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Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Thursday he would not vote in favor of bringing forth witnesses to testify in the Senate Trump’s impeachment trial, effectively sealing the president’s acquittal.

GOP closes ranks ahead of Senate vote on trial witnesses, sealing acquittal

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Thursday he would not vote in favor of bringing forth witnesses to testify in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, effectively sealing the president’s acquittal. “The question is not whether he did it,” Alexander said in a statement, “but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did.” Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah were the only Republicans to publicly say they would vote in favor of considering new evidence. Democrats are already looking beyond the verdict, framing the acquittal and trial itself as illegitimate ahead of November’s elections. 

Chief Justice Roberts could be the deciding factor in impeachment

As presiding officer over the Senate trial, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts could be the one who decides whether the trial ends swiftly with no further evidence, as Republicans desire, or is prolonged by the introduction of witnesses, as Democrats hope. To that end, Democrats plan to bring a motion Friday requiring Roberts to subpoena documents and witnesses he deems relevant. In the unlikely case of a tie, Roberts would also be in the position to break the tie, but if he refuses, the case would be dismissed.

Coronavirus officially declared an international health emergency

With almost 10,000 infection cases in China and an increasing number of impacted countries,  the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. According to the WHO, the declaration—defined as a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease”—would permit the organization to more easily coordinate a fitting international response, which could figure in regulating travel, trade or health screens. Previous emergencies have included Ebola, Zika and H1N1.

Delaney drops out of Democratic primary

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney pulled out of the Democratic presidential primary Friday, becoming the fourth candidate to do so in the new year, following Sen. Cory Booker, author Marianne Williamson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Delaney has not appeared in a televised debate since July, and rounded to 0 percent in polls of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa.