/‘Start Here’: Democrats in swing districts facing pressure ahead of impeachment vote
‘Start Here’: Democrats in swing districts facing pressure ahead of impeachment vote

‘Start Here’: Democrats in swing districts facing pressure ahead of impeachment vote

Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

December 16, 2019, 10: 01 AM

6 min read

It’s Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. Consequential vote

As Wednesday’s House floor vote on impeachment approaches, some Democrats in key swing districts are still weighing whether to support the two articles against President Donald Trump.

“Democrats are going to lose votes on this,” ABC News Political Director Rick Klein says on “Start Here” today. “Who joined the Republicans in opposing impeachment? There are likely to be zero Republicans joining with Democrats in favor of impeachment and that was not a foregone conclusion at the beginning of this process.”

In a decision underlining the pressures facing moderate Democrats, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., a House freshman who has spoken out against impeachment, is planning to switch parties, according to a senior Democratic aide.

2. Trade deal

The U.S. and China announced Friday they had agreed to a limited trade deal that would result in the rollback of some tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton LLP, breaks down what to know about the agreement and the status of the trade war: “It could mean we could kind of cruise into 2020 and miss some of the speed bumps that would likely take us take down as an economy in 2020, so you certainly can see from an election year perspective why it would be favorable to avoid more trade wars and trade skirmishes.”

3. Hallmark apology

The Hallmark Channel is reversing its decision to pull an advertisement that featured Lesbian brides kissing after growing backlash over the move.

Hallmark CEO Mike Perry said in a statement on Sunday night that it was “wrong” to remove the commercial: “Our mission is rooted in helping all people connect, celebrate traditions, and be inspired to capture meaningful moments in their lives. Anything that detracts from this purpose is not who we are. We are truly sorry for the hurt and disappointment this has caused.”

ABC News’ Rachel Scott explains on “Start Here” how the controversy began, saying, “The debate hovering over this is who gets to decide what exactly is ‘family friendly.'”

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


‘I feel like the forgotten man’: Accusers are crying foul over a new interview by disgraced movie exec Harvey Weinstein in which he says he isn’t getting enough credit for his past work advocating for women in film.

‘Fair, bipartisan process’: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he wants acting White House chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial.

Fraternity lawsuit: A Texas State University student is suing Pi Kappa Phi over allegations of harassment and a violent assault.

Mystery remains recovered: Three bodies were found by archaeologists at the historic Alamo as work was being done to restore a portion of the site.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

The Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Becoming Less Popular: The bad news for Democrats is they are not getting more popular as time goes on. But the good news — they’re still more popular than Trump.

Doff your cap:

A lucky waitress outside Dayton, Ohio, had a very lucky Friday the 13th.

Lisa Tudor, a waitress at Bob Evans in Beavercreek, served a group of friend on Friday and received a $1,400 tip in return.

The idea was the brain child of Vicki Giambrone, who organized a group called “The Breakfast Santas” to each donate $100 for a meal out. They paid their $200 bill — and gave the rest to their server.

Tudor ended up sharing the money with her fellow waitress, Susan Best, so the kindness spread even further.