February 2020 COVID 19

February 2020 COVID 19

It was February and we knew that “corona” was here in the United States, but we could still make fun of it.

February 2020 COVID 19

In China, it was a far different story.

February 2020 COVID 19

February 2020

February 1: Dr. Li Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus.

China, confirmed cases now total 14,380 and the death toll rose above 300.

February 2: the first 2019-nCoV death outside China is reported in the Philippines. The patient was a 44-year-old Chinese male, and known companion of the 38-year-old woman who tested positive for 2019-nCoV on Jan. 30 and the first case in the Philippines. It also imposes travel ban for travelers coming from China, Hong Kong, and Macao, and a 14-day quarantine period for Philippine residents.

February 2: Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 3: China launched a clinical trial of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir, previously tested in patients with Ebola, against the 2019-nCoV, just as China’s Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan starts operations. The hospital was built in 10 days and is dedicated to treating 2019-nCoV patients.

WHO

February 3: WHO released the international community’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan to help protect states with weaker health systems.

Italy

On February 4: Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella urged residents to hug Chinese people to encourage them in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, a member of Associazione Unione Giovani Italo Cinesi, a Chinese society in Italy aimed at promoting friendship between people in the two countries, called for respect for novel coronavirus patients during a street demonstration. “I’m not a virus. I’m a human. Eradicate the prejudice.”

Hong Kong reported its first death of a patient with 2019-nCoV. The 39-year-old man had travel history from Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter. This is the second death linked to the 2019-nCoV reported outside mainland China, after the Philippines. The total number of deaths from 2019-nCoV stands at 492, and confirmed cases globally over 24,000.

February 4: at a WHO briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged that there be no travel bans. “We reiterate our call to all countries not to impose restrictions that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. Such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit. … Where such measures have been implemented, we urge that they are short in duration, proportionate to the public health risks and are reconsidered regularly as the situation evolves.” [NPR timeline]

February  5: ten passengers from a cruise ship currently docked in Yokohama, Japan, test positive for 2019-nCoV, bringing the total cases in Japan to 35, now the highest among countries with confirmed cases outside mainland China. Global cases total over 28,000, with 565 deaths, and a majority of cases in China. China state media Xinhua also reports a newborn has been infected with the virus, but the route of transmission is still unknown.

February 6: Japan announces a $10 million contribution for WHO’s 2019-nCoV outbreak response fund to support countries with weak health systems as they prepare for the potential spread of the virus.

WHO unveils plans to host a global research and innovation forum from February 11-12 in Geneva to bring together leading scientists, public health agencies, ministries of health, and research funders. The forum is aimed at setting the research agenda for 2019-nCoV.

Total cases in China now at 31,161, and 636 deaths. Outside mainland China, cases at 310, with 2 deaths.

February 2020 COVID 19

February 7:  Dr. Li Wenliang died  after contracting the coronavirus. He was hailed as a hero by many for trying to ring early alarms that a cluster of infections could spin out of control.

The Asian Development Bank approved a $2 million to support response capacity efforts against the 2019-nCoV outbreak in the Asia-Pacific region. The fund would supplement the bank’s technical assistance work in several Southeast Asian countries as well as China. The bank worked with WHO to identify areas for further possible financial assistance.

February  8 — At a press conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized the levels of misinformation spreading around the virus, saying “we’re not just battling the virus; we’re also battling the trolls and conspiracy theorists that push misinformation and undermine the outbreak response.”

He said WHO was engaging with Facebook, Google, Tencent, Baidu, Twitter, TikTok, Weibo, Pinterest, and others to promote accurate information about 2019-nCoV.

February 9: the death toll of victims of the 2019-nCoV was over 800, surpassing the death toll of the SARS epidemic in 2002 and 2003, which killed 773 people.

February 10: an advance team for the WHO-led 2019-nCoV international mission left for China.

WHO chief Tedros said instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China was concerning and that “the detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire.”

February 2020 COVID 19

COVID-19

February 11: WHO names the new virus COVID-19.

A United Nations Crisis Management Team was activated, led by Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director at WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

February 12: the number of countries outside China reporting cases had not changed since February 4.

February 2020 COVID 19

Diamond Princess

February 2020 COVID 19

A total of 175 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which ass quarantined in Japan.

