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Police: 3 Children Killed By Their Mother Were Suffocated

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PHOENIX (AP) — A woman arrested on suspicion of killing her three young children told investigators that she suffocated her son and two daughters with her hands, police said in court records.

Investigators say Rachel Henry told them that she thwarted an attempt by her 3-year-old son to protect his 1-year-old sister. The boy kicked and punched his mother and yelled for her to stop, but Henry chased him away, according to court records.

The records, released after the mother made her first court appearance Tuesday, said Henry, 22, acknowledged a methamphetamine addiction. It’s unknown whether Henry, who is jailed on a $3 million bond on first-degree murder charges, has been appointed an attorney who can comment on her behalf.

Investigators say the 1-year-old girl was the first to be killed, followed by her 3-year-old brother, then their 7-month-old sister. “Rachel placed all of the children in a position on the living room couch as if they were napping,” police wrote.

A relative who lives at the house called police late Monday.

Firefighters received a call from the home reporting a drowning. Relatives initially believed illness may have been a factor, but police said they were confident the mother killed the children.

Henry’s family had recently moved to Arizona from Oklahoma.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety didn’t have any earlier contacts or abuse reports involving the family, spokesman Darren DaRonco said.

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Jalen Hurts Eyes NFL, With ‘Boulder’ Not Chip On Shoulder

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MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts was presented a helmet at the Senior Bowl providing a snapshot of his college career, an OU on the right side and his old Alabama No. 2 on the left.

Now, the quarterback who led two elite programs to the College Football Playoffs is trying to prove himself again, as an NFL prospect, back in the state where he began his college career.

Hurts, who wore an Oklahoma-only helmet in practice Tuesday, officially began his audition for NFL teams this week with practices and meetings ahead of Saturday’s Senior Bowl. His biggest selling point: “I win.”

Indeed, last season’s Heisman Trophy runner-up did a lot of winning for both Oklahoma and the Crimson Tide, putting up big numbers both passing and rushing. But questions remain about his passing accuracy and consistency, leading to an uncertain draft status.

LSU Heisman winner Joe Burrow is the likely No. 1 overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, whose staff is coaching Hurts and the South team. Tua Tagovailoa, who replaced Hurts as the starter, is also regarded as a likely first-round draft pick despite recovering from hip surgery.

Hurts’ Senior Bowl teammate Justin Herbert of Oregon is projected as a high first-rounder.

Then there’s the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Hurts, who has a stellar resume but still some questions.

“I don’t want to get into comparisons,” he said Tuesday before the teams’ first practices. “That’s kind of like the kiss of death. I try to be the best version of myself. Go out there and try to win, try to lead my guys, build relationships with my guys. Win ballgames.”

Hurts went 26-2 as a starter for the Tide and was Southeastern Conference player of the year as a freshman. Then he was benched at halftime of the national championship game against Georgia, with Tagovailoa leading the comeback victory and ultimately winning the starting job for the 2018 season.

Hurts stuck it out instead of leaving to preserve a second year of eligibility and ultimately departed for Oklahoma while ranking in the top three among Alabama quarterbacks for career rushing yards, touchdowns, total offense and passing TDs.

He led a comeback of his own for the Crimson Tide after Tagovailoa was injured in the SEC championship game, also against Georgia. Then he transferred to play for Lincoln Riley and the Sooners and delivered easily his best season.

Hurts got off to a blazing start and passed for 3,851 yards and 32 touchdowns while rushing for 1,298 yards and 20 scores.

“He’s been successful everywhere he’s been,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “He really is a little bit like an NFL quarterback in the sense that he had to go quickly and pick up an offense and really prove himself as a leader in a new program in a short period of time, which he did. He had a great year.”

“Those are things that we get a chance now to see in person. Get to know the kid a little bit more. … He certainly had a great college career. He’s put himself in a good position.”

But also an uncertain one. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy was initially skeptical about Hurts’ ability to play quarterback in the NFL.

“Jalen’s come a long, long way. He really has,” the former scout said. “People asked me about Jalen when I took the job and I said maybe if he comes to the Senior Bowl in a couple of years it might be as another position player. He’s blown that out. He’s come so far.”

Hurts, meanwhile, still conveys the same unflappable confidence as always. Determined to prove critics wrong, he’s sporting more than a chip on his shoulder. It is, he said, “a boulder.”

