Trump Administration, Week 140: Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

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Friday, 20 September 2019, Day 974:


Photos: What the youth climate strike looks like around the world, Vox, Brian Resnick and Danielle Scruggs, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Friday may be remembered as the largest global demonstration ever in the fight against climate change. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, young people around the world have organized to skip school and protest in the street over the climate crisis and the adults who aren’t doing enough to transition off fossil fuels. Thunberg and her group Fridays for Future aren’t alone: They’ll be joined by adult climate activists, indigenous groups, workers from companies like Amazon and Google, and really anyone who feels like the world is overdue for dramatic action on climate change. The event is truly global: There are 2,500 events scheduled in over 150 countries.” See also, Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever, The Guardian, Sandra Laville and Jonathan Watts, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Millions of people demonstrated across the world yesterday demanding urgent action to tackle global heating, as they united across timezones and cultures to take part in the biggest climate protest in history. In an explosion of the youth movement started by the Swedish school striker Greta Thunberg just over 12 months ago, people protested from the Pacific islands, through Australia, across-south east Asia and Africa into Europe and onwards to the Americas. For the first time since the school strikes for climate began last year, young people called on adults to join them – and they were heard. Trade unions representing hundreds of millions of people around the world mobilised in support, employees left their workplaces, doctors and nurses marched and workers at firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook walked out to join the climate strikes.” See also, Global climate strike: Greta Thunberg and school students lead climate crisis protest–as it happened, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh, Mark Oliver, Haroon Siddique, and Naaman Zhou, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Protesting Climate Change, Young People Take to the Streets in a Global Strike, The New York Times, Somini Sengupta, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Anxious about their future on a hotter planet and angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, masses of young people poured into the streets on every continent on Friday for a day of global climate protests. Organizers estimated the turnout to be around four million in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. It was the first time that children and young people had demonstrated to demand climate action in so many places and in such numbers around the world.” See also, Climate Strike N.Y.C.: Young Crowds Demand Action and Welcome Greta Thunberg, The New York Times, Anne Barnard and James Barron, Friday, 20 September 2019: “They packed Foley Square and the streets around City Hall, and jammed the stairs leading out of nearby subway stations. They carried handmade signs like one that said, ‘There is no plan(et) B,’ and chanted, ‘Sea levels are rising and so are we!’ Later, they paraded out of the square, headed to another rally at Battery Park. Frustrated by what they consider officials’ failure to adequately address a crisis, thousands of young people marched through Lower Manhattan on Friday during a day of global climate protests. Those who rallied said that too little was being done to stem the rise of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. One test of their message will come on Monday, when world leaders convene at the United Nations to discuss what they are ready to do about climate change.” See also, Greta Thunberg is leading students and adults from 150 countries in a massive Friday climate strike, Vox, Umair Irfan, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Thousands of Tech Workers Join Global Climate Change Strike, Wired, Louise Matsakis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Thousands of workers from AmazonTwitterGoogleMicrosoftFacebookSquare, and other tech companies are expected to walk out today as part of a worldwide climate change strike led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg. After Amazon workers announced they were joining the demonstration last week, employees from other Silicon Valley firms began joining in. The same group of Amazon employees have been pushing the company to reduce its carbon footprint for nearly a year. Now, over 1,700 of them and counting have said they will join Friday’s walkout, which is expected to draw millions of participants in cities around the world.” See also, Millions of Young People Around the World Are Leading Strikes to Call Attention to the Climate Crisis, BuzzFeed News, Zahra Hirji, Matthew Champion, Azeen Ghorayshi, and J. Lester Feder, Friday, 20 September 2019: “People — mainly young people — across the world walked out of school and work in a massive youth-led movement to draw attention to the climate crisis. There were more than 3,600 events planned, according to the main organizing group #FridaysForFuture. The third global youth-run climate strike of the year, Friday’s event was poised to be the biggest yet and it seemed to deliver: streets in major cities around the world were shuttered with throngs of determined people holding clever signs and chanting.” See also, ‘We will make them hear us’: Millions of youths around the world strike for action, The Washington Post, Sarah Kaplan, Lauren Lumpkin, and Brady Dennis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In one of the largest youth-led demonstrations in history, millions of people from Manhattan to Mumbai took to the streets around the globe on Friday, their chants, speeches and homemade signs delivering the same stern message to world leaders: do more to combat climate change — and do it faster.” See also, Summits, Strikes, and Climate Change, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Are the politics of climate change in America changing? There are positive signs. Earlier this month, the top ten candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination participated in a CNN town hall on the issue; according to the Times, this was ‘the first such prime-time event’ in history. A recent Washington Post poll found that more than three-quarters of Americans now consider climate change a ‘crisis’ or a ‘major problem.’ A survey conducted this summer of voters in Texas showed that, even in the oil patch, a majority are concerned about climate change. Thunberg’s actions have inspired hundreds of thousands of young people around the globe to stage school strikes for climate action. Ahead of the strike called for the eve of the climate summit, the New York City school system said it would excuse students who skipped classes; Thunberg was set to speak to the strikers in Foley Square. Still, you’d have to ignore most of the past forty years to conclude that action is imminent.” See also, Scientists Warn That Immediate Climate Action Is Needed to Avoid ‘Grim’ Future, Scientific American, Thomas Frank, Friday, 20 September 2019: “A leading group of international climate scientists is warning that ‘large-scale strategies’ are needed immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avert ‘catastrophic circumstances’ that threaten every part of the world. In a paper published yesterday in the journal Science, 21 researchers from 14 countries said climate change is already damaging the planet more than scientists had projected, endangering everything from food supply to the existence of island nations. Heat waves are intensifying in North America and Europe. Underwater heat waves are killing deepwater habitats and coral reefs. Insect populations are dwindling, threatening the food chain. And larger, more frequent wildfires, such as the blazes that have killed more than 100 people in California since 2017, are destroying forests and communities around the world.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Congress Should Pass New Laws so Sitting Presidents Can Be Indicted, NPR, Friday, 20 September 2019: “In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted. ‘I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he’s committed a wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted,’ Pelosi told All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro and NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Friday. ‘That’s something cooked up by the president’s lawyers.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs changing the law to allow a sitting president to be indicted, Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed changing federal law to specify that a sitting president can be indicted, even as she indicated she was no closer to moving to impeach President Donald Trump. In an interview with NPR published Friday, Pelosi argued that despite a Justice Department legal opinion asserting the contrary, ‘there is nothing any place that says the president should not be indicted.'”

