April 18, 2017

Egyptologists have uncovered more than 1,000 statues and 10 sarcophagi — eight of which hold mummies — in a Nile riverbank tomb in Luxor, The Associated Press reports. The massive discovery dates back to between 1,500 and 1,000 B.C. and is being hailed as "important" by the archaeologists who are still excavating the site.

"It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside," Egypt's antiquities minister, Khaled el-Enany, told AFP, noting that the grave survived the height of Egypt's so-called "era of the tomb robbers."

The 3,000-year-old sarcophagi are described as "well-preserved," although some showed the wear and tear that comes with having been stuck in one place for centuries. Patterned pots were also found in the tomb, which is believed to have been constructed for an ancient city judge named Userhat.

"There is evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future," added antiquities spokeswoman Nevine el-Aref. Jeva Lange

12:42 a.m.

Donald Trump has been a public figure for 40 years, and House impeachment lead prosecutor Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) drew on America's familiarity with the president's personal brand in Thursday's nights closing arguments in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. Schiff and his fellow House impeachment managers had spent the afternoon and evening making their case that Trump is guilty of abuse of power, and Schiff addressed the elephant in the room: "Okay, he's guilty. Does he really need to be removed?"

His answer was yes, and the Senate jury already knows why.

"No one is really making the argument 'Donald Trump would never do such a thing!'" Schiff said. "Because of course we know that he would, and of course we know that he did," even if "we can't say it publicly." He continued:

And this is why he needs to be removed: Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence agencies. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own FBI director. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own national security advisers. When all of them were telling him this Ukraine 2016 stuff is kooky, crazy Russian propaganda, he chose not to believe them, he chose to believe Rudy Giuliani. That makes him dangerous to us, to our country. ...

Why would anyone in their right mind believe Rudy Giuliani over Christopher Wray? Because he wanted to, and because what Rudy was offering him was something that would help him personally, and what Christopher Wray was offering him was merely the truth. What Christopher Wray was offering him was merely the information he needed to protect his country and its elections. But that's not good enough. What's in it for him? [Rep. Adam Schiff, Trump impeachment trial]

Schiff gave some hypothetical examples. If Russia "starts blatantly interfering in our election again to help Donald Trump, can you have the least bit of confidence that Donald Trump will stand up to them and protect our national interest over his own personal interest?" he asked. "You know you can't! Which makes him dangerous to this country." And if China starts helping Trump's campaign, covertly or overtly, Schiff said, "you think he's gonna call them out on it? Or you think he's gonna give them a better trade deal?" The "sad truth," he told the senators, is "you know you can't count on him" to put his country before himself.

The praise for Schiff's oratory was effusive, but not universal. "I think people on our side were absolutely offended by what he had to say," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters afterward. Peter Weber

12:21 a.m.

Don't call into question the patriotism of a Purple Heart recipient and expect to walk away unscathed.

On Thursday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted several inflammatory things about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the director of European Affairs for the White House National Security Council. Vindman was on President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and while testifying before House impeachment investigators, Vindman said he was troubled by Trump's request that Ukraine open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, and knew he had to inform superiors.

During the afternoon's impeachment proceedings, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called Vindman an "American patriot," which led to Blackburn tweeting, "How patriotic is it to badmouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy?"

Vindman's lawyer David Pressman reacted swiftly, saying in a statement, "This difficult moment in our country calls for seriousness and seriousness of purpose. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has sacrificed enormously for our country. He believes in our country. And he believes in our country's great institutions, including the United States Senate." Vindman served in the Iraq War, and received a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in an IED attack.

"That a member of the Senate — at a moment when the Senate is undertaking its most solemn responsibility — would choose to take to Twitter to spread slander about a member of the military is testament to cowardice," Pressman continued. "While Sen. Blackburn fires off defamatory tweets, Lt. Col. Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor." Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2020

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a juror in President Trump's impeachment trial, is offering free legal advice to his counsel, if they want to accept it.

So far, the House impeachment managers have "done a good job" of "painting ... a tapestry, taking a series of events and telling a story," Graham told reporters on Thursday. When Trump's legal team starts delivering his defense on Saturday, they will "start pulling on the threads."

Graham also thinks Trump's attorneys will need to shift the focus to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, and is in the center of a debunked conspiracy theory being peddled by Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani. Graham said Trump's team needs to "really go hard at the idea that when they tell you there's not a scintilla of evidence, groundless, baseless, phony accusations regarding the Bidens, I would challenge that very hard." Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2020

During Thursday's impeachment trial, House managers made their case before the Senate that President Trump's conduct amounted to an abuse of power.

The House prosecutors argued that when it came to Ukraine, Trump didn't care about corruption — he just wanted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. To make this happen, Trump held out on having a meeting with Zelensky and froze approved military aid to Ukraine. This was all done "in the interest of just one person: Donald J. Trump," Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said.

In his closing statement, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said when the managers are done presenting their case, they will have proven "overwhelmingly" that Trump is guilty. "That is, he's done what he's charged with," Schiff said. "He withheld the money. He withheld the meeting. He used it to coerce Ukraine to to do these political investigations. He covered it up. He obstructed us. He is trying to obstruct you. And he's violated the Constitution."

"If the truth doesn't matter, we're lost," he continued. "The framers couldn't protect us from ourselves if right and truth don't matter. But here, right is supposed to matter. It's what made us the greatest nation on earth. No Constitution can protect us if right doesn't matter any more. And you know, you can't trust this president to do what's right for this country." Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2020

To work around Chief Justice John Roberts' schedule, this week's impeachment sessions have been starting at 1 p.m. ET, but Saturday could be a different story.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters on Thursday night that Saturday's session could start as early as 8 a.m. and finish no later than noon. Thune, the majority whip, said Senate leaders are trying to work out the schedule, but nothing is final yet.

On Saturday, President Trump's defense team will begin presenting their arguments. Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2020

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was engrossed in a book during Thursday's impeachment proceedings, but one thing managed to make her look up: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) referring to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, as an "American patriot."

"How patriotic is it to badmouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy?" Blackburn tweeted. She did not give any examples of Vindman speaking ill of the United States in front of Russia.

Vindman, the director of European Affairs for the White House National Security Council, was on President Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and became concerned when he heard Trump request an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Vindman is also a veteran who served in the Iraq War, and received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in an IED attack.

Senators aren't supposed to be using electronics during the trial, but Blackburn tweeted throughout the afternoon and evening. Over multiple tweets, she accused Vindman of leaking sensitive material, being "vindictive," and wanting to "take Trump out." She appears to have a fixation with both Vindman and the idea of him being vindictive; in November, Blackburn tweeted, "Vindictive Vindman is the 'whistleblower's' handler." This remains her pinned tweet. Catherine Garcia

January 23, 2020

Under a new rule going into effect Friday, the State Department will have the ability to deny a visitor visa to any pregnant woman suspected of traveling to the United States in order to give birth and secure American citizenship for her child.

The Trump administration on Thursday said it is cracking down on "birth tourism" because it "poses risk to national security." Having a baby is "not a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature," the State Department said, and the ability to deny visas closes an "immigration loophole," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham announced. "It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism."

The State Department estimates that "thousands of children" are born in the U.S. every year to people in the country on nonimmigrant visas. This new rule will not affect visitors from 39 countries where citizens are able to stay in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa, NPR reports. Birth tourism is often linked to visitors from Russia, China, and Nigeria. Catherine Garcia

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