WHITE DEMS DEBATE TUESDAY: Six Democratic presidential candidates have qualified for Tuesday's debate in Iowa, the final televised encounter before the state’s Feb. 3 caucuses," per WSJ. The final six: "The Democratic National Committee said Saturday the participants in the debate will be: former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren." Between the lines: As the Washington Post's Annie Linskey notes, "Only white candidates have qualified, ... the first time in this election cycle that no minority contender will make the stage.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE FOR EXTENDING POLL HOURS BILL: Legislation to extend Indiana’s Election Day voting by two hours – to 8 p.m. – got a hearing this week in the House Elections Committee (Smith, Indiana Public Media). Current poll hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Indiana is one of only three states whose polls close that early. It’s also one of only 18 states where polls are open just 12 hours. The Hoosier State also regularly ranks near the bottom of the country for voter turnout. Indiana county clerks worry the change would put a greater burden on their already strained resources. Christine Traina lobbies for the clerks. “The fear is that this will lead to more poll workers not participating in the election process," Traina says. "We’ve already seen a trend of less qualified poll workers.” There’s no guarantee the bill will get a vote. Several Republican committee members expressed doubts the poll hour change would have any impact.

PROTESTS ERUPT ACROSS IRAN OVER DOWNED AIRLINER: Protests erupted across Iran for a second day on Sunday, increasing pressure on the Islamic Republic’s leadership after it admitted its military shot down a Ukrainian airliner by accident, despite days of denials that Iranian forces were to blame (Reuters). “They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here,” one group of protesters chanted outside a university in Tehran, according to video posted on Twitter. Other posts showed demonstrators outside a second university and a group of protesters marching to Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, as well as protests in other cities. Some state-affiliated media carried reports of the university protests, which followed demonstrations on Saturday sparked by Iran’s admission that its military mistakenly shot down the plane on Wednesday, killing all 176 aboard, at a time when Tehran feared U.S. air strikes.

TRUMP SIGNED OFF ON SOLEIMANI ATTACK 7 MONTHS AGO: President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials (NBC News). The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final sign-off on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. That decision explains why assassinating Soleimani was on the menu of options that the military presented to Trump two weeks ago for responding to an attack by Iranian proxies in Iraq, in which a U.S. contractor was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded, the officials said.

TRUMP PROPOSES BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES AS AUSTRALIA BURNS: President Trump pushes the biggest changes to environmental law in 50 years. The world’s biggest investor is going big on global warming. The proposals are likely the biggest changes to the law — the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) — in its 50-year history, and could implicitly exclude climate change from consideration.House Democrats are going it alone on climate policy. And all that happened just last week (Axios). It was easy to miss, amid hostilities with Iran, Australia burning, and other crises, Axios' Amy Harder writes in her weekly "Harder Line" energy column. But big changes are happening on the energy and climate change front that suggest more polarization and acrimony that could last long after the presidential election. Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced a sweeping legislative framework on Wednesday, laying out policies that the lawmakers say could achieve net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within the next three decades. It adds policy substance to what has otherwise been mostly rhetoric coming from House Democrats.

IMPEACHMENT TAKES SHAPE THIS WEEK: This week we'll see kinetic action on impeachment for the first time in a while (Politico Playbook). And here's what you can expect: The House will come into session tonight, but the weekly caucus meeting will be TUESDAY morning. It is there that Speaker Pelosi will discuss the next steps on impeachment with House Democrats. We anticipate a vote to send the impeachment articles and name the managers sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. Once the Senate gets the articles, expect three or four days of housekeeping and logistical work before the trial actually begins. Senate Majority Leader McConnell anticipates keeping the Senate in SIX DAYS A WEEK until impeachment is over. In closed meetings, McConnell has been pressed on this, and he's been consistent that he wants to keep the chamber in all week, save Sundays -- in line with the Senate's guidelines for impeachment. MLK Day is also probably an off-day. In recent days, McConnell  allies have told us multiple times that we should expect a robust conversation in the Senate GOP about calling witnesses in the trial. We'll see just how robust the debate is, and what the rules call for.

