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Stuck in Washington: Democratic senators trade presidential campaign for impeachment trial – CNNPolitics

Washington (CNN)As the clock above the entrance to the Senate chamber inched toward 9:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar looked antsy.

It was nearly time for her “tele-town hall” virtual meeting with potential Iowa caucus-goers, and while the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump appeared to be winding down for the night, it was clear she was going to be late.
As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially closed the session, Klobuchar was already halfway to the door, a purse over her shoulder, before any of the other senators had risen from their desks. After a quick ride across Constitution Avenue to an office building just off Capitol Hill, she finally joined the town hall just after 10 p.m. — video conferencing in from a drab conference room.
Klobuchar began with an apology: “Sorry, this is a little later than we planned.”

Source: Stuck in Washington: Democratic senators trade presidential campaign for impeachment trial – CNNPolitics

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Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai announces he will not seek reelection

Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, the most prominent fiscal and social conservative in state government, will hold a news conference Thursday amid speculation in the Capitol this week that he will leave the powerful office after five years.

Source: Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai announces he will not seek reelection

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Opinion Politics

Hillary Clinton on Bernie Sanders: ‘Nobody Likes Him’ – The New York Times

Mrs. Clinton also dodged a question about whether she’d endorse and campaign for Mr. Sanders if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Source: Hillary Clinton on Bernie Sanders: ‘Nobody Likes Him’ – The New York Times

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CNN obtains proposed Senate impeachment rules for trial – YouTube

The impeachment organizing resolution text from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives House impeachment managers and the President’s legal team 24 hours each to make their opening arguments over two days. CNN’s Phil Mattingly reports.

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Opinion Politics

Graham calls for swift end to impeachment trial, warns Dems against calling witnesses | Fox News

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced that his initial plan of a pre-trial dismissal of the impeachment case against President Trump is now unlikely to happen, but he is pushing for trial to now begin and end as quickly as possible.

Source: Graham calls for swift end to impeachment trial, warns Dems against calling witnesses | Fox News

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Virginia’s top House Republican warns white supremacist garbage to stay away from gun rally – Reuters

(Reuters) – Virginia’s House Republican leader said on Saturday that white supremacists and any other groups trying to spread “hate, violence, or civil unrest” were not welcome at a pro-gun rally in the state’s capital on Monday, which is expected to draw thousands.

Source: Virginia’s top House Republican warns white supremacist garbage to stay away from gun rally – Reuters

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Nancy Pelosi sends articles of impeachment to Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sent impeachment articles to the Senate, weeks after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump.

Source: Nancy Pelosi sends articles of impeachment to Senate

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What to watch for as impeachment heads to Senate

There’s pomp, history and a bit of presidential politics at play as the House sends two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for trial.

Source: What to watch for as impeachment heads to Senate

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Democratic debate winners and losers, according to Chris Cillizza – CNNPolitics

The top six candidates debated Tuesday night in Iowa, the last chance for them to stand beside their rivals before Iowa voters kick off the nomination fight in 20 days’ time.

Source: Democratic debate winners and losers, according to Chris Cillizza – CNNPolitics

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Middle East Opinion Politics

Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts ‘Fake News Media’ and ‘Democrat Partners’ | Fox News

Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts media and their ‘Democrat partners’
Attorney General William Barr on Monday said President Trump had consulted the Department of Justice before ordering an airstrike that killed Iran’s top military general earlier this month.

Source: Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump blasts ‘Fake News Media’ and ‘Democrat Partners’ | Fox News

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Cory Booker ends presidential bid | TheHill

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced on Monday that he would suspend his presidential campaign, acknowledging that he no longer saw a path to the Democratic nomination.

Source: Cory Booker ends presidential bid | TheHill

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Middle East Opinion Politics

Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over downed plane – CNN

(CNN)Apologies from Iranian leaders over the downing of an airliner last week have done little to quell mass anti-government protests spreading across the country.

Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets this weekend condemning Iranian authorities for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing all 176 people on board.
The airliner disaster came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops. That was retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
Amid rising tensions in the region, eight Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, on Sunday, wounding four Iraqi air force officers, the Iraqi military said in a statement. No American or coalition forces were at the base when the rockets struck, a US military official told CNN.
In Iran, demonstrators are calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted.

Source: Thousands of Iranian protesters hit streets condemning leaders over downed plane – CNN

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Secure Act Aims To Help Americans Without Retirement Plans. Will It Work? : NPR

The Secure Act is intended to make it easier for small employers to offer retirement benefits. But some analysts say it doesn’t go far enough because it’s optional and doesn’t apply to gig workers.

