politics

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

As jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial, senators have remained silent as House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team make their cases. But now they have their opening.

The trial adjourned on Monday, giving senators their chance to take the floor. That window was still open on Tuesday; senators had up to 10 minutes each to speak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke first on Tuesday, dismissing the two articles of impeachment against Trump as "constitutionally incoherent."

Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET Tuesday

The Iowa caucuses aren't over yet. A delay in the results meant the state Democratic Party did not call the race Monday night as expected, leaving the candidates and their supporters in limbo.

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On Monday in Louisville, a panel of immigration experts will discuss the anti-sanctuary cities bill making its way through the Kentucky legislature.

The bill has already passed out of a state Senate committee and would ban cities, state agencies and public employees from adopting policies that discourage them from cooperating with immigration officials.

University of Louisville Professor Riffat Hassan, an Islamic scholar and one of the event’s organizers, says the bill would create a culture of fear among Kentucky’s immigrant and minority communities.

“The intent doesn’t seem to be positive. It’s not beneficent in its intent. It doesn’t give compassion and understanding to people who have already gone through so much,” Hassan said.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

House Democrats and President Trump's defense team made their final arguments in the Senate impeachment trial before lawmakers vote later this week on whether to remove Trump from office.

Both sides presented opposing versions of the president's handling of aid for Ukraine last summer and the impeachment proceedings so far, before ultimately arriving at divergent conclusions.

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Democrats in the Tennessee General Assembly are calling on Gov. Bill Lee to increase the state’s spending on public schools.

They claim an increase in the school funding formula is the first step to improving literacy rates.

For years, public school advocates have pursued legal challenges to Tennessee’s school funding formula, called the Basic Education Program. They claim it’s outdated.

 


J. Tyler Franklin

A bill that would require Kentucky cities, agencies and public employees to comply with federal immigration officials has cleared the first step in the legislative process.

The anti-sanctuary cities bill passed out of the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee on Thursday with a 7-2 vote. Lexington Republican Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr and Louisville Democratic Sen. Gerald Neal voted against the measure.

Opponents have decried the measure as an expansion of law enforcement powers to untrained employees, saying it would sew mistrust in the immigrant community.

 


Updated at 10:56 p.m. ET

Senators weighing impeachment charges against President Trump spent Thursday firing questions at lawyers as they did the day before, just as the prospect of former national security adviser John Bolton's appearance as a witness continues to stoke speculation. The Senate will enter its next phase Friday — considering whether to allow witnesses and evidence.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Calling it a “work in progress,” Kentucky lawmakers are still considering a bill that would limit a governor’s power to appoint a state transportation secretary.

The bill is sponsored by a Republican leader of the state Senate and would require Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear to pick a transportation secretary out of a list generated by a board comprised of members selected by influential lobbying groups.

The Senate would have final authority to confirm or reject the governor’s pick.

Sen. Jimmy Higdon, a Republican from Lebanon, said the bill would make the Transportation Cabinet transparent and accountable.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Senate on Wednesday night concluded the first of two days full of questions in the impeachment trial of President Trump. The proceeding offered clues about the thinking of senators, but the session consisted mostly of trial lawyers on both sides magnifying arguments they have already delivered.

There were, however, controversial moments in which Trump's counsel took positions Democrats decried as radical or even unlawful.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of Senate Republicans late Tuesday that he does not yet have the votes to stop Democrats from calling witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion.

But even as McConnell made the concession, the dynamic remains fluid. Whether Democrats' push for witnesses succeeds or fails could come down to a group of moderate Republicans who have remained open, but uncommitted, to new witnesses since the start of the trial.

Fayette Co. Public Schools

The frequency of school shootings across the country has Campbell County High School art teacher Brian Harmon and his students on edge.

“It’s scary,” Harmon said. “I’ve been teaching for 18 years, and I’ve seen the anxiety for that increase throughout the years.”

He realized just how anxious students were last year during an unannounced fire drill. The class was working on a sculpture project when the alarm went off. Harmon said his students froze and looked at him. No one would go into the hallway until he checked it first to see if it was safe.

“We live in a world where my kids don’t just react and go outside because it’s a fire drill,” he said. “They look to me and see ‘Am I supposed to go outside, or is this some kind of active shooter situation?’”

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

As President Trump's legal team pressed the case for acquittal on Monday, they repeatedly made two points: the charges against Trump do not meet the constitution's criteria for impeachment. And if the president is removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it will set a "dangerous" precedent.

"You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo," said one of Trump's lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, calling the charges "vague, indefinable."

Alix Mattingly

In our latest edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled, a voter ID bill passed a major hurdle on its way through the legislature. Anti-abortion advocates are throwing their support behind new abortion restrictions, and Republican education leaders are pushing for every school in the state to have an armed guard.


Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday finished their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers will get their turn to lay out the case for acquittal starting this weekend.

"A toxic mess"

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

House Democrats finished their second day of oral arguments on Thursday, contending that that President Trump's attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigations was not only an attempt to cheat in the 2020 election, but Democrats said it was also the kind of behavior the nation's founding fathers hoped to guard against.

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