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The sad desperation of the GOP's Biden impeachment inquiry

Plus Nikki Haley's long-term strategy, Alabama' courageous fertility doctors and a very special morning routine in this week’s 3-Minute Read from Jen Psaki.
"Inside with Jen Psaki"
Jen PsakiMSNBC

'Star witness' no more

Incredibly, given the news of the past few days, the effort to impeach Joe Biden is still happening. The GOP’s whole debacle effectively revolves around Alexander Smirnov, the supposedly unimpeachable star witness who was going to blow the whistle on the president’s alleged corruption.

But as it turns out, Smirnov was a terrible witness. He is now facing a federal indictment for allegedly lying to the FBI. Making matters even more ridiculous, Smirnov told prosecutors he was being fed falsehoods by Russian intelligence officers.  

In a 28-page filing, prosecutors said Smironv was planning to spread even more lies and propaganda ahead of this year’s election. Worried that he might flee, they had him rearrested earlier this week

This is going to be awfully hard for Republicans to explain away. 

Rep. James Comer and his fellow MAGA House Republicans are already trying to pivot. They’re sloppily trying to cover their tracks and downplay Smirnov's involvement. Comer even dared to say that Smirnov “wasn’t an important part of this investigation.” 

And as the GOP plows ahead with its baseless impeachment inquiry, two House committees announced that Hunter Biden will appear for closed-door depositions next week. Are Republicans ready to quietly wind this incredibly embarrassing charade down? Not yet.

A story you should be following: Nikki Haley 'refuses to quit'

Today is the day — the first head-to-head battle between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley in a month. Though recent polling has Haley trailing Trump by more than 20 points in South Carolina, don’t expect the Palmetto State native to drop out yet. 

Haley made it clear in a speech this week that she’s in it for the long haul, no matter what happens tonight. And though I don’t agree with Haley on much, I’ll give credit where it’s due: She has firmly stepped up her attacks against Trump. In that same speech this week, Haley described Trump as increasingly “unstable,” highlighting the fact that he “spends more time in courtrooms than he does on the campaign trail.” 

Haley also vastly outraised Trump in January, bringing in $16.5 million in contributions — her campaign’s strongest fundraising month to date

On paper, Haley seems like the obvious best candidate. But voters remain unmoved. The polling, and results tonight, remind us that this race was never about messaging. It’s always been about the weird, still hard-to-understand loyalty the Republican base has for Trump.

Someone you should know: Dr. Mamie McLean

Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under the state’s laws, meaning individuals can be held liable for destroying them. This has raised serious concerns about the future of in vitro fertilization in the state. 

Dr. Mamie McLean is a reproductive endocrinologist at Alabama Fertility — a fertility clinic that paused IVF treatments this week as physicians wrestle with the legal implications of the ruling. McLean has been vocal about the ruling and the confusion it has caused for patients who will have to delay their dreams of becoming parents. 

“This decision is a terrifying, existential threat to thousands of Alabamans whose most precious and longed-for dream is a baby,” Dr. McLean wrote in an op-ed on Thursday. “There is no question fewer babies will be born because of this ruling.”

For now, doctors and patients are in a holding pattern as they await further guidance from the state. It remains to be seen whether the ruling will be appealed, though experts say it’s unlikely it will be heading to the Supreme Court anytime soon. 

One thing is clear, however: This is just another play in the Republican Party’s anti-abortion playbook. The sad irony is that fewer women who actually want to become mothers will be able to do so, and fewer babies will be born because of it. 

Joy Reid’s weekend routine

Host of MSNBC’s “The ReidOut,” Joy Reid is the author of the new book “Medgar and Myrlie.” You can buy it now, wherever you get your books. 

What show are you bingeing right now? 

I finished “American Nightmare” just before the book tour started, and now I’ve started” The Staircase.” (I love a good murder mystery,)

What’s the last book you read? 

The last two books, which I kind of read at the same time, were “Black AF History” by Michael Harriott and “The 100 Years’ War on Palestine” by Raahid Khalidi.

What time do you wake up on the weekends? 

Unfortunately my body clock wakes me up at 7:15 a.m. no matter when I fall asleep, but on weekends I refuse to actually leave the bed until 10 a.m.

How do you take your coffee?

Cream, turbinado sugar (or regular sugar if they don’t have it) and an espresso shot.