Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 25, 2020

Tim O'Donnell
Adam Schiff.
Senate Television via Getty Images


House impeachment managers make final case, Trump's defense set to begin presentation

House prosecutors on Friday moved on to argue for the second article of impeachment against President Trump — obstruction of Congress — as they made their final case before Trump's defense team begins its presentation Saturday. Prosecution leader Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) argued Trump's claim of executive privilege was invalid in his withholding of documents and information during the impeachment inquiry. "You cannot use executive privilege to hide wrongdoing or criminality or impeachable misconduct," he said. Schiff predicted Trump's future behavior would vindicate Democrats' impeachment efforts, and argued he'll "stop at nothing to retain power." The Senate will reconvene Saturday morning as the defense takes center stage. [The Washington Post, The Week]


Recording seemingly reveals Trump demanding to 'get rid of' Marie Yovanovitch

In a recording reviewed by ABC News, a voice that seems to be President Trump's is talking with former Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. The two tell Trump that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch has been "bad-mouthing" Trump, and Trump gives a scathing order to "take her out," ABC News reports. "Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it," the voice says. The recording was made during a dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2018, apparently by Fruman. Yovanovitch was not removed from her position for another year, but later testified to the House that she thought her firing was based on "unfounded and false claims." [ABC News]


Death toll expands as countries enact new measures to restrict coronavirus spread

A second case of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, leaving more than 40 people dead and causing quarantines throughout China, has been confirmed in the United States. Officials said Friday that a Chicago woman in her 60s has been diagnosed with the virus, and they're monitoring 63 other possible cases across 22 U.S. states. The Chicago patient, who last week returned home from Wuhan, is reportedly isolated in the hospital, and officials say she's doing well and has had limited contact with others. The U.S. is reportedly planning to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from Wuhan on Sunday. Elsewhere, Hong Kong, where there's five confirmed cases, on Saturday declared the outbreak "an emergency," scrapping Lunar New Year celebrations and restricting links to the mainland. Australia, Malaysia, and France also reported cases. [The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]


22 dead, more than 1,000 injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey

At least 22 people are dead and more than 1,000 others were injured after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Friday, according to Turkish officials. The quake hit at 8:55 p.m. in the Elazig province, where Gov. Cetin Oktay Kaldirim told NTV television that three people had died. Gov. Aydin Barus of the the neighboring Malatya province told state TV that five people had been reported dead there. At least 225 people were injured in Elazig and 90 in Malatya. Several aftershocks followed the initial quake, with the harshest ones hitting magnitudes of 5.4 and 5.1. Some buildings collapsed in Elazig and one caught fire in the town of Sivrice. Some homes were severely damaged, and some residents feared returning to their homes in case of later shocks or collapses. [BBC, Daily Sabah]


Trump becomes 1st president to attend March for Life

President Trump on Friday attended the anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C., becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so. Trump delivered an address to the demonstrators who each year gather and call for Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion nationwide, to be overturned. "I am truly proud to stand with you," Trump said at the rally, going on to say that "unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House." Past presidents have addressed the March for Life rally, but not in person; former Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan spoke via a telephone call. Trump also previously spoke to the March for Life by way of a video address. [The New York Times, CNN]


Prosecutors reportedly have evidence that Bezos' girlfriend sent her brother leaked messages

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have evidence pointing to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' girlfriend Lauren Sanchez as the person who provided her brother, Michael Sanchez, with text messages that he later sold to The National Enquirer for its article about Bezos' extramarital affair with Sanchez, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. The sources said the prosecutors' evidence includes text messages Sanchez sent her brother containing flirtatious messages and photos from Bezos. The revelation comes on the heels of speculation that Saudi Arabia may have played a role in the leak, which was enhanced by reports that Bezos' phone was hacked after a WhatsApp conversation with an account belonging to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Saudi Arabia denied the allegations. [The Wall Street Journal]


Baghdad rocked by anti-U.S., anti-government protests

Mass protests continued in Iraq on Saturday as anti-government demonstrators gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir Square and other sites to demand political reforms. Security forces encroached on a camp in Khilani Square, reportedly firing tear gas and live bullets at protesters, while riot police set fire to protest tents nearby. So far, there's been no official reports of casualties, but medics confirmed demonstrators were wounded. Saturday's protests followed a different set of demonstrations in Baghdad on Friday, in which hundreds of thousands people believed to be supporters of Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr gathered to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. [Al Jazeera, Vox]


NPR reporter says Pompeo 'shouted' at her over Ukraine questions

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on Friday after she interviewed him about the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. During Friday's interview, which aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Pompeo said he has "defended every State Department official on his team," but did not provide Kelly with a specific example of him defending Yovanovitch. After the interview, Kelly said she was summoned by a Pompeo aide to a private room where Pompeo "shouted" at her, asking if she thought "Americans care about Ukraine" and challenging her to point to the country on an unmarked map, which the well-traveled reporter was able to do. After putting the map away, Pompeo told Kelly "people will hear about this." [The New York Times, The Week]


Antonio Brown released on bail

NFL free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown was released on bail Friday by a Florida judge after he turned himself in to face charges of a felony burglary and battery. Brown and his trainer Glenn Holt allegedly assaulted a moving truck driver earlier this week. The former Pittsburgh Steeler, Oakland Raider, and New England Patriot is required to be monitored by GPS, release his passport and guns, undergo drug and alcohol testing, and receive a mental health evaluation. His bond was set at $110,000. Brown is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, but he played only one game this season with New England after a slew of locker room and off-the-field incidents, including accusations of sexual assault, led to his release. [USA Today, ESPN]


Rosie Perez backs up rape allegation in Weinstein trial

After Annabella Sciorra testified that disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, Rosie Perez took the stand Friday to back her up. Perez testified in the ongoing trial after Sciorra told jurors Thursday that in 1993 or 1994, Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment. Bolstering Sciorra's claim, Perez said in 1993, Sciorra told her, "I think I was raped." Perez said Sciorra later told her the alleged perpetrator was Weinstein. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex acts. Prosecutors allege Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in 2006 and raped a woman in 2013; Sciorra testified as a "prior bad acts" witness as prosecutors attempt to establish a pattern of behavior. If convicted, Weinstein faces possible life in prison. [The New York Times]