February 13: overnight, China reported a spike in cases, with 14,840 cases in Hubei province. This was due to the fact that the Chinese government changed its reporting to include both laboratory-confirmed cases and clinically diagnosed cases. This includes a medical professional classifying a confirmed case on the basis of chest imaging. “We understand that most of these cases relate to a period going back over days and weeks and are retrospectively reported as cases, since some time back to the beginning of the outbreak itself,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during a press conference.

February 14: China reports that 1,716 health workers have contracted COVID-19 and that six of them have died. “We’ve seen this before with MERS, we’ve seen this before with SARS, we’ve certainly seen this with hemorrhagic fevers,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during a press conference. “Our understanding is that the cases amongst health workers peaked in the third and fourth week of January and that there has been a rapid fall-off in the number of cases that have occurred in health workers in the last two weeks.”

Trump discussed the “very small” number of U.S. coronavirus cases with  Border Patrol Council members:

“We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield had estimated that the “virus is probably with us beyond this season and beyond this year.” Despite that view, President Trump continued to push the idea that it would be gone in a matter of weeks.

There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus,” he said . “So we don’t know yet. We’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.”

February 15: France reported the first death from COVID-19 outside of Asia — an 80-year-old tourist from Hubei province.

February 16: an American woman who had been on a cruise ship that docked in Cambodia, tests positive for COVID-19 after flying to Malaysia. The ship originally set sail from Hong Kong on February 1, with 1,455 passengers and 802 members of its crew.

February 17: China published a paper with detailed information on more than 44,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The data appears to show that COVID-19 is not as deadly as other types of coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The data showed that more than 80% of patients have mild disease; about 14% of cases lead to severe diseases, including pneumonia; about 5% of cases lead to critical diseases including respiratory failure, septic shock and multiorgan failure; and about 2% of reported cases lead to death. Mortality rates increase in older patients, with few cases among children.

February 2020 COVID 19

Dr. Liu Zhiming dies

February 18: there were currently 92 documented cases in 12 countries other than China in which human-to-human transmission of the virus has occurred.

Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, died from COVID-19.

February 19: the death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS reports that, in a survey, nearly one-third of respondents living with HIV in China say they are at risk of running out of their HIV treatment in the coming days due to lockdowns and restrictions on movement amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

After a two-week quarantine, 443 passengers began leaving the Diamond Princess cruise ship. It was the first day of a three-day operation to offload people who tested negative for the virus and did not have symptoms. Passengers who shared cabins with infected patients remained on the ship. A total of 621 people aboard the ship were infected.

February  20: Peng Yinhua, a 29-year-old respiratory doctor in Wuhan, died from COVID-19.

Iran reported five cases of COVID-19 in two days, two of which had resulted in death. These are the first deaths from COVID-19 in the Middle East.

South Korea saw a spike in cases, bringing its count to 104. The country now has the second-highest number of cases outside of mainland China. The new cases are concentrated in the city of Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang province.

February 20: WHO reported nearly 77,000 cases worldwide in 27 countries.

February  21: WHO says it is concerned about the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Iran, which has 18 cases and has seen four deaths in the past two days. The country reported its first cases on February 19.

WHO appoints six special envoys on COVID-19 to “provide strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement in different parts of the world.”

February  22: WHO conducted a survey of African countries to assess their overall readiness for COVID-19 and finds the regional readiness level is at about 66%. “We need urgently to prioritize strengthening the capacities for countries to investigate alerts, treat patients in isolation facilities and improve infection, prevention and control in health facilities and in communities,” says Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, in a press release.

February  23: South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced the highest level of alert after the country surpasses 340 cases of COVID-19, the majority of which were discovered in the past few days. This empowers the government to take measures such as restricting public transportation and banning visitors from certain countries.

Europe faced its first major outbreak as the number of reported cases in Italy grew from fewer than five to more than 150. In the Lombardy region, officials locked down 10 towns after a cluster of cases suddenly emerged in Codogno, southeast of Milan. As a result, schools closed and sporting and cultural events were canceled.

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, President Trump stated that  “We have it very much under control in this country.

February 24: “We must focus on containment, while doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference.

The Asian Development Bank advised delegates planning to attend its annual meeting that it was monitoring the situation in South Korea, where the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now over 700, according to the latest situation report by WHO. The bank’s 53rd annual meeting is scheduled to take place from May 2-5 in Incheon, South Korea.

