Monday morning news – January 20, 2020

Both sides dig in ahead of Senate impeachment trial » With the Senate impeachment trial set to begin tomorrow, both sides are already arguing their cases to the American public. 

Democrats laid out their case over the weekend, saying the president betrayed public trust with behavior that was the “worst nightmare” of the founding fathers.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin…

DURBIN: When it comes to the abuse of power of the office, the president used—misused the office for personal political gain. That to me is in the realm of what they considered in high crimes and misdemeanors in the abuse of power. 

But former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who joined President Trump’s legal team last week, pushed back. He said Democratic lawmakers are really stretching the definition of an impeachable offense and setting a dangerous precedent. He added that they risk turning impeachment into a political sword that any future majority in Congress may wield against a controversial president.  

DERSHOWITZ: That’s not what the framers had in mind, and I will lay out the debates over the Constitutional Convention, lay out what happened, why the framers picked these four words: treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, four concepts. 

The president’s legal team will also include Kenneth Starr and Robert Ray—both of whom investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Venezuelan leader defies travel ban for security summit » Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó has traveled to Colombia to take part in a regional counter-terrorism meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be there—in a show of support from the Trump administration.  

The United States and more than 50 other nations have declared Guaidó Venezuela’s rightful leader, though disputed president Nicolas Maduro refuses to give up power.

From Bogota, Guaidó reportedly plans to travel to Europe this week—around the same time President Trump is scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. That could set the stage for a first meeting between Guaidó and Trump.

It wasn’t clear how he left Venezuela. But it’s only the second time Guaidó has defied a travel ban imposed by Venezuela’s supreme court, which supports the Maduro regime. 

Bodies of jet passengers shot down in Iran arrive in Kyiv » AUDIO: [Sound from ceremony]

Sounds for a ceremony at Kyiv Airport in Ukraine as the bodies of 11 Ukrainian victims from a commercial airliner shot down by Iran arrived home on Sunday. 

An honor guard hoisted the caskets and carried them into an airport terminal. They remained there through the evening as loved ones paid their respects. 

Ukraine’s president and other officials joined the victims’ families at the ceremony. 

Iran initially denied blame. But the government eventually admitted to mistakenly shooting down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 on January 8th—killing all 176 people on board. 

On Sunday, Iran backtracked on an offer to send one of the black boxes from the crash to Ukrainian investigators. 

Buckingham Palace reveals details of royal split » The Royal Family is coming to terms with the departure of Prince Harry and wife Meghan. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his support on Sunday.  

JOHNSON: I think the whole country will want to join in wishing them the very best for the future. I said before that I’m sure, the Royal Family has been around a very long time—will find a way forward, and I’m sure it will. 

Buckingham Palace over the weekend announced details of the royal split. The couple will no longer use the titles “royal highness” or receive public funds for their work. The palace said the new arrangements take effect in the “spring of 2020.”

The agreement leaves open the possibility that the couple might change their minds in the future. 

For now, Harry and Meghan will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Harry will remain a prince and sixth in line to the British throne.

(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP) In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, honor guard carry a coffin of the one of the eleven Ukrainian victims of the Ukrainian 737-800 plane that crashed on the outskirts of Tehran, at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. 

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