January 23, 2020

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is making his impeachment argument with a little blast from the past.

Nadler during Democrats' impeachment arguments on Thursday made use of 1990s-era clips of allies of President Trump, the first being Alan Dershowitz, who's serving on Trump's defense team. While arguing that abuse of power is an impeachable offense, Nadler pointed to Dershowitz — or "at least Dershowitz in 1998," he said.

In an old clip Democrats then played, Dershowitz says "you don't need a technical crime" to impeach a president if they are "somebody who completely corrupts the office of president, and who abuses trust, and who poses great danger to our liberty."

Later, Nadler turned to the words of one of his colleagues, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who during the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton argued a crime isn't required to impeach a president. In an old clip, Graham says that "when you start using your office and you're acting in a way that hurts people, you committed a high crime."

Although Graham is in attendance for the impeachment trial, The New York Times' Catie Edmondson reports the Republican senator "left the Senate floor minutes before Nadler started playing the video of him." But The Daily Beast's Sam Brodey reports Nadler drew "some astonished looks" from Democrats when he played the Graham clip, including from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who reportedly "shook his head and looked around at neighbors." Brendan Morrow

9:43 p.m.

A man was killed on Saturday night after being hit by a Mardi Gras float in New Orleans.

Police said the victim appeared to fall between two sections of a large tandem float at the Krewe of Endymion. Just days earlier, a 58-year-old woman was run over by a parade float at the Krewe of Nyx. Following the man's death, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced tandem floats, which are several floats connected together and pulled by a tractor, are now banned.

"To be confronted with such tragedy a second time at the height of our Carnival celebrations seems an unimaginable burden to bear," Cantrell said in a statement. "The city and the people of New Orleans will come together, we will grieve together, and we will persevere together." Cantrell also said the city will "be looking at further changes that need to be made to make our routes and our celebrations more safe — but the work starts right now."

Two additional people were injured on Sunday when they fell from a float in the Krewe of Thoth parade. Police said they were both transferred to a trauma center, and are in stable condition. Catherine Garcia

9:11 p.m.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has rejected a request from Roger Stone that she recuse herself from his criminal case.

Stone, a longtime friend and adviser of President Trump, was found guilty of lying to Congress and witness tampering late last year, and on Thursday, was sentenced to 40 months in prison. Stone is asking for a new trial, claiming that a juror was impartial. After the jury reached its verdict, Jackson said the jurors "served with integrity," and Stone's legal team has argued that this shows she is biased, and must recuse herself before a ruling is made on a new trial.

Jackson wrote on Sunday that there is "no factual or legal support for the motion of disqualification," and "the pleading appears to be nothing more than an attempt to use the court's docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it." Catherine Garcia

8:25 p.m.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson announced on Sunday that she is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

During a surprise appearance at Sanders' rally in Austin, Texas, Williamson said he "has been taking a stand for a very long time. He has been consistent, he has been convicted, he has been committed. And now it's time, I'm here and you're here, because it's time for us to take a stand with Bernie."

She also rejected the idea that Sanders can't defeat President Trump in November. "I'll tell you what's already happened to those who say it cannot happen," Williamson said. "You just tell them this: It already happened. He won Iowa. It already happened, he won New Hampshire. It already happened, he won Nevada." His supporters are "tired of saying pretty please," she added. "We're going to stand up, we're going to show up because we woke up. We're here and we're with Bernie." Williamson, who also endorsed Sanders when he ran for president in 2016, exited the race in early January. Catherine Garcia

1:19 p.m.

The Trump administration appears divided over whether to alter some expiring aspects of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Some White House officials within the Domestic Policy Council, spurred by the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page which has since been called into question, are hoping to overhaul parts of FISA which are soon due to lapse. One change they're proposing, which has actually been pushed for a long time by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, is to eventually notify subjects of national-security surveillance that they had been surveilled.

There will likely be some hurdles, though. The National Security Council, for example, generally advocates for expanded surveillance powers, and some other administration officials reportedly have privately expressed concern that the effort to scale back some of the spying powers may go too far.

