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House Democrats divided on impeaching Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she "wouldn't use" Rep. Rashida Tlaib's comments about impeaching President Donald Trump, while other Democrats still think it's possible. CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports.

Posted: Jan 6, 2019 1:15 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2019 1:35 PM

The new year brought a new game and new players to Washington: a fresh crop of Democrats who have made Congress younger, more ethnically and religiously diverse ("a huge win for Muslim feminism," wrote Rafia Zakaria), more female, more gay, more dance-happy and -- they insist -- more inclined to get things done on behalf of women, working people, immigrants and the environment.

The Democrats, who now control the House and all of its investigative resources, may be the greatest challenge yet for President Donald Trump, who presides over a government that is partly shut down and an administration full of strife -- and already facing multiple investigations.

"It's unclear whether Trump has grasped the full meaning of the new environment in Washington," Errol Louis pointed out. Impeachment or not, newly elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already "let President Trump know that that his days of dominating the national political agenda with bluff, bluster and bullsh** have come to an end."

And though Pelosi didn't sign on to it, newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib captured the mood of many progressives when she proclaimed on Thursday "we're going to impeach the motherf****r."

Her F-bomb made some Republican heads explode and upset some Democrats, but when pressed to make nice and apologize, Tlaib declined. "Disgraceful," Trump complained. (Holly Figueroa O'Reilly countered on Twitter with a highlight reel of the President's expletives.)

Four billion miles away, a NASA robotic probe was taking New Years' day pictures of the most distant celestial body any man-made object has ever reached.

Happy New Year!

Pelosi's opportunity and challenge

David Gergen and James Piltch wrote that there's no denying Pelosi's central role "in an unfolding drama" that turns on one big question: "Whether the flood of new women into Congress this year can begin the renewal of the badly broken political system that is increasingly holding back the country."

One problem facing Pelosi, warned Russell Berman and Elaine Godfrey in the Atlantic: The shutdown "could sap much of the spotlight from the Democrats' policy agenda, muddling their opportunity to drive the national debate, at least on their own terms."

Even after that, Pelosi won't exactly be able to skate, wrote Scott Jennings. He recalled how the GOP's just-powerful-enough Freedom Caucus tormented her predecessors John Boehner and Paul Ryan, denying the ruling party the votes to pass a farm bill, raise the debt limit or fund the Homeland Security Department. Pelosi has it worse with her "three-way split" among a dwindling conservative wing, New Democrats...and progressives, who smell impeachment. And if that happens, it "could easily backfire and cost her party dearly in 2020," Jennings said.

Ocasio-Cortez's clap-back

New York's freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to drive her critics on the right crazy. How crazy? Someone tweeted out a dance video she made in college eight years ago, apparently hoping to humiliate her ("Here is America's favorite commie know-it-all..."). It went viral Wednesday, and tons of people found it ... delightful. "Well, @AOC is officially done. She'll never recover from the world seeing her... (watches video) ...dancing adorably and having fun with her friends...?" tweeted Patton Oswalt. Then Ocasio-Cortez clapped back with a cheerful video of her dancing outside her new congressional office. "I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous," she tweeted.

Virginia Heffernan, in the Los Angeles Times, welcomed the new dynamic that has women like Ocasio-Cortez using social media to run rings around terrified men. "By turning up the volume on the Republicans' terrified sexism, as a digital native does best, she's made quick work of her haters."

Republicans are making a mistake here, argued Julian Zelizer. "By vilifying Ocasio-Cortez, the GOP is helping to turn her into one of the political superstars of 2019. They are giving her more time in the spotlight and unifying Democrats around someone who does come from a left-of-center perspective," and is pushing, for example, a Green New Deal.

Here comes Elizabeth Warren

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts announced via video that she was forming an exploratory committee for the presidency. "A brilliant beginning," Jill Filipovic cheered. "Warren has done us all an immense favor" by setting up the race and "insisting it focuses on class and race, economic inequality and gender inequality."

In the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin warned that Warren is a "less formidable candidate than she was a year ago." She "at times hectors rather than inspires, sounding more like an activist/law professor than a compelling leader," and flubbed her DNA-test response to Trump's "Pocahantas" jabs, offending Democrats and others, Rubin wrote.

David Axelrod served in the White House when Warren, as a House counsel, "was pummeling Treasury officials over treatment of Wall Street executives who were culpable in the financial crisis." Some may find her "edgy and dogmatic vision of capitalism" off-putting, he wrote. But "the cause of the embattled middle class is a natural one" for her, a janitor's daughter lifted by her intelligence and tenacity "from modest beginnings to this moment. These are indispensable qualities any winning candidate for president of the United States must own."

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, faced allegations that there was sexism and harassment in his 2016 campaign. Sally Kohn found his apology on Anderson Cooper's show, in which he cited his campaign's "gold standard" for principles, defensive and totally inadequate. "The gold standard is taking responsibility for the culture you as a leader create and doing everything in your power, rhetorically and otherwise, to root out toxicity within it."

I'm a Brit, and America, your health care system is torturing me.

How do you stand it? asked Rob Crilly, who recently tried to get his bum knee fixed in America and found dealing with insurers and doctors' offices and New York's Obamacare exchange like entering a maze from Kafka. "What no one had briefed me on was the sheer bewildering complexity of it all," he wrote. "So, what is the solution? Medicare for all, which progressives are pushing, sounds like a possibility. Maybe it could work, like it does in Britain."

