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IMPEACHMENT UPDATE … Donald J. Trump is still President of the United States.
TRUMP DELIVERS … “A newly emboldened Trump gives Democrats a reason to fret,” via REUTERS: President Donald Trump took the stage for his State of the Union speech in an unfamiliar position: With the wind at his back … All of it brought out the showman in the former reality TV star during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
At one point, he choreographed a reunion between a U.S. servicemember returning from Afghanistan and his family to cheers from lawmakers.
Along that line, for much of the speech, Trump appeared to be making an overt appeal to suburban voters who could decide his fate.
OWNED … “Pelosi rips up Trump speech at conclusion of State of the Union,” via THE HILL: As Trump finished speaking and most lawmakers stood to applaud, [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi stood, took the printed copy of Trump’s speech and tore it in half. She placed the shredded copy in a stack on the dais as Trump made his way to greet members of Congress.
BIDEN’S SECRET STASH … “At Biden Institute, Mystery Donors Support Potential Cabinet in Waiting,” by WFB’s Eliana Johnson: The institute has served as a landing spot for some of [Joe] Biden’s former—and potentially future—White House advisers … There is Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, the institute’s vice chair, and Biden’s former senior adviser, Michael Donilon, who serves as managing director …
But unlike similar institutions housed at public universities, the Biden Institute does not disclose the sources of its funding or its staff and executive salaries.
FRONTRUNNER FINISHES FOURTH … “IOWA RESULTS: Buttigieg (Kind of) Won. So Did Bernie. Warren Persisted. Biden Definitely Lost.,” by WFB’s Andrew Stiles: The Iowa Democratic Party finally announced a winner of the state’s caucus Tuesday afternoon. Sort of …
While it is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from the partial results unveiled Tuesday, it is certainty an embarrassing outcome for [Joe] Biden, who has time and again proven himself unworthy of the “frontrunner” status suggested by his strength in national polling.
FAILING UP … “App blamed for botched Iowa caucus created by Hillary Clinton campaign alum,” via NY POST: Gerard Niemira, CEO of Shadow Inc.—the company tapped by the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) to build an app for reporting the results of the crucial, first-in-the-nation caucus—served as director of product on Clinton’s 2016 campaign …
Precinct chairs across the state experienced problems downloading or logging into the app, one of the ways they were supposed to be able to send the results from their smaller, individual caucuses to the IDP, Bloomberg News reported.
LOW ENERGY … “The biggest problem for Democrats wasn’t the vote count,” via POLITICO: In their first test of the year, early data suggested Tuesday that turnout was “on pace for 2016,” the Iowa Democratic Party said, far below levels many observers predicted …
Looking at the low turnout estimate in Des Moines late Monday night, an adviser to one candidate said simply, “Wow.”
MESSAGE TO MADURO … “Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó honored by Trump at State of the Union,” via FOX NEWS: The invite to the State of the Union gives Guaidó, the Venezuelan National Assembly leader and fierce critic of contested Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a big political bump as he seeks to rally international support for his bid to oust his country’s strongman leader.
Before receiving a thunderous applause from the crowd of lawmakers and other dignitaries gathered on the House floor, Trump praised Guaidó — calling him Venezuela’s “true leader” and offering U.S. support in his fight.
SEND THE BOMBERS … “Iran Issues Death Sentence for Alleged CIA Spy,” by WFB’s Adam Kredo: Iran’s supreme court signed off on a death sentence for Amir Rahimpour, whom the regime accuses of providing sensitive nuclear secrets to the United States, Gholamhossein Esmaeili, Iran’s judiciary spokesman, said.
“Rahimpour, a CIA spy who had been paid substantially for disclosing Iran’s nuclear data to the American intelligence agency, had been already identified and sentenced to death,” Esmaeili was quoted as saying in the country’s state-controlled press.
NASTY WOMAN … “Democrat Claire McCaskill, NYT Reporter Blasted For ‘Racist’ Ben Carson Tweets,” via DAILY WIRE: The tweet that generated the most reaction came from former Missouri Democratic senator [and MSNBC contributor] Claire McCaskill, who tweeted the same photograph, writing: “One of these things is not like the others. Hint: they made [Carson] squat in the aisle so he was visible.”
MATTHEWS PREFERS THE GERMAN CHANCELLOR … “MSNBC Anchor Says Netanyahu is One of the World’s ‘Bad Guys,’ Puts Jewish Leader in List With Putin,” by WFB’s Brent Scher: “He does seem to be a guy who doesn’t like the good guys of the world, he seems to like the bad guys,” [Chris] Matthews said …
As MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt responded by saying Trump “fetishizes the Erdogans, and the Putins, and the dictators,” he was interrupted by Matthews, who wanted to add Israel’s Netanyahu to the list.
DULY NOTED … “PETA Says Word ‘Pet’ Is Patronising to Animals,” via INDEPENDENT: Instead, PETA is calling on people to use words like “companion” to refer to their animals.
“A lot of people at home who have dogs or cats will call them pets and refer to themselves as owners and this implies that the animals are a possession, like a car for example,” [PETA’s Jennifer] White said.
IMPEACHMENT BOUNCE … “Tired of Winning? Donald Trump Breaks Obama Approval Record,” by WFB’s Andrew Stiles: Trump has a job approval rating of 49 percent, according to the most recent Gallup survey. That’s the highest figure reported by Gallup since Trump took office in 2017, and it comes as the Democratic Party reels from an embarrassing debacle in Iowa …
Trump’s victory in the Iowa GOP caucus means that he has now won more caucuses or primaries in 2020 than [Joe] Biden has won over the course of his entire political career, which includes two previous failed presidential campaigns.
DAYS SINCE JOE BIDEN DID A SUNDAY SHOW: 1,151. Come back, Joe!
“You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.” —Former President Barack Obama
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