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    Democratic presidential candidates have roared back into Iowa touting fresh endorsements, critiquing their rivals and predicting victories in the caucuses that will soon launch the process of deciding who will challenge President Donald Trump. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Saturday she was “delighted' to pick up a coveted endorsement from The Des Moines Register. The state's largest newspaper called the Massachusetts Democrat “the best leader for these times' and said she “is not the radical some perceive her to be.' But Warren's progressive rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, predicted victory in Iowa and campaigned alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., one of the most prominent leaders on the left. Joe Biden, meanwhile, appeared for the first time alongside Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, who is the latest in a growing list of local politicians backing the former vice president's candidacy. And Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sought to position himself a Washington outsider above the partisan fray. But as the candidates set out to make their best case to voters, the volatility of the race was evident. Several candidates began their day in Washington, sitting as jurors in Trump's impeachment trial. They will have to return to Capitol Hill early next week as the trial continues, sidelining them from campaigning during a critical period. More fundamentally, there's no clear front-runner despite the fact that many candidates have now spent more than a year courting Iowans. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday showed Sanders with a slight — but not commanding — edge in Iowa. But several polls show Biden, Buttigieg and Warren remain among the front-runners. “There’s still plenty of time for movement,” said Kurt Meyer, chairman of the Tri-County Democrats in northern Iowa. “Every part of the ground game counts.” Still, Sanders returned to Iowa exuding a sense of confidence. Hundreds of supporters filled the municipal auditorium in Ames and additional voters crowded an overflow room. Earlier in the night, he told voters in Marshalltown that he had an “excellent chance to win here in Iowa' and argued that his is the only campaign that can weave broad support from voters. “I believe that our campaign, our energy, our grassroots movement, our agenda is the approach that will speak to working people who, in many cases, have given up on politics,” he said. 'I think we will resonate with them. I think we have in the past, I think we will in the future.” Polls suggest Biden also has a substantial appeal among Democratic voters, especially African Americans. While he has been critical of Sanders in the past, he kept his focus instead on the threat of four more years of Trump in the White House. “I don't believe we are the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump tweets about at night,' he told a large crowd in Ankeny. “We are so much better than Donald Trump.” Biden scored the endorsement of the Sioux City Journal, which called him “the candidate best positioned to give Americans a competitive head-to-head matchup with President Trump” and said he would be best at attracting support from “independents and disgruntled Republicans.” Compared to Biden, Buttigieg was more dire in his reaction to the prospect of Sanders gaining strength in the Democratic contest. Hours after The New York Times/Siena College poll was released, his campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject line: “Bernie Sanders could be the nominee.' “We need a nominee who can galvanize our country,' the email said. “The Trump presidency will end one way or another, and when it does we need a president who can rally this country around a vision for the next generation. We know that candidate is Pete.' Speaking to reporters later in the day, Buttigieg stopped short of directly hitting Sanders, but noted that “we are getting into the heart of the competition.' “I believe that we should be very mindful that the very worst risk we can take at a time like this is to recycle the same Washington-style of political warfare that that brought us to this point,” he said. “If we believe it’s important to win, and I sure do, then the best thing we could do is put forward a candidate who offers something new.' ___ Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut in Washington, Thomas Beaumont in Storm Lake, Iowa, Sara Burnett in Muscatine, Iowa, and Will Weissert in Marshalltown, Iowa contributed to this report
  • U.S. troops at military outposts ín eastern Syria asked variations of the same question to their top commander Saturday: What is our future here? What are the goals we need to think about? Gen. Frank McKenzie, the U.S Middle East commander, knows the future is not certain. But at least for today, he said, “this is an area where we made a commitment. I think we’re going to be here for a while.” In an unannounced tour of five military bases in Syria stretching from the northeastern part of the country to the Middle Euphrates River Valley, McKenzie offered reassurances that the U.S. remains committed to its mission in Syria. And he said that operations against Islamic State militants are on the rise again, after the U.S. cut back due to the increased tensions with Iran and the need to concentrate on increasing security. But these are uncertain times. And America’s mission to train and partner with Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against the Islamic State group has been tested. Just last year President Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria - part of his vow to bring forces home and halt the endless wars. Over time, his military commanders, members of Congress and other leaders convinced Trump to keep a scaled-back force in Syria to protect an expanse of Kurdish-controlled oil fields and facilities from falling into IS hands. So while some troops did leave Syria, the Pentagon ordered others to move into the east, with armored vehicles and security forces to help the SDF guard the oil. McKenzie, who met with the SDF's commander, Mazloum Abdi, at an undisclosed military base in eastern Syria Saturday morning, said the Kurdish leader wanted assurances that the U.S. would continue to help his fighters. His answer, McKenzie said, was that the U.S will continue to conduct anti-IS missions, partner with the rebel forces and help protect the oil fields. But, he said, he did not put a deadline on it. “He knows, and I agree, that we’re not going to be here for 100 years,' McKenzie said during a stop at Green Village military outpost, east of Deir el-Zour. “I frankly don’t know how long we’re going to be here and I have no instructions other than to continue to work with our partner here.” McKenzie criss-crossed the east, flying by helicopter over long stretches of desert flecked with intermittent patches of green and scattered villages. It was his first trip to the five bases. The U.S. declared an end to the Islamic State’s physical caliphate last March. But in recent months there have been growing concerns that the insurgents are regrouping, particularly in the west where U.S. forces are not present. Operations against IS, however, were interrupted in recent weeks, in the aftermath of the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq. Fearing reprisals by Iran and Iranian-backed proxy forces, the U.S. paused or slowed operations to beef up security in Iraq and Syria. Iran, after several days, launched ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed. Several dozen were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, but no one was killed in the attacks. According to officials, US operations against the Islamic State group in Syria were reduced by half over that time. But as McKenzie took stock of the situation during his day-long sprint across eastern Syria he said that has now changed. “Certainly, the pace of operations went down earlier in the year, based on events in Iraq” McKenzie told two reporters from The Associated Press and The Washington Post traveling with him into Syria. “We're now back up to, I think, probably three or four operations a week with our partners here — so that pace is beginning to pick up and we are very pleased with that.” Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, commander of the special operations forces in Iraq and Syria, was with McKenzie for most of the day. He said his forces continue to train and conduct operations with the SDF to root out IS insurgents who are “hiding in the valleys, in the caves, in the desserts, trying to regroup.” Hill spoke to reporters at the military base located at the Conoco gas field near Deir el-Zour, where military trucks and aircraft sit alongside looming plant buildings and old homes that have been turned into high-tech operations centers and barracks. According to officials, there are now about 750 U.S. troops in eastern Syria, spread across a swath of land that stretches more than 90 miles (150 kilometers) from Deir el-Zour to the border region east of al-Hassakeh. The U.S.-Syrian Kurdish relationship, which dates back to 2014, was strained after Trump last month ordered American troops out of northern Syria, making way for a Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held towns and villages along a stretch of the border. Kurdish and American forces are now operating in a region that is more complicated and crowded with troops since the Turks began their attack on northeast Syria in early October, aimed at pushing the Kurdish fighters away from the border. While talking to troops on Saturday, McKenzie warned that Iranian proxy forces in Syria continue to be a significant risk to them. He said that while Iran appears to be deterred right now from launching another attack against the U.S, “you always worry about their ability to command and control their proxy elements which they have equipped very well.”