February 2020 COVID 19

Stock Market crashes

COVID 19 February 2020

February 24: stock market plummeted as Dow Jones Industrials fell more than 1,000 points.

The same day, Trump asks for $1.25 billion in emergency aid. It grows to $8.3 billion in Congress.

He tweeted that the virus “is very much under control” and the stock market “starting to look very good to me!”

February 2020 COVID 19

Africa’s first case

February 25: Algeria reports its first case of COVID-19 — an Italian adult, who arrived in the country on February 17. This is the second confirmed case on the African continent.

Switzerland, Croatia, and Austria reported their first cases.

Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, who is leading the nation’s COVID-19 task force, has contracted the virus.

February 26: Brazil confirms its first case of COVID-19, marking the first case in South America. Cases of the virus have now been confirmed on every continent except Antarctica.

Greece, Georgia, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania and Pakistan report their first cases of COVID-19.

The first case emerged in California with no clear source, suggesting community spread of the virus.

In a news conference that day, Trump says the United States is “really prepared.” He put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of  the White House task force.

Trump also criticized the media accusing them of creating the crisis and that all was fine.

COVID 19 February 2020

He added during a brief press conference: “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people,” he said. “And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”

I think every aspect of our society should be prepared,” he added later. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that, especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

February 27: the number of infections globally continued to grow. There were 3,474 cases of COVID-19 — including 54 deaths — outside of China in 44 countries.

President Trump stated, “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

February 28: the World Health Organization raised the global risk of spread of COVID-19 from “high” to “very high.”

This is a reality check for every government on the planet. Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way, and you need to be ready,” says Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, during a press conference.

Europe faced its first major outbreak as the number of reported cases in Italy grew from fewer than five to more than 150. In the Lombardy region, officials locked down 10 towns after a cluster of cases suddenly emerged in Codogno, southeast of Milan. As a result, schools closed and sporting and cultural events were canceled.

February 29: the World Health Organization updated its guidance on travel restrictions. While it continues to advise against travel or trade restrictions, it notes that in certain circumstances countries can use travel restrictions temporarily, such as in settings with few international connections and limited response capacities. It says that countries can only justify significant travel restrictions at the beginning of an outbreak to give a country time to implement preparedness measures for an outbreak.

“Travel bans to affected areas or denial of entry to passengers coming from affected areas are usually not effective in preventing the importation of cases but may have a significant economic and social impact,” according to the guidance.

A patient near Seattle became the first coronavirus patient to die in the United States.

While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump again claims his administration has the coronavirus under control.

I’ve gotten to know these professionals. They’re incredible,” Trump said. “And everything is under control. I mean, they’re very, very cool. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it well. Everything is really under control.

It would be revealed later that a CPAC attendee tested positive for COVID-19, leading multiple Republican lawmakers who came into contact with him to self-quarantine.

February 2020 COVID 19

See March COVID for more…

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Trump COVID 19  Begin

Steady leadership at any time is important, but especially during a crisis. In early 2020, the world slowly came to the realization that there was a new very serious coronavirus health threat, what would become known as COVID 19.

Countries were not prepared and struggled to deal with the outbreak. We all learned the phrase “flatten the curve” in reference to slowing down the pandemic’s contagious spread.

President Trump’s leadership was often lacking. He denied that there was a problem and when he could no longer deny the problem he diminished its threat and when he could no longer diminish its threat he blamed others–the media in particular as always–for the threat.

Here is a timeline of Trump and COVID 19. See my first of several COVID 19 pandemic posts for a much expanded timeline.

China origin

It was in December 2019 that the as yet unnamed deadly virus’s impact was first observed.

December 6: according to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalizein the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

December 21: Wuhan doctors begin to notice a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Vaping vs Coronavirus

Trump more interested in vaping

Trump COVID 19 Begins
Health and Human Services  Secretary Alex M Azar

January 18: Health and Human Services  Secretary Alex M Azar had his first discussion about the virus with President Trump. Unnamed “senior administration officials” told the Washington Post that “the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Totally Under Control

January 22: President Trump, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.

January 24:In a tweet, Trump praised China for its efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!” [NPR timeline]

Trump COVID 19 Begin

January 29: Dr. Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said, “The whole world needs to be on alert now. The whole world needs to take action and be ready for any cases that come from the epicenter or other epicenter that becomes established.” [NPR timeline]

January 29, 2020: on April 7, 2020, the NY Times reported that top White House adviser Peter Navarro had warned in a memo to Trump administration officials that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.

