January 14, 2020

President Trump tweeted Sunday that he would prefer the Senate vote to immediately dismiss the two articles of impeachment the House approved against him in December, as several of Trump's GOP allies in the Senate have proposed with the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and summary dismissal of the charges would take only 51 senators, "but it is clear McConnell does not have the votes," The Associated Press reports.

"I think our members, generally, are not interested in the motion to dismiss," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of McConnell's leadership team. "They think both sides need to be heard." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he's not sure Trump even wants a quick dismissal of the charges. "At different times the president has expressed different views," he told Politico. "But I wouldn't get too distracted by an intervening tweet."

Trump has also said at various points he would like the trial to be a made-for-TV spectacle that includes witnesses. McConnell does not want witnesses, but there may be enough Republican votes to at least force a vote on whether to call witnesses. "I've said I'd like to hear from John Bolton," Trump's former national security adviser, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday. "I expect that barring some kind of surprise, I'll be voting in favor of hearing from witnesses after those opening arguments." Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said they also want the option to see new evidence and hear from witnesses.

That would appear to leave the pro-witness caucus one vote short, though any one of several Republicans could tip the balance. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), reportedly considered a "wild card" by the White House, notes that witnesses cut both ways. "Don't think you can just vote for Bolton and not the witnesses Trump wants," he warned his GOP colleagues last week. Peter Weber

7:05 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama is remembering Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who was killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," Obama said in a statement. "To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

During Obama's presidency, Bryant and the Lakers visited the White House to celebrate NBA championship wins, and gifted Obama his own jersey. Before he retired from basketball in 2016, Bryant visited Obama in Washington, D.C., to discuss how he could transition into a new chapter of his life. "In sports, you get better by working in the gym," Bryant said in 2017. "I wanted to know how he got better, from managing his schedule to what he reads. And because he gets sports, and we can talk about that, too, it makes it easier to have that connection." Catherine Garcia

6:46 p.m.

The basketball world is reacting to the deaths of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, were killed on Sunday morning along with seven others when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. In a statement, Michael Jordan said words "can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball."

Bryant's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal tweeted there were "no words to express the pain I'm going through," calling Gianna his "niece" and Kobe "my brother." Magic Johnson said Bryant was the "greatest Laker of all time," and the fact that he is gone is "hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players." Without Bryant, he added, the game of basketball "will never be the same."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Bryant, "one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game," showed "what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning." Bryant "will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability," Silver continued. "He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna." Catherine Garcia

6:09 p.m.

There were nine people on board the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, and all perished, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Sunday afternoon. Legendary Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were on the helicopter, NBA officials confirmed.

Villanueva would not comment on the identities of the victims, saying it was "wholly inappropriate" to do so until next of kin are notified. He added that he would have "nothing" else to say on the matter until "the coroner does their job." Flight records show the helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B built in 1991, left John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, at 9:06 a.m., the Los Angeles Times reports.

As word of Bryant's death spread, fans began gathering outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where the Lakers play. During 18 of his 20 seasons with the Lakers, Bryant was named an All Star 18 times, and won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Bryant retired in 2016, scoring 60 points in his final game. In 2018, he won an Academy Award for the animated short film Dear Basketball. Catherine Garcia

5:26 p.m.

There's little doubt it was challenging for the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors to focus on basketball following devastating news of Lakers great Kobe Bryant's death, considering many members of each team either played and coached against or grew up idolizing the Los Angeles legend.

Both teams put their competitive nature aside for a moment to start their game Sunday, agreeing that whoever won the opening tip would hold the ball for 24 seconds, resulting in a shot clock violation. Bryant, in the latter part of his 20-year career, wore no. 24.

The Raptors won the tip, took the violation, and the Spurs followed suit, running out the clock on their end, as well, before the game really began.

If there's any doubt about the respect Bryant garnered around the league just listen to Spurs fans — who consider the Lakers one of their biggest rivals as a result of epic clashes between the two teams that spanned Bryant's career — chant his name name as they began to realize what was unfolding on the court. Tim O'Donnell

3:22 p.m.

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was reportedly killed in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area. He was 41.

TMZ initially broke the news, and ESPN and The Los Angeles Times have since confirmed, though details are still limited. The helicopter was reportedly over the suburb of Calabasas when it crashed around 10 a.m. P.T., and a tweet by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office confirmed there were no survivors among the five people on board. The identities of the four people besides Bryant have not been confirmed. No homes or bystanders were reportedly affected by the crash.

Bryant, who played all 20 seasons of his career with Los Angeles before retiring in 2016, is considered one of the greatest players to ever suit up in the NBA. Just one day ago, the Lakers' current star LeBron James passed Bryant for third on the all-time scoring list while paying tribute to Bryant with an inscription on his shoes. Afterward, Bryant congratulated James on the milestone. Read more at ESPN. Tim O'Donnell

1:31 p.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a U.S. military veteran, stood by President Trump in wake of the backlash against the commander-in-chief's comments describing brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops after an Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq earlier this month as "headaches" and "not very serious."

CBS' Margaret Brennan asked Cotton during Sunday's edition of Face the Nation if Trump should apologize to the soldiers, 34 of whom it turned out suffered traumatic brain injuries. She pointed out that Veterans of Foreign Wars, a prominent U.S. veterans advocacy group, called on Trump to apologize for his "misguided" comments about potentially dangerous injuries, while also noting Cotton likely knew several people who suffered from similar injuries during his time in the military, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cotton, though, argued Trump wasn't "dismissing" the soldiers' injuries, but simply "describing them." Tim O'Donnell

1:03 p.m.

Sen. James Lankford didn't seem too perturbed by a tweet President Trump sent Saturday, in which the president said the House's lead impeachment prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has not "paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our country."

Lankford told CNN's Jake Tapper during Sunday's edition of State of the Union that he doesn't consider the tweet a "death threat," which Tapper said Schiff has been receiving. Tapper wondered why Lankford wasn't bothered by Trump's words when he was offended by Schiff's comment earlier this week about how he had heard Republican senators were warned they're heads would end up on a pike should they defy Trump. Lankford said it's because Schiff's insinuation that GOP lawmakers act only out of fear invalidates their work.

On the other hand, Schiff, whom Trump described as "probably a very sick man," told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press that he's pretty sure Trump was issuing a threat of some sort. Tim O'Donnell

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