  • A prominent member of the New Hampshire Republican Party has lost his national post. New Hampshire national Republican committeeman Steve Duprey lost Saturday to Chris Ager in voting at the 2020 annual meeting of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, a state GOP spokesman said. Duprey then resigned his post for Ager to take over the rest of his term. Ager is chairman of the Hillsborough County Republican Committee. As he promoted his campaign for a fifth term earlier this month, Duprey announced the endorsement of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. He was also backed by the state’s leading Republican, Gov. Chris Sununu. Like many establishment Republicans, Duprey was critical of Trump before he won the presidency but became a staunch defender. One point of contention was Trump’s consistent criticism of Duprey’s close friend, Sen. John McCain, which continued even after the Arizona Republican’s death in 2018. Duprey repeatedly defended McCain against Trump’s jabs. “President Trump is in very good shape in New Hampshire,” Duprey said in March 2019. “He’s the prohibitive favorite. I just take offense when he criticized John McCain. If other Republicans don’t like it, too bad.”
  • President Donald Trump inquired how long Ukraine would be able to resist Russian aggression without U.S. assistance during a 2018 meeting with donors that included the indicted associates of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?” Trump is heard asking in the audio portion of a video recording, moments before he calls for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. She was removed a year later after a campaign to discredit her by Giuliani and others, an action that is part of Democrats' case arguing for the removal of the president in his Senate impeachment trial. A video recording of the entire 80-minute dinner at the Trump Hotel in Washington was obtained Saturday by The Associated Press. Excerpts were first published Friday by ABC News. People can be seen in only some portions of the recording. The recording contradicts the president's statements that he did not know the Giuliani associates Lev Parnas or Igor Fruman, key figures in the investigation who were indicted last year on campaign finance charges. The recording came to light as Democrats continued to press for witnesses and other evidence to be considered during the impeachment trial. On the recording, a voice that appears to be Parnas' can be heard saying, “The biggest problem there, I think where we need to start is we got to get rid of the ambassador.' He later can be heard telling Trump: “She's basically walking around telling everybody, 'Wait, he's gonna get impeached. Just wait.'” Trump responds: 'Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.” Ukraine came up during the dinner in the context of a discussion of energy markets, with the voice appearing to be Parnas' describing his involvement in the purchase of a Ukrainian energy company. The group then praises Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to which the president says: “Pompeo's going to be good. He's doing a good job. Already he's doing a good job.” At the beginning of the video, Trump is seen posing for photos before entering the blue-walled dining room. A voice that appears to be Fruman's is heard saying that 'it's a great room' before a chuckle. “I couldn't believe myself.” Also visible in the video are the president's son Donald Trump Jr. and former counselor to the president Johnny DeStefano. Jack Nicklaus III, the grandson of the golf icon, and New York real estate developer Stanley Gale also attended the event for a pro-Trump group. Just a few minutes into the conversation, Trump can be heard railing against former President George W. Bush, China, the World Trade Organization and the European Union. “Bush, he gets us into the war, he gets us into the Middle East, that was a beauty,” Trump says. “We’re in the Middle East right now for $7 trillion.” He later says: “China rips us off for years and we owe them $2 trillion.” The president blames the WTO because it “allowed China to do what they’re doing.” 'The WTO is worse,” than China, he declares. “China didn’t become great until the WTO.” Trump also seemed to question the U.S. involvement in the Korean War: “How we ever got involved in South Korea in the first place, tell me about it. How we ended up in a Korean War.' Trump provided the guests with an update ahead of his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, revealing that he'd settled on a date and location. One of the people in attendance sought to pitch a different location: Songdo, South Korea, which is 70% owned by Gale International and features a Nicklaus-designed golf course. “You know that Kim Jong Un is a great golfer,” Trump is heard telling the guests, who roar with laughter. Trump also discussed the border crisis and plans for a border wall with Mexio, insisting that he wants to build a concrete wall but had heard from law enforcement officials that it isn't viable. “You do have to be able to see through the wall, I think,” Trump says. He says drug dealers would throw heavy bundles of drugs over the wall, which could kill Border Patrol agents. “They have a catapult and they throw it over the wall, and it lands on the other side of the wall and it can hit people. Can you imagine you get hit with 100 pounds?” the president says. “The whole thing is preposterous. I would’ve loved to have seen to see a concrete wall, but you just can’t do that.” Toward the end of the dinner, the discussion turns to the upcoming election and media. 'Magazines are dead,' Trump says. 'I think cable TV is OK. If we ever lost an election, cable TV is dead,' he says, the party goers laughing. “Can you imagine if they had a normal candidate? It's all they talk about. If they had Hillary, crooked Hillary, their ratings would be one-fifth.” Trump says that he believes he would have had a harder time in 2016 if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee. Near the end of the dinner Parnas can be heard presenting what he says is a gift to Trump from “the head rabbi in Ukraine” and rabbis in Israel drawing a parallel between Trump and the messiah. “It’s like messiah is the person that’s come to save the whole world. So it’s like you’re the savior of the Ukraine.” 'All Jew people of Ukraine, they are praying for you,” Fruman says, as Parnas tells Trump to show the gift to Jared Kushner, the president’s Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser, to explain its meaning. In the video, it appears Fruman is seated across the narrow part of the rectangular table and one seat over from the president. Trump also tells the assembled guests that it is 'ridiculous' and “wrong” that he can’t hold political fundraisers inside the White House, saying it would save the government money compared to driving him the four blocks to his hotel.
