It’s Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Senate trial standoff
After Wednesday night’s historic impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is waiting to send the articles to the Senate until she sees the details for a trial from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“In any event, we are ready. When we see what they have, we’ll know who, and how many [impeachment managers], we’ll send over. And that’s all I have to say on this now,” Pelosi told reporters.
Republicans have accused Democrats of getting “cold feet” after the impeachment vote. Trump tweeted on Thursday, “Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up!”
On today’s “Start Here,” ABC News’ Trish Turner breaks down the discussions between both parties ahead of the Senate trial: “Maybe [Pelosi’s] trying to use a little bit of that leverage to get the witnesses that Democrats want, like chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, like former national security adviser John Bolton, but it really does belie the argument that [Trump] is such a threat he needs to be removed from office.”
2. Democratic debate
Seven presidential contenders squared off on the debate stage in Los Angeles just one day after the impeachment vote and less than two months before the first primary votes are cast in Iowa.
Although the subject of impeachment was front and center at the start, there was a “gloves-off clash” between Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigeg over campaign financing, says ABC News’ Linsey Davis.
She also tells the podcast that Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Andrew Yang benefited from being on the smallest debate stage with only seven candidates: “Yang had things to say about being the only minority on the stage … that it was ‘both an honor and a disappointment.'”
3. FSB shooting
A gunman opened fire outside Russia’s FSB headquarters on Thursday morning, causing chaos in the streets of Moscow just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference.
“We don’t know what the motive is at the moment, but of course the fear will be that this was a terrorist attack,” ABC News’ Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell tells the podcast. “We know that one FSB officer was killed, five others were wounded, the police say that the assailant was ‘neutralized.'”
4. Deadly Australia heatwave
More than a hundred wildfires are raging in the Australian state of New South Wales amid a record heatwave. Dozens of homes have been destroyed and several people have been killed.
And temperatures are only expected to climb on Saturday, according to Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter Angelique Lu: “It’s going to be a very hot weekend ahead.”
“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.
‘Absolutely invented reasons’: Vladimir Putin held his marathon end-of-year press conference Thursday morning, an annual event where the Russian president takes dozens of questions in front of a crowd of hundreds of journalists over several hours, and among the comments was his take on the impeachment of President Trump.
‘No immediate threat’: A Pentagon screening of Saudi military students training at U.S. bases found “no information indicating an immediate threat” in the wake of the deadly shooting by a Saudi student at Pensacola Naval Air Station earlier this month that killed three Navy sailors and wounded eight others.
‘A significant win for consumers’: The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to approve legislation to crack down on illegal robocalls, sending the bill to President Trump’s desk for a signature.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
The FiveThirtyEight crew takes a look at what went down at the December Democratic primary debate.
Doff your cap:
Forty years ago, James Blake, a 63-year-old receiving manager from East Patchogue, New York, got out his ladder and decorated the outside of his Long Island home with 200-300 lights.
Year after year, Christmas after Christmas, he added more lights and more decorations.
Now, 40 years later, Blake has unveiled his most elaborate display yet: 40,000 lights and 250 pieces, some of which date back to the ’60s and ’70s.
Several years ago he put up a donation box outside his home to collect money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation — and to date he’s donated more than $11,000 to the group.
“I was inspired to do the display because I really liked it as a child,” Blake says. “It reminded me of great Christmases and good times, so I continued that through my lifetime.”