Plus three other things you need to know today.
Trump legal team wraps defense arguments today
Donald Trump’s legal team is closing its defense today, ignoring renewed calls for witness testimony amid allegations of abuse of power brought forth in former national security advisor John Bolton’s manuscript that came to light last week. Bolton wrote that the president ordered him to withhold military aid to the Ukraine until the nation opened investigations into Joe Biden, but the defense has argued that quid pro quo was not an abuse of power, and even if so, abuse of power is not an impeachable offense.
CDC issues travel advisory to all of China, while more than 100 Americans are monitored for coronavirus
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged travelers to cancel nonessential trips anywhere in China as cases of the disease continue to spread across the globe. Five cases have been confirmed in the United States, and 110 are being tested for symptoms of the virus. The risk of the virus spreading from person to person has not yet been detected stateside, but according to the CDC is likely to some extent.
Mideast peace plan that did not involve Palestinian input will be released
Details of the White House’s Mideast peace deal will be unveiled today, with dour predictions from analysts about the fate of Palestinians, who were not consulted at all in the process. It comes at a time of political vulnerability for both the Israeli and U.S. presidents, as Donald Trump is undergoing impeachment proceedings and Benjamin Netanyahu is currently facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Both are in the middle of election campaigns. Trump’s “ultimate deal” has already sparked protests in Gaza, with Palestinians calling for a “Day of Rage” Wednesday in the West Bank.
Virginia passes Equal Rights Amendment
On Monday, Virginia officially became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sex under the constitution. It’s a bit of a hollow victory, as the Justice Department released a memo earlier this month concluding that because the original 1982 deadline for ratification has passed, the entire process has to be reinitiated in Congress. The House is preparing to vote Feb. 10 to restart the process—this time, without a deadline.