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Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade
The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump's signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

An agonizing dispute among terror victims
Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund splitting payouts under questionable rationale

Kenneth Feinberg, former administrator of the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, said he does not understand the rationale for paying out 9/11 victims from the fund. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Four decades ago, William Daugherty, a former CIA operative, was held hostage in Iran for 444 days. His wait for the financial compensation policymakers had promised him will now be a lot longer than that.

A fund created in 2015 for the Iran hostages and other victims of state-sponsored terrorism has become a new source of cash for relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks waged by al-Qaida terrorists on New York and Washington. President Donald Trump in November signed into law a measure that divided the fund in half, splitting the revenue between two competing groups: victims of state-sponsored terrorism like Daugherty and the 9/11 families.

Senate receives impeachment articles, takes first step toward trial
McConnell gets unanimous consent on measures expected to start trial Tuesday

House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson lead the House Democrats who will manage President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial through Statuary Hall on Wednesday to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate laid the groundwork to begin a trial on whether to remove President Donald Trump after a procession of House Democrats delivered impeachment articles Wednesday evening. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for unanimous consent on a series of measures to set the trial in motion. 

Trump signs ‘phase one’ China pact, first of two trade milestones this week
Senate to take up NAFTA replacement before impeachment trial begins

President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a “Keep America Great” campaign rally in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid the impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed the first of two significant milestones on trade — an agreement with China that amounts to a ceasefire in his war with the Asian giant.

Trump is expected to get a second win on the issue later this week, with the Senate expected to approve a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. Aides say Trump plans to trumpet both as part of his reelection sales pitch that he is a good steward of the economy.

Impeachment managers all represent safe Democratic seats
GOP faces steep challenge to oust prosecutors of Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Wednesday news conference to announce the House impeachment managers: from left, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Sylvia R. Garcia, Jerrold Nadler, Adam B. Schiff, Val B. Demings, Zoe Lofgren and Jason Crow. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call photo)

Updated Jan. 16 10:45 a.m. | Speaker Nancy Pelosi went with Democrats from politically safe districts to prosecute the impeachment case against President Donald Trump in the Senate.

All seven impeachment managers named Wednesday are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Solid Democratic. Many of their Republican challengers haven’t even raised any money yet. That could change given these Democrats’ new, high-profile role, but the fundamentals of their races would have to shift significantly to make a difference in the outcome.

Senate sets first ground rules for impeachment trial
McConnell, Schumer announced restrictions to staff and visitors

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer have detailed restrictions in Senate operations during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Corrected, Thursday, 8:32 p.m. | Senators and their staffs will be subject to new access restrictions and decorum practices in and around the Senate chamber starting Thursday morning, thanks to the imminent impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Access to the Senate wing will be more limited than usual as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Pelosi’s poor choices helped sink her impeachment gambit
As House votes to send articles to Senate, McConnell can put a check in the win column

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and others spoke last month about the urgency of impeaching the president, but they were fine with holding the articles of impeachment for 28 days, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — What a difference 28 days makes.

On Dec. 18, House Democrats rushed to impeach President Donald Trump on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, with chief prosecutor Adam Schiff actually calling him a “clear and present danger” to the nation. Speed was of the essence, they told us. So critical, in fact, that the very security of the nation depended on it.

Senate could vote to curb Trump war powers, but timing unclear
Bipartisan version of resolution would require immediate cessation of attacks on Iran

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to the media following the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tim Kaine has lined up the votes to adopt a resolution to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran, though a vote on the matter this week would fall short absent a procedural agreement with Republican leadership.

The Virginia Democrat announced Tuesday he received support from at least four GOP senators for using the 1973 War Powers Act to adopt a binding resolution ordering the Trump administration to immediately end all unauthorized military hostilities against Iran and its government. Those senators are Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Todd Young of Indiana.

Senators look to clear legislative decks before impeachment trial
Notice requirements could give just enough time

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to the media following the Senate Democrats’ policy lunch on Tuesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate appears set to try to clear the decks of pending legislative business before diving into the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

That could include delivering a big policy victory to the president on trade.

Prosecutors want Chris Collins to serve years in prison
Former congressman faces possible sentence ranging from house arrest to 57 months in prison

Former Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., will be sentenced Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal prosecutors want former Rep. Chris Collins to spend “the top end” of a sentence guideline that ranges from almost four years to just under five years in prison for the crimes he pleaded guilty to in October: insider trading and lying to the FBI to conceal an insider trading scheme.

“There is no case that Collins cites, and no insider trading case of which the Government is aware, in which the circumstances call as clearly as they do here for a sentence that carries a sufficient term of incarceration to ensure respect for the law,” Max Nicholas, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, wrote on behalf of the government.