“I don’t think there’s any experience that I’d go back and exchange or change,” Hurts said. “I think everything’s happened for a reason. It’s all happened how it’s supposed to. I think I’m stronger, wiser, better man, better player, leader, better everything.”

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Rules Proposed To Limit Emotional Support Animals On Airlines

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The days of passengers bringing their pets on airplanes as emotional-support animals could be ending.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed that only specially trained dogs qualify as service animals, which must be allowed in the cabin at no charge.

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Airlines could ban emotional-support animals including untrained dogs, cats and more exotic companions such as pigs, pheasants, rabbits and snakes.

Airlines say the number of support animals has grown dramatically in recent years. They lobbied the Transportation Department to crack down on what they consider a scam — passengers who call their pets emotional-support animals to avoid pet fees that generally run more than $100 each way.

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“This is a wonderful step in the right direction for people like myself who are dependent on and reliant on legitimate service animals,” said Albert Rizzi, founder of My Blind Spot, an advocacy group for people with disabilities. He said some people “want to have the benefits of having a disability without actually losing the use of their limbs or senses just so they can take their pet with them.”

The main trade group for large U.S. airlines praised the proposal. Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, said, “The proposed rule will go a long way in ensuring a safer and healthier experience for everyone.”

Flight attendants had pushed to rein in support animals, and they too were pleased.

“The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants. She said some of her union’s members were hurt by untrained pets.

Veterans groups also sided with the airlines, arguing that a boom in untrained dogs and other animals threatens their ability to fly with properly trained service dogs. Last year, more than 80 veterans and disability groups endorsed banning untrained emotional-support animals in airline cabins.

On the other side are people who say that an emotional-support animal helps them with anxiety or other issues that would prevent them from traveling or make it more stressful. They aren’t a very organized group, but there are lots of them.

Southwest Airlines handles more than 190,000 emotional support animals per year. American Airlines carried 155,790 emotional support animals in 2017, up 48% from 2016, while the number of checked pets dropped 17%. United Airlines carried 76,000 comfort animals in 2017.

Transportation Department officials said in a briefing with reporters that they proposed the changes to improve safety on flights. Some passengers have been bitten by support animals, and airlines complain that they relieve themselves on planes and in airports.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed changes. Officials highlighted a few areas where they are most eager to get comments, including whether miniatures horses should continue to qualify as service animals.

The Transportation Department proposes a narrow definition in which a service animal could only be a dog that is trained to help a person with a physical or other disability. Passengers with a service dog would have to fill out a federal form on which they swear that the dog is trained to help them. A dog trained to help with psychiatric needs would qualify as a service animal.

Current rules do not require any training for emotional-support animals. However, airlines can demand that the animal’s owner show them a medical professional’s note saying they need the animal for support.

The proposed rules would prohibit airlines from banning particular types of dog breeds if the animal qualifies as a service dog, although they could refuse to board an individual dog they deem a threat. Delta Air Lines, which bans pit bulls, said it is studying the proposal.

The president of the Humane Society of the United States said airlines like Delta had maligned pit bulls. Kitty Block said the Transportation Department’s proposal to prohibit breed-specific bans “sends a clear message to airlines that their discriminatory practices are not only unsound, but against the law.”

The new rules would also bar the current practice by many airlines of requiring animal owners to fill out paperwork 48 hours in advance. A department official said that practice can harm disabled people by preventing them from bringing their service dog on last-minute trips.

The proposal also says people with service animals must check in earlier than the general public.

Airlines could require that service animals be on a leash or harness and fit in its handler’s foot space. They could limit passengers to two service animals each, although it is unclear how often that happens under the current rules.

___

AP Writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed to this report.


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Florida Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Embattled NFL Star Antonio Brown

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A warrant has been issued for the arrest of NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown following accusations that he and his trainer attacked another man near Brown’s Florida home.

Hollywood police spokesman Christian Latta said in a Wednesday news release that Brown faces charges of burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief.

Officers responded Tuesday afternoon to a disturbance call, where the alleged victim said Brown and his trainer, Glen Holt, hit him, police said. Holt was arrested a short time later and charged with one count of burglary with battery.

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Officers attempted to make contact with Brown but were unsuccessful, Latta said.

Police didn’t immediately identify the alleged victim or what prompted the confrontation.

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Jail records didn’t list an attorney for Holt, and it wasn’t clear if Brown had a lawyer.

Brown, who is a free agent, played nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders last year but released before ever playing a regular-season game following several off-the-field incidents. He was then signed by the New England Patriots, who released Brown in September after a second woman in 10 days accused him of sexual misconduct.


