Voluminous, historic news keeps rolling out
The midweek news provided a colorful cornucopia of information about America and the matrix of our democracy, offering numerous front-page civics lessons.
On Tuesday evening, in mid-nation Des Moines, Iowa, six aggressive Democrat candidates sharpened their words in the long-range reach to try to capture the presidency of the United States.
This was the last debate before the Iowa caucuses set for Feb. 3. As lined up, left to right, on stage and televised around the world, the candidates participating were Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.
The pre-debate publicity offered what was thought to be a rousing push and shove between Warren and Sanders.
Expectations were high for a showdown between the two, following a report that Sanders told Warren in a 2018 private meeting, that a woman couldn’t be elected president. Sanders denied saying the remark. Warren disagreed with his characterization but declined to needle him onstage. The controversy simply ran out of steam in Iowa.
The debate speeches were filled with multi-billion dollar figures about candidates’ national proposals, while arguments about foreign policy, primarily on troops in the Middle East, played in the background.
A split emerged on trade and the new U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement negotiated by the Trump administration.
Steyer, a newcomer to the debate stage, primarily focused on his main talking point: the climate crisis. Biden said he would leave “small numbers” of troops in the Middle East to deal with the Islamic State. Warren urged that the U.S. should push for a drawdown, saying, “We need to get our combat troops out.”
Buttigieg, 37, emphasized his time spent in the military.
Klobuchar said she wasn’t in the Senate for the vote authorizing the war in Iraq, but she added that she “opposed that war from the very beginning.”
On Wednesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was able to pass a resolution naming the impeachment managers for the trial of President Donald Trump and transmitting pertinent documents for the historic event, soon expected to be under way in the Senate.
The managers are House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Hakeem Jeffries, Jason Crow, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia and Zoe Lofgren.
A cache of new documents obtained from Lev Parnas, a close associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, included a handwritten note that mentions asking Ukraine’s president to investigate “The Biden case.”
The papers were obtained as part of the impeachment investigation into the president. They show Parnas communicating with Giuliani and another attorney before the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, who was the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
A man named Robert F. Hyde disparaged Yovanovitch in messages to Parnas and gave him updates on her location and mobile phone use, raising questions about possible surveillance.
Democrats released the files on Tuesday, as they prepared to send articles of impeachment to the Senate for Trump’s trial. The documents add new context to their charges that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats as he withheld military aid.
Parnas was in frequent communication with Giuliani and with Ukrainian officials, the messages show. He appeared to be pushing unsubstantiated allegations that Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, were somehow engaged in corruption in Ukraine.
In the letter, Giuliani requests a meeting with Ukraine President Zelenskyy “as a personal counsel to President Trump and with his knowledge and consent.”
Trump asked Zelenskyy in a July call to investigate Biden — his political rival — and his son Hunter. Hunter Biden served on the board of a gas company based in Ukraine.
The Washington news fountain is overflowing and there will be more released in future days.
The abundance of Washington D.C. news reports in mid-January is staggering and there’s more to come.