“The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,” Navarro’s memo said. “This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.”

The memo came during a period when Mr. Trump was playing down the risks to the United States. He later went on to say that no one could have predicted such a devastating outcome.

In one worst-case scenario cited in the memo, more than a half-million Americans could die.

WHO declaration

COVID 19 Pandemic

January 30: the World Health Organization Amid officially declared a “public health emergency of international concern.

That same day, Trump addressed the coronavirus during a speech on trade in Michigan.

We think we have it very well under control,” Trump said. “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five — and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we’re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us.”

Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some people think it could be,” he added.

And at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump talked about the U.S. partnership with China to control the disease. “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great. They have somewhat of a problem, but hopefully, it’s all going to be great. But we’re working with China, just so you know, and other countries very, very closely. So it doesn’t get out of hand.” [NPR timeline]

January 31: Trump blocked travel from China.

February 2: Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 10: at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., Trump said: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. I hope that’s true. But we’re doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard. And I think it’s going to all work out fine.” [NPR timeline]

February 13: in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Trump characterized the threat of the virus in the U.S. by saying: “In our country, we only have, basically, 12 cases, and most of those people are recovering and some cases fully recovered. So it’s actually less.” [NPR timeline]

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Very Small

February 14: China reports that 1,716 health workers have contracted COVID-19 and that six of them have died.

Trump discussed the “very small” number of U.S. coronavirus cases with  Border Patrol Council members:

“We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield had estimated that the “virus is probably with us beyond this season and beyond this year.” Despite that view, President Trump continued to push the idea that it would be gone in a matter of weeks.

There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm, historically, that has been able to kill the virus,” he said . “So we don’t know yet. We’re not sure yet. But that’s around the corner.”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Under Control

February 23: Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, President Trump stated that  “We have it very much under control in this country.

Stock Market crashes

February 24: stock market plummeted as Dow Jones Industrials fell more than 1,000 points.

The same day, Trump asked for $1.25 billion in emergency aid. It grows to $8.3 billion in Congress.

He tweeted that the virus “is very much under control” and the stock market “starting to look very good to me!”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

Pence Put In Charge

February 26: In a news conference that day, Trump said the United States was “really prepared.”

He also said, ““When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

He put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of  the White House task force.

Trump also criticized the media and accused them of creating the crisis and that all was fine. [NPR timeline]

He added during a brief press conference: “We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people,” he said. “And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”

I think every aspect of our society should be prepared,” he added later. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that, especially with the fact that we’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

February 27: the number of infections globally continued to grow. There were 3,474 cases of COVID-19 — including 54 deaths — outside of China in 44 countries.

President Trump stated, “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

Trump COVID 19 Begin

First American Death

February 29: a patient near Seattle became the first coronavirus patient to die in the United States.

While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump again claimed his administration had the coronavirus under control.

I’ve gotten to know these professionals. They’re incredible,” Trump said. “And everything is under control. I mean, they’re very, very cool. They’ve done it, and they’ve done it well. Everything is really under control.

It would be revealed later that a CPAC attendee tested positive for COVID-19, leading multiple Republican lawmakers who came into contact with him to self-quarantine.

Trump COVID 19 Begin

See Trump COVID 19 Continue for next set of dates in chronology

Trump Impeachment

Trump Impeachment

The preliminary and public inquires by the House of Representatives had ended.  After nearly a month of strategizing, the House voted to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

And so the trial would begin.

Preceding Senate Trial

Pelosi names managers/House votes

January 15, 2020: Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Representatives Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Representatives Zoe Lofgren of CaliforniaHakeem Jeffries of New YorkVal B. Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Sylvia R. Garcia of Texas to serve as managers of the impeachment case against President Trump. [NYT story]

Later that same day,  the House voted to send articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate for a trial. The House voted 228 to 193 largely along party lines to send the Senate the two articles accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. [CNN story]

President’s defense

January 18, 2020: President Trump’s legal defense team strenuously denied that he had committed impeachable acts, denouncing the charges against him as a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to cost him re-election as House Democrats laid out in meticulous detail their case that he should be removed from office. [NYT story]

McConnell’s proposals

January 20, 2020: Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, unveiled ground rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial that would attempt to speed the proceeding along and refuse to admit the evidence against the president unearthed by the House without a separate vote.

