It’s Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Impeachment next steps
Democrats are expected to unveil at least two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at a 9 a.m. news conference today, according to multiple Democratic sources familiar with the matter.
ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel, who covers Congress, breaks down what charges to expect from Democrats and the next steps in the impeachment process on “Start Here.”
“Democrats settled on what they think can get the most support on the House floor, the broadest possible charges,” he says. “We’ll learn more of the details later today, but this is what they think can make the strongest and cleanest case in the Senate trial.”
2. Investigation into the investigation
The highly-anticipated inspector general’s report into the origins of the Russia investigation has revealed that the FBI had enough evidence pointing to “either a federal crime or a threat to national security, or both” to launch the probe.
But the report also said there was “serious performance failures” on the part of agents involved in the FISA applications for surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FBI would take steps to address the problems listed in the report: “We’re determined to learn the lessons from this report and make sure the FBI emerges from this report even better and stronger.”
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that he believed the evidence compiled by the inspector general showed that the FBI “launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”
The president called the report’s findings “an embarrassment,” telling reporters at the White House on Monday, “It should never again happen to another president.”
3. SCOTUS and abortion
Without explanation or notable dissent, the Supreme Court has declined to review a Kentucky law requiring abortion providers to display and describe a fetal ultrasound to patients in detail prior to the procedure. The ruling will allow the law to take effect.
Pro-choice advocates argued that the law violates physicians’ First Amendment right of free speech, while supporters of the measure say it’s important to ensuring patients give an informed consent to end a pregnancy.
The high court choosing not to take up the case is in itself a decision on abortion, according to NYU Law Prof. Melissa Murray on “Start Here” today, “It may suggest a broader antipathy for abortion rights… or it could simply signal an unwillingness to take yet another abortion case in what is likely to be a blockbuster term for the court.”
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‘Failed spy’: Nearly a decade before the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka met a British intelligence officer who ran the Russia desk — and when the agent left his covert service and moved into private practice in 2010, she stayed in touch, ABC News has learned.
‘An inspiration’: Peter Frates, the man who championed the viral Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has died.
‘No signs of life’: At least five people were killed and eight more are feared dead after a volcano erupted several times on a small island in New Zealand on Monday, officials said.
‘Used his power’: Amazon places the blame directly on President Donald Trump for why it was passed over for a $10 billion Pentagon contract, arguing in newly unsealed court documents that Trump used his power to influence the decision as part of his “personal vendetta” against the company and its CEO Jeff Bezos.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
‘Does The Democrats’ impeachment timeline still make sense?’: We’ve heard from witnesses involved in U.S. and Ukraine diplomatic relations, and we’ve heard constitutional experts testify whether President Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine was an impeachable offense. Today, we heard both Republican and Democratic lawyers outline their cases for — and against– impeachment based on the evidence collected in the impeachment inquiry thus far.
Doff your cap:
One ugly Christmas sweater is definitely on the naughty list this year.
A men’s ugly sweater that was sold online through Walmart Canada depicted a smiling Santa Claus sitting at a table with three lines of white powder that many were quick to claim resembled cocaine, with the phrase “let it snow.”
The wool-polyester blend pullover immediately attracted widespread backlash and the retailer told ABC News in a statement that it has “removed these products from our marketplace.”
“These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on Walmart.ca, do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website,” director of corporate affairs, Adam Grachnik, said. “We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused.”