☕ Cover Photo: Marine One, with President Donald J. Trump aboard, transits through the Swiss Alps Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, en route to the InterContinental Davos Landing Zone where the President will attend the 50th Annual World Economic Forum Meeting. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
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
Milk and Apple Watches: In case you were worried about Senators keeping themselves hydrated during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump – don’t be. Lawmakers on the Senate floor are (only) allowed to drink milk or water during the hearing. Also, per The Verge: “Eight senators have been spotted wearing Apple Watches, seemingly breaking the chamber’s ban on electronics during the proceedings”
🦅 U.S. NEWS
The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump resumed Tuesday afternoon with Democrats and Republicans warring over the rules. Sen. Chuck Schumer called them a “national disgrace”, and the insult may have had an impact. Late in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made changes to the framework that would add an extra day for each side’s opening arguments and stipulate that evidence from the Democratic House’s impeachment hearings be included in the record. Why it matters: the updated timetable is the same amount of time given to the prosecution and defense during the 1999 impeachment trial of President Clinton. Additionally, the note about including evidence from the Democrats’ House hearing makes an effort to appease moderates like Republican Susan Collins of Maine. Big picture: There is still deep disagreement about calling additional witnesses. How it’s playing:
- On The Left: Robert Costa and Rachael Bade of the Washington Post write that “President Trump’s legal defense team and Senate GOP allies are quietly gaming out contingency plans should Democrats win enough votes to force witnesses to testify in the impeachment trial, including an effort to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from the spotlight.”
- On the right: Eddie Scarry of the Washington Examiner lays out two reasons Republicans shouldn’t call impeachment witnesses: Brett Kavanaugh and Robert Mueller. Scarry says in each instance Republicans acquiesced for Democrats, but instead Americans were “treated to two years of hyperventilating news coverage about all the links connecting Trump and the election to Russia, only for Mueller’s office to conclude that no such links existed.” In regards to calling witnesses for the latest partisan showdown, Scarry thinks “Republicans would be falling for the same trick if they agree to it.”
The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to decide on a fast-track basis the fate of the landmark Affordable Care Act after a federal appeals court ruled that its central health insurance mandate is unconstitutional, Richard Wolf of USA Today reports. Why it matters: By refusing to step in, the justices probably blocked the third Supreme Court test of the controversial health care law from an election-year docket teeming with major cases on abortion, immigration, gun control, gay rights, freedom of religion and subpoenas seeking President Donald Trump’s tax and financial records. Big picture for Both Sides, per POLITICO: The decision deals a blow to the Democrats’ desire to elevate the issue in 2020, but it will come as a relief to President Donald Trump and Republicans, who’ve been wary of the lawsuit’s potential to scramble their election hopes. POLITICO / USA Today
I wanted seltzer, not salsa
Super Bowl advertisers are concerned that their expensive commercials during the game could be overshadowed if they run too close to the campaign ads from President Trump or Michael Bloomberg—but Fox is taking steps to protect them, Nat Ives writes in the Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today. The Plan: The network is isolating the presidential campaign spots, the first that will run nationally in a Super Bowl, in ad pods of their own, NBC News and Ad Age report. They’ll likely run adjacent to promotional ads for Fox TV shows, but not right before or after a brand marketer that’s counting on making an impression. Also, fun fact: If you’ve been seeing a lot of commercials for Bud Light Seltzer, you’re not the only one. From TV Rev: “From Jan. 1-19, Bud Light Seltzer [made] up nearly 37% of the entire beer industry TV spend — almost double the closest competitor (Michelob). One more thing: if you can name the title of this post, you get bonus points today. – WSJ / NBC News / Ad Age / TV Rev
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
China’s Mystery Virus: What You Need to Know
Officials in China are racing to contain the spread of a new virus that has left at least six people dead and sickened more than 300 after it was confirmed the infection can spread between humans. Not only that, but CNN reported that public health officials have confirmed the first U.S. case. On Wall Street, stocks turned mixed as investors worried about the economic impact of a deadly respiratory virus (more below). The potential for this SARS-like virus to spread further is so high that the World Health Organization said it would gather an expert panel to meet today to decide whether the emergence of 2019-nCoV, as the virus is known, constitutes a global public health emergency. The Long Read: Here is helpful context and background regarding why the unidentified coronavirus is being compared to SARS, how it jumps, and what we still need to figure out. – CNN / Vox / Tag The Flag
