Newsletter: The Fight Over Impeachment Trial Rules

Senate Impeachment Trial
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., talks to reporters outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Julio Cortez / Associated Press
Senate Impeachment Trial
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., talks to reporters outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Newsletter: The Fight Over Impeachment Trial Rules

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Hi, it’s Tuesday! I recently watched way too many episodes of ‘Zumbo’s Just Desserts,’ and now I’m waiting for the right event to build my own 10-layer cake. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. A “rushed” impeachment trial or “a fair road map”?

The first full day of the Trump impeachment trial was dominated by partisan fighting over what’s needed for a “fair trial.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a resolution today that will give each side 24 hours over three days to make their case. The resolution also proposes that evidence will automatically be part of the official record and any debate about whether to call witness will wait until after both sides have made their cases. McConnell needs only 51 votes to approve the resolution.

McConnell says his resolution is based on the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, yet Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says the resolution would result in “a rushed trial with little evidence.” [NPR]

Listen to NPR’s live coverage of the impeachment trial Wednesday or watch live at

2. Chicago taxpayers are still paying millions for police and fire overtime

New records show that enormous overtime payouts to the Chicago Police and Fire Departments haven’t slowed down despite public pressure from Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The 2019 payouts, which Lightfoot called an abuse that Chicago “can’t afford,” totaled almost $210 million, matching the 2018 total.

The payments are the result of a loophole in the departments’ contracts that allows workers to get paid out for years of comp time as they retire or leave the department, a benefit that is not afforded to other city employees. One retiring police officer was paid out almost $300,000 for stockpiled comp time and unused vacation days. [Chicago Sun Times]

3. O’Hare will screen for the deadly coronavirus

Airports around the world, including O’Hare, are stepping up surveillance of passengers arriving from China after the first case of the dangerous, SARS-like coronavirus was confirmed today in Washington state. [Chicago Tribune]

Doctors now believe the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, can be transmitted from human to human. The Washington patient, who recently returned from Wuhan, was hospitalized last week for pneumonia and is said to be seriously ill. [New York Times]

China’s Communist Party has put strict travel restrictions on Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, amid criticism that it was slow to acknowledge the severity of the outbreak. Six people have died and over 300 infections have been reported so far. [New York Times]

The deadly outbreak has hit just before the Chinese New Year, during which people in China will make an estimated 3 billion trips in just 40 days. [Business Insider]

4. Iran asks U.S. to provide equipment to analyze jet data recorder itself

Iranian officials admitted Tuesday that their military fired two missiles at the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed this month. Then those officials asked for a favor.

The country wants the U.S. and France to help Iranian officials decode the jet’s flight data recorders. The request contradicted a promise to send the “black boxes” to Ukraine for analysis. [New York Times]

The crash, which killed 176 people from three countries, led Canada and Ukraine to call for more international oversight of the investigation. [Washington Post]

5. Apple won’t allow full encryption of iCloud backups

Apple abandoned its plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt their iCloud files after the FBI complained it would harm investigations. The policy reversal shows Apple has been more willing to help law enforcement than the company has publicly stated, according to Reuters.

Former employees said Apple might’ve been trying to prevent the risk of being attacked or sued by public officials or over concerns users would lock themselves out of their data.

The report comes at a time when Apple is in the midst of a legal fight with the FBI over a court order to break into the phone of a suspect in the San Bernardino mass shooting, and has shifted focus to protecting users’ passwords and sensitive health information. Meanwhile, Google does offer a similar service to Android users, allowing them to encrypt their data without giving Google the encryption key. [Reuters]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Supreme Court declines to fast-track appeals on the Affordable Care Act. [The Wall Street Journal]

  • A new study shows employees want their employers to act on social and environmental issues. [Crain’s]

  • Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been charged with cybercrimes in Brazil. [New York Times]

  • A new documentary following the Mothers Against Senseless Killing founder shows the “truth about Chicago.” [Chicago Sun Times]

Oh, and one more thing …

It was a brutally cold weekend, but that didn’t deter joggers from bundling up and hitting the lakefront trail.

Curious City looked at the innovative ways Chicagoans keep warm (and debunked a few myths). Personally, I use the double sock method, although I might have to try a baked potato (hold the sour cream, of course.) [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

If you prefer not going outside to avoid the cold, then at some point you’ll likely end up watching old TV shows. If you could live in any sitcom, which one would it be?

Personally, I’m partial to New Girl, which follows newly-single Jess as she moves into an L.A. loft with three single men. It’s silly, light-hearted and has always made me laugh. Plus, who couldn’t use a little L.A. sunshine after the weekend’s frigid temps?

What’s your favorite sitcom? Feel free to tweet or email us, and your messages might appear here this week.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.