5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Report: McConnell doesn't have the votes to block witnesses

  • Trump legal team concludes defense in impeachment trial

  • Trump unveils long-awaited Israel-Palestinian peace plan with Netanyahu

  • U.S. national debt projected to reach 98 percent of GDP by end of decade

  • Starbucks closes 2,000 stores in China over coronavirus outbreak

During a meeting of Republican senators on Tuesday afternoon, GOP leaders announced that they do not have enough votes to stop witnesses from being called at President Trump's impeachment trial, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press report. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not share any numbers, but did acknowledge the votes aren't where he needs them to be, people with knowledge of the meeting said. The senators will vote later this week on whether to allow witnesses in the trial, and a new Quinnipiac poll shows 75 percent of voters want to hear witness testimony. Trump's lawyers finished their opening arguments on Tuesday, and declared the trial should end "as quickly as possible" without any witnesses.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press

The opening arguments in President Trump's impeachment trial officially wrapped up Tuesday, with White House counsel Pat Cipollone saying he "had kind of a lengthy presentation prepared, but ... I think we've made our case." The legal team played a montage of Democrats during former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial making similar points as Trump's supporters have recently argued. "There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment, or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by the other," House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) says in one 1990s-era clip. With opening arguments concluded, the question period in Trump's impeachment trial will begin Wednesday, while a vote on whether to call witnesses will take place on Friday.

Source: CBS News

President Trump unveiled his administration's Middle East peace plan alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, just hours after Netanyahu was indicted on corruption charges. The two leaders touted the two-state plan as a "win-win" for Israel and Palestine. Trump promised $50 billion in international aid to build up the Palestinian state, which would house its capital in East Jerusalem, leaving Israel in control of a unified Jerusalem. The White House included a map of the proposed solution, complete with a tunnel connecting Gaza and the West Bank. Many of the early reactions to the proposal were critical — several analysts anticipate a rejection from the Palestinians and even an escalation of tensions between the two sides since it does little to curb Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Source: The Associated Press, Axios

The Congress Budget Office released a report Tuesday predicting U.S. debt will reach 98 percent of the country's GDP by 2030, up from the 81 percent the office foresees the deficit reaching by the end of 2020. The CBO projects the government will spend $1 trillion more than it collects in 2020. The prognostication is reportedly mostly a result of tax cuts and the assumption that the government will continue to increase spending. If the Trump administration's tax cuts enacted in 2017 are extended beyond their current expiration at the end of 2025, the latest CBO estimates may fall short. CBO Director Phillip Swagel expects the deficit level to eventually reach some historic highs, especially for a time of low unemployment. He said his office's projections will approach figures not seen "since World War II."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

In response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, Starbucks has closed more than 2,000 stores in China. The flu-like virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and there are more than 4,500 confirmed cases; at least 130 people have died. Starbucks is the world's largest coffee chain, and China is the company's biggest growth market, Reuters reports. There are 4,292 Starbucks locations in China, and the stores that are staying open have revised operating hours. The company does expect the shutdown to temporarily affect its finances, but won't know the financial toll until March.

Source: Reuters
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