The Note: Democrats spar in shadows, as Sanders hides in plain sight

Candidate Sanders has managed to stay on offense, despite the impeachment trial.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The run-up to the Iowa caucuses is the time one would expect a party's divisions to spill into the open.

A central figure is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who could plausibly win both Iowa and New Hampshire and deliver a bigger shock to the Democratic establishment than he did four years ago. Nothing -- not his sparring with Sen. Elizabeth Warren or the harsh words from Hillary Clinton -- seems to have slowed him.

The impeachment trial has sidelined Sanders to a degree, as it has Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But he and his supporters have actually managed to stay on offense -- against Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for starters.

Sanders is prepared to show off some Iowa muscle with a Saturday night rally featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They have three more events together Sunday, in addition to four events that Ocasio-Cortez will hold without Sanders -- the first coming Friday.

Whether impeachment wraps quickly or slowly, the primary race will remain. It's getting harder to imagine scenarios that don't involve a Sanders campaign reaching deep into the voting season.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Democrats spent considerable time Thursday during the Senate impeachment trial laying out evidence that they said demonstrated how President Donald Trump was working in his own interest and not the national interest.

Taken on its own, it may not have been the most effective argument, and it was rather risky.

Americans can be cynical and likely assume most politicians muddy personal and national priorities. The very concept of "national interests" is subjective, of course. More, in making this part of their case, the House manager repeatedly brought the Biden family into the conversation on the Senate floor, which could open the door for the president's team to do the same.

But Democrats rounded out their second day of opening arguments by zeroing in on "official" acts that they say the president engaged in to pursue those personal interests, and that part of their argument packs a different punch.

Democrats' case, remember, rests not just on the idea that Trump was looking out for No. 1, but that he was using powers afforded to him and only him has as president -- government tools -- to achieve political goals.

The TIP with Cheyenne Haslett

Saturday evening cannot come soon enough for the senators whose day jobs have taken over the interview process for their desired next job. Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar were all still planning on making Saturday events, but were waiting for the House impeachment managers to clarify what the schedule will actually look like in order to determine how quickly they could get to Iowa from Washington.

Sanders and Klobuchar have Saturday night events on the books, while Warren still has a full day penciled in: Her first event in Iowa on Saturday is scheduled for 11 a.m. local time.

Both Sanders and Warren's campaigns have confirmed the senators will be taking charter flights -- the only option to get them to Iowa in time for what they have scheduled. It's a move that requires a big paycheck to the private jet company and additional payments for offsetting carbon emissions, which both campaigns have pledged to do.

Add it to the list of curveballs the campaigns are now facing as impeachment runs headfirst into the Iowa caucuses.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News Legal Analyst Kate Shaw breaking down the second day of the House impeachment managers' opening arguments. Then, ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton has the latest on the coronavirus outbreak.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Throughout the month of January, the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast has been exploring the system we use to choose presidential candidates in an audio documentary series. The first installment looked at the accidental way our modern primary system came to be. The second looked at its consequences. In this, the final installment of the series, FiveThirtyEight asks how things could be different.


  • President Donald Trump addresses the 47th annual March for Life on the National Mall at 12:15 p.m. Later, he meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 3 p.m. in the Oval Office and delivers remarks to the nation's mayors at 4:15 p.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence is in Rome and he will have meetings with Pope Francis, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden attends a community event in Claremont, New Hampshire, at 11:45 a.m.
  • The Senate impeachment trial resumes at 1 p.m.
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg attends a fundraising event in Boston at 4:30 p.m. before holding a town hall in Durham, New Hampshire, at 7:15 p.m.
  • Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., participates in a forum at NHTI Concord Community College starting at 10 a.m.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, hosts a town hall in Andover, New Hampshire, at 6 p.m.
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick attends a Pink Ice Gala in Columbia, South Carolina, at 8 p.m.
  • Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., attends a campaign event at Cherry Glen Learning Farm in Polk City, Iowa, at 2 p.m. (CST).
  • Andrew Yang continues his Iowa bus tour, with stops in Burlington at 11:30 a.m. (CST), Keokuk at 1:30 p.m., Mt. Pleasant at 4 p.m. and Fairfield at 6 p.m.
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