Year 3, Week 49 (December 22-28)

It’s a quieter news week this time, especially compared to last week’s impeachment news. Frankly, I think we all needed a quiet moment, so I’m not sad about the calm–hopefully it’s not heralding a bigger storm.

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m mostly summarizing the news within my area of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a windmill!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers.  Onward to the news!   

Constitutional Crisis Corner:

Even with the relative peace and quiet we did see some Whistleblowing Ukraine Biden Bingo chaos, which I have separated out into wacky Dem proposals, GOP uneasiness, and Trump’s real-time witness tampering.  Here’s what I have for you:

  • Democrat Planning Sessions.*   As the cold war between Pelosi and McConnell stretches out another week, Democrats are coming up with contingency plans, and some of them are more out there than others.  On the more traditional side, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer took one look at the giant pile of incriminating emails released last weekend and announced that he wants more of the House records released–and given how much obstruction we’ve seen already, it’s reasonable to assume he might not get witnesses.  Meanwhile, counsel for the House in the Don McGahn case is raising the specter of a second impeachment if they end up with more incriminating evidence of obstruction of justice.  Presumably this is also a general Plan B if Mitch McConnell successfully kills the Senate trial, but honestly we’re so far off the rails already that it’s hard to even know.

Your “Normal” Weird:

  • Trump Doesn’t Understand Wind.*This one technically happened at the very beginning of the week, when we were still being inundated by actual news, but it was too strange not to share today. In the middle of a rant about windmills delivered to conservative students, Trump informed the crowd, “I never understood wind.” (The Washington Post published an interesting article trying to analyze the bizarre speech, but even that author notes, “I was honestly a bit baffled despite priding myself on my ability to translate Trump’s energy-related rhetoric.”)  I’m sure this will become a more streamlined soundbite eventually.  But for now, it’s comforting to assume that much like the rest of us, wind never understood Donald Trump, either.

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Recent School Resilience. A district in Virginia became the first school district in the nation to give students one day off per year for civic engagement, which given our current political environment is likely very appreciated. The process involves filling out a form two days ahead of time, to discourage random skiving, and was inspired by student action after the Parkland shooting and the international climate change walkout. If done responsibly, it’s an excellent learning opportunity, and I hope more districts consider adopting it!

So that’s what I have for this week, even though it’s more bite-sized than normal. For reading during the holidays, you deserve this list of interesting (positive!) 2019 firsts and an eventual better government.  I’ll be back next week with what will almost certainly be more news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments.  Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me your resolutions for 2020!

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