Small employers are the biggest segment lacking coverage, he says. That’s because many small businesses lack time and money to set such programs up, he says.

The new law, called the Secure Act, aims to help with that in part by allowing smaller employers to band together to share the administrative burden — making it cheaper and easier to offer retirement benefits. How many will do so and expand their retirement benefits is far from clear, because the program is optional.

And, Certner says, the law won’t apply to many other workers who aren’t classified as employees. That’s because they’re contractors or gig workers who aren’t eligible for those benefits.

Source: Secure Act Aims To Help Americans Without Retirement Plans. Will It Work? : NPR

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Georgia voting rights group wants state to change election law on inactive voters – CNNPolitics

Washington, DC (CNN)A voting rights group wants Georgia legislators to change the law that allows the state to remove voters it deems are “inactive.”

Fair Fight Action, founded by former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, has called on the state’s Republican-led General Assembly to “fix” and “clarify” the state election law that determines the time frame in which voters have before being considered “inactive” and later removed from election rolls. The move, first reported by the Atlanta Constitution Journal, comes after a federal judged denied last month a motion from the group to restore 98,000 voters to the rolls after they were removed under the 2019 law.

Source: Georgia voting rights group wants state to change election law on inactive voters – CNNPolitics

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Sec. Mike Pompeo speaks as US braces for more conflict with Iran – 1/7/2020 – YouTube

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers remarks in a press conference, a day after the Pentagon said that a U.S. general’s letter informing Iraq’s Defense Ministry that U.S.-led coalition troops would leave Iraq “was a mistake,” and American Defense officials insisted that the troops would remain there. Last week on President Trump’s order, U.S. forces launched an airstrike that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

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New Westmoreland County commissioners say they’ll reopen the county’s budget | TribLIVE.com

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Westmoreland County commissioners Monday afternoon elected Republican Sean Kertes to serve as the new board chairman.

Kertes, 33, of Greensburg, and Commissioner Doug Chew formed a new Republican majority on the board, which for the previous four years had been controlled by Democrats.

The board’s lone returning member, Commissioner Gina Cerilli, a Democrat who had served as chairwoman since 2016, formally moved to have Kertes named as her replacement during a brief reorganization meeting. Chew was elected to serve as the board’s vice chairman, and Cerilli will be its secretary.

Source: New Westmoreland County commissioners say they’ll reopen the county’s budget | TribLIVE.com

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Middle East Military News Opinion Politics

Iran vows revenge after U.S. airstrike kills top Iranian General in Iraq – YouTube

 

The U.S. is sending thousands of additional troops to the Middle East after Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” for the death of a top Iranian general. Qassem Soleimani’s convoy was hit early Fridany morning in a drone strike ordered by President Trump. U.S. officials had been tracking Soleimani as he traveled in the region. CBS News’ national security correspondent David Martin reports from the Pentagon.

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Can Amy Klobuchar pull off a February surprise?

The Minnesota Democrat is on many voters’ shortlist but not at the top. She says she’s the one who can beat Trump.

Source: Can Amy Klobuchar pull off a February surprise?

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Asia News Opinion Politics

North Korea threatens to resume nuclear and ICBM testing – BBC News

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is ending the suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests put in place during talks with the US.

Mr Kim also said his country would soon introduce “a new strategic weapon”.

But he left a door open for dialogue, and said the scope of any testing would depend on the US’s “attitude”.

The momentum of the past few years has stalled, as Washington refuses to lift sanctions until Pyongyang fully abandons its nuclear programme.

The North conducted several smaller weapons tests late in 2019, in what was seen as an attempt to pressure the US into making concessions.

But the self-declared moratorium on nuclear tests and tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could reach the US mainland had been one of the foundations of the negotiations with Washington.

Pyongyang has not carried out such tests since 2017.

Source: North Korea threatens to resume nuclear and ICBM testing – BBC News

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Westmoreland County election winners sworn into office | TribLIVE.com

Months of campaigning and election-night nerves were a thing of past on Thursday as Westmoreland County’s new slate of government officials were sworn into office.

The former candidates and now newly elected officials, with family members and supporters by their sides, one-by-one came before the county’s Common Pleas Court judges to take their oaths of office.

The event, conducted in the county’s ceremonial courtroom at the courthouse in Greensburg, marked a turning of the page for county government with six new officials taking control of various offices. Their new terms officially begin on Jan. 6.

Source: Westmoreland County election winners sworn into office | TribLIVE.com