Sen. Mitt Romney has expressed interest in calling new witnesses | Image via Shutterstock Sen. Mitt Romney has expressed interest in calling new witnesses | Image via Shutterstock

In a private meeting on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators he did not have the votes needed to block a call for new witnesses in the president’s impeachment trial.

McConnell lacks votes to block witness testimony

Sources told NBC News that in a private meeting with Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted he did not have the needed votes to officially block Democrats’ call for new testimony in the president’s impeachment trial. While the GOP holds a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Democrats only need to flip four Republicans to secure witness testimony. Calls for new testimony have intensified in light of reports that former national security advisor John Bolton corroborated allegations in articles of impeachment concerning abuse of power in Ukraine in his yet-to-be-published book. The Senate is set to vote on whether to allow more witness testimony on Friday.

Meanwhile, House managers and Trump’s defense team will face questions from the Senate today.

Buttigieg’s Black and Hispanic staffers say they were token hires

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has struggled to gain traction among African-American and Latino demographics, and that trend appears to have manifested within his campaign as well, according to the New York Times. Non-white staffers said they repeatedly felt unheard and disrespected by their colleagues. One staffer reported their warnings against working with a donor who tried to suppress a video of a police shooting an unarmed Black teen went ignored. Several Latino staffers also said they were asked to translate despite not being fluent Spanish speakers. 

Bill would ban trans youth from women’s sports teams in Arizona 

A new bill proposed by Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto would apply to elementary, high school and college teams, but only to women’s sports. The Arizona legislation is part of a national campaign by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious freedom group that has backed similar bills in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Washington state. The American Civil Liberties Union and other women’s rights organizations have argued against barring transgender people from sports teams aligning with their gender identity.

A Pentagon ethics review finds Special Ops focused more on mission than discipline

The Pentagon released a comprehensive ethics report on Tuesday following several high-profile scandals in which members of special operations forces faced allegations of cocaine use, sexual assault, and, in one case, taking pictures with a dead prisoner. General Richard Clarke, head of Special Operations Command, blamed a hyper focus on mission accomplishment over discipline and leadership development. “Certain aspects of our culture have, at times, set conditions favorable for inappropriate behavior,” he said. The review found evidence of programs fostering “an unhealthy sense of entitlement as a result of special treatment and facilities.”