U.S. Agreement With El Salvador Seeks to Divert Asylum Seekers, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Elisabeth Malkin, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration signed an agreement with the government of El Salvador on Friday that could force Central American migrants traveling through El Salvador to seek refuge in that violent and dangerous country instead of in the United States. The agreement is a win for President Trump and his hard-line immigration policies, and it gives him another ally in Central America as he tries to block migrants from seeking asylum at the southwestern border. Washington has signed a similar agreement with Guatemala.” See also, Trump administration reaches deal to send asylum seekers to El Salvador in an effort to deter migrants from entering the United States, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Friday, 20 September 2019: “The Trump administration announced an accord Friday that will allow the United States to divert asylum seekers from the U.S. border to El Salvador, pushing migrants into one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The deal between the two governments is the latest measure aimed at creating new layers of deterrents to the influx of migrants applying for protection on U.S. soil.”

Continue reading Week 140, Friday, 20 September – Thursday, 26 September 2019 (Days 974-980)

Germany Unveils $60 Billion Climate Package, The New York Times, Melissa Eddy, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Friday agreed to support a $60 billion package of climate policies aimed at getting Germany back on track to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Opposition politicians and experts on climate science quickly condemned the package as lacking the ambition needed to restore the country’s status as an international leader in efforts to battle climate change.”

