Trump’s Favorite Impeachment Defenses: The Politics Daily

Call it a credibility crisis; call it chaos. My colleague Peter Nicholas reports on how these twin problems are inextricably linked.

Misinformation feeds the chaos; chaos gives rise to more misinformation. One former aide told me that Trump had a habit of coming downstairs from the White House residential quarters calling for some action that would have upended his staff’s planning. Trying to figure out where the president got the idea, the aide would scan the previous night’s Fox News shows for hints. Members of Congress often insist to White House staff that Trump state his position in a tweet, knowing they can’t rely on assurances from anyone in the West Wing, a second former aide told me. “He changes his mind. That’s the fundamental point,” this person said.

Read the rest.

—Saahil Desai



(Andres Martinez Casares / Reuters)

Migrants traveling mainly from Central America in a caravan against a backdrop of security forces are seen near Frontera Hidalgo in Chiapas, Mexico today.



Chief Justice John Roberts arrives at the U.S. Capitol to preside over the impeachment trial. (SARAH SILBIGER / REUTERS)

1. “[Mitch] McConnell has created the mistaken impression that the Constitution does not provide any guidance about the impeachment process, and that the procedures for the trial—including motions to call witnesses—can be determined by a majority vote.”

The Senate had voted along party lines, blocking Democratic efforts to compel testimony from additional witnesses such as John Bolton or Mick Mulvaney. Democrats can try again next week after Trump’s defense team completes their arguments, but if no witnesses end up being called, the trial should be considered unconstitutional, one former Manhattan DA’s office prosecutor argues.

2. “They are the latest faded luminaries seeking to revive their fame—and blemish their reputation—by shilling for Donald Trump.”

With the return of the like of Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr in Trump’s impeachment trial, it can feel like the 1990s never ended. That’s because Trump’s whole presidency continues to function as a “revenge of the has-beens,” Peter Beinart argues.

3. “It felt like the setup to a joke: So the richest tech CEO in the world and a crown prince were texting one day …”

While reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was hacked via a DM from Saudi Arabia’s crown prince may be shocking to read, the news of their close relationship shouldn’t be surprising, Alexis Madrigal writes. The rich have always been tight-knit, but the world’s ultra-rich are even closer.



Kelsey Juliana, a lead plaintiff in the case arguing that the federal government must act on climate change, outside the Supreme Court. (KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS)

A Climate-Lawsuit Dissent That Changed Minds

Twenty-one children sued the government alleging inaction on climate change, arguing that the federal government was stripping future generations of Americans of their constitutional rights.

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