☕ Morning Salute: U.S. Service men and women hold U.S. flags as a sign of patriotism prior to the start of the FedEx 400 NASCAR race at the Dover International Speedway in Delaware June 1, 2014. Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the race to represent military Service men and women for thousands of race fans. (DoD by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Gallahan, U.S. Air Force/Released)
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
Follow up: U.S. forces on Tuesday recovered the remains of two American service members killed in the crash of an Air Force plane in Afghanistan on Monday. May they rest in peace.
🦅 U.S. NEWS
As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump marches forward, today Senators will get the chance to ask questions after hearing arguments from both sides. They have 16 hours to question both the president’s team and the House managers, but the unanswered inquiry that’s still driving the 24-hour news cycle is whether or not there will be additional witnesses. Here’s how the sparring went before the bell rang yesterday:
- On the right: Senator Lindsey Graham said “witnesses cannot be dealt with ‘surgically'” and that “if people want witnesses, we’re going to get a lot of witnesses”, inferring that Democrats will be forced to call Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and potentially the whistleblower.
- On the Left: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer clapped back asking: “What can Hunter Biden tell us about the president’s obstruction of Congress? Nothing, obviously” arguing that requests to call the former Vice President’s son are a distraction.
- If there was any hint of bipartisanship it came from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) who offered some kind words from the sidelines: “I think everyone’s done a good job so far. On both sides.”
- Plus after President Trump’s defense lawyers ended arguments, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the first Democrat to suggest that she could vote to acquit him, according to the LA Times.
US budget deficit to break $1 trillion in fiscal 2020, CBO says
The U.S. budget deficit likely will break the $1 trillion barrier in 2020, the first time that has happened since 2012, according to the Congressional Budget Office estimates released Tuesday. In addition, sustained federal budget deficits and debt will hit the highest levels since World War II over the next decade. Why it matters, per Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “the report confirms that not only are we in uncharted waters but that we are also leaving future generations with an incredible burden.” – CNBC
Harvard’s Chemistry Chair Charged on Alleged Undisclosed Ties to China
The chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department was arrested Tuesday on charges of lying about receiving millions in Chinese funding, in an escalation of U.S. efforts to counter what officials say is a plot by Beijing to raid U.S. universities to transform China into a scientific superpower, the Wall Street Journal’s Aruna Viswanatha and Kate O’Keeffe report. Details: Charles Lieber misled the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health about his participation in China’s Thousand Talents Plan while the U.S. agencies were spending more than $15 million to fund his research group in the U.S. Why it matters: the U.S. has concerns that the Chinese government is trying to obtain cutting-edge U.S. research by exploiting U.S. universities. – WSJ (subscription)
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Trump plan calls for Palestinian state, settlement freeze
President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan Tuesday, calling for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem, saying it is a ‘win-win’ opportunity for both Israel and the Palestinians, the AP’s Matthew Lee and Aron Heller report. Why it matters: “The plan more than doubles the territory currently under Palestinian control, although it also recognizes Israeli sovereignty over major settlement blocs in the West Bank”. That being said: The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal, accusing Trump of being biased in favor of Israel as he has adopted policies that bolster Israel at their expense.” – AP
US, others prepare evacuations as virus spreads from China
The United States and several other nations prepared Tuesday to airlift citizens out of a Chinese city at the center of a virus outbreak that has killed more than 100 people. The U.S. government-chartered a plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where the outbreak started and other Americans. The plane will make a refueling stop in Alaska before flying on to Ontario, California, the U.S. Embassy said. Zoom out: China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities in Hubei province to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The lockdown has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed. Clicker: A Disturbing Number of People Think Coronavirus Is Related to Corona Beer. – SF Gate
Russia Exerts Growing Influence in Africa, Worrying Many in the West
“Nearly 200 Russian mercenaries have deployed in recent months to Mozambique to combat a growing Islamic State offshoot there, even as Moscow is taking initial steps toward building a military port in the Horn of Africa that could become Russia’s first permanent base on the continent” the NYT’s Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff report. What’s happening: Russia is steadily expanding its military influence across Africa by increasing arms sales, security agreements and training programs for unstable countries or autocratic leaders. Big Picture: American officials, analyzing what they call great power competition, say they are alarmed by Russia’s growing influence, as well as China’s, as Washington struggles to exert its economic and security goals on the continent.”- New York Times
A Tuesday Bounce Back
Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday driven by a renewed focus on earnings and economic data, helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average snap a five-day losing streak. Although there is still uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, the head of the World Health Organization praised China’s handling of the outbreak during a visit to Beijing. Stateside, investors continued to analyze the latest results from various companies and inspect fresh data points for hints about the standing of the U.S. economy, one of which was new orders for durable goods. Demand for these products rose by 2.4% in December from the previous month. While the overall increase was viewed in a positive light, the top-line number was mostly driven by defense equipment purchases. Excluding defense and aircraft demand, the measure actually fell 0.9%, indicating that U.S. businesses may be less willing to invest in items such as machinery, equipment, and computers. That being said, other data points showed U.S. consumer confidence surged to a five-month high in January and home-price growth picked up in November. After a sluggish start to 2019, it’s the latest sign that the homes-sales market accelerated towards the end of last year. Overall, all three major U.S. indexes ended the day in positive territory.
Pilot of Bryant helicopter tried to avoid heavy fog
The veteran pilot whose helicopter plunged into a Los Angeles-area hillside, killing NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others, had tried to avoid fog so heavy that it had grounded police choppers, authorities said. While it’s still too early to determine exactly what happened experts said the radar tracking data leads them to believe the pilot got confused in the fog and went into a fatal dive. – AP
UK will allow Huawei to help build its 5G network despite US pressure
After dismissing calls from the United States to ban Huawei over security fears, the United Kingdom announced Tuesday that it is allowing the Chinese telecom-equipment vendor to build part of the country’s next-generation 5G cellular network. Why it matters: Some warned the decision could undermine trade and intelligence ties with the United States. Big picture: The issue demonstrates how a conflict between the United States and China over the future of technology is forcing other countries to take sides, especially when it comes to advancements that could affect national security. – CNN Business
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1936: U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects first members
On January 29, 1936, the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects its first members in Cooperstown, New York: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
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