In a 110-page brief submitted to the Senate, the president’s lawyers advanced their first sustained legal argument since the House opened its inquiry in the fall, contending that the two charges approved largely along party lines were constitutionally flawed and set a dangerous precedent. [NYT story]

Trump Impeachment

Republicans hold

Jaunuary 21, 2020: a divided Senate began the impeachment trial of President Trump. Republicans blocked Democrats’ efforts to subpoena witnesses and documents related to Ukraine and moderate Republicans forced last-minute changes to rules that had been tailored to the president’s wishes.

In a series of party-line votes punctuating 12 hours of debate, Senate Republicans turned back every attempt by Democrats to subpoena documents from the White House, State Department and other agencies, as well as testimony from White House officials that could shed light on the core charges against Mr. Trump. [NYT article]

Day 1, Democrats present case

January 22, 2020: the House Democratic impeachment managers began formal arguments in the Senate trial, presenting a meticulous and scathing case for convicting President Trump and removing him from office on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House prosecutor, took the lectern in the chamber as senators sat silently preparing to weigh Mr. Trump’s fate. Speaking in an even, measured manner, he accused the president of a corrupt scheme to pressure Ukraine for help “to cheat” in the 2020 presidential election.

Invoking the nation’s founders and their fears that a self-interested leader might subvert democracy for his own personal gain, Mr. Schiff argued that the president’s conduct was precisely what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they devised the remedy of impeachment, one he said was “as powerful as the evil it was meant to combat.” [source: NYT article]

Day 2

January 23, 2020: House Democrats sought to pre-emptively dismantle President Trump’s core defenses in his impeachment trial, invoking his own words to argue that his pressure campaign on Ukraine was an abuse of power that warranted his removal.

On the second day of arguments Democrats sought to make the case that Trump’s actions were an affront to the Constitution. And they worked to disprove his lawyers’ claims that he was acting only in the nation’s interests when he sought to enlist Ukraine to investigate political rivals. [source: NYT article]

Day 3

January 24, 2020: the NYT reported that House Democrats concluded their arguments against President Trump by portraying his pressure campaign on Ukraine as part of a dangerous pattern of Russian appeasement that demanded his removal from office.

The impeachment managers argued that Trump’s abuse of power had slowly shredded delicate foreign alliances to suit his own interests.

This is Trump first, not America first, not American ideals first,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House manager. “And the result has been, and will continue to be, grave harm to our nation if this chamber does not stand up and say this is wrong.”

Schiff also appealed to the consciences of Republican senators weighing whether to hear from witnesses and seek more documents that Trump had suppressed.

Trump Impeachment

Republicans counter

Day 4

January 25, 2020: the NYT reported that President Trump’s lawyers wrapped up a brief opening argument against his impeachment much as they had begun, seeking to turn accusations of wrongdoing back on Democrats and insisting that there were innocent explanations for Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

“They’ve come here today and they’ve basically said, ‘Let’s cancel an election over a meeting with the Ukraine,’” said Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. “It would be a completely irresponsible abuse of power to do what they’re asking you to do: to stop an election, to interfere in an election and to remove the president of the United States from the ballot.”

Trump Impeachment

Bolton’s revelations

January 27, 2020: on the second day of President Trump’s lawyers presenting arguments against his impeachment, they told senators that no evidence existed tying the president’s decision to withhold security aid from Ukraine to his insistence on the investigations. They say the investigations were requested out of a concern for corruption in Ukraine.

Yet a new account by the President’s former national security adviser John R. Bolton weakened that defense when he wrote for a forthcoming book that Trump had conditioned military aid for Ukraine on that country’s willingness to furnish information on his political rivals. [NYT article]

Defense team defends

January 28, 2020: the NYT reported that President Trump’s defense team appealed to the Senate to disregard a new account by the former national security adviser John R. Bolton that had bolstered the impeachment case against the president. But by day’s end, Republican leaders working feverishly to block testimony from Mr. Bolton or other witnesses indicated they had not yet corralled the votes to do so.