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China Closes Off Large City To Stop Spread Of Deadly Virus

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BEIJING (AP) — China closed off a city of more than 11 million people Thursday in an unprecedented effort to try to stop the spread of a deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush.

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Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded Wuhan’s train station as last-minute travelers arrived, only those holding tickets for the last trains allowed to enter. At exactly 10 a.m., metal barriers blocked entrances while helpless would-be travelers were turned away, with some complaining they had nowhere to go.

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Virtually everyone at the scene was wearing masks, news website The Paper’s live broadcast showed. People have been lining up to buy them at pharmacies, which limited sales to one package per customer. Medical workers wore protective suits outside a hospital where some patients with the viral respiratory illness are being treated.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, told The Associated Press in an interview at the WHO’s Beijing office. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

Local authorities have demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged government staff to wear them at work and for shopkeepers to post signs for their visitors, Xinhua quoted a government notice as saying.

“Those who disregard the warning will be punished according to relevant laws and regulations,” the notice said.

Virtually no one would be allowed to leave Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China’s Hubei province. Train stations, the airport, subways, ferries and long-distance shuttle buses were closed, according to the state Xinhua News Agency. It cited the city’s anti-virus task force as saying the measures were taken in an attempt to “effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people’s health and safety.”

Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, had warned people in Wuhan on Wednesday to avoid crowds and public gatherings.

The illnesses from a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, and the vast majority of mainland China’s 571 cases have been in the city. Other cases have been reported in the Thailand, the United States, Japan and South Korea. One case was confirmed in the southern Chinese territory of Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most were people from Wuhan or had recently traveled there.

A total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around Wuhan. Among the victims, the average age was 73, with the oldest aged 89 and the youngest 48.

The significant increase in illnesses reported just this week come as millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world’s largest annual migrations of people. Analysts have predicted that the reported cases will continue to multiply.

“Even if (the number of cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” Galea said, adding, however, that the number of cases is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity, so long as the mortality rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, which developed from camels.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, which has since been closed for an investigation. The head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control said the outbreak may have resulted from human exposure to wild animals at first but the virus also may be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious among people.

“We are still in the process of learning more about this disease,” Gao Fu, the CCDC head and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at a Wednesday news conference.

Also Wednesday, the WHO put off deciding whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency because it needs more information. Another meeting is set for Thursday.

WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

Some countries have stepped up screening measures for travelers from China, especially those arriving from Wuhan. North Korea has banned foreign tourists, a step it also took during the SARS outbreak and in recent years due to Ebola.

China has been credited for responding rapidly to this outbreak, in stark contrast to how it withheld information for months on SARS, allowing the virus to spread worldwide.

One veteran of the SARS outbreak said that while there are some similarities in the new virus — namely its origins in China and the link to animals — the current outbreak appears much milder.

Dr. David Heymann, who headed WHO’s global response to SARS in 2003, said the new virus appears dangerous for older people with other health conditions, but doesn’t seem nearly as infectious as SARS.

“It looks like it doesn’t transmit through the air very easily and probably transmits through close contact,” he said. “That was not the case with SARS.”


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Ratings Drop For 2020 AFC, NFC Championship Games

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NEW YORK (AP) — It’s no secret, sports fans. Better games produce better ratings.

That was the simple lesson for the NFL this week, after a dip in viewership for its conference championship games, compared to 2019. The Nielsen company said 42.8 million people watched the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to punch their Super Bowl ticket, and 41.1 million people watched Kansas City beat Tennessee.

Both conference championship games went into overtime last year, and the audiences were 44.2 million and 53.9 million, Nielsen said. By contrast, this year’s games were one-sided.

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LSU’s win over Clemson in the college football national championship game was seen by 25.6 million on ESPN, Nielsen said. That’s a little over a million more than last year’s game reached.

With the benefit of an NFL game in prime time, Fox led all the broadcast networks in ratings last week, averaging 9.9 million viewers. CBS had 4.9 million viewers in prime time, NBC had 4.2 million, ABC had 3.8 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 890,000 and the CW had 790,000.

ESPN led the cable networks, averaging 4.28 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel averaged 2.75 million, MSNBC had 1.86 million, CNN had 1.46 million and TLC had 1.18 million.

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ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.3 million viewers last week. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.1 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.9 million viewers.

