The White House violated federal law by withholding security aid approved by lawmakers for Ukraine, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog said on Thursday, in a blow for U.S. President Donald Trump as the Senate prepared to hold a trial on whether to remove him from office.
Source: White House broke law by withholding Ukraine aid, congressional agency says – Reuters
As the impeachment spotlight shifts to the Senate, several senators are emerging as early pivotal players as Washington gears up for President Trump’s trial.
Source: Ten senators to watch on Trump impeachment trial | TheHill
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday afternoon that President Donald Trump will sign a government spending package that resulted from bipartisan negotiations over border security and also will declare a national emergency, which Trump has intended to use to obtain more money for his proposed wall.
“I just had an opportunity to speak with President Trump and he’s prepared to sign the bill,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor. “He will also be signing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”
After the Senate votes, the House is also expected to pass the spending package.
Trump said earlier in the day that he was still reviewing the bill. In the morning, Republican senators had said that they “pray” Trump signs it into law, averting another government shutdown on Friday.
The Senate is expected to act first on the 1,159-page bill, which was released just after midnight. The House will likely vote later in the evening, ahead of the Friday night deadline to prevent another partial government shutdown.
Trump had said he is not “happy” with the measure, though he has been expected to sign it. “Reviewing the funding bill with my team at the @WhiteHouse!” he tweeted Thursday afternoon, ahead of the Senate vote.
The bill would provide $1.375 billion for 55 miles of pedestrian and levee fencing in the Rio Grande Valley, significantly less than Trump’s $5.7 billion request. It also prohibits the use of a concrete wall or other Trump prototypes and specifies that only “existing technologies” for fencing and barriers can be used.
Source: McConnell: Trump says he’ll sign spending deal on border security, declare national emergency : NBC News
Federal workers’ protests outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Lexington, Ky. are raising questions about how long the Republican leader can continue his support of President Trump in the face of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Government workers from the Federal Medical Center, U.S. Penitentiary in Lexington and the Federal Correctional Institution of Manchester assembled outside McConnell’s office this week to protest the shutdown, according to local CBS affiliate WKYT. The protesters made it clear that their objective was for McConnell, and Congress overall, to vote to re-open the government.
“They don’t even know if they can make it to work, yet they’re required to work,” Jerry Jackson Jr, a union president in Big Sandy, told the network.
“What do we pay now? Do we pay the mortgage, do we save gas money to get to work, what do we do? Do we buy the groceries? So now the times are starting to get tough,” Stephen Creech, a union president in Manchester, also observed.
Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal made it clear in a recent editorialthat he viewed McConnell’s support for Trump as a capitulation.
What is outrageous is McConnell won’t put any pressure on Trump to sign the bill that he voted for in December and that Trump supported before radio talk show hosts howled about it.
God forbid the Republican McConnell even consider overriding the veto of a president of his own party.
While there is little question that many Kentuckians are outraged about the shutdown, that won’t necessarily hurt McConnell’s political career in the state.
Source: Mitch McConnell begins to feel the heat for government shutdown at home | Salon.com