First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
The fundamental issue hanging over the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald John Trump is how incomplete it is, as the New York Times’ Peter Baker writes.
Just this week alone, we heard more explosive testimony/evidence (“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow).
And we learned that the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the Trump administration violated the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine.
So who is to blame for this incompleteness?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats did wrap up their work before Christmas – and, importantly, before the Iowa caucuses, which are now just 17 days away.
So if you wanted to build an airtight case against the president, Republicans argue, there should have been no loose ends.
On the other hand, the Trump administration stonewalled the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, preventing many key witnesses from testifying.
So if you’re complaining the matter was rushed, Democrats argue back, shouldn’t you be open to hearing from everyone involved?
Of course, it’s possible – if not likely – that had every single witness testified during the House impeachment inquiry, we’d be in the same position we’re in now: Almost all Democrats in favor of impeachment/removal, and almost all Republicans opposed.
But in that scenario, there also wouldn’t be any lingering questions about whether more information – like what we got this week – might sway additional minds.
U.S. troops were injured after all in that Iran attack
“Several U.S. service members were treated for concussions after Iran launched ballistic missiles earlier this month in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander, the Pentagon said Thursday. While no U.S. service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack … several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed,’ Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.”told reporters.
Those injuries are at odds with what the president of the United States said last week.
“‘How many died? How many were wounded?’ ‘Sir, none.’ None. Pretty good warning system. None. ‘How many were hurt?’ ‘None, sir,'” Trump recounted at a campaign rally last Thursday.
It’s a reminder that you can’t take the White House’s word on anything.
And that includes the Ukraine story above.