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Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

President Trump was never going to just roll over and take solace in his acquittal.

And after yesterday’s dark and blatantly bonkers speech from the White House celebrating his acquittal, it’s no surprise that he and his allies are already retaliating against those who wronged the President. As an image-obsessed leader who demands nothing short of cult-like loyalty from all who have access to him, it’s easy to believe new reports from Bloomberg News and the Washington Post that the White House is planning to reassign Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman back to the Department of Defense.

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President Trump will be acquitted today. We can’t talk around that fact.

But that doesn’t mean that the conduct that put him in this pinch in the first place will be swept under the rug. House Judiciary Committee Chair and impeachment manager Jerry Nadler (D-NY) reassured reporters this morning that it is “likely” his committee will issue that subpoena that former National Security Adviser John Bolton has been begging for for weeks.

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Much has been written about Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) dueling responsibilities in Iowa and Washington, D.C. as the four juggle campaigning while they’re muzzled for hours and hours listening to the Senate’s impeachment trial. But on the evening that’ll produce the first referendum on 2020 Democratic candidates, their shackling in the Senate feels increasingly futile. Especially after what happened last week.

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Hello TPM Members,

With the failed vote to allow for additional witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial, Senate Republicans made one thing crystal clear: This is a sham.

Last night Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) forced a vote on four amendments, to drive home the shaminess of this sham — asking for, among other things, the Senate to subpoena former national security adviser John Bolton. Predictably, the amendments went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Looking ahead to next week, we’ll see closing arguments from both sides, including speeches from senators Monday and Tuesday, and a final vote scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.

It’s been a wild past few months covering the ins and outs of this historic process. Thanks for sticking around until the bitter, predictable end.

Here’s what happened in Prime this week:

  • Tierney Sneed provided us with some priceless Prime articles from inside the chamber this week, including behind-the-scenes looks at how the John Bolton allegations affected trial proceedings; the setup and vibe of the senators’ Q&A session; and how Nadler’s aides helped him rapidly respond to a question about Federalist 65.
  • The new John Bolton allegation that surfaced this week raised some questions about what White House lawyers knew about the explosive claims and when they knew it. Matt Shuham breaks that down for us here.
  • Josh Marshall combs through some new polling data that suggest impeachment is becoming more popular among voters.
  • During a 2018 dinner with President Trump, indicted Rudy Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman discussed little else besides the various schemes that they hoped to push forward at the time.
  • John Bolton doesn’t actually get executive privilege. Here’s why.
  • Kate Riga debunks the GOP argument that it was the House’s job to call witnesses.
  • A new ruling provided a massive victory for the voting rights of American Indian, Hispanic, and African American citizens in Arizona.
  • Constitutional law professor Richard Primus helps us understand why Alan Dershowitz’s initial constitutional case fell flat.
  • As the Trump impeachment team wrapped up its legal defense earlier this week, Cleveland-based lawyer James Robenalt broke down why the lawyers’ case was so ineffective.
  • Impeachment implications aside, the April 2018 Parnas and Fruman recording offers yet another glimpse at the chest-deep swamp muck in which the President so happily wallows.
  • Nicole Lafond explains the historic precedent for Chief Justice John Roberts possibly stepping in as a tie-breaker in the Senate.
  • After the witness vote fell flat on Friday, Tierney Sneed asks: Now what?

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This week in impeachment

Is it almost over? The Senate just voted against the allowance of any additional witnesses or documents for the impeachment trial. But this is no surprise. Just before the trial kicked off this afternoon, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced she’d vote against additional testimony, effectively tanking Democrats’ push for testimony from, among other key witnesses, former national security adviser John Bolton. Bolton’s role in the impeachment trial became increasingly relevant this week after the New York Times reported that an unpublished manuscript of Bolton’s new book revealed that Trump personally directed Bolton to push for Ukraine investigations as early as May 2018.

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