Plus three other things you need to know today.
What to watch for in tonight’s debate
Tonight, the final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses takes place, and the narrowed roster will force candidates to decide how much direct confrontation suits their strategy. Joe Biden is likely confident on Iran and the Middle East crisis; Pete Buttigieg will look to halt his slip in polls; and Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have to impress before the Senate impeachment trial pulls them off the trail. Tom Steyer also qualified for the debate.
White House expects some GOP senators to call for new testimony in impeachment trial
The Trump administration is preparing for a small group of Republicans, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, to join with Democrats in calling for witnesses during the trial. The opposition only needs a simple majority, or 51 votes, to approve the motion, meaning four Republicans would need to be swayed.
Trump to divert $7.2 billion for wall
To complete approximately 885 miles of new fencing, the president intends to divert five times what he was authorized by Congress to spend on the border wall from Pentagon funds intended for military construction projects. Last month, an El Paso federal district court ruled the White House acted illegally using funds for the wall that were authorized by Congress for another purpose, but the administration appealed the ruling and an appellate court in New Orleans lifted the injunction.
Blessing of a Bible for Space Force stirs questions of church and state separation
Religious freedom groups are decrying the Washington National Cathedral’s blessing of a Bible which, in a tweet Sunday, the church said will be used to swear in commanders of President Trump’s newly created Space Force. The Bible was donated by the Museum of the Bible, a private institution led by board chairman Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby. An Air Force spokesperson in an emailed statement said the decision to use a Bible or not for a swearing in would remain a personal decision.