PROGRESSIVES SURGE TOWARD SANDERS:  Something’s happening with Bernie Sanders that looked unlikely to many a few months ago: Progressive leaders and organizations are lining up behind him, not Elizabeth Warren, in the lead-up to voting (Politico). Two groups run by young people — the Sunrise Movement, which seeks to combat climate change, and Dream Defenders, which advocates for people of color — endorsed him last week. He’s also won the backing of People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy, which together claim more than 1.5 million members, as well as three lawmakers in the so-called “Squad” and liberal-minded labor unions. The consolidation of left-wing support is a remarkable turnaround for Sanders. In September, the Working Families Party became the first major national progressive group to endorse a candidate when it picked Warren — despite siding with Sanders in 2016. Warren was surging at the time, and looked poised to overtake Sanders as the leader of the progressive movement and a frontrunner for the nomination. But now it’s Sanders with the wind at his back.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The CNN/Des Moines Register Poll revealed that 49% of Bernie Sanders supporters are locked on their choice. This compares to just 26% of Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden supporters. Sanders now leads in Iowa, though Buttigieg, Biden and Elizabeth Warren are within or close to the margin of error. This is a turnout caucus, so anyone can emerge, but Sanders support appears to be solidifying. As for second choices, 16% named Warren while 15% chose Buttigieg. The wildcard in 21 days is the Senate impeachment trial, which is going to take Sanders, Warren and Sen. Amy Klobachar out of the mix for a week or so. - Brian A. Howey


MYERS EXPANDS CAMPAIGN STAFF:  The Democratic gubernatorial campaign of Dr. Woody Myers is expanding his campaign staff by hiring one of the best fundraisers in the country and adding senior staff members (Howey Politics Indiana). The Myers campaign hired one of the top fundraising consultants in the country, Scott Gale with Fundraising Management Group (FMG). Gale most recently helped propel Democrat Andy Beshear to victory in the Kentucky governor’s race. Myers’ new Campaign Manager, Zakiya Thomas, is battle-tested, helping to elect Democrats statewide in red-to-blue states. Thomas most recently worked on Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign as the Deputy National Political Director. Thomas is the former Executive Director of the National Woman’s Party and teaches a course on campaigning for public office at Georgetown University Law Center. Indianapolis-native Aaron Schaler is taking on the role of Deputy Campaign Manager. Schaler is the former president of Hoosiers for Justice and of Indiana Stonewall Democrats, where he helped bring awareness to LGBTQ issues. Mary Klinkose is coordinating fundraising for the campaign. Klinkose’s long resume shows she began her career with Governor Evan Bayh and has worked as a fundraiser for the Marion County Democratic Party and raised money for former Congressman Baron Hill’s U.S. Senate campaign and other Democratic statewide campaigns. Aaren Myers, an Indianapolis native, recently moved back to support the campaign. Aaren brings fundraising and project management experience to the team from her work in charitable giving for a nonprofit in Chicago. Jack Metcalfe rounds out the finance team. Metcalfe most recently worked at a boutique consultancy in Los Angeles, where he managed open-source research investigations.  Communications veteran Kate Shepherd remains in charge of media relations and communications strategy. Shepherd has nearly 30 years of experience in broadcast journalism and public relations and is president of Kate Shepherd Communications. “We’ve assembled a dynamic and experienced team that’s ready to win this race,” said Dr. Myers. “We’re looking ahead to rolling out our vision for Indiana.”

SANDERS PICKS UP KEY NH ENDORSEMENT: Sen. Bernie Sanders has picked up the endorsement of one of New Hampshire’s largest and most influential unions, POLITICO has learned, dealing a blow to other Democratic presidential campaigns that have spent months fighting for it (Politico). The decision, as related by several people with knowledge of it, comes one month before the state’s primary contest and ends a long battle — both public and behind-the-scenes — to get the state employees union on board with a campaign. SEIU Local 1984 represents more than 10,000 people and is widely regarded as having the most sophisticated political operation, routinely driving its members both to volunteer and vote for candidates it has endorsed.

BIDEN'S VOTE FOR IRAQ WAR RESOLUTION: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. proposed a compromise. It was the fall of 2002 and the Bush administration was pushing for sweeping authority to act against Saddam Hussein, claiming he had weapons of mass destruction. Some Democrats questioned the stated threat posed by Iraq and bristled at President George W. Bush’s broad request (New York Times). Mr. Biden, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, had been scrambling to draft a bipartisan resolution that would grant Mr. Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq, but was more restrictive than the war authorization that the president had sought. As he often had in his long career, Mr. Biden sought bipartisan middle ground — this time, between those opposed to potential war and the White House desire for more open-ended power. Some antiwar members of his committee resisted his effort, worried that it would still pave the way to conflict. “We disagreed very strenuously,” said former Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California. Mr. Biden’s plan ultimately did not succeed, and he chose to focus on Mr. Bush’s reassurances of a diplomacy-first approach. “At each pivotal moment,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Bush, “he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation, and I believe he will continue to do so. At least that is my fervent hope.” On Oct. 11, he was one of 77 senators to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. Twenty-three colleagues, some of whom harbored grave doubts about the danger Iraq posed at the time, refused to back the president’s request.

