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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Buckle up for the Senate impeachment trial

Debate reaction from South Carolina

The House of Representatives delivered the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday afternoon. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in remarks on the Senate floor, invited the House managers to the Senate at noon on Thursday to exhibit the articles. 

The trial is set for Tuesday.    

In his remarks, McConnell said, "This is a difficult time for our country, but this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate. I'm confident this body can rise above short term-ism and factional fever and serve the long-term interests of our nation."

On Tuesday, McConnell laid out how the trial will progress. He said the Senate will hear arguments by the parties, conduct a written question period, and then address what he called "the more contentious issue of witnesses."

CBS News associate producer Eleanor Watson notes that Republican senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski have indicated they would like a chance to vote on hearing from witnesses after hearing the arguments. They have not committed to voting for witnesses, but would like the option to once they hear the arguments.

If these three Republicans join all Democrats in voting to subpoena witnesses, then they'd only need one more Republican to join them to summon witnesses the House did not hear from. Democrats have asked to hear from four government witnesses, including Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. McConnell warned Democrats on Tuesday that he "couldn't imagine that only the witnesses that our Democratic colleagues would want to call would be called."  

FROM THE CANDIDATES

BERNIE SANDERS & ELIZABETH WARREN

Since that awkward rebuffed handshake following Tuesday night's debate, we have not heard much from Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or their campaigns, note CBS News campaign reporters Cara Korte and Zak Hudak.  Reporters caught Sanders on Capitol Hill this afternoon and asked what was said between he and Warren. Sanders joked, "The weather."

The most robust response came from Sanders most trusted advisor, his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, who spoke to the AP Wednesday afternoon. "We remain committed to continuing a progressive movement made up of women and men, black and white, gay and straight," she said. 

"Maybe people sometimes misremember things that happened," she added. "But I know without a doubt that it is not anything Bernie would ever say. It is inconceivable because it's not what he believes. And there's proof of that going back many, many years."

How serious should we take O'Meara Sanders' certainty? Her son, Dave Driscoll, weighed in on Twitter: "I've heard my Mom say this only a handful of times before 'This discussion is over'... we should all listen."

If Driscoll is right, don't expect Sanders or his team to bring up this spat anytime soon. But know that Sanders will be back on the trail this weekend in New Hampshire, and with two town halls scheduled, we'll wait to see if voters ask him about Warren.   

STATE-BY-STATE

NEVADA

Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard were among those to appear Wednesday at the Native American Presidential Forum in Las Vegas, hosted by Four Directions Vote and the Nevada Tribal Nations. The group sought commitments on issues facing Native Americans, from addressing a crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women to revoking the military honors given to American soldiers who participated in the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. 

CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin reports Steyer was the only candidate to speak in person at the event, which struggled to book appearances after the Democratic National Committee scheduled a debate in Iowa for the day prior. Others appeared remotely, with some sending surrogates in addition to pre-recording interviews or appearing via a livestream.

SOUTH CAROLINA

As healthcare continues to surface as one of the top issues on voters' minds in South Carolina, non-profit organization Medicare for ALL NOW! has launched five new digital ads promoting M4A. The ads are the first phase of a planned six-figure campaign aimed at pitching South Carolina voters on Medicare for All, while advocating for a single-payer health care system across the country. The Philadelphia-based group has hired 20 South Carolinians to begin mobilizing volunteers on the ground in five counties throughout the state.

Kerri Evelyn Harris, Movement Director for the group, tells CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell that the team strategically chose South Carolina to focus on voters of color in large part because it's one of the states that will choose the Democratic nominee. When asked, Harris added that although former Vice President Joe Biden has remained popular in the state throughout this primary cycle—and is not a proponent of Medicare for All—she thinks this message will still resonate with South Carolina voters.

"Obamacare is something that we are to build, it was a starting point and expanding access is not enough. Access doesn't allow you to actually pay your bills," said Harris. "It doesn't allow you to actually afford to go to the doctor, it just says there's a doctor available. We have to make sure that people actually receive health care and that's the next step and that's what Medicare for All will do."