The top 20 programs as measured by Nielsen last week, their network and viewership:

1. NFC Championship: Green Bay at San Francisco, Fox, 42.79 million.

2. “NFL Post-Game” (9:44 to 9:49 p.m. Eastern), Fox, 31.29 million.

3. College Football Championship: Clemson vs. LSU, ESPN, 25.58 million.

4. “NFL Post-Game” (9:50 to 10:04 p.m. Eastern), Fox, 23.92 million.

5. “College Football Post-Game,” ESPN, 16.7 million.

6. “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time, Match 4,” ABC, 13.55 million.

7. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 11.41 million.

8. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.13 million.

9. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 8.88 million.

10. “FBI,” CBS, 8.57 million

11. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 8.45 million.

12. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 8.17 million.

13. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.1 million.

14. “Democratic Debate,” CNN, 7.4 million.

15. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 6.78 million.

16. “This is Us,” NBC, 6.73 million.

17. “America’s Got Talent Champions,” NBC, 6.53 million.

18. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 6.52 million.

19. “Mom,” CBS, 6.3 million.

20. “Democratic Debate Analysis,” CNN, 5.77 million.


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Giants’ Eli Manning Retires After 16 Seasons, 2 Super Bowls

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Eli Manning, who led the New York Giants to two Super Bowls in a 16-year career that saw him set almost every team passing record, has retired.

The Giants said Wednesday that Manning would formally announce his retirement on Friday.

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The recently turned 39-year-old’s future had been in doubt since the end of the season. Manning’s contract with the Giants expired after the 4-12 season and there was little chance he would be returning after losing his long-time starting job to rookie Daniel Jones.

Manning said he wanted to think about his future after the season and roughly three weeks after the season ended he decided his career was over.

“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer said in a statement.

“Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future.”

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The Giants acquired Manning from San Diego on draft day in 2004 after the Ole Miss quarterback told the Chargers he did not want to play for them and forced the deal that general manager Ernie Accorsi gladly accepted.

It started a major turnaround for a team that was 4-12 the previous season.

Manning replaced Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as the starter for then-new coach Tom Coughlin after nine games. They won the NFC East the following season.

Within three seasons, the Giants won their first NFL championship since the 1990 season and Manning got his first Super Bowl MVP award, knocking off the previously unbeaten New England Patriots. The second came after the 2011 season when Manning and company again beat Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Pats.

In both games, Manning hit a clutch late pass on game-winning drives. He and David Tyree hooked up on the helmet catch in the first one and he found Mario Manningham on sideline go pattern in the second, igniting an 88-yard drive.

“Eli Manning not only is the quarterback on those great teams, but he is the MVP of the Super Bowls,” Coughlin said. “He’s an incredible big- game performer. You talk about a guy that’s great to coach, focused every day, took tremendous pride in preparing, practice, had a great sense of humor, was a cynic in the locker room. But the guys loved him and they loved him for it, and they played for him. The guys that had the opportunity to play with him know what it’s like to be with a guy with as much talent, as much grit, as much determination.”

Manning was the only player in Giants history to play 16 seasons. His 236 regular-season games (234 starts) and 248 total games are team records.

From Nov. 21, 2004 through Nov. 23, 2017, Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games, then the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (to Brett Favre’s 297). After sitting out one game, he started the next 22 in a row, giving him 232 starts in 233 games — plus 12 postseason games. Manning never missed a game because of injury.

Manning is sixth in NFL history with 8,119 attempts and seventh with 4,895 completions, 57,023 yards and 366 touchdown passes. He also has the franchise’s highest career completion rate (60.29 percent). He was selected to four Pro Bowls.

Manning started the first two games of the recently concluded season before recently fired coach Pat Shurmur replaced him with Jones, the No. 6 pick overall in the draft. He started two more games in December after Jones sprained an ankle and led the Giants to a win over Miami in his final start at MetLife Stadium.

Off the field, Manning has donated his time to many charitable events. He was the co-recipient of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2016 with Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.

During the Super Bowl week, Manning will be presented with the 2020 Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award for serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates and community.

Manning is one of just five players in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards, joined by Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Starr. Manning is one of 21 quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl without losing one and one of 12 to win at least two Super Bowls.

In the 2004 draft, the Giants picked fourth and selected quarterback Philip Rivers. Accorsi sent Rivers, their third-round choice in 2004 (No. 65 overall), and first and fifth-round picks in the 2005 draft to the Chargers for Manning.

It was the game-changing deal for the Giants.


