Donald Trump has bemoaned the Senate impeachment trial rules set by Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell after realising the first day of his defence team’s opening argument will take place on Saturday, “which is called Death Valley in TV”, he noted, because viewer ratings are likely to be lower than they would be on a week night.
On Friday afternoon Mr Trump made history by becoming the first sitting president to attend the anti-abortion March for Life rally in Washington, DC, as he seeks to shore up conservative support ahead of November’s election.
Just before that speech, his administration announced that it would cut federal funding streams to California unless the liberal state revokes rules that require abortion coverage by health insurers.
During Mr Trump's speech to the anti-abortion group, he drew attention for claiming that unborn babies had never had a "stronger defender" in history, and pledged to maintain his support for religious liberties.
The Democratic impeachment managers have meanwhile continued to make the case against the president in the upper chamber on Thursday, focusing on abuse of power and accusing the administration and Fox News of pursuing “completely bogus, Kremlin-pushed” conspiracy theories as a pretext to cheat in 2020 by leaning on Ukraine for a political favour to damage possible rival Joe Biden.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced that dozens of US service members who were present when Iran attacked an Iraqi base suffered from brain injuries, contradicting Mr Trump's previous comments that they simply had headaches after the blast.
Many of those soldiers were transported to the United States for treatment, while others were taken to Germany.
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