The Nixon letter he couldn't forget

Memory is a slippery thing. CNN's Michael Smerconish thought he recalled vividly seeing a 1987 letter from Richard Nixon to Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo right after Rizzo lost re-election. Nixon wrote: "Dear Frank: I have learned that when you win you hear from everybody; when you lose you hear from your friends. Count me in the latter category." Or did he? Smerconish tried to get the letter as a memento after Rizzo's widow died. What he learned took him down a rabbit hole of recollection — and Nixonian etiquette. It's a good yarn.

What the Navy kiss backlash is really about.

A TV station in Jacksonville, Florida, drew complaints after it aired video of a returning sailor kissing his husband at dockside — a re-enactment of Alfred Eisenstaedt's Times Square photo from V-J Day in 1945. The reaction troubled Danielle Campoamor, who lamented our "collective ability to overlook the facts." She noted that the Eisenstaedt photo might well have documented a sexual assault (the nurse in the photo, according to some reports, did not know the sailor who grabbed her). "If only people were outraged over a picture of a man forcibly kissing a woman and not a husband lovingly kissing his husband."

A snowman in space

Just 33 minutes after puny earthlings cheered the dawning of a new year (ET) this week, something actually incredible happened deep in outer space: NASA's New Horizon probe zoomed at 32,000 mph by Ultima Thule, a big frozen, snowman-shaped object left over from the primordial solar system, snapping pictures the whole time. It is "the most distant astronomical body ever investigated," marveled Don Lincoln, a senior physicist at FermiLab. Brian May — the guitarist for Queen and an astrophysicist -- even wrote a song about it.

Call it a triumph of robotics, which have let humans slip "the shackles of the inner solar system and, as the famed television show said, gone where no one has gone before," said Lincoln. "The impulse to explore seems to be hardwired in what it means to be human...With space, we're just getting started."

Gilbert Gottfried: Bob Einstein viciously insulted me...and I never laughed so hard.

He was Super Dave, the deadpan and hilarious fake stuntman who would show up in his jumpsuit on Letterman or Conan every so often, and he was Marty Funkhouser on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." And to comedian Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Einstein — who died Wednesday — was one of the funniest guys he'd ever hosted on his podcast. Einstein, whose TV-writing roots went back to the Smothers Brothers show, "was a complete cynic and a total wiseass...totally certain and completely confused at the same time. Even at his most forceful and energetic, he came across looking and sounding like a guy you woke up at three o'clock in the morning," wrote Gottfried. "I'm sad to say farewell."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 142311

Reported Deaths: 2472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin35484995
Ramsey14726372
Dakota10271139
Anoka9344155
Washington636273
Stearns625550
Scott360436
Olmsted340230
St. Louis325874
Wright273116
Clay252944
Nobles234318
Blue Earth21147
Carver18887
Sherburne183122
Kandiyohi18215
Rice170210
Mower154518
Winona133619
Chisago11562
Crow Wing114322
Benton103311
Lyon10306
Beltrami9618
Otter Tail9508
Waseca94510
Todd8967
Polk8364
Morrison8259
Steele8013
Itasca78817
Douglas7744
Nicollet77118
Freeborn7185
Le Sueur6646
Goodhue65111
Martin62618
Becker6214
McLeod6214
Isanti5995
Watonwan5824
Pine5770
Carlton5092
Chippewa4733
Mille Lacs44918
Hubbard4344
Cass4225
Wabasha4141
Dodge4130
Pipestone36617
Meeker3593
Rock3595
Brown3483
Roseau3300
Redwood29912
Yellow Medicine2986
Murray2973
Cottonwood2950
Fillmore2770
Renville27213
Sibley2663
Wadena2643
Faribault2520
Houston2381
Unassigned23853
Kanabec23710
Swift2252
Jackson2211
Pennington2181
Aitkin1982
Stevens1941
Lincoln1930
Koochiching1755
Pope1680
Big Stone1591
Marshall1511
Lac qui Parle1453
Wilkin1454
Clearwater1381
Norman1340
Lake1330
Mahnomen1292
Grant1054
Red Lake822
Traverse590
Kittson530
Lake of the Woods441
Cook190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122218

Reported Deaths: 1691
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19732289
Woodbury743799
Linn6038133
Johnson602431
Black Hawk5974102
Dubuque550658
Scott487343
Story411118
Dallas357347
Pottawattamie337845
Sioux254417
Buena Vista230212
Marshall212236
Webster196015
Plymouth172831
Wapello158962
Clinton156228
Muscatine153958
Des Moines151611
Cerro Gordo150227
Crawford138714
Warren13137
Carroll120413
Jasper119734
Henry11245
Marion106811
Lee101312
Tama100538
Delaware82713
Dickinson7939
Wright7591
Boone7509
Mahaska73824
Bremer7199
Harrison69716
Washington69311
Jackson6853
Benton6482
Lyon5688
Clay5574
Louisa54415
Winnebago52119
Cedar5087
Winneshiek5079
Hardin5017
Jones5004
Kossuth4970
Clayton4923
Buchanan4875
Hamilton4825
Poweshiek47611
Floyd46211
Emmet45321
Iowa4429
Cass4233
Mills4233
Guthrie42015
Page4200
Cherokee4122
Sac4114
Butler4083
Fayette4064
Shelby4022
Allamakee3999
Franklin39518
Madison3743
Chickasaw3731
Hancock3676
Humboldt3593
Clarke3573
Grundy3406
Palo Alto3292
Calhoun3264
Osceola3020
Mitchell2961
Howard2879
Monroe27212
Union2645
Taylor2602
Jefferson2591
Appanoose2503
Monona2492
Pocahontas2442
Fremont2152
Lucas2136
Ida2122
Adair1971
Greene1930
Montgomery1907
Davis1884
Van Buren1882
Keokuk1731
Decatur1620
Audubon1601
Worth1470
Wayne1373
Ringgold992
Adams841
Unassigned60
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