Libraries are still the place to be! Last year, Americans visited the library about twice as often as they went to the movies, according to a Gallup poll.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
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On its second day of opening arguments, President Trump’s defense team almost completely ignored the bombshell claims made by former national security adviser John Bolton. Instead, lawyers focused on attacking Joe and Hunter Biden, as expected. And they even brought out former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who led the investigation leading to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, to warn senators of what he called the “age of impeachment.” When the defense finally did get around to mentioning Bolton’s claims, Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz claimed that not only was any quid pro quo in Trump’s Ukraine dealings not an abuse of power, but abuse of power itself is a “political weapon” and not necessarily an impeachable offense. Meanwhile, moderate Republicans are still mulling the case for having witnesses at the trial, and Sen. Mitt Romney believes it’s “increasingly likely” that other Republicans would now join him in calling for Bolton to testify.
Hong Kong is closing several of its border crossings with mainland China in an attempt to slow the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. More than 100 people are now dead and more than 4,000 sickened because of the rapidly spreading disease. Several countries have sent planes to China to evacuate their citizens, but it appears the virus is reaching new ground anyway. Ivory Coast is investigating what could be the first case of the disease in Africa. Fears of a pandemic are already affecting global economies. The Dow dropped 450 points yesterday amid fears that the virus could seriously affect the US, and China’s economy is bracing for more bad news if the virus continues to spread. Keep up with the latest updates here.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been in a feud with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly over the administration’s view on the Ukraine scandal, and things are only getting uglier. The State Department has cut NPR out of its media pool for Pompeo’s upcoming trip to the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Last week, Kelly claimed Pompeo unleashed a profane tirade after her interview with him discussing Ukraine. He allegedly questioned whether the American public cares about Ukraine and forced Kelly, who has a master’s in European studies, to point to Ukraine on a map. Pompeo’s efforts to distance himself from the Ukraine scandal and its role in Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings will probably make for an awkward visit when Pompeo touches down in Kiev later this week.
The Supreme Court voted in favor of policy changes that will make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to come to or remain in the US. The changes to the so-called public charge rule would make it harder for immigrants who rely on public assistance to obtain lawful permanent status (i.e. a green card). While forms of cash assistance were already included in the rule, these changes would rope in other types of aid, like most forms of Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. Immigration advocates oppose the rule, and several states have filed for injunctions attempting to block it. However, after yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court vote, the rule can now go into effect everywhere except Illinois, which is covered by a separate injunction.
5. Prince Andrew
The FBI wants to interview Britain’s Prince Andrew about the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but the prince is reportedly not cooperating. After a disastrous BBC interview in November during which he appeared to downplay Epstein’s crimes, Andrew promised he would help law enforcement agencies with their investigation if they asked. They asked, and now US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is investigating Epstein, claims Andrew “has provided zero cooperation.” He also said the public deserves to know whether the prince was making good on his promises. Prosecutors continue to investigate people who may have helped Epstein carry out an alleged multi-year sex trafficking operation of underaged girls. Andrew has publicly refuted allegations stemming from his ties to Epstein.
Iowa is changing its caucus rules. Here’s what you need to know before they start
If you have no idea what the caucuses even are (no judgment here), this is also a golden opportunity to learn.
Everyone is talking about the Netflix show, ‘Cheer’
And how every cheerleader is one slightly-wrong stunt away from a devastating injury.
Frank Sinatra’s golden toilets fetch thousands at auction
In other news, Frank Sinatra owned golden toilets.
‘Doctor Who’ casts first black doctor in its history
No spoilers, but it’s pretty great.
If you want your kids to eat healthier, let them watch some cooking shows
Now, they’ll demand crudités and creme fraiche and start critiquing your PB&J knife skills.
“You know you have a terrible reputation with women.”
Miriam Haley, to Harvey Weinstein years ago. Haley, a former production assistant, testified yesterday that Harvey Weinstein held her down and forced her into a sex act in 2006. During her graphic testimony, she said she was able to ward off his advances on one occasion by bringing up his past treatment of women.
The number of prisoners who have died the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman prison, since the beginning of the year. The prison, which houses about 3,600 people, has been the target of intense criticism over its “failing infrastructure” and recent deaths.
A plan for peace?
President Trump says he will announce a new Middle East plan later today alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The long-awaited plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is being spearheaded by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
All that work, just to knock it down
Yes, obviously these 15,000 dominoes are supposed to fall into this perfect rainbow spiral pattern. That’s what dominoes do. But it still gives me anxiety. (Click here to view.)