  • President Donald Trump’s lawyers on Saturday argued a robust version of one of his favorite phrases to tweet: “Read the transcript!” It was the first day of defense arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial as the Senate gathered for two quick hours in a rare Saturday session. The White House lawyers had said it would be a “sneak preview” of their defense, continuing Monday, and they spent the morning rebutting the House impeachment managers’ arguments by charging that they were politically motivated. To begin, they read parts of a rough transcript of a July call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that is at the heart of the House impeachment case. While Democrats point to the conversation as a prime reason to remove the president, the White House lawyers say it points to Trump’s innocence. Trump often tweets, sometimes in all caps, that people should read the transcript in an effort to clear himself. Highlights of Saturday's session and what's ahead as senators conduct just the third impeachment trial of a president: THE CALL TRANSCRIPT The House is charging that Trump abused power in a broad campaign to push Ukraine to investigate Democrats, including presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. They point to the July call, in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to probe Biden. At the time, Trump had ordered the U.S. to withhold military aid from Ukraine. The defense argued that there’s no evidence that the military aid was a “quid pro quo” for the investigations. They said Trump was concerned about general corruption in the country and noted he eventually released the aid. Deputy White House counsel Michael Purpura argued that everyone knows that when Trump asked Zelenskiy to “do us a favor,' he meant the U.S., not himself. Democrats have disagreed and said Trump didn't release the aid until he “got caught.” The defense lawyers said the House managers didn't know what Trump’s motivations were. DIFFERENT STYLES, SUBSTANCE Trump’s defense team used just two hours of the senators’ time on and promised not to run out the 24-hour clock allotted for the days ahead the way House Democrats nearly did prosecuting the case. The White House team also displayed quick-cut video presentations on the Senate’s overhead screens, turning soundbites from key players in the impeachment case into fast-snapping clips. It all seemed to command the attention of senators, likely a welcome change of pace for those who had grown tired of the prosecution's long and often repetitive presentations. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow gave his word to the senators, “We’re not going to play the same clips seven times.” That prompted smiles from some senators. The president’s team arrayed in the well of the chamber also looked different than the House managers — defending Trump were four white men. One woman, attorney Pam Bondi, is also on Trump’s team. The seven-person House manager team reflected a cross section of America that included women and people of color. On Saturday the counsel’s table was without its TV-famous lawyers, Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, who have yet to appear before the Senate but are expected on Monday. FOCUS ON SCHIFF In arguing that the Democrats’ case is politically motivated, the White House lawyers focused on the person who has been at the head of the inquiry: lead impeachment manager and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. As part of their presentation, they played video of one of Schiff’s opening statements during a hearing early in the impeachment probe. In the statement, Schiff parodied Trump’s push for the investigations, comparing it to a mafia shakedown. Republicans, and Trump in particular, have focused on the monologue and said that Schiff made up a conversation that didn’t exist. Schiff, in the chamber as as a prosecutor in the impeachment trial, looked straight ahead as they played the video, sitting just feet from the lawyers. The lawyers also played video of Schiff saying early in the investigation that the Intelligence Committee hadn’t had any contact with the whistleblower who first revealed the call between Trump and Zelenskiy. In fact, the whistleblower had talked to committee staff. Schiff later said he should have been clearer in his comments. After the session adjourned , Schiff said that the defense was employing an old courtroom trick. “When your client is guilty, when your client is dead to rights, you don’t want to talk about your client, you want to attack the prosecution,” he said. NOT QUITE HIGH FIVES, BUT HANDSHAKES As the Senate adjourned, several Republican senators, some closely allied with the president, made their way to the defense counsel’s table to shake their hands. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Mike Lee of Utah stopped by. Sekulow and Purpura walked through an aisle greeting more senators as the cameras shut off, including John Thune of South Dakota. Sekulow also checked in with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Jim Risch of Idaho. One GOP senator mentioned in the impeachment inquiry Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, engaged for several minutes in conversation with the counsel team. Last year, Johnson attended Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s inauguration with other U.S. officials and was cited in the House proceedings as having discussed the Ukraine situation with Trump. The Trump team’s outreach did have some bipartisan moments. At one point, White House counsel Pat Cipollone chatted extensively with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and later appeared to be lingering to say hello to Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democratic presidential candidate.
