July 18, 2019

This is an early 20th anniversary gift they'll never forget.

When the Camp Fire swept through Grass Valley, California, last fall, it completely destroyed Marc and Mary Taylor's home. All of their possessions were lost in the wildfire, including decades worth of photos. Hoping she could recover some of them, Mary Taylor got in touch with the photographer, Richard Briggs, who shot their wedding on August 14, 1999.

Briggs was thrilled when he started digging around and found the negatives, telling KCRA that usually, photographers don't keep them for so long. "Luckily, they were intact," he said. "They were a little faded. I bought a scanner and scanned them all. And my wife, she's excellent in editing, and she brought back the color and the life into the photos, and from those images, I was able to make an album." He can still recall the wedding, he added, and remembers thinking, "These people are so much in love."

The Taylors cried when Briggs gave them not only their wedding album, but also the negatives, as these are the only photos they've been able to replace. "It gave us a piece of something back after losing everything," Marc Taylor said. "I don't know how to explain it. There's no words." Catherine Garcia

3:27 a.m.

President Trump got his first full day of defense at his Senate impeachment trial on Monday. Trump's lawyers mostly whistled past inconvenient new revelations that former National Security Adviser John Bolton, in his forthcoming book, badly undermines one of their key arguments against impeachment: that there's no first-hand evidence Trump tied Ukraine military aid to investigations of Joe Biden and other Democratic rivals.

In fact, Trump lawyers Pam Bondi and Eric Herschmann devoted their presentations to attacking former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter. It wasn't until the night's last full presentation, by high-profile defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, that Trump's legal team even mentioned Bolton. And Dershowitz argued that "nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense."

Dershowitz and Trump attorney Ken Starr offered historical and legal arguments about impeachment, with Dershowitz taking the extreme minority legal view that impeachment requires "criminal-like conduct," and abuse of power and obstruction of Congress don't fit that bill. Starr's presentation "was a bizarre spectacle: the man who brought us the last impeachment of a president lecturing the Senate on the dangerous evils of impeachment," writes The New Yorker's Susan Glasser. You can watch some highlights from Trump's defense, curated by PBS NewsHour.

"I'm old enough to remember when, in 1998, Starr produced the most X-rated document ever to be printed under congressional seal, in service of lobbying for [Bill Clinton's] impeachment," Glasser writes. "Now, in 2020, the author of that report is acting as the sanctimonious guardian of congressional dignity, lecturing us all on the floor of the Senate about the unfair, improper charges against Donald Trump? Within seconds of opening his mouth on the Senate floor, Starr had his liberal critics — and lots of non-liberals, too — sputtering with outrage."

Still, Glasser adds, "in the end Starr's comments, trolling as they were, seemed inconsequential and destined to be quickly forgotten," at least compared to Bolton's bombshell. If the outcome of Trump's trial seems predetermined, Bolton's first-hand report of a quid pro quo might at least convince four Republicans to ensure witness testimony.

Trump's team had some factual errors in their presentation. The Associated Press tackles a few of them, and you can watch CNN's Jake Tapper fact-check some others — and Jeffrey Toobin denounce Bondi and Herschmann's "parade of lies" about Joe Biden — below. Peter Weber

2:01 a.m.

In a note he posted to Instagram Monday night, NBA star LeBron James shared that he kept attempting to write something about Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, but "every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi, and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had."

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed on Sunday morning when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. On Saturday night, the Lakers played the Philadelphia 76ers, and James passed Bryant on the NBA's all-time scoring list, becoming third with 33,655 points and moving Bryant down to fourth place, with 33,643 points. Bryant tweeted his congratulations, and later called James.

"Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have," James wrote. He offered his condolences to Bryant's wife, Vanessa, and their three surviving children, and made a vow. "I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!" he wrote. "You mean so much to us all here, especially at #LakerNation, and it's my responsibility to put this s--t on my back and keep it going! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! ... There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!" Catherine Garcia

1:23 a.m.

Walk, ride a bike, or hop on a bus in Vienna, and you could be closer to a free concert or trip to a museum.

On Monday, the city launched a new app that tracks users' modes of transportation. It calculates the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) savings in comparison to driving a car, and once users save 40 pounds of CO2, they receive one "culture token." Tokens are then exchanged for free tickets to participating cultural institutions.

"We want to reward CO2 reduction with a cultural experience," said Peter Hanke, a member of the Vienna City Council. Right now, the app is being tested by 1,000 people, but if the trial is successful, the app will open to the broader public in the fall, AFP reports. Austria's goal is to be climate neutral by 2040. Catherine Garcia

12:55 a.m.

