Wednesday News: Take notes...

UNC PROFESSOR WILL TESTIFY ON CONSTITUTIONALITY OF IMPEACHMENT: Michael Gerhardt, a distinguished professor at the UNC School of Law, recently published “Impeachment: What Everyone Needs to Know.” He will testify Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the constitutional grounds for impeaching President Trump. House Democrats, led by Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, have been investigating Trump and his actions with Ukraine. The president denies what he did was improper. But Gerhardt won’t be on Capitol Hill to talk about what Trump said or didn’t say. He’s an expert on constitutional law and will be joined by three other law professors to discuss what the Constitution says about impeachment.

NC LOTTERY COMMISSION HEADING TOWARDS ONLINE GAMBLING: The state lottery commission voted for the idea of offering “digital instants” through the lottery website without yet officially directing that these online games begin. Lottery leaders have talked for more than two years about these online games, which supporters say could bring in new revenues as growth in some traditional lottery games has slowed or failed to meet expectations. “We're seeing some other games that we generally rely on a great deal dissipate,” commission member Morgan Beam said at the quarterly meeting. “We've talked for hours on end ... I don't see that path without some technological advancements in different types of games.” Essentially the electronic equivalent of scratch-off tickets, digital instants allow players try to win big cash prizes from their desktops or smartphones. A commission subcommittee already has been looking at digital instants, which now are played in five other states. The North Carolina lottery already lets players buy tickets through its website for big biweekly or daily jackpot drawings. Gamblers can pay to play by using their debit cards or checking accounts.

KAMALA HARRIS DROPS OUT OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY: Sen. Kamala Harris told supporters on Tuesday that she was ending her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, an abrupt close to a candidacy that held historic potential. “I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” the California Democrat said. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.” A senior campaign aide said Harris made the decision Monday after discussing the path forward with family and other top officials over the Thanksgiving holiday. Her abrupt withdrawal marked a dramatic fall for a candidate who showed extraordinary promise. Harris launched her campaign in front of 20,000 people on a chilly January day in Oakland, California. The first woman and first black attorney general and U.S. senator in California’s history, she was widely viewed as a candidate poised to excite the multiracial coalition of voters that sent Barack Obama to the White House.

HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE RELEASES DAMNING REPORT ON TRUMP OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE: While the report does not outline the specific articles of impeachment the president could face in the House, it signals that Democrats are at least preparing to accuse of him of obstructing Congress, finding that a dozen witnesses “followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify.” The House Judiciary Committee is charged with drafting the articles and will hold its first impeachment hearing Wednesday, with constitutional scholars set to testify. The rapid timeline puts the House on pace to impeach Trump by Christmas. The fight will then move to the Senate, where the White House and its allies believe that the president will be acquitted by the Republican-controlled chamber. At the heart of Democrats’ case is their allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

TRUMP CALLS JUSTIN TRUDEAU "TWO-FACED" AFTER VIDEO OF THE CANADIAN LEADER MAKING FUN OF HIM SURFACES: In the video, which was posted online by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada seems to be venting about Mr. Trump’s behavior during the first day of the two-day NATO meeting. Mr. Trump spoke to reporters for more than two hours in total on Tuesday, which appeared to astonish Mr. Trudeau. “He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference at the top,” Mr. Trudeau says to a small group that includes Mr. Macron, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Princess Anne. Asked about the video on Wednesday, Mr. Trump said of the Canadian premier, “well, he’s two-faced.” Mr. Trudeau does not mention Mr. Trump by name during the exchange, at which the Canadian leader appears to be discussing the day’s bilateral meetings. In 2018, laughter broke out at the United Nations General Assembly when Mr. Trump claimed that his administration had “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”



Trump thinks he can sell Syrian oil now

I found this scanning through a fact-check article on Trump's NATO comments:

TRUMP, on protecting oilfields in Syria: “We have the oil, and we can do with the oil what we want.” — remarks with Stoltenberg.

THE FACTS: That’s not true. The oil in Syria belongs to Syria and the U.S. can’t do anything it wants with it.

As secretary of state, Rex Tillerson reviewed whether the U.S. could make money off the oil-rich areas and concluded there was no practical way to do so, said Brett McGurk, Trump’s former special envoy to the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State. “Maybe there are new lawyers now, but it was just illegal for an American company to go and seize and exploit these assets,” McGurk told a panel on Syria held in October by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Stephen Vladeck, a national security law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said there is no solid legal argument the Trump administration could make if it sought to claim Syria’s oil.

While Trump has said he will withdraw the bulk of roughly 1,000 American troops from Syria, he’s made clear he will leave some military forces in the country to help secure the oil from any Islamic State resurgence.

Aside from the fact that he's wrong (as usual), the idea that he thought such a comment was appropriate for a gathering of "Free World" leaders is stunning. The man has no filters, no moral compass, and absolutely no situational awareness.