  • Former California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark Jr., an influential Democrat whose legislative work helped reshape America's health care system, has died. He was 88. Stark's family said he died Friday at his home in Maryland. They did not disclose a cause of death. During his 40-year career in Congress representing the East Bay, Stark helped craft the Affordable Care Act, the signature policy change of the Obama administration. He also created the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the 1986 law best known as COBRA, which allows workers to stay on their employer's health insurance plan after they leave a job as long as they pay the full premium. He also pushed for a law that requires hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to treat anyone seeking emergency treatment, regardless of their insurance status. “Congressman Stark dedicated his life to defending every American’s right to quality, affordable health care,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. She added that the laws he helped enact “made a difference in the lives of millions.” In an obituary posted online, Stark's family remembered him as a “persistent champion” of foster children and gay people, supporting laws that barred discriminating against LGBTQ people in adoptions, as well as paid family leave. According to his family, Stark met a young Steve Jobs on a cross-country flight and later worked with him to write a bill providing tax credits to technology companies that donated computers to public schools. Born in Wisconsin during the Great Depression, Stark later served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and settled in California after receiving his master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. He took out a loan to start his own bank in the 1960s where he took stances that seemed radical at the time: The bank was the first in the nation to offer free checking accounts and provided free child care and transportation for his largely black workforce. He ran for Congress in 1972 on an anti-poverty and anti-war platform and unseated Rep. George P. Miller. After serving 20 terms in office, Stark lost a bid for reelection to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell in 2012 and retired. Stark is survived by his wife Deborah Roderick Stark, seven children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out in anger Saturday at an NPR reporter who accused him of shouting expletives at her after she asked him in an interview about Ukraine. In a direct and personal attack, America's chief diplomat said the journalist had “lied” to him and he called her conduct “shameful.” NPR said it stood by Mary Louise Kelly's reporting. Pompeo claimed in a statement that the incident was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt” President Donald Trump and his administration. Pompeo, a former CIA director and Republican congressman from Kansas who is one of Trump's closest allies in the Cabinet, asserted, 'It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.” It is extraordinary for a secretary of state to make such a personal attack on a journalist, but he is following the lead of Trump, who has repeatedly derided what he calls “fake news” and ridiculed individual reporters. In one of the more memorable instances, Trump mocked a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. In Friday’s interview, Pompeo responded testily when Kelly asked him about Ukraine and specifically whether he defended or should have defended Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv whose ouster figured in Trump’s impeachment. “I have defended every State Department official,' he said. 'We've built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world ... I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.” This has been a sensitive point for Pompeo. As a Trump loyalist, he has been publicly silent as the president and his allies have disparaged the nonpartisan career diplomats, including Yovanovitch, who have testified in the impeachment hearings. Those diplomats told Congress that Trump risked undermining Ukraine, a critical U.S. ally, by pressuring for an investigation of Democrat Joe Biden, a Trump political rival. Yovanovitch, who was seen by Trump allies as a roadblock to those efforts, was told in May to leave Ukraine and return to Washington immediately for her own safety. After documents released this month from an associate of Trump's personal attorney suggested she was being watched and possibly under threat, Pompeo took three days to address the matter and did so only after coming under harsh criticism from lawmakers and current and former diplomats. After the NPR interview, Kelly said she was taken to Pompeo’s private living room, where he shouted at her “for about the same amount of time as the interview itself,” using the “F-word” repeatedly. She said he was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. Pompeo, in his statement, did not deny shouting at Kelly and did not apologize. Instead, he accused her of lying to him when setting up the interview, which he apparently expected would be limited to questions about Iran, and for supposedly agreeing not to discuss the post-interview meeting. Kelly said Pompeo asked whether she thought Americans cared about Ukraine and if she could find the country on a map. “I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing,” she said in discussing the encounter on “All Things Considered.” “I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘people will hear about this.’” Pompeo ended Saturday's statement by saying, “It is worth nothing that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.” Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president of news, said in a statement that 'Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report.''
  • Democratic presidential candidates roared back into Iowa on Saturday touting fresh endorsements, critiquing their rivals and predicting victories in the caucuses that will soon launch the process of deciding who will challenge President Donald Trump. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she was “delighted' to pick up a coveted endorsement from The Des Moines Register. The state's largest newspaper called the Massachusetts Democrat “the best leader for these times' and said she “is not the radical some perceive her to be.' But Warren's progressive rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, predicted victory in Iowa and campaigned alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., one of the most prominent leaders on the left. Joe Biden, meanwhile, appeared for the first time alongside Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, who is the latest in a growing list of local politicians backing the former vice president's candidacy. And Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sought to position himself a Washington outsider above the partisan fray. But as the candidates set out to make their best case to voters, the volatility of the race was evident. Several candidates began their day in Washington, sitting as jurors in Trump's impeachment trial. They will have to return to Capitol Hill early next week as the trial continues, sidelining them from campaigning during a critical period. More fundamentally, there's no clear front-runner despite the fact that many candidates have now spent more than a year courting Iowans. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday showed Sanders with a slight — but not commanding — edge in Iowa. But several polls show Biden, Buttigieg and Warren remain among the front-runners. “There’s still plenty of time for movement,” said Kurt Meyer, chairman of the Tri-County Democrats in northern Iowa. “Every part of the ground game counts.” Still, Sanders returned to Iowa exuding a sense of confidence. Hundreds of supporters filled the municipal auditorium in Ames and additional voters crowded an overflow room. Earlier in the night, he told voters in Marshalltown that he had an “excellent chance to win here in Iowa' and argued that his is the only campaign that can weave broad support from voters. “I believe that our campaign, our energy, our grassroots movement, our agenda is the approach that will speak to working people who, in many cases, have given up on politics,” he said. 