Trump administration ignored its own evidence of climate change’s impact on migration from Central America, NBC News, Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Research compiled one year ago by Customs and Border Protection pointed to an overwhelming factor driving record-setting migration to the U.S. from Guatemala: Crop shortages were leaving rural Guatemalans, especially in the country’s western highlands, in extreme poverty and starving. An internal report that was circulated to senior Homeland Security officials and obtained by NBC News showed that migration surged from those areas of Guatemala without reliable subsistence farming or wages from commercial farming jobs. More than 100,000 Guatemalans headed north last year, and many more followed in fiscal year 2019, making Guatemala the single largest country contributing to undocumented immigration across the U.S. southwest border this year. Scientists have said the increase in poverty and food insecurity driving migration are due to multiple factors, one of which is climate change.”

Trump Repeatedly Pressed Ukraine President to Investigate Joe Biden’s Son, The Wall Street Journal, Alan Cullison, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Dustin Volz, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent. ‘He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know’ if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Giuliani has suggested Mr. Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fight corruption had to do with an investigation of a gas company for which his son was a director. A Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son Hunter Biden.” See also, Trump pressed Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Carol D. Leonnig, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Trump pressed the leader of Ukraine to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden in a call between the two leaders that is at the center of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Trump used the July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure the recently elected leader to pursue an investigation that Trump thought would deliver potential political dirt on one of his possible challengers in 2020, the people said.” See also, Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader as Giuliani Pushed for Biden Inquiry, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Adam Goldman, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Trump repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian president in a phone call to talk with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had been urging the government in Kiev for months to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family, according to people briefed on the call. Mr. Trump’s request for a Ukrainian investigation of Mr. Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is part of the secret whistle-blower complaint that is said to be about Mr. Trump and at least in part about his dealings with Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter.” See also, Rudy Giuliani denies asking Ukraine to investigate Biden–before admitting it, CNN Politics, Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday denied asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden moments before admitting that he had done just that. Giuliani’s comments came in a heated exchange on CNN’s ‘Cuomo Prime Time’ as Chris Cuomo pressed the former New York mayor over conversations he’d had with a Ukrainian official about Biden’s possible role in that government’s dismissal of a prosecutor who had investigated the former vice president’s son, Hunter. Giuliani has repeatedly pointed to the event as a scandal, even as other Western governments also called for that prosecutor’s dismissal and no evidence has indicated Biden’s move was inappropriate. That prosecutor was replaced by Yuriy Lutsenko, who would later drop an investigation into a company in which Hunter Biden was involved.” See also, Rudy Giuliani admits to asking Ukraine about Joe Biden after denying it 30 seconds earlier, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, contradicted himself when asked whether he personally asked Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, ranted about media bias and defended Trump amid new reports about an intelligence official’s whistleblower complaint, during a chaotic and fiery CNN interview Thursday night.” See also, How Trump and Giuliani pressured Ukraine to investigate the president’s rivals, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Paul Sonne, Michael Kranish, and David L. Stern, Friday, 20 September 2019. See also, Did Trump Try to Extort the President of Ukraine Into Investigating Joe Biden? The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Friday, 20 September 2019: “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Trump development to trump them all—or most of them. On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that a complaint from an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, which has been the subject of a bitter oversight dispute between the Trump Administration and Congress, centers on a phone call that Trump had on July 25th, with Ukraine’s recently elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Many details about this story remain murky, but the implication seems to be that the whistle-blower is alleging that Trump promised to release two hundred and fifty million dollars in stalled aid for Ukraine if Zelensky would launch a corruption investigation into matters involving Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. You might think that sounds too outrageous to be plausible: a President who spent just under two years being investigated for possibly colluding with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election putting the squeeze on another foreign country to interfere in the 2020 race. But hang on a minute. Shortly after the Post’s story dropped, Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has for months been claiming (without any real evidence) that Joe Biden bribed Ukrainian officials to drop a corruption investigation involving his son, went on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show and said, ‘It is perfectly appropriate for a President to say to a leader of a foreign country, “Investigate this bribe, that was paid by a former Vice-President, that our media in America is covering up.”” See also, Behind the Whistle-Blower Case, a Long-Held Trump Grudge Toward Ukraine, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 20 September 2019: “For months this spring and summer, Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, tried to deflect pressure from President Trump and his allies to pursue investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Biden’s son and other Trump rivals.” See also, Intelligence Whistle-Blower Law, Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 20 September 2019.