On the final day of arguments on Mr. Trump’s behalf, Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s private lawyers, sought to raise doubts about Mr. Bolton’s claim in an unpublished manuscript that Mr. Trump tied the release of military aid to Ukraine to investigations into his political rivals, calling it an “unsourced allegation” that was “inadmissible” in his impeachment trial.

Trump derides Bolton/Senators questions

Trump Impeachment

January 29, 2020:  the NYT reported that the White House and Senate Republicans had worked aggressively to discount damaging revelations from John R. Bolton and line up the votes to block new witnesses from testifying in President Trump’s impeachment trial, in a push to bring the proceeding to a swift close.

As the Senate opened a two-day, 16-hour period of questioning from senators, Mr. Trump laced into Mr. Bolton, his former national security adviser, whose unpublished manuscript contains an account that contradicts his impeachment defense. The president described Mr. Bolton on Twitter as a warmonger who had “begged” for his job, was fired, and then wrote “a nasty & untrue book.”

No witnesses likely

January 30, 2020:  the NYT reported that Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said that although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that President Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.

Alexander’s statement was a strong indication that Republicans had lined up the votes to block a call for more witnesses and documents and press toward a quick acquittal. His opposition was a significant victory for the White House and Republican leaders.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did,” Alexander said.

Trump Impeachment

No witnesses; acquittal likely 

January 31, 2020: from the NYT, the Senate brought President Trump to the brink of acquittal of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress, as Republicans voted to block consideration of new witnesses and documents in his impeachment trial and shut down a final push by Democrats to bolster their case for the president’s removal.

In a nearly party-line vote after a bitter debate, Democrats failed to win support from the four Republicans they needed. With Mr. Trump’s acquittal virtually certain, the president’s allies rallied to his defense, though some conceded he was guilty of the central allegations against him.

The Democrats’ push for more witnesses and documents failed 49 to 51, with only two Republicans, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, joining Democrats in favor. The vote on the verdict was planned for February 5.

Closing arguments

February 3,  2020: President Trump’s defense team and the House impeachment managers made their closing arguments in the impeachment trial.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin proposed censuring the President instead of voting to remove him from office, thinking that such a move would get a bipartisan majority that a conviction vote would not.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said that while she would not vote to convict Trump, his actions were “shameful and wrong.”  [CNN article]

Trump Impeachment

AcquittalTrump Impeachment

February 5, 2020: the NYT reported that, after five months of hearings, investigations and cascading revelations about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, a divided United States Senate acquitted him on Wednesday of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

In a pair of votes whose outcome was never in doubt, the Senate fell well short of the two-thirds margin that would have been needed to remove Mr. Trump, formally concluding the three-week-long trial of the 45th president that has roiled Washington and threatened the presidency. The verdicts came down almost entirely upon party lines, with every Democrat voting “guilty” on both charges and Republicans uniformly voting “not guilty” on the obstruction of Congress charge.

Only one Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, broke with his party to judge Mr. Trump guilty of abuse of power.

Aftermath/Retaliation

Sondland & Vindmans fired

February 7, 2020: NBC News reported that President Donald Trump had fired Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and removed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his White House job.

Both officials had provided critical information about Trump during public hearings, with Sondland saying the president sought a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine’s leader and Vindman criticizing Trump’s conduct during a July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “improper.”

Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council who testified during the House impeachment inquiry, was ousted from his job and escorted out of the White House. Vindman’s twin brother, who also worked for the NSC, was also removed from his post.

Senator Manchin mocked

February 8, 2020: the NYT reported that in a tweet President Trump called West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III a “puppet Democrat Senator” who was “weak & pathetic.” Trump nicknamed him “Joe Munchkin” and suggested that Manchin was too stupid to understand a transcript of Trump’s telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the central piece of evidence in the impeachment case. Trump also took credit for the Manchin’’s signature legislative achievement: a bipartisan bill to secure miners’ pensions.

Elaine McCusker

March 2, 2020:  the NYT reported that President Trump withdrew the nomination of Elaine McCusker to a top Defense Department post. Ms. McCusker had questioned the suspension of assistance to Ukraine.

Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson fired

April 3, 2020:  NPR reported that President Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

In a letter to the Senate Intelligence committee chairs, Trump said he “no longer” has the fullest confidence in Atkinson. The letter said the removal will be effective “30 days from today.”

Atkinson first raised concerns about a complaint involving President Trump’s communications with Ukraine, which led to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump Impeachment

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