September 11, 2019

With their 7-3 win Tuesday night over the Baltimore Orioles, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their seventh straight National League West title.

They earned the pennant at Camden Yards, becoming the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs. Corey Seager had two home runs for the Dodgers, while Gavin Lux has his first career homer. Over seven innings, pitcher Walker Buehler had no walks and only four hits, striking out 11.

The Dodgers are aiming to win their first World Series title since 1988; they lost to the Houston Astros in 2017 and the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Game 1 of the National League Division Series is set for Oct. 3 at Dodger Stadium. Catherine Garcia

9:41 p.m.

To work around Chief Justice John Roberts' schedule, this week's impeachment sessions have been starting at 1 p.m. ET, but Saturday could be a different story.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters on Thursday night that Saturday's session could start as early as 8 a.m. and finish no later than noon. Thune, the majority whip, said Senate leaders are trying to work out the schedule, but nothing is final yet.

On Saturday, President Trump's defense team will begin presenting their arguments. Catherine Garcia

8:48 p.m.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was engrossed in a book during Thursday's impeachment proceedings, but one thing managed to make her look up: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) referring to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, as an "American patriot."

"How patriotic is it to badmouth and ridicule our great nation in front of Russia, America's greatest enemy?" Blackburn tweeted. She did not give any examples of Vindman speaking ill of the United States in front of Russia.

Vindman, the director of European Affairs for the White House National Security Council, was on President Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and became concerned when he heard Trump request an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Vindman is also a veteran who served in the Iraq War, and received a Purple Heart for wounds he suffered in an IED attack.

Senators aren't supposed to be using electronics during the trial, but Blackburn tweeted throughout the afternoon and evening. Over multiple tweets, she accused Vindman of leaking sensitive material, being "vindictive," and wanting to "take Trump out." She appears to have a fixation with both Vindman and the idea of him being vindictive; in November, Blackburn tweeted, "Vindictive Vindman is the 'whistleblower's' handler." This remains her pinned tweet. Catherine Garcia

7:17 p.m.

Under a new rule going into effect Friday, the State Department will have the ability to deny a visitor visa to any pregnant woman suspected of traveling to the United States in order to give birth and secure American citizenship for her child.

The Trump administration on Thursday said it is cracking down on "birth tourism" because it "poses risk to national security." Having a baby is "not a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature," the State Department said, and the ability to deny visas closes an "immigration loophole," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham announced. "It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism."

The State Department estimates that "thousands of children" are born in the U.S. every year to people in the country on nonimmigrant visas. This new rule will not affect visitors from 39 countries where citizens are able to stay in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa, NPR reports. Birth tourism is often linked to visitors from Russia, China, and Nigeria. Catherine Garcia

5:58 p.m.

Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003.

Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. But when one of the virologists who helped identify the SARS virus visited Wuhan, where this virus originated, he didn't see nearly enough being done to fight it. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin. Airports were hardly being disinfected, Guan continued, saying the local government hasn't "even been handing out quarantine guides to people who were leaving the city."

The city did disinfect the market where the virus has been traced to, but Guan criticized Wuhan for that, saying it hurts researchers' abilities to track down the virus's source. "I've never felt scared," Guan told Caixin. "This time I'm scared."

A case involving the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Wednesday, and cases have also been identified in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. A total of 639 cases were confirmed in China. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:54 p.m.

From movie to Broadway musical ... back into movie?

That's the journey Mean Girls is going on, as Tina Fey is working on a feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical Mean Girls that is itself based on the 2004 movie of the same name, according to The Hollywood Reporter. There's no word yet on who might direct the film set up at Paramount, but Fey will write it, as she wrote the 2004 version.

This new Mean Girls, Uproxx notes, will be added to the "very short list" of films based on musicals based on films that aren't musicals — other examples include Hairspray and Little Shop of Horrors. To make it even more confusing, the original Mean Girls was based partially on the self-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes, technically making this a movie based on a musical based on a movie based on a book.

In a statement, Fey said she's "very excited to bring Mean Girls back to the big screen," comparing it to "my Marvel Universe," while producer Lorne Michaels said it's been "a joy to work on Mean Girls and to watch it go from film, to musical, and now to musical film." Now, Mean Girls: The Movie: The Musical: The Movie: The Ride may be the natural next step. Brendan Morrow

4:01 p.m.

Democrats are continuing to make their impeachment argument by citing President Trump's allies and officials, this time getting in a dig at Rudy Giuliani in the process.

Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas), one of the impeachment managers who spoke Thursday in Democrats' second day of opening arguments in the Senate's trial, took apart the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election by hacking the Democratic National Committee.

To make her point that this theory has no basis in reality, Garcia referred to the words of Trump's former Homeland Security adviser, Tom Bossert, who told ABC News last year this "conspiracy theory" has been "completely debunked." Bossert in the clip played in the Senate went on to voice frustrations with Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, for pushing this conspiracy theory, quoting a former senator's magazine article as saying that one of the "ways to impeach oneself" is "hiring Rudy Giuliani."

Previously, Garcia played a clip of FBI Director Christopher Wray stating in an interview, "We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election." This was another example during Democrats' impeachment arguments of using clips from Trump allies and officials to make their argument after House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) made strategic use of 1990s-era quotes from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Alan Dershowitz, a member of Trump's impeachment defense team, to argue abuse of power is impeachable.

HuffPost's Ryan Reilly reports that when Bossert in the clip quipped that hiring Giuliani is a way to self-impeach, there were "a lot of laughs on both sides of the Senate chamber." Brendan Morrow

3:04 p.m.

Fifth grade, meet the Senate floor.

During Wednesday arguments in President Trump's impeachment trial, senators seemed to have trouble staying awake and even staying in the room. So Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) broke out a middle school solution, passing out fidget spinners to Republicans at the "Carolina Cookout" lunch he hosted Thursday, CQ Roll Call reports. USA Today's Nicholas Wu noticed a few of Burr's colleagues had taken him up on the offer.

Along with Burr, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) found their own ways to pass the time, some more disengaging than others.

But none of the boredom-staving measures were enough to keep Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) from walking out again. Kathryn Krawczyk

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