'I think we will resonate with them. I think we have in the past, I think we will in the future.” Polls suggest Biden also has a substantial appeal among Democratic voters, especially African Americans. While he has been critical of Sanders in the past, he kept his focus instead on the threat of four more years of Trump in the White House. “I don't believe we are the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump tweets about at night,' he told a large crowd in Ankeny. “We are so much better than Donald Trump.” Biden scored the endorsement of the Sioux City Journal, which called him “the candidate best positioned to give Americans a competitive head-to-head matchup with President Trump” and said he would be best at attracting support from “independents and disgruntled Republicans.” Compared to Biden, Buttigieg was more dire in his reaction to the prospect of Sanders gaining strength in the Democratic contest. Hours after The New York Times/Siena College poll was released, his campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject line: “Bernie Sanders could be the nominee.' “We need a nominee who can galvanize our country,' the email said. “The Trump presidency will end one way or another, and when it does we need a president who can rally this country around a vision for the next generation. We know that candidate is Pete.' Speaking to reporters later in the day, Buttigieg stopped short of directly hitting Sanders, but noted that “we are getting into the heart of the competition.' “I believe that we should be very mindful that the very worst risk we can take at a time like this is to recycle the same Washington-style of political warfare that that brought us to this point,” he said. “If we believe it’s important to win, and I sure do, then the best thing we could do is put forward a candidate who offers something new.' Sen. Amy Klobuchar campaigned in Muscatine, Iowa, but won a key newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire, which hosts the first-in-the-nation primary just a week after Iowa’s caucuses. The Union Leader picked the Minnesota Democrat after saying any realistic challenger to Trump called for a nominee with “a proven and substantial record of accomplishment across party lines, an ability to unite rather than divide, and the strength and stamina to go toe-to-toe with the Tweeter-in-Chief.' ___ Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut in Washington, Thomas Beaumont in Storm Lake, Iowa, Sara Burnett in Muscatine, Iowa, and Will Weissert in Marshalltown, Iowa contributed to this report
  • As tensions between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren rose earlier this month, Sanders found himself with an unusual ally: President Donald Trump. During a raucous campaign rally in which Trump critiqued some of his Democratic challengers, the president launched into an unprompted defense of Sanders. Warren had accused Sanders of telling her that a woman couldn’t win the White House in November, but Sanders insisted he would never say such a thing. Trump concurred. “I don’t believe that Bernie said that. I really don’t,” Trump told his supporters. “It’s not the kind of thing he would say.” As the Democratic primary intensifies before the first contests to decide the nominee, Trump and his allies have issued a series of curiously favorable comments about Sanders. They've played up the Vermont senator's electoral strength and fundraising prowess. And they’ve suggested that if Sanders doesn’t secure the nomination, it will be because the party rigged the primary against him. It's a sentiment that resonates with some Sanders’ backers who believe the Democratic National Committee worked against him in 2016, when Hillary Clinton won the nomination. In offering occasional support for Sanders, Trump is taking a page out of his own playbook from the election four years ago and betting that the Democratic divisions that helped him win the White House are even deeper now. Indeed, more moderate Democrats fear that Sanders — a self-described democratic socialist — would struggle to pull together a robust coalition in the general election. But they also worry his supporters might not vote in large enough numbers for any other nominee if Sanders fails in his second quest for the party’s nomination. Both scenarios would benefit Trump. The president is closely monitoring the Democratic race, and has taken note of Sanders’ strong fundraising and polling, according to Republicans who have spoken with him about the election. But if Sanders stumbles in the coming weeks, Trump is also said to see an opportunity to suppress some of the senator’s most ardent supporters, or even win over some of their votes. For some Democrats, it’s a worrisome prospect. “There are people who are very anti-establishment, who have a lot of oppositional feelings about the political establishment,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who advised Clinton’s 2016 campaign. “Sanders is appealing to them and if that doesn’t work for them, then the Trump team hopes they’ll come their way.” Though Trump and Sanders are at odds on most major issues, they have some striking similarities. Both rose to political prominence without the backing of their parties’ establishment, but now wield significant influence over those parties’ policy positions. Both men have forged visceral connections with lower income voters, in part by pledging to revamp trade policies they say have hurt American workers. In 2016, Sanders and Trump did share a small number of voters. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 3% of voters who consistently backed Sanders in 2016 Democratic primary voted for Trump in the general election. Another 11% of Sanders supporters voted for third party candidates over Clinton. David Riley Campbell, 23, was among the Sanders supported who didn’t back Clinton against Trump (Campbell said he didn’t vote for anyone in the general election). He said he’s learned his lesson and will be “going blue no matter who” in 2020. Still, he acknowledged he would be “much, much less enthusiastic” about a candidate other than Sanders. “There’s a very short list of candidates I trust,” said Campbell, who is volunteering in Iowa for Sanders before the Feb. 3 caucus. It’s that lingering distrust of other Democrats among Sanders supporters that Trump’s team is eager to capitalize on if the senator falters in the coming weeks. Trump has sent multiple tweets over the past week suggesting Democrats were “rigging the election” against Sanders because he was being pulled off the campaign trail to serve as a juror in the Senate impeachment trial during the final weeks before the caucus. Trump never mentioned that three other senators — including Warren of Massachusetts, Sanders’ chief progressive rival — were also marooned in Washington for the trial. On Thursday, senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway wrote in The Washington Post that if Democrats were serious about nominating the most electable candidate, they would side with Sanders. He’s the candidate, Conway wrote, “who actually won primary contests and proved he can play David to Goliath in key places four short years ago.” Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, said those comments don’t change the fact that the president sees Sanders as a someone who could be a “complete disaster” in the White House. Yet Murtaugh also gave a nod to Sanders’ supporters, saying it’s “obvious the knives are out” for the senator in the Democratic primary. “It would be completely understandable if the Sanders camp said, ‘Here we go again,’” Murtaugh said. Trump used a similar strategy in 2016. He urged Sanders to run as an independent after Sanders fell behind Clinton in the race for delegates, which determine the Democratic nominee, and openly courted Sanders' supporters. Four years later, some of Sanders’ backers say their eyes are wide open to Trump’s strategy. “What they’re trying to do is throw a wrench into the works. They’re trying to do whatever they can to keep us at each other’s throats,” said Randy Bryce, a Sanders supporter and former Wisconsin congressional candidate. Sanders’ campaign did not respond to questions about the favorable comments from the president and his advisers. Earlier this month, Sanders distanced himself from Trump’s assertions that Democrats were rigging the 2020 primary against him. “His transparent attempts to divide Democrats will not work, and we are going to unite to sweep him out of the White House in November,” Sanders said in a statement. __ AP National Political Writer Steve Peoples in Iowa City, Iowa, and AP Director of Public Opinion Research Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report. __ Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly ``Ground Game’’ politics podcast
