December 2, 2019

As the House prepares to vote on its case for impeaching President Trump on Tuesday, House Republicans have drawn up a 123-page report that argues against their conclusions.

The GOP report claims after hearing weeks of testimonies and investigation, "the evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations and none of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor," a copy of the report reviewed by CNN details. The report goes on to say Trump has a "deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine" in an attempt to explain why his administration withheld aid money from the country and refused a White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to investigate the Bidens.

Democrats are expected to argue that Trump's aid holdout in exchange for a Biden investigation constitutes bribery. With a majority of the House already supporting the impeachment inquiry itself, it's likely the vote on the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report will pass Tuesday. And on Wednesday, impeachment hearings continue in the House Judiciary Committee with legal experts likely explaining why Trump's actions did or did not violate the law. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:39 p.m.

The only thing standing between you and your Christmas presents could be President Trump's face.

Trump's 2020 campaign has rolled out its holiday gift collection featuring a literal "Trump train" carved from wood and a MAGA hat ornament. And before you hand them off to your loved ones, you can slap on some wrapping paper patterned with Trump in a Santa hat, available for just $30 a roll on the Trump campaign website.

If you're looking for something a little more subtle, there are two other wrapping papers without Trump's mug printed all over them. Oh, and speaking of mugs, there's a particularly interesting one of those as well. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:24 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden issued yet another challenge to an IQ test or push-up contest.

But the challenge isn't to President Trump this time. It's not even to a Republican. It's to an 83-year-old man who showed up to a Biden town hall in Iowa and declared he was "too old" to be president.

The man stood up at Biden's event Thursday and said that he's a "retired farmer" who's "kind of unique because I'm not a Republican." But "you're damn near as old as I am," he said. "I'm 83 and I know damn well I don't have the mental faculties I did." Then, the man got into the business that set Biden off. He described how he believed Democrats' accusations that President Trump "has been messing around in Ukraine," but then said Biden also "sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company ... so you're selling access just like he was."

"You're a damn liar," Biden harshly responded, and questioned the man's suggestion that he had "seen it on TV." "That's why I'm not sedentary, I get up," Biden fired back. Biden then defended his age by saying "let's do push-ups, man, let's take an IQ test." In an apparent slip of the tongue, Biden seemed to call the man "fat," and after the man affirmed he wasn't voting for Biden, Biden said "you're too old to vote for me." Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders later tweeted that Biden had said "look, facts," and hadn't called the man "fat." Kathryn Krawczyk

1:53 p.m.

Comments made by Tucker Carlson on his show last December just got Fox News hit with a lawsuit.

Karen McDougal, the model who alleges she had an affair with President Trump beginning in 2006, has filed a slander lawsuit against Fox News after Carlson said on his show last year, "Two women approached Donald Trump and threatened to ruin his career and humiliate his family if he doesn't give them money," Variety reports. "Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion." The New York Times notes Carlson didn't use McDougal's name, but he put a picture of her on screen later in the segment.

In the lawsuit, McDougal says she did not approach Trump and threaten to ruin his career like Carlson said but instead sold her story to the National Enquirer for $150,000. Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, has said he reimbursed American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer, in order to keep McDougal quiet about the alleged affair.

In the segment, Carlson's guest took issue with his characterization of events, saying, "We don't know that there was actual extortion here ... that hasn't been proven yet, nor has it even really been alleged." Carlson responded, "I'm alleging it because it's obvious ... it clearly is extortion."

"Carlson's statements were intentionally false and made with reckless disregard for the truth," the lawsuit says. Fox News says it will "vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims." Brendan Morrow

12:52 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has time to set the record straight on this one.

Pelosi gave a press conference Thursday after announcing she advised the House Judiciary Committee to proceed with impeachment. But the most noteworthy moment came when Pelosi was halfway out the door and a reporter asked "Do you hate the president?"

"I don't hate anybody," Pelosi said as she marched back into the room and pointed out the Sinclair broadcast reporter who asked her the question. She then took the podium and made it clear that she "think[s] the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence," going on to call President Trump "cruel" and "in denial." But "as a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me," Pelosi continued, adding "I pray for the president all the time." Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:49 p.m.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is out with his 2020 pick.

Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, on Thursday endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, in a statement describing him as "the president our country desperately needs right now."

"I've never before seen the world more in need of someone who on day one can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world Donald Trump has smashed apart," Kerry said.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Kerry said he likes Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) "enormously," adding he also likes former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), but "I just think Joe is the person for the moment." He also said that "I'm not endorsing Joe because I've known him a long time. I'm endorsing him because I know him so well."

Kerry while speaking to the Post also dismissed moments during the Democratic presidential debates in which Biden has struggled to find his words, saying, "Who hasn't done that, over a lifetime?" In terms of advice for Biden, Kerry told the Post, "He needs to do exactly what he's doing now." Kerry is set to campaign with Biden in Iowa on Friday. Brendan Morrow

12:26 p.m.

The Treasury Department is sanctioning a Russian criminal organization whose name couldn't possibly be more on-the-nose.

The Trump administration on Thursday announced sanctions against a Russian organization that used malware to "infect computers and harvest login credentials from hundreds of banks and financial institutions in over 40 countries, causing more than $100 million in theft," CNN reports. That organization's name? "Evil Corp."

This absurd name, CNBC notes, seems to be a reference to a fictional organization from the TV series Mr. Robot.

"Treasury is sanctioning Evil Corp as part of a sweeping action against one of the world's most prolific cybercriminal organizations," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. "This coordinated action is intended to disrupt the massive phishing campaigns orchestrated by this Russian-based hacker group." Move aside, Fraud Guarantee. There's a new most hilariously incriminating name in town. Brendan Morrow

11:20 a.m.

The impeachment saga is far from over.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the next phase of impeachment on Thursday, saying she'd told House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to "proceed with articles of impeachment" against President Trump. But that doesn't mean everything just gets shipped off to the Senate.

As CNN's Manu Raju notes, Pelosi will keep talking with House members to find out whether they'll vote for or against impeachment. First the House Judiciary Committee will vote on advancing the articles, possibly as soon as next week, but after the House Intelligence Committee presents its findings for the judiciary. The whole House will then weigh in, and that could happen the week after. With most of the House supporting the impeachment inquiry in the first place, it's likely Pelosi will get a majority vote to send the articles beyond the House.

The House's Democratic leaders still have yet to write up those articles, and what's in them will largely be up to Nadler, Pelosi, and House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). They'll consider whether to include Trump's alleged abuse of power and bribery, his obstruction of Congress by refusing to respond to subpoenas, or his obstruction of justice as alleged by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in the articles.

Next up, the articles head to the Senate Judiciary and potentially the whole Senate for a trial. The Senate seems well aware of this possibility, and has left its January calendar completely blank as impeachment looms. Kathryn Krawczyk

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