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Trump trial could end soon; Dems fail to win support

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has announced she will support a vote for witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. But fellow Republican Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says there's no need. They both made their announcements late Thursday Their decisions are crucial. Both probably would be needed if Democrats are to win the four GOP senators requied to win a vote Friday on summoning witnesses. Otherwise, the trial could end abruptly in acquittal.


Trump rails against Democratic rivals ahead of Iowa caucuses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Donald Trump is lashing out at his top Democratic presidential rivals while taking his fight to the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa and the crucial battleground state of Michigan. With Democrats set to hold their nominating battle Monday, Trump slammed former Vice President Joe Biden for his small campaign crowds, mocked Bernie Sanders as “Crazy Bernie” and accused Pete Buttigieg of having an unpronounceable last name. He also rehashed old grievances and digs at 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton but said the current field of Democratic contenders offers him stiffer competition than the former secretary of state.


Biden, Buttigieg amplify Sanders criticism before Iowa vote

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) — Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden are stepping up their criticisms of Bernie Sanders as moderates are under growing pressure to dull any momentum the progressive senator may gain heading into next week's Iowa caucuses. Biden is questioning Sanders' party loyalty, saying. “He’s not a registered Democrat, to the best of my knowledge." Sanders has long identified as a democratic socialist and was elected as an independent senator from Vermont. Buttigieg is bemoaning Sanders' demands for adherence to progressive ideals as “a kind of politics that says you've got to go all the way here and nothing else counts.”


US advises against travel to China; virus declared emergency

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. has advised against all travel to China after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a new virus that has spread to more than a dozen countries a global emergency. The number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week, including the highest death toll in a 24-hour period reported Friday. The State Department's travel advisory told Americans currently in China to consider departing using commercial means, and requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel "in light of the novel coronavirus.” China counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan. No deaths have been reported outside China.


Evacuated American says Chinese city was like a ghost town

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — One of the Americans evacuated from a Chinese city at the center of a new virus outbreak says he holed up in his home there for more than a week before catching a flight to the U.S. Jarred Evans, a professional football player in a Chinese league, says news of the deadly coronavirus turned Wuhan, a city of 11 million, into a ghost town, with buses and trains barred and people staying home. Evans is among nearly 200 Americans who are at March Air Reserve Base east of Los Angeles until tests confirm they don't have the virus.


As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk

Australia's wildfires have illuminated a growing global concern over water quality. That's because forests, grasslands and other natural areas that supply drinking water to millions of people are increasingly vulnerable to fire in a hotter, drier world. More than 60%t of the water for the world's 100 largest cities originates in fire-prone watersheds _ and countless smaller communities also rely on surface water. But storms can dump far more water in a shorter period than in the past. That means ash, sediment and debris from burned areas can quickly wash into waterways and reservoirs. Affected areas include the Western U.S., where 65% of water supplies originate in forested watersheds. Experts say communities need to prepare for more impacts in the future.


Trial highlights: Dershowitz backtracks, Paul thwarted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators continued asking questions at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, as one of Trump's attorneys tried to explain his controversial defense and a Republican senator was thwarted in his bid to expose the whistleblower whose complaint launched the probe. Senators heard urgent pleas either to stop a president who Democrats say tried to cheat in the 2020 election or shut down an inquiry that Republicans insist is purely partisan. There was an air of uncertainty as lawmakers faced a crucial vote on calling witnesses — a decision that could abruptly end the trial or bring weeks of new testimony.


AP Exclusive: Woman who says Trump raped her seeks his DNA

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for a woman who says President Donald Trump raped her in the 1990s are asking for a sample of his DNA. The attorneys for advice columnist E. Jean Carroll say they want to determine whether Trump's genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter. They served a legal notice Thursday to one of Trump's lawyers demanding the sample. Carroll filed a defamation suit against Trump in November after the president said she was lying about the alleged attack. The White House and Trump's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.


Roberts declines to read Paul question on whistleblower

WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts has declined to read an impeachment trial question by Sen. Rand Paul about the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint led to the probe of President Donald Trump. Paul, a Kentucky Republican, says he believes a whistleblower may have conspired with House aides in writing the August complaint that eventually sparked the House probe. As Trump's impeachment trial continued Thursday, the chief justice read the question to himself, then declined “to read the question as submitted.” Earlier, Roberts' staff communicated to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff that Roberts did not want to read the whistleblower's name.


Note-passing and power: Moderates team up at Trump trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moderate senators are teaming up on questions during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. They're doing it sometimes out in the open on the Senate floor by passing notes and asking questions on behalf of each other. At the center of the effort are Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The quartet asked the first bipartisan question of the trial, focused on Rudy Giuliani's role in Trump's pressure on Ukraine.

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