP

The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and heads to Mar-a-Lago this afternoon. Vice President Pence is in D.C.

12:15 p.m. EST: President Trump speaks at the White House Summit on Human Trafficking: The 20th Anniversary of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Vice President Pence also attends.

4 p.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump to speak on coronavirus as pressure mounts Five takeaways from Trump's trip to India Melania Trump attends 'happiness' class during India visit MORE leave the White House and head to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

 

WHAT TO WATCH

1 p.m. EST: The Senate impeachment trial continues. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2RHHZIX

7 p.m. EST: Bon Iver plays a concert in Clive, Iowa, in support of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. MORE (I-Vt.) Livestream: https://cs.pn/36NbEoe

6:30 p.m. EST Sunday: Super Bowl LIV. Game preview and how to watch: http://bit.ly/37K813H

 

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...

Today is National Hot Chocolate Day.

 

The best part of the Super Bowl:

Via Country Living, here's a list of 75 Super Bowl appetizer ideas. I'm looking at you, pepperoni pizza stuffed mushrooms. The list: http://bit.ly/390bcV5

 

And to get your weekend off to the right start, here are panda cubs trying to figure out how walking works: http://bit.ly/3b2hPIi