Trump Must Tape Testimony for Trial Over 2015 Protest at Trump Tower, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 20 September 2019: “A Bronx trial judge on Friday ordered President Trump to provide videotaped testimony for an upcoming trial over a lawsuit brought by protesters who say that his private security guards assaulted them on a public sidewalk in front of Trump Tower and stole a protest sign. The ruling raises the highly unusual constitutional spectacle of a state-level judge commanding a sitting president to testify for a trial against his will. But Justice Doris M. Gonzalez of Bronx Supreme Court wrote that Mr. Trump’s testimony was necessary, rejecting a request by his legal team that she quash a subpoena. The trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 26.”

California and 22 other states and the District of Columbia sue Trump administration over revoking authority to limit car pollution, The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni and Juliet Eilperin, Friday, 20 September 2019: “California and 22 other states filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the Trump administration, challenging its decision to revoke the most-populous state’s right to set pollution limits on cars and light trucks. The legal battle’s outcome will affect which vehicles Americans drive in the years to come, as well as the country’s effort to tackle climate change and the balance between federal and state power.” See also, California and 22 other states and the District of Columbia sue Trump to stop ban on auto emissions standards, The Guardian, Vivian Ho, Friday, 20 September 2019: “California and 23 other states have filed a lawsuit to stop the Trump administration from blocking California’s authority to set emission standards for cars and trucks, making good on promises to fight the administration’s decision in court.” See also, Led by California, States Sue the Department of Transportation Over Tailpipe-Emissions Dispute, The Wall Street Journal, Katy Stech Ferek and Brent Kendall, Friday, 20 September 2019: “California, joined by 22 other states and the District of Columbia, sued the Trump administration Friday in a bid to preserve the state’s power to set tougher vehicle-emissions standards for the country’s auto industry. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit in a Washington, D.C., federal court the day after officials from the Transportation Department and the Environmental Protection Agency announced new regulations to strip away California’s authority.” See also, California Sues the Trump Administration in Its Escalating War Over Auto Emissions, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Friday, 20 September 2019: “California and nearly two dozen other states on Friday filed suit against the Trump administration’s unprecedented legal reversal of the state’s authority to set its own rules on climate-warming tailpipe emissions.”

Trump Announces New Sanctions on Iran, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Trump on Friday announced a new round of sanctions against Iran’s national bank, escalating economic pressure on the country as the president’s national security advisers review a list of targets for a potential strike in retaliation for recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields. The sanctions targeting the Iranian national bank add to the pressure on Iran, which the United States accuses of attacking Saudi oil facilities.”

Citing Khashoggi’s killing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the U.S. should not bomb Iran at the Saudis’ behest, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Friday, 20 September 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cited the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi Friday in opposing a potential strike on Iran in retaliation for the Sept. 14 attacks on key Saudi oil facilities. Pelosi (D-Calif.) said ‘absolutely not’ when asked in an NPR interview whether she would support military action against Iran related to the Saudi attack and went on to make an apparent reference to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who enjoys close ties to President Trump and is also believed by U.S. intelligence officials to be implicated in the killing of Khashoggi, a critic of his.”

Trump says he could end the Afghanistan war quickly, but ‘tens of millions’ of people would die, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Friday, 20 September 2019: “President Trump said Friday that the United States could end the nearly 19-year war in Afghanistan ‘very quickly’ if he chose to do so but that it would involve killing ‘tens of millions’ of people. Trump’s comments came at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he relayed that Afghanistan — a country of about 37 million people — was among the issues that the two men discussed in their meeting at the White House. ‘We’ve been very effective in Afghanistan, and if we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly, but many, many, really, tens of millions of people would be killed, and we think it’s unnecessary,’ Trump said. ‘But Australia’s been a great help to us in Afghanistan.'”


