A bipartisan majority in the Senate approved a new trade agreement Thursday, which is slated to replace the NAFTA. The Senate voted 89 to 10 for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The House of Representatives backed the bill last year, voting 385 to 41 after Democrats succeeded in winning changes on labor, environment, and some other provisions. The measure goes to Trump for his signature.
President Trump repeated on Thursday that he doesn’t know Lev Parnas, one day after the Giuliani’s associate made the claim that the president was fully aware of his actions in Ukraine. Trump dismissed the photos of the two of them taken together as pictures at a fundraiser. Parnas, meanwhile, has threatened to release a new photo of himself with Trump every time the president denies knowing him.
Sen. Rand Paul has said that not a single Republican will vote for either of the articles of impeachment. ’I think the votes have been decided. As much as anybody will be pretending to be judicious about this, I don’t think that there’s one senator who hasn’t decided how they’re going to vote’, Paul said. Paul warned that a GOP vote to impeach Trump would be a career-ending decision.
The FBI has announced a new policy aimed to ’guide timely’ notification of state and local election officials of any cyber intrusions. The new policy mandates that a state’s chief election official and local election officials be notified as quickly as possible of any credible cyber threats. The previous policy was to notify direct victims of a cyber intrusion, but not to always state officials.
Lev Parnas has said he would release a photograph with President Trump each time Trump denied knowing him. Parnas added that he had considered Trump to be a friend, adding that Trump is ’lying’ about their relationship.
U.S. Senator Martha McSally called CNN Correspondent Manu Raju ’a liberal hack’ and refused to answer his questions. The Arizona Republican made the comment in a Senate hallway when Raju asked her whether the Senate should consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial. McSally’s response has sparked criticism from several journalists and news networks.
Ukraine has launched a probe into whether Marie Yovanovitch was illegally monitored by private US citizens. The investigation comes in response to the US House Intelligence Committee’s publication of notes suggesting Yovanovitch was illegally spied on. Texts, allegedly from a Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, show Robert Hyde berating Yovanovitch and suggesting he was monitoring her.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley has opened up about the struggles with alopecia, a condition that can cause hair loss. Pressley, who in 2018 became the first black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts, also revealed her bald head for the first time in public. Pressley said that she has gotten to a place where she is ’making peace’ with the condition.
President Donald Trump has issued a series of policies designed to push money into religious organizations. This came amid a White House declaration recognizing Jan.16 as Religious Freedom Day. A reversal of previous requirements that tightly restricted religious organizations receiving taxpayer money, almost a dozen federal agencies will roll out proposals meant to ease those restrictions.
The House is expected to pass a $3.4 billion disaster relief package for Puerto Rico by the month’s end. The relief is expected to include $100 million for education, $1.25 billion for highways and $2 billion in community development.
US intel agencies have reportedly asked the Senate and House Intel committees not to hold public hearings on this year’s Worldwide Threat Assessment after testimony from agency chiefs last year prompted an angry response from Trump. The annual assessment from the intelligence community traditionally features testimony from the intelligence chiefs and includes both public and closed-door segment.
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer of President Trump said that a dismissal of the articles of impeachment against the president ought to be allowed under the Senate trial rules. Mr. Giuliani made these comments on Wednesday, and said that allegations do not amount to misdemeanors and high crimes.
Sen. Susan Collins released a statement on Thursday to clarify her stance on President Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial. Claiming her past comments have been misconstrued, Collins shared her views on how the trial should play out and recommended that it mirror former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial to allow for bipartisan input.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has said that he wants the impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump to be concluded swiftly. Calling to ’end this crap’ quickly, he added that the ’the best is yet to come’ from the president when he will be the strongest he has ever been politically after being acquitted by the Senate.
California Democrat Adam Schiff was recently featured in an episode of ’Jeopardy’, the popular quiz show. When contestants were asked who the House Intelligence Committee chairman was, contestants were unable to recognize him. Reportedly, the episode was filmed around the time when the House of Representatives was holding closed-door impeachment hearings.
Amid speculation that she was preparing for a Senate bid, Representative Liz Cheney announced that she would be seeking re-election to the House. Ms. Cheney accused the Democrats of ’working to weaken our President’, and that she would seek to save the values of Wyoming. She said she could have the ’biggest impact for the people of Wyoming by remaining in leadership in the House’.