The Rundown for January 29, 2020

TRUMP TRIAL… Attorneys defending President Trump yesterday called for the Senate to end the trial with an acquittal in concluding their opening arguments. White House counsel Pat Cipollone urged senators to do what’s right “in your heart” and “defend our Constitution.” Cipollone warned that removing Trump from office would be to “tear up every ballot across this country” for the 2020 presidential election. Trump is facing abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his dealings with Ukraine last year. He is accused of using Congress-approved military aid and a potential White House visit as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government into announcing investigations of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump also interfered with the House impeachment investigation by refusing to cooperate and defying subpoenas to keep administration officials from testifying in the inquiry, according to the House Judiciary Committee.

McCONNELL FEARS HE LACKS VOTES TO BLOCK WITNESSES… The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump appears to have left Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell feeling desperate. The Wall Street reported yesterday that McConnell conceded during a private Senate Republican meeting that he lacks the votes to block impeachment witnesses. While Republicans had been hoping to wrap up the trial with an acquittal this week, Democrats have continued their efforts to subpoena individuals and materials to gather more information relevant to Trump’s impeachment. The vote is not expected until Friday.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RELEASES DOCUMENTS… The Department of Energy last night released a batch of documents related to its former Secretary Rick Perry and his relationship with Ukraine. Analysts were looking for any information that could shed light on impeachment allegations against President Trump and Perry’s involvement in an alleged quid pro quo that would seek foreign help to benefit Trump politically. The documents include Perry’s briefing book prior to his May trip to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Perry resigned from the Energy Department early last month shortly after news broke of a whistleblower’s complaint about the Ukraine quid pro quo.

KELLY BELIEVES IN BOLTON… President Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly said during a lecture earlier this week that he “believes” former national security advisor John Bolton, whose explosive claims in an upcoming book were have been leaked. Among the claims was that Trump personally told him he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until its government investigated his political rivals. “Every single time I was with him… he always gave the president the unvarnished truth,” Kelly said of Bolton.

CASUALTIES RISE IN MISSILE ATTACK… The Defense Department announced yesterday that 50 U.S. military personnel have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after an Iranian missile attack earlier this month. Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where U.S. forces were stationed. A Pentagon spokesman said 16 additional service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries since a report on Friday.

CBO: BUDGET DEFICIT TO TOP $1 TRILLION… The U.S. budget deficit is likely to surpass $1 trillion this year despite a healthy economy, according to an annual Congressional Budget Office report released yesterday. The rise was attributed to an increase in new spending last year and the repeal in December of several taxes used to help finance the Affordable Care Act. The deficit hasn’t topped $1 trillion since 2012, when former President Barack Obama capped four consecutive years of $1 trillion-plus budget deficits. For the government to spend its $4.6 trillion this year, it would have to borrow 22 cents of every dollar it spends.

McCONAUGHEY TO STAR, EXECUTIVE PRODUCE FX SERIES… Matthew McConaughey has signed on as star and executive producer of a new FX drama series. In “Redeemer,” McConaughey reunites with “True Detective” creator Nic Pizzolatto. The actor will play a former minister turned security guard who is searching for a missing woman in Texas in a journey that brings together his future with his past.

CYRUS-HEMSWORTH DIVORCE FINAL… A judge in Los Angeles yesterday finalized the divorce of 27-year-old pop star Miley Cyrus and 30-year-old actor Liam Hemsworth. The couple separated after eight months of marriage and Hemsworth cited irreconcilable differences in filing for divorce in August. The couple has no children, and neither sought spousal support.

CHARLOTTE 97 – New York 92… The Hornets erased a 13-point deficit in downing the Knicks to end their eight-game losing streak. Terry Rozier pumped in 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

PHILADELPHIA 115 – Golden State 104… Joel Embiid had 24 points and 10 rebounds in his return after missing three weeks of action and the 76ers handled the Warriors. Five other players scored in double figures for Philadelphia.

New Orleans 125 – CLEVELAND 111… The Pelicans got 28 points from Jrue Holiday and 24 from Brandon Ingram in cruising past the Cavaliers. Rookie Zion Williamson had 14 points and nine boards in his NBA road debut.

TORONTO 130 – Atlanta 114… The Raptors built a 10-point lead after the first quarter and coasted past the Hawks for their eighth straight win. Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka scored 24 points apiece. Ibaka also brought down 10 rebounds.

Boston 109 – MIAMI 101… All five starters scored in double figures as the Celtics fought off the Heat. Gordon Hayward led the way with 29 points. Jaylen Brown added 25 points.

MILWAUKEE 151 – Washington 131… The Bucks erupted to score 88 first-half points in their dismantling of the Wizards. Kris Middleton poured in 51 points and collected 10 boards. Eric Bledsoe added 34 points and 10 assists. Milwaukee’s leading scorer Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out the game with a shoulder injury.

MEMPHIS 104 – Denver 96… The Grizzlies built a big lead early and held off the Nuggets. Dillon Brooks dropped in 24 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Phoenix 133 – DALLAS 104… The Suns bombed the Mavericks 48-22 in the third period on their way to a blowout win. Devin Booker led all scorers with 32 points. Deandre Ayton tossed in 31 points.

CLIPPERS-LAKERS GAME POSTPONED… The Clippers and Lakers postponed last night’s inner-city matchup in Los Angeles to mourn the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. A makeup date has not been announced.

Chicago is at Indiana…
Brooklyn hosts Detroit…
Memphis is at New York…
San Antonio hosts Utah…
Oklahoma City is at Sacramento…
Portland hosts Houston

Ottawa 5 – BUFFALO 2… The Senators scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Sabres. Mike Reilly netted the go-ahead goal on a power play. Mark Borowiecki added a shorthanded goal later in the period. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and an assist.

 St. Louis 5 – CALGARY 4 (SO)… David Perron and Ryan O’Reilly scored the winning goal in the shootout as the Blues outlasted the Flames. Perron and Zach Sanford each had a goal and an assist in regulation.

Nashville is at Washington…
Dallas hosts Toronto…
Calgary is at Edmonton…
Anaheim hosts Arizona…
Tampa Bay is at Los Angeles…
San Jose hosts Vancouver

VIRGINIA 61, #5 Florida State 56…
#8 Villanova 79, ST. JOHN’S 59…
#9 DUKE 79, Pittsburgh 67…
#16 Butler 69, GEORGETOWN 64…
MISSISSIPPI, #17 Auburn (2OT)…
#25 RUTGERS 70, Purdue 63

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