Saturday, 21 September 2019, Day 975:


Immigration and Customs Enforcement to resume detaining migrant families at Texas facility, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Saturday, 21 September 2019: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will soon resume detaining migrant families in Texas, at a facility outside of San Antonio, clearing the way for the agency to detain hundreds of additional parents and children. The Trump administration had stopped holding families at the Karnes County Residential Center in the spring, saying it was unable to transport migrants there because of a record influx of families at the border. But, after a decline in apprehensions in the summer, officials said in a statement on Saturday that they will revert Karnes ‘back to a family residential center in the near future.'”

Trump, Biden, and a Whistle-Blower Complaint: Here Are the Basics, The New York Times, Michael Crowley and Kenneth P. Vogel, Saturday, 21 September 2019: “President Trump is under intense scrutiny over a classified whistle-blower complaint about his behavior, which at least partly involves his dealings with Ukraine’s new president and Mr. Trump’s call for Ukraine’s government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.”

Trump’s Ukraine call reveals a president convinced of his own invincibility, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, and Rachael Bade, Saturday, 21 September 2019: “When the July 24 congressional testimony of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III deflated the impeachment hopes of Democrats, President Trump crowed ‘no collusion’ and claimed vindication from accusations that he had conspired with Russia in the 2016 election. Then, the very next day, Trump allegedly sought to collude with another foreign country in the coming election — pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up what he believed would be damaging information about one of his leading Democratic challengers, former vice president Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the conversation.”

Bernie Sanders Calls for Eliminating Americans’ Medical Debt, The New York Times, Margot Sanger-Katz and Sydney Ember, Saturday, 21 September 2019: “Bernie Sanders has long wanted to remake the health care system so no one will have to pay directly for medical care again. Now, he also wants to go back and cancel all the medical debts of people who have been billed under the current system. In a plan released Saturday, Mr. Sanders, the Vermont senator and presidential candidate, proposes wiping out an estimated $81 billion in existing debt and changing rules around debt collection and bankruptcy. He also calls for replacing the giant credit reporting agencies with a ‘public credit registry’ that would ignore medical debt when calculating credit scores.”


Sunday, 22 September 2019, Day 976:


