The March for Life, New Impeachment News, and Stories to Follow
The March for Life
On Friday, the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, thousands gathered in Washington D.C. to march for life. The march is one of the nation’s largest demonstrations each year, but typically receives little media coverage. This year was different. The President attended and spoke at the rally drawing attention to the momentum of the pro-life movement and the role abortion legislation and judicial appointments will play in 2020. Trump is the first sitting U.S. President to attend or speak at the rally. Last year, Mike Pence spoke and marched alongside Senators, Representatives, and other government officials, along with leaders and activists from different religious backgrounds, industries, and political perspectives.
The theme this year was “Life Empowers” and more pointedly, “Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.” This addresses one of the most prevalent objections to the pro-life movement head on. Abortion advocates argue that abortion is both a women’s rights issue and a women’s health issue. During the rally, Bernie Sanders tweeted, “Abortion is healthcare.” This is the standard line. Planned Parenthood and other activists argue that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her own body and that abortion centers provide necessary medical care and social services. Sanders’ tweet got half a million likes.
Not everybody on the pro-life side appreciated Trump’s appearance at the march. Read more…
New Impeachment News
The impeachment trial in the Senate progressed as scheduled through the procedural debates and the House managers’ opening arguments. Schiff and his team gave a marathon opening argument detailing the President’s behavior and bringing their charges against him. Schiff and Nadler accused the President’s defense and Republican Senators of a cover up and warned the Senate and the American people that the President must be removed from office and from the ballot in 2020 because we can no longer be sure of a fair election. The President’s legal team castigated the managers for their partisan process and inflated rhetoric. They will continue their defense today.
For the best statement of the Democratic case, listen to the first half of the latest episode of “Impeachment, Explained” from Vox. For the best summary of the speeches, and the strongest case in defense of the President, check out “The Verdict” with Ted Cruz. It’s hard to imagine the defense making a stronger case than Cruz makes on the podcast.
Over the weekend, some new information came to light in a Sunday night article in the New York Times. In a manuscript for a forthcoming book, former national security advisor, John Bolton, says the aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation into the Bidens.
This leads to a lot of questions. Did Cipollone and the other attorneys on the President’s defense team know about the manuscript? How did the New York Times obtain the information? How long had they had it?
How this information was attained doesn’t have any bearing on the information itself, but it has everything to do with the credibility of the person, or entity, who obtained it. The New York Times gained access to a leaked copy of Bolton’s manuscript which had been given to the White House to review for national security issues and classified material. It had been at the White House since December 30, 2019. Then the NYT decided to release this information the night before the President’s defense team makes its case. If all’s fair in love and war, the New York Times is proving over and over again that they are the Democratic war machine.
New News or No News
The most important question is, what difference does this make? Bolton claims that the aid to Ukraine was being help up until the investigations. This was previously one of the weaker parts of the House managers’ case against Trump. They said over and over that there was no evidence of corruption and no reason to investigate Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, or the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. But this is clearly untrue. The problem for Trump is he spent so much time saying there was “no quid pro quo” when it’s not clear that a quid pro quo would have been inappropriate.
It’s becoming clear as the trial goes on that Joe Biden and Donald Trump did a very similar thing for very different reasons. Biden held up aid until the Ukrainian government fired a prosecutor who was investigating corruption. Trump held up military aid so that the Ukrainian government would look into what happened with Burisma. The difference is that the government did fire the prosecutor and they did not investigate the Bidens or Burisma. Biden had a conflict of interest in his son being on the board of Burisma. Trump may have had a conflict of interest because of Biden’s 2020 candidacy. The difference is, if there was evidence of corruption, then the President was within his bounds to ask for an investigation. Ukraine got their money both times. One demand was met and the other wasn’t.
To this point, Republicans have voted against hearing more witnesses, but there will be another vote on witnesses after the defense presents their case. It would be interesting to hear from more witnesses, but would it be worthwhile? It’s hard to know. Bolton’s testimony could introduce new information, but it would likely be similar to Fiona Hill’s testimony last year, and the information in his book reflects what dozens have already said about Trump’s motivation, but Hunter Biden’s testimony would be a Russian roulette for the prosecution. In the end, who can blame Republican Senators for showing little interest in sorting through more evidence for a case the House Dems spent the last 6 months telling them was overwhelming and definitive? They didn’t call the witnesses in the House, why ask the Republicans to call them in the Senate?
The Bolton news doesn’t change our understanding of the events, but it does contradict Trump’s first line of defense after he released the transcript of the phone call. From the beginning the President has taken the most difficult line of defense, claiming it was a “perfect phone call” and that there was no “quid pro quo.” It looks like there was a quid pro quo, but that is hardly impeachable. Now the defense is in a precarious position. In their defense Monday will they defend the President’s words or his actions? Will they rebut the managers’ case or the court of public opinion? Unfortunately, there is now a big difference between the two.
There will be big changes this week. Republican Senators may be unphased by the Bolton news, which will likely end in a vote to acquit by the end of the week. Never assume this is the last of the new information. Expect something to come out the night before the vote. If four Republican Senators want to prolong the trial by asking for more witnesses – which may end up being the right course of action – this could go any number of directions.
