☕ Morning Salute: A mural of the late Kobe Bryant.
Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise. – Kobe Bryant
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Republican senators and Democratic House impeachment managers doubled down Sunday on their positions regarding whether or not to call witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Republicans are dismissing it as a stalling tactic while Democrats insist the Senate – and the public – are entitled to additional information. Big picture: The vote on whether to call witnesses, which will likely take place this week, has become a central question in the impeachment trial. Democrats want to hear from former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Speaking of Bolton, the former national security adviser will claim in his upcoming book that the president wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until officials in the country announced investigations into Joe Biden and his family, the New York Times reported Sunday. What’s next: President Trump’s legal defense team is expected to continue an aggressive offense today by attacking his Democratic accusers as partisan witch-hunters trying to remove him from office because they could not beat him at the ballot box.
- Further Reading From the Right: Impeachment Has Been a Dud for Democrats Liz Peek, The Hill
- Further Reading From the Left: Impeachment and the Short-Term Thinking of the GOP Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker
The Des Moines Register’s editorial board endorsed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president, arguing her ideas are needed at a moment “when the very fabric of American life is at stake.” Why it matters: The endorsement, which appeared online Saturday, comes just days before Iowans go to caucus Feb. 3 and amid a still-unsettled field of Democratic candidates. “She is a thinker, a policy wonk, and a hard worker,” the board wrote in its endorsement. The Register has endorsed candidates since the 1988 caucuses. In 2016 the board endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Marco Rubio. Big picture: The Des Moines Register editorial board endorsement also comes roughly a week after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination. The dual nomination from the Times was widely criticized across the political spectrum.
- On the right: Ed Morrissey of Hot Air wrote, “Maybe someone should explain to the editors that endorsing multiple candidates for the same race isn’t actually an endorsement at all… Most ironically, the paper set up their standard as the best chance to beat Trump, and then chose two candidates who can’t even come within ten points of winning the primaries.”
- On the left: Alex Shephard of the New Republic said “While nearly everyone else in the world of Democratic politics seems to have made up their mind, the board needs more time to choose between a more radical approach to fixing America’s many ills (represented by Warren) and a more conventional one (Klobuchar)…In the end, we learned very little about the board’s beliefs, about politics, or journalism, other than that it is able to recognize the demands of the moment but doesn’t quite have the courage to meet them.”
A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit southern Puerto Rico on Saturday at a shallow depth, raising concerns about unstable infrastructure in a region that has been hit by quakes every day for nearly a month. Why it matters: Nearly 1,000 earthquakes and aftershocks have been recorded on Puerto Rico since Dec. 31, causing power outages and water shortages. More than 4,000 people remained in shelters Saturday — a figure officials expect to rise. – NBC / USA Today
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Virus death toll in China rises
A new viral illness being watched with a wary eye around the globe accelerated its spread in China on Sunday with 56 deaths reported so far. China’s health minister also said the country was entering a “crucial stage” as “it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger.” The U.S. has confirmed cases in Washington state, Chicago, Southern California, and Arizona. Small numbers of cases have been found in Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, and Australia. Big picture: It’s still not entirely clear how lethal the new coronavirus is or even whether it is as dangerous as the ordinary flu, which kills tens of thousands of people every year in the U.S. alone. – AP
Trump to meet with Netanyahu and Gantz as he readies Mideast peace plan
U.S. President Donald Trump will hold back-to-back meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz today as he prepares to release his long-delayed Middle East peace plan. Big picture: The launch of the plan has been delayed numerous times over the last two years. U.S. officials decided to move forward now rather than wait until Israel’s election because the past two elections left the Israel government deadlocked. – Reuters
Baghdad: Bullets and Bombs
Iraqi security forces shot live rounds to clear protests in Baghdad and the south for a second day on Sunday, but thousands of determined students flooded the streets to keep up their movement. What’s Happening: Anti-government protests have been flaring up in the country since October brought on by citizens who are angry over corruption, poor governance, and a lack of jobs. In the past four months, over 600 people have been killed in the demonstrations. Later in the day, there were also reports that five rockets crashed into a riverbank near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone with one landing inside the embassy walls. It is the third such attack this month and the perpetrators were not immediately known. – CNN / Military Times
China Virus Fears Chip Away at Wall Street Gains
Mounting fears over the coronavirus outbreak in China continued to weigh on Wall Street this past Friday, with energy, financial, and healthcare stocks bearing most of the brunt. All three major U.S. indexes ended the session in negative territory with the Dow Jones Industrial average clocking in its fourth straight day of losses and the S&P 500 registering its worst performance since October of last year. Ten-year Treasury yields fell below 1.70% for the first time since November and U.S. oil suffered its biggest weekly fall since May driven by combined fears of oversupply and worries the coronavirus could dampen the demand for crude. That being said, there were a handful of companies that ended the week on a positive note. Intel reported earnings that beat analyst estimates helping lift shares to their highest in nearly two decades. The chipmaker noted that revenue grew 8% year-over-year and gave optimistic guidance for the first quarter of 2020. American Express also provided an encouraging outlook for the rest of the year after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. Lastly, Boeing shares closed higher after reports their 737 Max airplane could be recertified before midyear, which would be ahead of schedule. – CNBC / Market Watch
America Loses a Legend: Rest In Peace Kobe
NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. Bryant was 41. Bryant was on his way to a travel basketball game with his daughter Gianna Bryant, who was 13, when the helicopter crashed. The crash comes one day after Bryant was passed by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. – ESPN
Transatlantic Tech Tensions
Antitrust authorities in Italy threatened to fine Facebook on Friday. They claim the social media giant failed to comply with a demand from 2018 to provide its users with more details on how their personal information is used. Speaking of transatlantic tech-tensions, Uber said several European cities have told the company they want it to share data about the usage of its electric scooters and bicycles, setting up potential privacy disputes similar to the one that’s unfolding between Uber and Los Angeles. – Reuters / Axios
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1945: Auschwitz is liberated
On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops enter Auschwitz, Poland, freeing the survivors of the network of concentration camps—and finally revealing to the world the depth of the horrors perpetrated there.