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Vox Sentences: Congress’s next investigation into Trump is here

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The House ramps up investigations; the US Consulate in Jerusalem closes.


Casting a wide net for evidence of corruption

Jerrold Nadler Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, announced on Monday that the committee plans to request documents as part of an investigation into President Trump’s potential corruption, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice. [Washington Post / Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade]
  • The committee has requested documents from 81 people or groups — most of them connected in some way with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia. The deadline is March 18. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • It’s not clear if the requests stem directly from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s testimony last week, or if Democrats would have launched a similar probe anyway. But Cohen himself is on the list of people the committee is asking for documents, and his testimony provided a road map for future congressional investigations. [Washington Post / Rachael Bade and David Fahrenthold]
  • 2019 was expected to be a year of investigations in Congress. Democrats, with their newfound majority, can now use the subpoena power to look into all kinds of Trump administration scandals and controversial policies. From January, here’s an overview of the 10 committee chairs — including Nadler — to watch as the process gets underway. [Vox / Vox staff]
  • Is this the first step on a very long road to impeachment — which would start with the Judiciary Committee? Nadler hasn’t gone that far, but he said in an interview on Sunday it’s “very clear” that Trump obstructed justice. [NYMag / Adam K. Raymond]
  • Meanwhile, Trump blamed Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee for the failure of his summit with North Korea. [Washington Post / Seung Min Kim]

US closes Jerusalem consulate

  • The United States has closed its consulate in Jerusalem — which was an unofficial embassy of sorts to the Palestinians — and is folding its operations into the new US Embassy in Israel, which has moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. [Al Jazeera]
  • Palestinian officials are upset about the move, which they view as a demotion, and some analysts see it as signaling that the US is abandoning the idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East. [NPR / Bill Chappell]
  • The US Consulate General in Jerusalem, which has been open since the 1990s, is now known as the Palestinian Affairs Unit. It will report to the US ambassador to Israel, a strong supporter of the country and its settlements in the occupied West Bank. [CNN / Oren Liebermann]
  • The Trump administration said the move was made for efficiency’s sake and wasn’t meant to signal a policy change. But the Palestinians aren’t buying it: A member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee called it an “act of political assault on Palestinian rights and identity.” [BBC]
  • The move comes at the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an upcoming indictment leading up to a national election. President Trump has expressed continued support for Israel’s leader, who pursued building a physical barrier on the West Bank to separate the Palestinians and Israelis. [Business Insider / David Mednicoff]

Miscellaneous

  • The body of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi was reportedly burned in an oven in the Saudi Arabian consulate general’s residence. Turkish officials have also found traces of Khashoggi’s blood underneath paint layers applied to the wall after his killing. [Al Jazeera]
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has promised to vote for a resolution to block President Trump’s national emergency on the southern border. Paul’s support gives the Senate enough power to pass the resolution, and will likely prompt a veto from Trump. [CBS News / Emily Tillett]
  • A plan to work around the Electoral College is forming among blue states. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which states agree to award their electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote — no matter the opinion of the college. [The Hill / Michael Burke]
  • Tornadoes in Alabama killed at least 23 people on Sunday. Lee County’s death toll is likely to rise, as response efforts search through the destruction caused by winds of at least 136 mph. [ABC News / Karma Allen, Morgan Winsor, and Emily Shapiro]
  • Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced he will seek a fifth term, prompting protests from thousands of people in Algeria and France last Friday. One group has been in power in Algeria since it gained independence from France, and has been criticized for a stagnant economy and the suppression of free speech. [NPR / Shannon Van Sant]

Verbatim

“Was a crime committed? There’s no question that a human being died, but when we look at the facts and the law, and we follow our ethical responsibilities, the answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers.” [Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, after two police officers were not charged for shooting and killing Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man]


Watch this: Why parrots can talk like humans

Monkeys are our closest biological relatives, and they can’t speak. But parrots don’t seem to have a problem at all. [YouTube / Kimberly Mas]


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