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Democrats Appeal For GOP Help To Convict ‘Corrupt’ Trump

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats opened marathon arguments in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday, appealing to skeptical Republican senators to join them in voting to remove Trump from office to “protect our democracy.”

Trump’s lawyers sat by, waiting their turn, as t he president blasted the proceedings from afar, threatening jokingly to face off with the Democrats by coming to “sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces.”

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The challenge before the House managers is clear. Democrats have 24 hours over three days to prosecute the charges against Trump, trying to win over not just fidgety senators sitting silently in the chamber but an American public, deeply divided over the president and his impeachment in an election year.

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Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, outlined what the Democrats contend was the president’s “corrupt scheme” to abuse his presidential power and then obstruct Congress’ investigation. He then called on senators not to be “cynical” about politics, but to draw on the intent of the nation’s Founding Fathers who provided the remedy of impeachment.

“Over the coming days, we will present to you—and to the American people—the extensive evidence collected during the House’s impeachment inquiry into the president’s abuse of power,” said Schiff standing before the Senate. “You will hear their testimony at the same time as the American people. That is, if you will allow it.”

Most senators sat at their desks throughout, as the rules stipulate, though some stretched their legs, standing behind the desks or against the back wall of the chamber.

The proceedings are unfolding at the start of an election year, and there are few signs that Republicans are interested in calling more witnesses or going beyond a fast-track assessment that is likely to bring a quick vote on charges related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The trial marks just the third time the Senate has weighed whether an American president should be removed from office. Democrats argue Trump abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden while withholding crucial military aid, and also obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House probe. Republicans have defended Trump’s actions and cast the process as a politically motivated effort to weaken the president in the midst of his reelection campaign.

A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows the public is slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45% to 40%. But a sizable percentage, 14%, say they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

One question there’s wide agreement on: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.

The idea of more witnesses, though, seems all but settled. Wrangling over rules for the trial stretched past midnight Tuesday night, with Republicans shooting down one-by-one Democratic efforts to get Trump aides including former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, to testify.

Senators are likely to repeat those rejections next week, shutting out any chance of new testimony.

One longshot idea to pair one of Trump’s preferred witnesses — Biden’s son Hunter Biden — with Bolton or another that Democrats want was swiftly rejected.

“That’s off the table,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled open Wednesday’s session as senators settled in for the long days ahead.

Trump, who was in Davos, Switzerland, attending a global economic forum, praised his legal team, and suggested he would be open to his advisers testifying, though that seems unlikely. He said here were “national security” concerns that would stand in the way.

After the House prosecutors present their case, the president’s lawyers will follow with another 24 hours over three days. They are expected to take only Sunday off.

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to rebut,” said Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow at the Capitol, “and we will rebut.”

Then there will be 16 hours for senators, who must sit quietly at their desks, no speeches or cellphones, to ask written question, and another four hours for deliberations.

The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election. All four senators who are Democratic presidential candidates are off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.

Campaigning at stops in Iowa, Joe Biden also rejected having his son testify, or even appearing himself. “I want no part of that,” he said.

Ahead of opening arguments, senators, particularly Republicans, were alternately restless, bored and exhausted by the proceedings.

GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa spoke sarcastically about how excited she was to hear the “overwhelming evidence” the House Democrats have against Trump. “And once we’ve heard that overwhelming evidence,” she added, raising her voice mockingly, “I don’t know that we’ll need to see additional witnesses, but let’s hear about that overwhelming evidence.”

The trial began with a setback on Tuesday for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who backed off his plans to limit each side’s arguments to two days, as the White House had preferred.

But the GOP leader has been skilled at keeping even the most wayward Republicans, those with some concerns about Trump, united in batting back Democratic requests for witnesses and testimony. They ultimately approved a rules package that pushes off a final decision on whether or not to seek additional testimony until late in the trial.

Schumer bemoaned the remaining limitations, saying Wednesday the impeachment trial “begins with a cloud hanging over it, a cloud of unfairness.”

Republicans are eager for a swift trial. Yet Trump’s legal team passed on an opportunity to file a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, an acknowledgement that there were not enough Republican votes to support it.

The White House legal team, in its court filings and presentations, has not disputed Trump’s actions. But the lawyers insist the president did nothing wrong.

___

Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram, Andrew Taylor, Laurie Kellman, Matthew Daly and Padmananda Rama in Washington and Bill Barrow in Osage, Iowa, contributed to this report.


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