Brazil: Cybercrimes and Dam Collapses
Federal prosecutors in Brazil on Tuesday charged the American journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes for his role in bringing to light cellphone messages that have embarrassed prosecutors and tarnished the image of an anti-corruption task force, the New York Times reports. Why it matters: “Mr. Greenwald, an ardent critic of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is a deeply polarizing figure in Brazil, where his work is lionized by leftists and condemned as partisan and heavy-handed by officials in the Bolsonaro administration.” Brazilian prosecutors also filed charges including murder in relation to the collapse of a dam a year ago that killed at least 250 people, the BBC reports. Mining giant Vale and German auditor Tüv Süd face environmental charges, with 16 individuals who worked for the companies facing charges of murder. – New York Times / BBC
Nuclear Threats from Unstable Regimes
North Korea said on Tuesday it was no longer bound by commitments to halt nuclear and missile testing, blaming the United States’ failure to meet a year-end deadline for nuclear talks and “brutal and inhumane” U.S. sanctions. Why it matters: On Monday, Iran threatened to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if European countries bring alleged violations of the historic nuclear deal with world powers to the United Nations Security Council. Big Picture: Between North Korea and Iran, the nuclear threat from unstable regimes is compounding for both the United States and the rest of the world. – Reuters / Al Jazeera
China Virus Causes Stocks to Drop
Global stocks dropped on Tuesday in light of growing concerns over the rapid spread of a dangerous pneumonialike virus originating in central China, just as millions of the country’s citizens plan to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. After health officials said the newly identified virus has spread between humans and reached the United States, experts warned that the economic consequences could be serious, sending shares of travel companies lower. Speaking of flying, “Boeing stock trading was temporarily halted Tuesday after shares fell by almost 6 percent on reports that regulators plan to keep the company’s fleet of troubled 737 Max airplanes grounded until July” according to NBC. That date is months later than the manufacturer previously expected. More broadly, the three main U.S. indexes had a slight sell-off, following record highs last week which saw encouraging economic data, the signing of the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal and an optimistic start to the fourth-quarter earnings season. – Reuters / CNBC
Katie Sowers will be the first woman and first openly gay coach in Super Bowl history
San Francisco 49ers’ offensive assistant Katie Sowers is about to become both the first woman and the first openly gay coach in Super Bowl history after the 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Sowers played football and was a member of the 2013 U.S. Women’s National American Football squad that won the International Federation of American Football World Championship. Here are 5 things to know about the trailblazing coach. – USA Today / Refinery29
Uber Says Hello to New Rules, Goodbye Indian Food Biz
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Uber is letting drivers at airports in three California cities charge up to five times the fare Uber sets. The move aims to give drivers more autonomy after a new state law took effect.” The Verge points out that “the new feature effectively creates a bidding system where drivers with lower prices get the first customers. As demand increases, drivers who had set higher prices will be matched with riders, too.” Also: The company also announced that it sold its Uber Eats food delivery business in India to Zomato, its competitor backed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial. Shares of the ride-hailing giant jumped on the news. – WSJ / The Verge
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1998: Ted Kaczynski pleads guilty to bombings
On this day in 1998, in a Sacramento, California, courtroom, Theodore J. Kaczynski pleads guilty to all federal charges against him, acknowledging his responsibility for a 17-year campaign of package bombings attributed to the “Unabomber.”
Today I Learned that Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Ramzi Yousef (the 1993 World Trade Center bomber), and Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City bomber), all became friends in prison, and regularly discussed religion and politics until McVeigh’s execution.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
WATCH: A home security camera recorded an Army soldier in North Carolina walking up to a stranger’s house and respectfully folding an American Flag that came down during a storm.
What percent of the U.S. population has PTSD?