CARVILLE ENDORSES BENNET: James Carville, the last Democratic strategist to unseat an incumbent Republican president, today endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) for president, per the campaign (Axios). "The best way to beat Donald Trump is to show you’re not him," Carville said. "Senator Bennet has less in common with Donald Trump than any human being in the United States when it comes to worldview, priorities, and demeanor."

Sunday Talk

PELOSI SAYS GOP WILL 'PAY PRICE' FOR NO WITNESSES: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats will determine on Tuesday when to send formal impeachment charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate and warned that Republicans will pay a political price for denying a trial with witnesses. Pelosi, speaking on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” program, said her caucus at a regular meeting on Tuesday morning would vote on the timing of sending articles of impeachment to the Senate and naming trial managers in the House. “I have always said I would send them over. So there shouldn’t be any mystery to that,” Pelosi said.

BANNON SAYS TRUMP SHOULD DELAY SOTU UNTIL AFTER TRIAL: Former White House adviser Steve Bannon called on President Trump to delay the State of the Union until after the impeachment trial in the Senate. Bannon told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that the president should push back the annual address until after he is acquitted so that there is no hovering uncertainty regarding impeachment. “He will be acquitted and exonerated,” Bannon said. “That should happen. And then he should do the State of the Union because the whole world will watch this.”

KERRY SAYS SANDERS DISTORTS BIDEN'S WAR VOTE: Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is “distorting” his presidential primary opponent former Vice President Joe Biden’s record over his vote in favor of the Iraq War. “I think Bernie is regrettably distorting Joe’s record,” Kerry, a Biden campaign surrogate, said Sunday on CBS “Face the Nation.” He added that Sanders “doesn’t have what Joe Biden has,” in terms of eight years on the national security council.  Kerry continued that he knows “very well what Joe’s position” since he answered the same questions in 2003 and 2004, when he was running for president.

KAINE SAYS INTEL DOESN'T BACK TRUMP ON THREATS: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said on Sunday that President Trump’s claim that Iran was plotting to attack four U.S. embassies was not supported by intelligence shared with him during a briefing last week. “I was at the classified briefing because I'm both an Armed Services and Foreign Relations member, that wasn't told to us in the classified briefing, nor was there a suggestion that multiple embassies were threatened,” Kaine said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

SEN. LEE SAYS HIS PROBLEM WITH BRIEFERS, NOT TRUMP: Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said Sunday his concerns with a briefing on the Trump administration’s decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani are with the briefers and not with President Trump. Lee, who called last week’s Iran briefing “insulting and demeaning,” said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the first time he heard about a potential Iranian plot to attack four U.S. embassies was during Trump’s interview with Fox News. “Do you have a problem with learning that on television?” host Margaret Brennan asked. “Yes, but the problem there is not with the president the problem is with those who were briefing us,” Lee responded.

MNUCHIN DISMISSES CHINA DEAL RUMOR: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Sunday dismissed the “rumor” that China’s commitments in phase one of the trade deal were changed in translation. During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Mnuchin denied that China’s commitment to buy $40 billion to $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products and $200 billion of U.S. products over two years changed when translating the trade deal. “It wasn’t changed in translation,” he said. “I don’t know where that rumor started. We have been going through a translation process that I think we said was really a technical issue,” Mnuchin said.


HOUSE SCHEDULE: The House is expected to pass a resolution to appoint House managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate (Axios). They will also consider the "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act," which would amend current law to declare that a complainant is not required to demonstrate that age or retaliation was the sole cause of an unlawful employment practice (therefore allowing what are commonly known as "mixed motive" claims). The House will also vote on H.J.Res. 76, which would formally disapprove of the rule submitted by the Education Department relating to "Borrower Defense Institutional Accountability."