  • A blueprint the White House is rolling out to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is as much about politics as it is about peace. President Donald Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan a little before he meets Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz. The Washington get-together offers political bonuses for Trump and the prime minister, but Trump's opponents are doubting the viability of any plan since there's been little-to-no input from the Palestinians, who have rejected it before its release. “It's entirely about politics,” Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, said about Tuesday's meeting. “You simply can't have a serious discussion about an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and only invite one side to come talk about it. This is more about the politics inside Israel and inside the U.S. than it is about any real efforts to get these two sides to an agreement.' Jared Kushner, a Trump adviser and the president's son-in-law, has been the architect for the plan for nearly three years. He's tried to persuade academics, lawmakers, former Mideast negotiators, Arab governments and special interest groups not to reject his fresh approach outright. People familiar with the administration’s thinking believe the release will have benefits even if it never gets Palestinian buy-in and ultimately fails. According to these people, the peace team believes that if Israeli officials are open to the plan and Arab nations do not outright reject it, the proposal could help improve broader Israeli-Arab relations. For years, the prospect of improved ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors had been conditioned on a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the administration believes that a change in regional dynamics – due mainly to rising antipathy to Iran – will boost Israel’s standing with not only Egypt and Jordan, which already have peace deals with the Jewish state, but also Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf nations, these people say. There have been signs of warming between Israel and the Gulf states, including both public displays and secret contacts, and the administration sees an opening for even greater cooperation after the plan is released, according to these people. Trump, for his part, told reporters on Air Force One this week that “It's a plan that really would work.” He said he spoke to the Palestinians “briefly,” without elaborating. Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for the Western-backed Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, says that's not true. “There were no talks with the U.S. administration — neither briefly nor in detail,' he said. “The Palestinian position is clear and consistent in its rejection of Trump’s decisions regarding Jerusalem and other issues, and everything related to the rejected deal.” Abbas ended contacts with the administration after it recognized disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital two years ago. The Palestinians' anger mounted as Trump repeatedly broken with the international consensus around solving the conflict and took actions seen as biased toward Israel's right-wing government. The White House has cut off nearly all U.S. aid to the Palestinians and closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington. In November, the Trump administration said it no longer views Jewish settlements in the occupied territories as inconsistent with international law, reversing four decades of American policy. The Palestinians view the settlements as illegal and a major obstacle to peace, a position shared by most of the international community. Tuesday's meeting offers benefits to both leaders while they are under fire at home. The meeting allows Trump to address a high-profile foreign policy issue during his impeachment trial, while Democrats are arguing for his ouster. Moreover, if the plan is pro-Israel as expected, Trump hopes it will be popular with his large base of evangelicals and maybe sway a few anti-Trump Jewish voters his way. According to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of the American electorate, 79% of white evangelical voters in the 2018 midterms approved of the job Trump was doing as president, while 74% of Jewish voters disapproved. Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of the 8 million-member Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that Trump 'has shown himself to be the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history, and I fully expect his peace proposal will be in line with that tradition.” For Netanyahu, the meeting allows him to shift press coverage Tuesday when Israel's parliament convenes a committee that is expected to reject his request for legal immunity from charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. “The ‘Trump peace plan’ is a blatant attempt to hijack Israel’s March 2 election in Netanyahu’s favor,' tweeted Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist for Israel's Haaretz newspaper and the author of a biography of Netanyahu. Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival ahead of the election. The decision to bring Gantz along is likely aimed at forestalling any criticism that the U.S. administration is meddling in the election. But in Israel, the meeting and the unveiling of the plan will be widely seen as a gift to the prime minister. The prime minister has noted that it was his idea to invite Gantz, putting his rival in a position where he could not say no to a meeting that could make him look like a bystander at the White House event. In Congress, Trump's announced release of his Mideast plan has caused hardly a ripple against the backdrop of the impeachment drama. Asked on Friday what he thought about the expected rollout, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said: “I'm on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and we've not heard anything about it.” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, the committee chairman, defended the administration's work on a plan. “I think the people who are working on this are working on this in good faith,' Risch said in the halls of Congress, shortly before Trump's impeachment trial resumed. “I think the people who are trying to do it really are acting in good faith, hoping they can come up with a solution.” __ Associated Press writers Matthew Lee in Washington and Joseph Krauss and Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Deputies in Orange County need your help with their investigation of a shooting that happened Friday afternoon. They say at 5:20 p.m., deputies responded to the shooting at 1493 Goldenrod Road near East Colonial. Once they got there, they found the victim, now identified as 30 year old Dominic Fabrece Bolden unresponsive with a gunshot wound in a car. Bolden was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Investigators have turned their focus to a black car and an SUV that have crashed into each other. A nearby Mercedez sat with two other cars along with evidence markers scattered around them. The shooting caused traffic in the north and southbound lanes to be closed, causing a back up for over 5 hours.  Investigators have classified this case as a homicide. Right now, there has been no description of a suspect or if any arrests have been made. In the meantime, Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone with information about this shooting. If you have any information, please contact Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.