South Carolina is one of 14 states that hasn't expanded Medicaid.

LIFE AFTER THE TRAIL

CORY BOOKER

Nearly a year after launching his presidential bid, Senator Cory Booker suspended his campaign this week as the Democratic Party faces renewed criticism for the lack of diversity among its presidential candidates. 

While Booker's South Carolina operation stayed at around 20 paid staffers throughout his time on the trail, the New Jersey senator had made the first-in-the-South primary state a priority early on and made 16 visits to the state after launching his candidacy—the most of any candidate. 

Even before officially announcing his bid, Booker had started to court voters in the Palmetto State. In 2018, he was the keynote speaker at the Betty Henderson Elected Officials and Candidates Cook-Off, a flagship event for one of the state's Democratic Party's chapters. And last year Booker participated in another staple event in the state, "King Day at the Dome," a week ahead of announcing his bid for the presidency.

On the heels of the first Democratic debate of the year, which featured no candidates of color, Mitchell reports that South Carolina state Representative Annie McDaniel, a vocal Booker supporter, said that his run was important in part because of the diversity he brought to the race. 

"It's always important when we have elections and when things are occurring in America that involve diversity, that we have diversity," said McDaniel. "It's a shame that the DNC put so much pressure on candidates to raise money, raise money, raise money, raise money, and we talk about Trump being a billionaire and having no sensitivity, then why is it that we as Democrats are putting so much attention and so much focus on who can raise the money?"

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

Connecticut GOP Chair J.R. Romano has asked congressional candidate Robert Hyde to end his campaign. The move came after Hyde's name and messages were unveiled in some new documents released by the House Intelligence Committee, reports CBS News broadcast associate Aaron Navarro.  

In the documents, Hyde, a Trump donor, talked to Rudy Giuliani's former business associate Lev Parnas about tracking down U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch's locations. "She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off," Hyde said in one revealed message and said in another that he had relevant Ukraine associates. 

Hyde was looking to unseat Democrat Representative Jahana Hayes, and was one of four Republicans who had filed to run for the seat. In a Wednesday Twitter post, Romano called Hyde's bid "a distraction for the Democrats to raise money and falsely label all Republicans with his antics. In my view he is not helping other Republican candidates or @realDonaldTrump win."

In a response, Hyde said Romano should "resign from the @CTGOP ASAP. Never did anything but rig elections including his own and was a staunch advocate against @realDonaldTrump and still is." Romano had previously criticized Hyde for his crude, now-deleted tweets about Senator Kamala Harris. 

Meanwhile, Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick announced Wednesday that she would be taking a leave from office to seek treatment for an alcohol dependence. In her statement, she said she had a serious fall last week, and wanted to face the "underlying cause" of that accident. 

"I am finally seeking this help after struggling to do so in the past, and I am ready to admit that I, like countless other Americans, suffer from this disease. Hard work and determination — which have brought me success in life — have not been enough to win this battle. Other than being a wife, mother, and grandmother, the most important job in the world to me is representing my fellow Arizonans. I know I must get better in order to do my best in each of these roles," Kirkpatrick wrote in a statement.  

Per the statement, Kirkpatrick's office will still be "fully operational" and that her positions on votes will be submitted to Congressional Record.

Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, represents a slightly competitive district in Southeastern Arizona, and won by five points in 2018 after previously serving in another district from 2012 to 2014. The Cook Political Report rates the race as "likely Democratic." One of her Republican challengers, Shay Stautz, tweeted out his support to Kirkpatrick earlier Wednesday. "We should all recognize it takes guts to ask for help when you need it," Stautz said. 

Another candidate, Brandon Martin, shared his support on Facebook and said he is "happy to hear, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, is seeking professional help to combat her illness and is taking the steps necessary to recover. I wish her, and her family the best as she begins her journey to a full recovery."

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