TILLIS COVERS HIS EARS AND SAYS, "LA LA LA, LA LA LA": Sen. Thom Tillis said a new account from former Trump administration official John Bolton “hasn’t affected my decision” on whether he will vote to call witnesses in the Senate’s impeachment trial. The Republican senator from North Carolina has said he would probably oppose calling witnesses. Tillis has also said he plans to vote to acquit President Donald Trump, something he made clear even before the Democrat-controlled House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democrats want to call Bolton to testify about his time as Trump’s national security adviser and specifically about how the president handled aid to Ukraine. In an unpublished manuscript described in a New York Times story Sunday, Bolton says Trump told him he wanted to continue withholding the security aid until Ukraine turned over material related to his political rivals Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
$21,000 RAISED TO HELP VICTIM OF LYNCHING BACK IN 1952: Council was accused decades ago of a robbery he didn't commit. Two deputies hanged him from a tree to try to get him to confess. When he didn't, the deputies took him down. Council later settled into a home just outside of Apex. About 20 years ago, he took out a $20,000 federal home repair loan. One condition of the loan was that the full amount must be paid if he moved out or died. The state recently bought Council's home so the Department of Transportation can expand the NC-540 highway. That meant he needed to pay back the $20,000 loan. Garrett Raczek learned about Council's story and launched an online fundraiser to help pay off the debt. By early Tuesday morning, the fundraiser had exceeded $21,000. “I sure thank the Lord for the gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Lord,” Council said at a news conference Monday. As for the attempted lynching, the Wake County Sheriff's Office and Apex police apologized last year. A bench in Council's honor was also placed outside the police department.
BOLTON BOOK MAY SHAKE LOOSE ENOUGH REPUBLICANS TO FORCE HIS TESTIMONY: “I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday, repeatedly calling Bolton’s testimony “relevant.” “It’s important to be able to hear from John Bolton, for us to be able to make an impartial judgment.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), another key moderate, said the reports about Bolton’s unpublished manuscript “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.” At least four Republicans would have to join with all Democrats for a vote to call witnesses to succeed, an outcome Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has sought to avoid because of the potential for the trial to devolve into a drawn-out mess. The signs of confusion among Senate Republicans over the Bolton revelations emerged early Monday at a news conference that was originally billed to have several Republicans but that dwindled to just Sens. Mike Braun (Ind.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.). Both senators said Trump remained on track to be acquitted, but while Barrasso dismissed the Bolton news as a “so-called blockbuster report” that contained “selective leaks,” Braun acknowledged its potency.
TRUMP PUSHES HIS (BAD) VERSION OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE TREATY: President Trump said Monday that he would release his long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday as he briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his chief political rival, Benny Gantz, at the White House. The plan, which includes a map outlining proposed new Israeli borders, provides for Israeli sovereignty over much of the Jordan Valley, a strategic area on the eastern frontier of the West Bank abutting Jordan, a person familiar with the proposal said. It was developed under the oversight of the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and conditions greater Palestinian autonomy on demilitarization and recognition of Israeli as a Jewish state, according to the person. Palestinian leaders, who no longer speak to Trump officials, are likely to oppose each of those elements, even if they are combined with the economic rewards of $50 billion or more that the Trump administration says it can deliver. That is why many analysts say the plan is relevant mainly for its potential effect on Israel’s March 2 election, which is likely to decide the fate of the embattled Mr. Netanyahu, and as a distraction from the Senate’s impeachment trial of Mr. Trump.
WUHAN CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL TOPS 100, DRACONIAN TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IMPLEMENTED: Public health experts in Hong Kong on Monday raised alarms that there could be thousands of more carriers of a deadly new coronavirus in China and called for the enforcement of "draconian" travel curbs to prevent a global epidemic. As of Tuesday, China had confirmed 106 deaths, including the first death in the capital, Beijing. It also reported at least 4,515 infections, with 1,771 new confirmed cases. Several other countries - including Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, the United States, Singapore and Vietnam - have also confirmed cases. During their Monday briefing, the two experts from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) said that as many as 44,000 people may have already been infected with the virus that first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, adding and that the number could double by the end of this week. Leung, a Harvard-trained doctor, and Wu, an MIT graduate in chemical engineering and operations research, called for "substantial, draconian measures limiting population mobility" as they warned that human-to-human contagion may be already happening in other cities. "We have to be prepared that this particular epidemic may be about to become a global epidemic," Leung said, noting that the quarantine measures implemented so far on tens of millions of people might have a limited effect.