Plus three other things you need to know today.
Critics slam rules as impeachment trial set to begin
On Monday, Sen. Mitch McConnell introduced a resolution on the ground rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial that garnered widespread criticism and led to the hashtag #MidnightMitch trending online. Not only do the proposed rules give House prosecutors only two days to make their opening arguments (meaning trial proceedings could go late into the night), they also require a vote to even allow witnesses. Critics, including top Democrats, say the rules are designed to hide the truth of Trump’s actions, and that McConnell is trying to cover for the president.
Trump enlists House Republicans for defense
In a reversal of strategy, the president’s defense team has named eight Republican representatives to act in an advisory role during the Senate impeachment trial. For weeks, the president has lobbied for their inclusion, but several of his allies rejected the proposal for fear of alienating moderates. The House members cannot speak from the Senate floor but are expected to defend him in the press, leaving GOP senators the impression of impartiality.
Thousands attend Virginia gun rally, chant “we will not comply“
Around 22,000 protesters converged on the Virginia state capital on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to rally against proposed gun control measures. White extremist groups were among the heavily armed crowd, and speakers, including members of law enforcement, railed against gun control. “I will choose to deputize thousands of my citizens to see they’re able to keep their lawfully owned firearms and not be disarmed,” Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins said.
Clinton won’t commit to endorsement if Sanders wins nomination
In a recent interview, Hillary Clinton called Sen. Bernie Sanders a career politician and said none of his colleagues in Congress wanted to work with him. “Nobody likes him,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, and refused to say whether she would campaign for him if he became the Democratic nominee for president.