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The Morning Rundown: Argument over rules delays start of Senate trial

The country may have to wait for a Senate trial of President Donald Trump.
Image: Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., arrives on Capitol Hill on Dec. 19, 2019.Susan Walsh / AP

Good morning, NBC News readers. An "impasse" over the Senate trial of President Donald Trump, Democratic candidates clash on stage, and a missing Texas newborn has been found alive according to her family.Here's what we're watching.

Feud over rules of engagement leads to 'impasse' on Trump's Senate trial

After impeachment, a pause. The country may have to wait for a Senate trial of President Donald Trump as Democrats and Republicans continue to argue over what the rules of the trial should be.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said Thursday that he has reached an "impasse" with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The pair have openly feuded over how the trial should be handled following Trump's historic impeachment Wednesday.

House Democrats say they may not submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate unless McConnell agrees to rules that ensure a fair trial, which Schumer has said should include witnesses who did not give testimony to the House. All this could mean Trump will have to wait indefinitely to likely be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks with reporters after walking off the Senate floor on Dec. 19, 2019, on Capitol Hill.Patrick Semansky / AP

Video: McConnell: 'Fine with me' if Democrats never send impeachment to the Senate.

Democratic candidates clash on stage with less than two months until voters weigh in

The seven Democratic presidential contenders left in the race clashed in a lively debate in Los Angeles Thursday night, with each making the case for why they are best placed to take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

The less crowded format meant there was more room for some head-to-head conflict between the contenders. Frontrunner Joe Biden escaped largely unscathed without that many attacks, but he still found time for a heated exchange with Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., over Medicare funding.

NBC News' Shannon Pettypiece has a roundup of the winners and losers here.

Meanwhile, Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders apologized for mocking Biden for stuttering while giving an answer during the debate. Biden tweeted that he has worked to overcome a lifelong stutter. "It's called empathy. Look it up," he added.

Democratic presidential candidates (L-R) Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) gesture during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Video: Watch the Democratic debate in less than 5 minutes

Missing Texas mom found dead but newborn baby found alive in "good condition"

A body believed to be that of a missing Texas mother was found Thursday night near Houston, while her newborn has been discovered alive, a family member told NBC News.

What is likely to be the body of Heidi Broussard, who has been missing for a week, was found in Jersey Village, Texas, police told her mother, Tammy Broussard.

Heidi Broussard and Margot Carey.Courtesy Family

Medicare expansion has come to Idaho — but welcome changes are mired in uncertainty

For Melissa Turner, proposed changes to Medicare rules will be a big deal. She lost her job and health insurance and has tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt.

She is one of about 91,000 who would benefit from a higher income threshold from Jan. 1., meaning she is less likely to increase her debt.

But there's an ongoing battle in the state's Republican-controlled legislature over waivers that could limit the scope of insurance expansion — despite 62 percent of the voters backing the scheme at the ballot box last year.

Highway 93 near Challis, Idaho.Janie Osborne / for NBC News

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• At least two volunteer firefighters have died and three were injured Thursday in wildfires that have ravaged Australia's most populous state.

• Polish model Kaja Sokola has accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old.

• J.K. Rowling has attracted criticism for tweeting her support for a researcher who lost her think tank job over tweets that were criticized as being transphobic.

• Kim Kardashian West has faced criticism on social media for allegedly appearing darker than usual on a magazine cover.

THINK about it

The sentencing of Pakistan's former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf to death Tuesday for high treason is a win for democracy and could usher in a new political age, argues Natasha Noman.


If you haven't even started Christmas shopping yet, don't panic — just check out this guide to last-minute presents.

One heartwarming thing

When 88-year-old retired nurse Violet, who is still recovering from a knee replacement, boarded a flight from New York to London, she didn't expect to be sitting in first class.But that's what happened after fellow passenger Jack offered her his seat, while he took hers in economy. Violet said it had "always been her dream to fly first class." A member of the flight crew spotted when happened and put the story on Facebook.

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Thanks, Patrick Smith