Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 14, 2020

Harold Maass
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the debate stage
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Republicans reject Trump call to dismiss impeachment case

Leading Republicans senators said Monday they would not go along with President Trump's call to dismiss the impeachment charges approved by the Democrat-led House. "There aren't 51 votes for a motion to dismiss," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the fourth-ranking Republican in the Senate. Trump tweeted Sunday and Monday that holding a trial on the allegation that he abused his power by trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats "gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have." The Senate's Republican leadership still is discussing the rules of the trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to send the case to the Senate this week after delaying in an unsuccessful effort to force GOP concessions on guaranteeing testimony from witnesses. [The Washington Post]


Warren and Sanders clash ahead of final debate before Iowa caucuses

Six Democratic presidential candidates meet Tuesday night in Des Moines for their final debate before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses launch the 2020 Democratic primary season. The debate, moderated by CNN and the Des Moines Register, will feature the race's four frontrunners — former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg — plus billionaire Tom Steyer and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). On the eve of the debate, tensions rose between Warren and Sanders. The rival progressive candidates have mostly refrained from attacking each other. That detente was shaken on Monday night when Warren confirmed that Sanders had told her in December 2018 he didn't think a woman could beat President Trump; earlier, Sanders had denied the claim and called it "ludicrous." [CBS News, CNN]


LSU caps perfect season with win in national championship game

Louisiana State University defeated Clemson 42-25 on Monday night to win the team's first national championship since 2007. LSU's Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Joe Burrow, led the team back from a 10-point deficit, the biggest it had faced all season. LSU (15-0) came into the game ranked No. 1, and capped a perfect season with the championship game win. Clemson, last year's winner, was ranked No. 3. Burrow threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns, both records for the CFP Championship Game. He completed 31 of 49 passes, had no interceptions, and ran for another touchdown. He also set records for total yards in a championship game, and single-season touchdown passes. Burrow said he didn't pay attention to the stats. "Doesn't matter to me as long as we win," he said. [Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports]


Queen says Royal Family 'entirely supportive' of Harry and Meghan

Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement released Monday that she has agreed to a "period of transition" to allow Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to divide their time between Canada and the U.K. "My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," the Queen said. "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family." She referred to the couple as "Harry and Meghan" rather than their formal title, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The couple last week announced they planned to "step back." [BBC News]


Iran makes arrests over shooting down of Ukrainian jetliner

Iran's judiciary said Tuesday it had arrested "some people" over the crash of a Ukrainian plane mistakenly shot down by Iran's military. "The world is going to watch this trial," President Hassan Rouhani said. The news came after protesters took to the streets in Iran for the third straight day on Monday as anger mounted over the tragedy, and the Iranian government's initial denial of responsibility. All 176 people on board were killed when the plane went down shortly after taking off from Tehran. After three days of denials, Iran's Revolutionary Guard admitted it shot down the plane in a moment of high alert following the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]


Russian hackers hit Burisma, Ukrainian firm from Trump impeachment

Russian spies hacked into a server belonging to Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural gas company President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate over its hiring of Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's son, according to a report released Monday by cybersecurity firm Area 1. The Russian Army intelligence service, known as GRU, targeted Burisma in a phishing campaign as early as November, and Area 1 first detected the hacking on New Year's Eve. "The Russians were trying to steal user names," and "from that perspective they were successful," said Area 1 co-founder Oren Falkowitz, a former employee of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command. "What they intend to do from there is unknown." [The New York Times, NBC News]


Booker ends his presidential campaign

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) dropped out of the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Monday, saying his campaign "reached the point where we need more money to scale up ... money we don't have, and money that is harder to raise because I won't be on the next debate stage." Booker, who spoke frequently of unity and the "spirit of common purpose," never broke into the top tier of candidates, polling around 2 percent nationally. His departure from the race left just one black candidate remaining in the Democratic primary field — former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who launched his campaign in November. Booker's exit came after author Marianne Williamson and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro also dropped their bids this month. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]


DOJ calls Pensacola shooting 'act of terrorism'

The Department of Justice has declared the December shooting at Pensacola, Florida's Naval Air Station was an "act of terrorism." An FBI investigation has concluded Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Royal Saudi Air Force member training at the base, was motivated by "jihadist ideology" when he opened fire on the base last month, Attorney General William Barr announced Monday. But the investigation into the shooting that killed three people and the gunman isn't over yet, and Barr made a public plea to Apple to decrypt the shooter's two iPhones so the FBI can further investigate. The press conference came shortly after Saudi Arabia decided to recall 21 Saudi aviation trainees over anti-American content on their social media accounts, or contact with child pornography. [The Washington Post, NPR]


U.S. removes China from list of currency manipulators

The Trump administration on Monday lifted China's designation as a currency manipulator. The move was considered a significant concession to Beijing as President Trump prepares for the Wednesday signing of a "phase one" trade deal aiming to dial back his trade war with China. The Trump administration labeled China as a currency manipulator in August. Trump has long accused Beijing of weakening its currency to boost exports by making Chinese goods cheaper overseas. But the Treasury Department's newly released currency report said China had made progress addressing the issue. "China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. [The New York Times]


Joker leads Oscar nominations

Joker led the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards, which were announced Monday. The dark comic drama is up for 11 Oscars. It is in the running for the coveted best picture award, along with Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Marriage Story, Parasite, and 1917. One notable snub came in the nominations for best director, which included only men and left out Little Women's Greta Gerwig. Scarlett Johansson became one of a handful of stars ever nominated for two acting Oscars in the same year, with nods for best supporting actress in JoJo Rabbit and best actress in Marriage Story. Cynthia Erivo also is up for two awards, best actress and original song ("Stand Up") for her work in Harriet. The awards ceremony airs Feb. 9 on ABC. [CNN]