Stories to Follow:
A Nigerian pastor was put to death by Boko Haram for his faith in Christ. Lawan Andimi was a pastor and leader of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. He was kidnapped and killed by Boko Haram, an Islamist extremist group responsible for dozens of murders in Nigeria, many of Christians. Andimi used a hostage video as an opportunity to share the gospel and encourage other believers in persecuted areas. Pray for his family, his church, and Christians across the world who will lose their lives for the gospel.
After three years of votes and negotiations, Britain will leave the European Union this week. The British people voted in 2016 to leave the European Union and since then, three different administrations have fought to orchestrate the break. Boris Johnson’s government has finally done it. They have negotiated a deal with the EU, and it has been approved in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The two parties will enter into a one-year transition period in which Britain will negotiate new trade deals.
The U.S. and the U.K. are at odds over Huawei, the Chinese tech company suspected of sharing private information with the Chinese government. The U.S. has repeatedly warned the U.K. and PM Boris Johnson that granting Huawei access to their 5G network may compromise the information the two countries can share concerning national security. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a similar decision. Johnson is expected to make an announcement this week.
“Julius Kim Selected as President of the Gospel Coalition” – Collin Hansen, The Gospel Coalition
The Gospel Coalition is one of the most important Christian organizations in the world, and this is big news. In 2005, Tim Keller and D. A. Carson organized a gathering of pastors that would become the founding council of the Gospel Coalition. Since that time, D. A. Carson has served as the president and Keller serves as the vice-chairman of the board. Last year tgc.org hosted 33 million visitors, they host a biannual conference, a women’s conference, publish an academic journal, and host the blogs of a dozen of evangelicalism’s most influential writers including Justin Taylor, Thabiti Anyabwile, Kevin DeYoung, Jared Wilson, and Ray Ortlund. Julius Kim pastors New Life Presbyterian Church in California and served as the dean of students at Westminster Theological Seminary. The move is an exciting announcement about the path forward for TGC and a step back for D. A. Carson, one of evangelicalism’s most prolific theologians.
“Your Church Needs Boomers” – Michelle Van Loon, Christianity Today
I think a lot about how the church has changed in the lives of baby boomers and what it will look like in the future. Megachurches, multi-sites, non-denominationalism, video teaching, the church growth movement, and the major denominational splits over issues like same-sex marriage and church discipline have all come about since the boomers were in children’s Sunday school. And as is the case in the culture generally, there are those in the church opposed to America’s biggest, wealthiest, and most powerful generation. But this is to their own peril. Van Loon makes the case that the church is better with a variety of ages. I was stunned to read that nearly half of unchurched Christians – those who agree with the statement “I love Jesus but not the church” - are over 40. Gray hair is good for the church, Proverbs calls it the crown of a righteous life. In the effort to attract new young families, churches should also make sure to serve, appreciate, and seek the wisdom and leadership of the boomers.
“Elizabeth Warren Wants to Nullify the Electoral College – and Silence Middle America” – Trent England, Fox News
A few weeks ago, Elizabeth Warren predicted that she would be the final president elected through the electoral college. She’s not alone. After Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and lost the electoral college, many on the left have called for the abolition of the EC. Trent England’s article is the best, most succinct explanation and defense of the constitutional system I’ve come across. He explains why we need the EC, why it matters for Americans who don’t live in California, Texas, and New York, and why Warren’s plans to reshape the electoral process would be an affront to representative democracy.
“Why America Must Lead Again” – Joe Biden, Foreign Affairs
Any time a candidate is willing to lay out a plan for foreign policy, it’s worth reading. Biden’s experience in high stakes foreign policy decisions, his relationships with world leaders, and track record during the Obama administration are going to be some of his strongest appeals to voters in the 2020 election, and especially in the primaries. Biden says, “we have to prove to the world that the United States is ready to lead again” by starting at home. He plans to start by reversing the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border (actually an Obama era policy), “lifting up women and girls around the world,” sending aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and cracking down on campaign finance violations.
Abroad, he plans to set an example of freedom and democracy, opposing authoritarian governments, and facilitating a Summit for Democracy. He promises a foreign policy for the middle class by promoting fair trade and opposing China’s efforts to control the global economy. What’s interesting is that he proposes a plan very similar to Trump’s when it comes to China, probably favoring trade embargoes over tariffs, but getting tough on China’s human rights and intellectual property violations. The last part is the most interesting. Biden promises to put American back “at the head of the table” in global diplomacy. It sounds a lot like “America First.” He waffles on the Iran nuclear deal and gives one sentence to North Korea. This is an important article for several reasons, but maybe most importantly because it reflects the changes that even Joe Biden is willing to make compared to the Obama years. This could be a stunning point of agreement for Republicans and moderate Democrats. Trump has pulled the U.S. in the right direction in foreign policy. If his execution hasn’t been perfect, he’s renewed America’s place in the world and reminded the American people that it takes more than patience to lead the world toward liberty and freedom. Even the moderates on the left are following along.
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Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak. Follow him on Twitter, @cfeix7.