Weekly Review Feb1

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NO IMPEACHMENT WITNESSES ALLOWED

“After a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed,”reports the NY Times.

“The president’s allies rallied to his defense, though some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.”

The Democrats had hoped Senators Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander and Lisa Murkowski would cast their votes with them.  Only Romney and Collins, however, were bold enough to break ranks with the otherwise solid GOP.

“The decision means that senators will not hear from former national security adviser John Bolton, the one senior Trump administration figure who had agreed to appear before the Senate trial if subpoenaed,” reports Buzzfeed.  “Bolton has written an unpublished memoir in which he reportedly recounts Trump saying he would hold up military aid to Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into the Biden family.”

The Democrats also intended to call Acting White house Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who according to USA Today, “affirmed that Trump had conditioned security aid to Ukraine on the announcement of a public investigation into into the family of former Vice President Joe Biden.  ‘I have news for everyone,’ Mulvaney haughtily declared in the White House briefing room. ‘Get over it.  There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.’”

The vote virtually assures Trump’s vindication by the Senate and ultimately empowering with the result same as he had been by the failure of the Mueller investigation to definitively find fault in Russia’s 2016 cooperation with his election.

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UK STEPS OUT, DEPARTS EU

Great Britain has officially left the European Union as of 11:00 PM local time January 31st, 2020.

The exit was dramatized as much as possible, considering Big Ben, possibly the most famous clock in the world, was amid a shut down for a major 21st century renovation.  Instead a countdown clock was projecting final seconds onto 10 Downing Street, the residence of the prime minister.

Vox reportered: “UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a brief address ahead of the big moment, where he struck an optimistic note about Britain’s future outside of the EU.

“The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end, but a beginning,” the prime minister said. “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.”

“Three and a half years after the former prime minister, Theresa May, proclaimed that ‘Brexit means Brexit’,” reported the NY Times, “the British government will finally have to decide precisely what that means.”

Now a trade agreement with the EU must be negotiated and approved by the end of the year as the PM promised.  Similarly, the U.S. is breathing heavily on Britain’s back, hoping to rush in with its own trade deal.

At the end of this period, status of Europeans living in the U.K. and of Brits living in the EU will also have to be resolved.

In addition, questions of Scottish Independence and Northern Ireland potentially reuniting with the rest of the republic will both have to be seriously addressed.

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RESCUED U.S. CITIZENS QUARANTINED

Americans flown back from Hubei province will be subject to fourteen days of mandatory quarantine.

Those flying back from the rest of mainland China will face a health screening upon reentering the U.S. and can also face a fourteen-day quarantine to establish that they do not pose any health risk.

“While we recognize this is an unprecedented action, we are facing an unprecedented public health threat, and this is one of the tools in our toolbox to mitigate the potential impact of this novel virus on the United States,” said Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases per CNN.

According to CNBC: “It’s the first time in 50 years that the U.S. has issued a mandatory quarantine order…  The last time U.S. health officials issued a mandatory quarantine was in the 1960s during a smallpox outbreak.”

“We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic but we are hopeful still that this is not and will not be the case,” said Dr. Messonnier, per CNBC, adding that the tests for the virus aren’t foolproof.  “This is a very serious public health situation and CDC and federal government has and  will continue to take aggressive action to protect the public.”

“The new coronavirus, which was discovered about a month ago, can spread before symptoms show, Messonnier said, citing a new report from the New England Journal of Medicine… The virus is transmitted through human contact, in droplets released by coughing or sneezing and even by touching surfaces with germs.”

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