Monday morning news – January 27, 2020

Trump defense team resumes arguments today » President Trump’s defense team will take to the Senate floor today—resuming opening arguments in his impeachment trial.

After arguing their case for two hours on Saturday, the Senate took Sunday off. But Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz told Fox News Sunday that House Democrats are on shaky constitutional ground. 

DERSHOWITZ: Even if the factual allegations are true—which are highly disputed, and which the defense team will show contrary evidence—but even if true, they did not allege impeachable offenses. 

Dershowitz will press that argument on Capitol Hill today, alongside former independent counsel Ken Starr and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.  

Democrats, meantime, continue to criticize the process. Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff told NBC’s Meet the Press… 

SCHIFF: I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say, so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial. 

And Democrats may get a boost in their effort to force new witnesses after someone leaked portions of a draft of a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton. In that draft, Bolton reportedly states the President Trump said he wanted to freeze military assistance to Ukraine until it agreed to launch investigations involving Democratic rivals.

President Trump calls it a “profound honor” to address March for Life »President Trump turned his attention to other matters over the weekend. He says it was a profound honor to be the first sitting U.S. president to attend the annual March for Life Rally last Friday. The president addressed tens of thousands who gathered on a chilly day at the National Mall in Washington.

TRUMP: We are here for a very simple reason, to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential. 

Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise also spoke at the event—as well as two Democrats from Louisiana. 

State Senator Katrina Jackson said it’s “important to let people know everywhere that the fight for life doesn’t have a partisan stance.”

Louisiana’s first lady also spoke. She said “our faith is the guiding force in both of our lives and we’re not shy about it.” Her husband, Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, recently signed one of the strongest pro-life “fetal heartbeat” laws in the country. 

HHS issues notice of violation over California abortion policies » Hours before the president addressed the crowd on the National Mall, the Trump administration issued a notice of violation to the state of California over its abortion policies. 

The Department of Health and Human Services said the state could lose access to federal healthcare funds because it requires insurance plans to cover abortions.

HHS gave California 30 days to comply with the federal Weldon Amendment. The law bans federal healthcare money from going to states or entities that discriminate against organizations for not providing abortions. 

Nuns from two California ministries had submitted complaints about the state’s requirements.

Coronavirus continues to spread as death toll rises » The deadly new coronavirus continues to spread. The latest figures reported Sunday revealed that 15 more people have died. The virus has now claimed the lives of at least 56 people, all of them in China. 

At least 10 other countries have confirmed cases of the virus, including several in the United States. 

DIAZ: The primary risk factor is travel from China or close exposure to someone who has traveled from China. 

That is Dr. George Diaz with Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. His hospital is treating the first person to test positive for the virus on U.S. soil. Officials have also confirmed cases in Chicago and Southern California. 

The State State Department is now ordering American employees at the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, China to evacuate. That is the epicenter of the outbreak. 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is calling the outbreak a grave situation and says the government is stepping up efforts to restrict travel and public gatherings.

Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash » Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday. 

The chopper went down in Calabasas, west of LA. There were four other people on board, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. None survived. No word yet on the cause of the crash. 

Bryant wore the number 24 for much of his career. And last night, the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors paid tribute. They began the game by allowing the 24-second shot clock to expire in his honor.

AUDIO: Fred VanVleet holding onto it, and the crowd recognizing what this means. [buzzer, applause]

The 41-year-old played 20 years in an LA Lakers uniform, winning five championships. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star and was named league MVP in 2008. 

Bryant retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. He held that spot until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place.

Billie Eilish wins big at Grammy Awards » The biggest stars in music turned out last night for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staple Center in LA. Alicia Keys began the evening with a tribute to Kobe Bryant. 

KEYS: We never imagined in a million years that we’d have to start the show like this. Never, never, never, never.

Boys II Men joined her to sing a verse of It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday

MUSIC: [Its So Hard to Say Goodbye]  

As for the winners—it was a huge night for Billie Eilish. She won Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year for “Bad Guy.” 

MUSIC: [Bad Guy]

The Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Song went to For KING & COUNTRY and their co-writers won for “God Only Knows.” 

MUSIC: [God Only Knows]

They also won best Contemporary Christian Music Album for “Burn the Ships.

And Kirk Franklin won Best Gospel Album, also Best Gospel Song for “Love Theory.”

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) In this Jan. 24, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks at a “March for Life” rally on the National Mall in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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