  • A federally funded national study to find out why exercise benefits the human body is now in the testing phase at AdventHealth in Orlando. Last year the National Institutes of Health issued a $170 million grant to conduct the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans study, also known as MoTrPAC (pronounced “Motor Pack”).  Orlando was chosen as one of the ten markets where the study is being conducted. In January 2019, News 96.5 WDBO spoke with the AdventHealth senior investigator leading the study at the Translational Research Institute on Princeton Street.  One year later, Dr. Bret Goodpaster said the testing is happening now with the first group of volunteers from Central Florida. “They essentially get an exercise program,” Dr. Goodpaster said. “They get their own personal trainer for twelve weeks who really teach them about the right way to do exercise.” Goodpaster’s team is working with about 25 or 30 people at a time.  Over the course of about three years they’ll study 150 volunteers, a good chunk of the nearly 2,000 people who are being studied nationwide for MoTrPAC.  They’ll continue working with volunteers through 2022. The study itself involves both resistance and aerobic exercise.  Volunteers undergo all sorts of testing of their muscle, fat and blood both before and after the exercise program to see what has changed. “We’re looking at all the molecules that might be produced during exercise in muscle, fat cells and in the blood to really try to discover what we don’t yet know about why exercise exerts its positive health benefits,” Dr. Goodpaster said. He hopes the study will lead to new data on what exercise is doing on a fundamental, basic molecular level.  One example is finding what molecules end up in the blood that might be related to risk for diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Orlando wasn’t chosen at random to participate in the study.  Dr. Goodpaster said  they competed to get part of the federal grant. “I think what this does from a research perspective is it really puts Orlando on the map as being able to succeed at competing at landing these NIH-funded national studies like MoTrPAC,” he said. That could mean more projects for Orlando in the future, as the National Institutes of Health wants to give money to people who have established a track record of success in being able to do these types of studies. AdventHealth’s Translational Research Institute will be looking for volunteers for the next two to three years.  Anyone interested in getting involved with the MoTrPAC research study can call (407) 303-7193 or visit TRI-MD.org.
  • At least two people died and one person was injured after an early-morning explosion Friday at a machine shop in northwest Houston, police said. KHOU reported residents first felt the blast at Watson Grinding & Manufacturing Co. around 4:30 a.m. Friday. Update 4:50 a.m. EST Jan. 25: Houston authorities have identified the two people killed in Friday’s early-morning explosion as Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena. Both men were employees at the facility and had arrived early to use the company’s on-site gym before starting their workdays, KHOU reported. According to the TV station, a nearby resident was taken to a local hospital for treatment of unknown injuries, and at least 18 people sought emergency room treatment on their own for minor injuries associated with the blast, such as breathing issues and cuts. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Police Chief Art Acevedo said authorities believe they have identified the two people killed in Friday morning’s explosion as employees of Watson Grinding. Authorities declined to identify the victims as they continued to await official confirmation of their identities. “We only have two people that are accounted for and we have recovered two bodies,” Acevedo said Friday afternoon. “That doesn’t mean that there (isn’t) people that no one knows were in the area, and so we cannot say whether or not there are more victims but right now. It appears (to be) a high probability (that) there’s only two victims.” Police, firefighters and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the cause of the blast. “As of right now, we don’t have any have no indication that there’s any terrorism nexus or any intentional act,” Acevedo said. Earlier Friday, he noted investigations are part of standard procedure when dealing with situations such as Friday’s explosion. Update 1:55 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Firefighters have cleared the immediate blast area affected by Friday morning’s explosion at Watson Grinding. The owner of Watson Grinding told KTRK the blast was a propylene gas explosion. Houston fire officials said propylene tanks still at the machine shop were intact and stable Friday afternoon. “There is no indication of any air quality issues,” officials said. Update 1:10 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Police expect to provide an update on the investigation into Friday morning’s explosion at a news conference scheduled to start at 1 p.m. local time Friday. Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 24: Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Friday morning that police have confirmed two fatalities connected to the explosion at Watson Grinding. Acevedo said authorities weren’t immediately sure whether the victims were employees of Watson Grinding or residents who lived nearby. Mayor Sylvester Turner said as many as three people are believed to have died as a result of the early-morning blast. Police and firefighters have launched an investigation of the incident. “Let me just say off the bat, we have no reason to believe -- we have no evidence at this point that terrorism was involved, we don’t have any evidence that an intentional act is involved,” Acevedo said, adding that the investigation was part of standard procedure. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating. Fire Chief Samuel Peña said there was “significant damage” to homes and businesses in the area. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan 24: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said as many as three people are believed to have died in Friday morning’s explosion. Original report: One person was missing Friday after an early-morning explosion at a machine shop in northwest Houston caused heavy damage to nearby buildings, injuring at least one person and leaving rubble scattered in the area. “(The explosion) knocked us all out of our bed, it was so strong,” resident Mark Brady told KPRC. “It busted out every window in our house. It busted everybody’s garage door in around here … and closer toward the explosion over here, it busted people’s roofs in and walls in and we don’t know what it is … It’s a warzone over here.” Police Chief Art Acevedo said Friday morning that one person remained unaccounted for after the incident. “It’s somebody that works there,” Acevedo said. “We’re keeping that person in our prayers.” Firefighters said a resident who lives near Watson Grinding was injured in the explosion and taken to a hospital. Houston fire Capt. Oscar Garcia told CNN the person was injured by shattered glass. At least one local resident captured the incident on a doorbell camera. The owner of Watson Grinding told KTRK the blast was a propylene gas explosion. Houston fire Chief Samuel Peña said a hazardous materials team was monitoring after the incident but that there were no immediate reports of hazardous air quality. Acevedo said the debris field extended about half a mile from the site of the explosion. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Workers in China are swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat people who have been sickened by a new strain of the coronavirus that has claimed more than two dozen lives and sickened hundreds of others in the country, according to multiple reports. Ten bulldozers and nearly three dozen diggers arrived Thursday night at the future site of the hospital in Wuhan, Reuters reported, citing Changjiang Daily. The facility was being built using prefabricated buildings around a holiday complex on the outskirts of the city that was originally meant for local workers, according to Reuters. Officials expect to complete construction on the 270,000-square-foot lot by Feb. 3, The Associated Press reported. The facility was being built amid reports of hospital bed shortages as hundreds of people fell ill during the country’s popular Lunar New Year travel season. Several people in Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak, told The Guardian they had been turned away from hospitals due to the flood of patients seeking testing and treatment. At least eight hospitals in Wuhan have called for donations of items including masks and goggles as they work to meet demand for medical treatment, according to the AP. 'The construction of this project is to solve the shortage of existing medical resources,” Changjiang Daily reported, according to Reuters. “Because it will be prefabricated buildings, it will not only be built fast but it also won’t cost much.” The facility was being modeled after the Xiaotangshan SARS hospital built in 2003 in Beijing, the AP reported. That hospital was built by 7,000 workers in just six days during the SARS outbreak, which killed 800 and sickened people in more than a dozen countries, according to the AP and Reuters. The facility, which was deemed a success, treated 700 patients over less than two months before it closed, The Guardian and Reuters reported. As of Friday, 26 people have died and more than 900 people have been infected with coronavirus in China since reports of the virus first surfaced last month, according to CNN and the AP. Several cases have also been confirmed in other countries, including two in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials believe the virus can spread from person-to-person, though it remained unclear Friday just how easily the virus spread. Officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.
