Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 20, 2020

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Harold Maass
The Chiefs Patrick Mahomes
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

1.

Trump to unveil his defense against impeachment charges

President Trump has a noon deadline on Monday to submit his written defense against impeachment charges before his Senate trial gets fully underway on Tuesday. Trump, only the third U.S. president to face such a trial, refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House, so the document will amount to his first comprehensive defense against the charges that he abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats, and tried to obstruct the House investigation. On Saturday, his defense team called the impeachment process "a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election." House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the Trump legal team's response "errant nonsense." [Reuters, CBS News]

2.

Chiefs, 49ers advance to Super Bowl

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tennessee Titans 35-24 to win the AFC Championship game on Sunday, earning the team its first spot in the Super Bowl in half a century. The Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers, who defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship game. The Chiefs came back from a 17-7 deficit in the first half. Kansas City was led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He threw for three touchdowns and a total of 294 yards, including a 60-yard completion to wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the fourth quarter that helped seal the victory. "We're not done yet," Mahomes said. The 49ers earned their trip to professional football's Feb. 2 championship game with help from running back Raheem Mostert, who scored three touchdowns in the first half. [NPR]

3.

2 Honolulu officers killed in shooting near Diamond Head

Two Honolulu police officers died in a shooting Sunday at a residence near Diamond Head, a scenic ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Several homes in the area were set on fire. "Our entire state mourns the loss of two Honolulu Police officers killed in the line of duty this morning," Hawaii Gov. David Ige wrote on Twitter, confirming the deaths. "As we express our condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues, let us also come together to help and support those who have been forever changed by this tragedy." The officers came under fire as they were responding to reports of a stabbing. Investigators said the attacker might have used an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle. The fire prevented police from immediately confirming their belief that the suspect was dead. [ABC News]

4.

Gun-rights advocates head to Virginia for major rally

Virginia officials braced for possible violence as buses packed with gun-rights advocates began arriving in the capital city of Richmond for a large Monday rally where authorities fear an outburst of violence by white supremacists. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) last week declared a state of emergency in Richmond, and temporarily barred people from carrying firearms on the grounds of the state capitol. Gun-rights advocates, who are planning a peaceful rally, challenged the ban in court, but lost. "Virginians have the right to assemble. And I believe in the right to bear arms. But what we have seen and heard in recent weeks has the potential to go far beyond these constitutionally protected rights," Northam said last week. "We are seeing threats of violence." Organizers said Monday's protests against possible new gun-control legislation could draw 50,000 people. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

5.

Venezuela's Guaidó defies travel ban in global push for support

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó defied a travel ban imposed on him by his country's socialist government, and made a surprise appearance in neighboring Colombia on Sunday. The opposition leader, recognized by the U.S. and dozens of other countries as his nation's rightful president, is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday as part of an international mission to bring new energy to his push to oust Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, who claimed re-election last year after a disputed election. From Colombia, Guaidó reportedly plans to travel to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he is expected to meet with European leaders. President Trump also is expected to be in Davos, but the White House did not immediately say whether he would meet with Guaidó. [The Washington Post]

6.

SpaceX completes key safety test of spacecraft for astronauts

SpaceX on Sunday successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket and destroyed it after jettisoning a Crew Dragon capsule into the Atlantic Ocean. The mission was a key test of the emergency abort system for the spacecraft the private space company is developing to send astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, which has been unable to send people into orbit since retiring the Space Shuttle fleet in 2011. The success of Sunday's flight kept SpaceX on track for a flight with astronauts on board as early as April. "I'm super fired up," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, calling the mission a "surreal" milestone. "It's just going to be wonderful to get astronauts back into orbit from American soil after almost a decade of not being able to do so." [Orlando Sentinel, The Washington Post]

7.

Puerto Rico governor fires top officials over stockpiled disaster supplies

Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on Sunday fired the heads of the island's housing and family departments over the discovery of a warehouse full of Hurricane Maria emergency supplies. A day before the ousting of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar, Vázquez Garced pushed out the director of the U.S Caribbean territory's emergency management agency. The moves came after video was posted on Facebook showing an angry crowd breaking into the warehouse so they could distribute the water bottles, cots, baby food, and other supplies to people affected by recent earthquakes. The supplies were stored in an area where thousands of people sought refuge in shelters after the tremors. [The Associated Press]

8.

The New York Times endorses both Warren and Klobuchar for president

For the first time ever, The New York Times editorial board endorsed not one but two presidential candidates on Sunday: Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). While pushing back on more "radical" ideas of Warren's, "like nationalizing health insurance or decriminalizing the border," the paper's editorial board praised her anti-corruption legislation, and her proposals on housing reform, energy policy, social security expansion, and childcare and education. The board called Klobuchar "a standard-bearer for the Democratic center" and applauded many of her initiatives as well as her long history of success as a lawmaker. The Times acknowledged both "the radical and the realist models" on display within the Democratic field, but said the two women "are the Democrats best equipped to lead that debate." [The New York Times]

9.

Bad Boys for Life dominates weekend box office

Bad Boys for Life led the domestic weekend box office, bringing in $68.1 million in its debut. It was the second biggest opening ever for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, and for the entire month of January, behind American Sniper. The third installment in the Bad Boys franchise stars Will Smith, one of Hollywood's biggest box-office draws, and Martin Lawrence. Universal's Dolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr., came in second place with a $30 million debut. Award-winning World War I drama 1917 came in third with an estimated $27 million. The film has been nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director (Sam Mendes). [The New York Times]

10.

Parasite becomes first foreign film to win top SAG prize

Parasite won the SAG award for best ensemble performance in a film, becoming the first foreign film to win the Screen Actors Guild's top prize. In other film categories, Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for his performance in Joker, and Renée Zellweger took the best-actress prize for her performance in Judy. Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood) and Laura Dern (Marriage Story) won for their supporting roles. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won the prize for best TV comedy series, with one of the show's stars, Tony Shalhoub, winning best actor in a comedy. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a winner at the Golden Globes and the Emmys, continued her award-season streak by taking home the prize for best actress in a comedy series for her leading role in Fleabag. [CNN, The Hollywood Reporter]