President Trump hasn't said anything about the expiring segments of FISA, but he has complained about the law in relation to Page and his campaign. Still, per the Journal, presidents historically have avoided scaling back surveillance powers because they fear they'll be blamed in the event of a terrorist attack. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

12:38 p.m.

If you saw the reports that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was briefed by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was trying to aid his Democratic presidential campaign, you might have wondered, why exactly, Moscow was targeting him. After all, President Trump is still apparently the candidate the Kremlin hopes wins, and Sanders and Trump certainly have different ideological stances.

GQ's Julia Ioffe set out to answer that question, and while she reports that some people think Sanders' non-interventionist foreign policy platform is appealing to Moscow, or that he will be easier for Trump to defeat than other more moderate candidates, she also found that it may be more about optics. "The ideal scenario is to maintain schism and uncertainty in the States till the end," said Gleb Pavlovsky, a Russian political scientist who used to advise Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Our candidate is chaos."

Essentially, as described by Ioffe's sources, Moscow is licking its chops over what could be the most extreme U.S. presidential election in quite some time, if not ever, and they want to see the country turn on itself. "All of this infighting, this cannibalism, they create and deepen the crisis of the American system," said Andranik Migranyan, a close friend of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who used to run a Russian government-funded think tank.

Migranyan went on to question — perhaps facetiously — whether the U.S. will still exist after 2025. "Your country is hurtling toward the abyss," he said.

Of course, it's unclear if that's precisely why the Kremlin seems okay with a Sanders victory — and Migranyan denies Russia is actually meddling — but it's not difficult to imagine Moscow would enjoy an even more hotly contested election than in 2016. Read more at GQ. Tim O'Donnell

12:03 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be basking in his victory after the Nevada caucuses, but he can't celebrate for too long. The South Carolina primary is right around the corner, and despite Sanders steadily encroaching into first place for weeks in state polls, it's still former Vice President Joe Biden's state to lose in the week leading up to the vote, a new CBS/YouGov poll revealed Sunday.

Sanders crushed his competition in Nevada, where Biden finished a distant second. South Carolina, though, has always been the early voting state the vice president has had his eye on — and he's still got a chance — but Sanders is right behind him now as Biden's once dominant lead has shrunk to just a five-point advantage over Sanders in the new poll.

Some of that likely has to do with Biden's support among black voters shrinking over the last few months. He still maintains the edge, but billionaire Tom Steyer has shot up to second place among the demographic thanks to a furious final effort in the state. Steyer, in fact, is in third place in the poll, which must excite his campaign, considering he told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that he'll need a top-three finish next Saturday to get back into the race.

The CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov between February 20-22, 2020. A representative sample of 2,000 registered voters in South Carolina was selected, including 1,238 self-identified Democrats, as well as independents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary this year. The margin of error is 5.5 points. Tim O'Donnell

11:13 a.m.

President Trump continues to ride the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) bandwagon, but some analysts think he and his Republican supporters might want to think twice about what they're wishing for.

Trump on Sunday congratulated Sanders on his big win at the Nevada caucuses, which helped increase his lead in the Democratic presidential primary substantially, making him the frontrunner to take on Trump in the general election in November. The president said it remains to be seen if Sanders can hold on, but he just hopes the Democratic Party treats Sanders fairly, perhaps hinting that he believes there may be some sort of effort from more establishment Democrats to stop Sanders' victory from happening.

Not everyone is buying Trump's call for fairness, though. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod, for example, thinks Trump is doing what he can to divide Democrats to boost his own re-election bid.

There's also the notion out there that Trump and his supporters believe Sanders gives them the best shot at staying in the White House because the senator's more extreme ideological leanings will turn swing voters back to the GOP. But CNN political commentator Mark McKinnon, who worked for former President George W. Bush, believes Republicans may be too sure of themselves, especially because Sanders is able to rile up passion in his supporters in a fashion similar to Trump himself. Tim O'Donnell

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