Celebrity defense lawyer and retired Harvard criminal law professor Alan Dershowitz closed out Day 2 of President Trump's impeachment trial defense Monday night, and unlike Trump's other defenders, he mentioned inconvenient new revelations from Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton. Dershowitz also differentiated himself by eschewing attacks on Joe and Hunter Biden or the unkindness of impeachment and instead mounted a "constitutional" defense of Trump. Republican senators appeared thrilled with the presentation.

Other legal scholars were less impressed. Dershowitz argued that the articles of impeachment approved by the House, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, are not "constitutionally authorized criteria for impeachment."

He went on to acknowledge that Bolton may claim he personally witnessed Trump link $391 million in Ukraine military aid to foreign help investigating Biden and Trump's other Democratic rivals, but argued that "nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense."

Dershowitz also conceded he held different views on whether abuse of power was an impeachable offense back in 1998, during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, but said he "was not fully aware of the compelling counterarguments" then and has reached a different conclusion after conducting his own research.

One of the few constitutional scholars he cited, Harvard Law's Niko Bowie, dismantled Dershowitz's argument on Twitter and in a new New York Times op-ed. Former Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, now a senator-juror and Democratic presidential candidate, also found Derhowitz's argument "nonsensical" and abstruse.

"Alan Dershowitz, to his credit, said that his own view was very much a minority view of what the impeachment provision means," CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "To his discredit, the reason why it's a minority view is because he's wrong." Peter Weber

12:03 a.m.

On Monday, 200 survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau came together to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nazi death camp's liberation.

On Jan. 27, 1945, the camp was liberated by the Soviet army. Most of the estimated 1.1 million people who were murdered there were Jews, with Poles, Roma, and Russians among the victims. The camp is in Oswiecim, Poland, and survivors came from as far away as the United States, Australia, and Peru to attend the anniversary. "We have with us the last living survivors, the last among those who saw the Holocaust with their own eyes," Polish President Andrzej Duda said. "The magnitude of the crime perpetrated in this place is terrifying, but we must not look away from it and we must never forget it."

There has been an increase in anti-Semitic attacks around the globe, and Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said he is astounded by "the open and brazen spread of anti-Jewish hatred. Do not be silent. Do not be complacent. Do not let this ever happen again, to any people."

Survivor Marian Turski, 93, recalled the Nazis starting small by banning Jews from sitting on benches in Berlin, and those actions led to the rise of ghettos and death camps. "Auschwitz did not descend from the sky," Turski said. If people become "indifferent, you will not even notice it when upon your own heads, and upon the heads of your descendants, another Auschwitz descends from the sky." Catherine Garcia

January 27, 2020

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton writes in his forthcoming book that last year, he privately shared with Attorney General William Barr that he was worried President Trump was doing favors for autocratic leaders, The New York Times reports.

People familiar with the unpublished manuscript told the Times that Bolton also says Barr told him the Justice Department was investigating two companies in China and Turkey, and he had his own concerns that Trump hinted to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping that he had influence over these inquiries.

Barr reportedly brought up a conversation Trump had with Xi about ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications firm. In 2017, the company agreed to plead guilty and pay fines for violating U.S. sanctions on doing business with Iran and North Korea. ZTE was prohibited from buying American products for seven years, which hurt the company, but in 2018, Trump ignored objections from his advisers and GOP lawmakers and lifted the ban.

On Sunday, the Times reported that Bolton writes in his book that Trump said he wanted to withhold military assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into domestic political rivals. This is central to the impeachment charges against Trump, and a claim he has denied. Catherine Garcia

January 27, 2020

The irony of Ken Starr declaring that the Senate is "being called to sit as the high court of impeachment all too frequently" was not lost on MSNBC's Ari Melber.

Starr, the former independent counsel who pushed for President Bill Clinton's impeachment, is now one of President Trump's impeachment defense lawyers. He made his debut on Monday, likening impeachment to "domestic war" and asking, "How did we get here, with presidential impeachment invoked frequently?"

When Starr was the independent counsel, he was a driving force behind Republican efforts in the House to investigate Clinton, and his Starr Report found that Clinton's conduct "may constitute grounds for impeachment." In 1998, his ethics adviser, Sam Dash, quit, writing in a letter to Starr, "You have violated your obligations under the independent counsel statute and have unlawfully intruded on the power of impeachment."

On Twitter, Melber said Starr's opening was "BEYOND RICH coming from him." Later, he told MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace: "This was a disaster for Republicans. A total unmitigated legal and constitutional disaster. Ken Starr at no point in this, dramatic at times, mournful opening explained in any factual or legal way what's different." This was "Starr vs. Starr," Melber continued. "Usually you want someone else's name on the other side. He was out there shadowboxing against himself. ... Constitutionally, we watched Ken Starr punch himself in the face and then walk off the floor."


During his own show, Melber played a mashup showing just how different the Starr of today sounds compared to the Starr of yesterday. Watch the clip below. Catherine Garcia

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