SENATE SCHEDULE: The Senate will vote this week to confirm Peter Gaynor as FEMA administrator. Worth noting: As Axios' Alayna Treene first reported, Trump tapped Gaynor for the position in September, after quietly withdrawing the nomination of Jeffrey Byard due to a "personal issue."


IDOR: KRUPP RESIGNS TO RUN FOR A.G. - State Department of Revenue Commissioner Adam Krupp is stepping down from that role to run for Attorney General (Darling, WIBC). The Republican, originally from Plymouth in Marshall County, now lives in Zionsville. Being the top guy at the Department of Revenue means he's good with numbers, but he has also been a practicing lawyer in the private sector in the past, experience he told Indy Politics makes him right for the job. "The cases that I worked on and the skills that we developed were everything from bankruptcy, to breach-of-contract, to anti-trust investigations," Krupp said. "I've been watching and learning the process and I've engaged with the office of Attorney General." Krupp has been the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue under Gov. Mitch Daniels, Gov. Mike Pence, and Gov. Eric Holcomb. Krupp acknowledges the bad taste in everyone's mouth about the Office of Attorney General given the recent legal troubles current Attorney General Curtis Hill finds himself at the center of. "This process will run its course," Krupp said of the matter. "I'm looking forward to some closure from this. I think delegates and voters are too."

DNR: YELLOWWOOD ACREAGE SET ASIDE - Portions of Brown County State Park and nearby Yellowwood State Forest are getting special designation as a high conservation value forest area because of the rare yellowwood trees found there, and only there in Indiana (Bloomington Herald-Times). The certification through the Forest Stewardship Council is a way to ensure that 591 acres where the trees are growing is managed so they remain part of the landscape, according to Mike Spalding, resource specialist with Monroe-Monroe and Yellowwood state forests.

MEDIA: BOOK ON DOOMED EVANSVILLE TEAM - Like so many, Steve Beaven remembers exactly where he was on the evening of Dec. 13, 1977 (IBJ). He was at a high school basketball game inside Roberts Stadium as a 10-year-old. People in the crowd rumbled about there being a plane crash near the airport, but the game continued like usual. Beaven, a former IBJ reporter, didn’t learn the severity until he got home and turned on the news. The entire Evansville Purple Aces men’s basketball team and coaching staff died after the plane carrying them crashed on takeoff. It was a seminal moment for the city and the University of Evansville. “For most of us, the crash is a historical moment we remember once a year,” Beaven said. “But for the families and the moms and siblings of the people who were on that plane, they still feel that loss.” Because Beaven was only in fifth grade at the time, he decided in graduate school decades later to explore the events leading up to and following the crash. The result is the true story behind the tragic loss and the extraordinary rebirth of the Purple Aces in his debut book, “We Will Rise.” Physical copies of “We Will Rise” are now available in both hardcover and paperback, as well as a Kindle ebook option. It’s for sale on Amazon.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TWEETS ON IMPEACHMENT TRIAL - "Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, 'no pressure' Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!"

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: Monday: Trump will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. Trump and the first lady Melania Trump will travel to New Orleans to attend the college football national championship (LSU vs. Clemson).  Tuesday: Trump will speak at a campaign rally in Milwaukee.  Wednesday: Trump will participate in a signing ceremony for "Phase One" of the U.S.-China trade agreement. Thursday: Trump will announce guidance on prayer in public schools. Friday: Trump will speak at a fundraising dinner in Palm Beach.


VIGO COUNTY: 2 OF 18 CHILD DEATHS OCCURRED - The recently released annual report of child abuse and neglect fatalities included the Vigo County death of a 2-month-old child who died of severe dehydration, and the death of a 3-month-old female due to co-sleeping (Trigg, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). One of those deaths led to criminal charges against a parent who removed a feeding tube in her infant. Because of confidentiality maintained in the cases, it is unclear if criminal charges were filed in the co-sleeping case. DCS is required to review all child fatalities involving children younger than age 1 when the child’s death was sudden, unexpected, unexplained or involves allegations of abuse or neglect, and must investigate all fatalities for children age 1 or older when the death involves allegations of abuse or neglect. “Child abuse or neglect do not discriminate by socioeconomic status,” said Heidi Decker, director of the Vigo County DCS office. “This can happen to any family. It takes communities working together to ensure families that are struggling have what they need. Everyone in Indiana is a mandatory reporter, and we encourage anyone with concerns about a child’s well-being to make a report.”