  • Orlando International Airport officials issued a statement Thursday about the deadly coronavirus, which has killed more than a dozen people and sickened hundreds of others since it was first reported last month in China. Rod Johnson, an airport spokesman, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to expand screening at airports this week, but OIA is not included in that grouping. As of Friday, the CDC is requiring screening of passengers arriving from Wuhan, China to Atlanta and Chicago O'Hare,  Los Angeles International, San Francisco International and New York JFK. 'Since we do not have direct service from the affected regions in China, no additional measures are currently prescribed for our location,' Johnson said. 'However, we will continue to collaborate with health officials, monitor the situation for changes and will act accordingly.” Cases of the virus first surfaced in Wuhan, China, which has a population of more than 11 million. The first travel-related case in the U.S was announced Tuesday. A traveler who had been in central China landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on an unidentified airline Jan. 15 and reported pneumonia-like symptoms to his doctor on Jan. 19.  The Seattle-area resident did not take a nonstop flight between Wuhan and Seattle. So far, the virus has killed at least 17 people and sickened more than 600 others in China. Here are six things you should be aware of about the disease: 1. Coronavirus is actually a group of viruses that can cause a cold or something severe like Middle East respiratory syndrome, known as MERS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS. The World Health Organization says symptoms are similar to pneumonia symptoms, CBS News reported. The initial symptoms include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath, The Associated Press reported. 2. Normally they’re transmitted from animal to humans, but 2019-nCoV is apparently able to be transmitted between humans. At least two people were infected that way, the BBC reported. But there are other coronaviruses in animal populations but have not been transmitted to humans, according to CBS News. 3. The World Health Organization is considering declaring a public health emergency, similar to what it did with Ebola and swine flu, the BBC reported. If the declaration happens, a coordinated international response will follow. 4. At least 15 medical workers are infected with 2019-nCoV and one is in critical condition. They are believed to have contracted the illness from treating patients who were kept in isolation, but that has not been confirmed, the BBC reported. 5. While the 2019-nCoV was traced back to a seafood market that also sells live animals in Wuhan, China last year, there are a few cases outside of China including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Those cases are linked to the same area in China, the BBC reported. 6. People are taking measures to protect themselves from exposure to the virus. Medical-style face masks are sold out in China, the AP reported. Many people in Wuhan are wearing face coverings as they go about their day. The company that makes the anti-pollution masks, 3M was sold out of the mask online, the AP reported.

Washington Insider

  • After listening to Democrats for three straight days, President Donald Trump's lawyers started their rebuttal on Saturday in the President's Senate impeachment trial, accusing House prosecutors of ignoring evidence helpful to Mr. Trump, asking Senators to turn aside an effort to 'cancel an election.' 'You will find that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,' White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said to start the arguments in an unusual Saturday session of the Senate. 'Today, we are going to confront them on the merits of their argument,' Cipollone added, as the President's legal team accused the House of bending the facts, and ignoring evidence in favor of Mr. Trump. 'Let's get our facts straight,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'The House managers never told you any of this,' said White House lawyer Michael Purpura. 'Why not?' “Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game,” Cipollone said, as the President's team used just two of their 24 hours of arguments - they will continue on Monday afternoon. GOP Senators rushed to the microphones after Saturday's session to denounce what Democrats had presented earlier in the week. 'Within two hours, I thought the White House Counsel and their team entirely shredded the case which has been presented by the House managers,' said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). 'It completely undermined the case of the Democrats and truly undermined the credibility of Adam Schiff,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). 'It was pretty stark today,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who then used the famous quote from radio show host Paul Harvey to make the case for the President. 'Now you know the rest of the story,' Lankford told reporters. 'This was a good day for America frankly,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). 'I don't believe anything they have said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) of the House case, as there continues to be no public evidence that any GOP Senators are ready to break with President Trump. Playing out behind the scenes was the ongoing partisan tussle over whether current and former Trump Administration officials - whose testimony has been blocked during the impeachment investigation by President Trump - should be issued subpoenas by the U.S. Senate. 'I don't know how you have a trial when you know there is evidence that you haven't seen, or witnesses you haven't heard from that have first hand knowledge,' said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). 'A fair trial means witnesses and documents,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. The trial resumes at 1 pm ET on Monday.