As Trump Confirms He Discussed Biden With Ukraine’s Leader, Pressure to Impeach Builds, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he raised corruption accusations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a phone call with Ukraine’s leader, a stunning admission as pressure mounted on Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump over allegations he leaned on a foreign government to help damage a political rival. In public and in private, many Democrats said the evidence that has emerged in recent days indicating that Mr. Trump pushed the Ukrainian government to investigate Mr. Biden, and his administration’s stonewalling of attempts by Congress to learn more, were changing their calculations about whether to charge him with articles of impeachment. The influential chairman of the House Intelligence Committee [Adam Schiff], who has resisted such action, said the House might now have ‘crossed the Rubicon’ in light of the new disclosures, and the administration’s withholding of a related whistle-blower complaint. A group of moderate freshman lawmakers who had been opposed to an impeachment inquiry said they were considering changing course, while other Democrats who had reluctantly supported one amplified their calls. Progressives, meanwhile, sharpened their criticisms of the party’s leadership for failing to act. The fast-moving developments prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to level a warning of her own to the White House: Turn over the secret whistle-blower complaint by Thursday, or face a serious escalation from Congress.” See also, Trump Acknowledges Discussing Biden in Call With Ukrainian Leader, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Ukraine’s president as Democrats ramped up calls for an investigation into whether he improperly pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent. While Mr. Trump defended his July phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine as perfectly appropriate, he confirmed that Mr. Biden came up during the discussion and that he accused the former vice president of corruption tied to his son Hunter’s business activities in that former Soviet republic.” See also, Biden’s Work in Ukraine: What We Know and Don’t Know, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “President Trump is trying to deflect attention from a firestorm of controversy around revelations that he pressed Ukraine’s leader to investigate a domestic political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Trump is doing so by saying the real issue is possible corrupt activity involving Ukraine by Mr. Biden, one of the leading Democratic challengers in the 2020 presidential race, and Mr. Biden’s son. Here is what we know and do not know about the involvement of the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden, in Ukraine.” See also, Trump suggests he mentioned Biden in phone call with Ukrainian president, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “President Trump appeared to confirm Sunday that he mentioned former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter in a phone call with the leader of Ukraine, as some senior Democrats revived talk of impeachment hearings over revelations that Trump had asked a foreign government to investigate one of his potential 2020 opponents. The president and his close allies also escalated their attacks on Biden on Sunday, demanding probes into the former vice president and his son’s work in Ukraine, though no evidence has surfaced that Biden acted inappropriately and Trump’s allies did not provide any.” See also, The whistleblower complaint has Congress and Trump at an impasse. Here’s what the law says. The Washington Post, Deanna Paul, Sunday, 22 September 2019. See also, ‘We’ve been very weak’: House Democrats decry their oversight of Trump and push Pelosi on impeachment, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “Democrats’ frustration with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unwillingness to impeach President Trump is reaching a fever pitch following reports that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival — a step the California Democrat declined to endorse Sunday. An increasingly vocal group of pro-impeachment House Democrats are starting to dismiss their own oversight of Trump as feckless, even accusing their colleagues of emboldening the president by refusing to stand up to what they see as lawless behavior. At the very least, these Democrats say, the House should be taking more aggressive action to break the unprecedented White House stonewalling, possibly even fining defiant Trump officials, an idea Pelosi dismissed this year.” See also, Trump’s Hold on Military Aid Blindsided Top Ukrainian Officials, The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “Senior Ukrainian officials said they were blindsided over the summer when they heard the United States would withhold security assistance to the country…. The blocking of military aid to Ukraine is now at the center of questions about whether President Trump manipulated foreign policy to pressure the Ukrainian government to take action that would hurt Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president and a top rival in the campaign for the presidency.” See also, Bidens in Ukraine: An Explainer, The Wall Street Journal, Alan Cullison, Sunday, 22 September 2019. See also, Reporters Should Stop Helping Donald Trump Spread Lies About Joe Biden and Ukraine, The Intercept, Robert Mackey, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “Donald Trump appears increasingly desperate to deflect questions about the flagrant abuse of power he seems to have committed this summer by withholding aid to Ukraine as he pressed that country’s new president to open an investigation into the false claim that Joe Biden abused his power as vice president to protect his son’s business interests in Ukraine in 2015. Since the news broke that Trump repeatedly pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open an investigation into Biden, while delaying $250 million in military aid to Ukraine, the president has urged reporters again and again to look instead at the viral conspiracy theory that the former vice president had admitted on camera that he blackmailed Ukraine’s former president. In fact, as a detailed review of the evidence conducted by The Intercept in May showed, Biden’s intervention in Ukrainian affairs that year, when he successfully pressed Ukraine’s then-president to dismiss a chief prosecutor who had failed to pursue corruption investigations, was no secret and was widely praised by Ukrainian anti-corruption activists and international donors to the country. The reason there is footage of Biden boasting about this intervention on stage at a public event in 2018 is that he knew he had nothing to hide.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warns White House over whistleblower complaint, Politico, Sarah Ferris and Eleanor Mueller, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday delivered a blunt warning to the Trump administration over its refusal so far to share details of an explosive whistleblower complaint, amid intensifying pressure from the vocal pro-impeachment wing of the Democratic Caucus. Pelosi wrote in a rare weekend letter to lawmakers that President Donald Trump would enter ‘a grave new chapter of lawlessness’ if he succeeded in blocking Congress from learning about his reported conversations pressing Ukranian officials to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 presidential contest. That kind of stonewalling, she said, would lead Democrats ‘into a whole new stage of investigation’ — marking her most forceful response yet to reports that Trump sought help from a foreign government to find dirt on a political rival. Still, Pelosi did not address the single biggest question on the mind of her caucus: impeachment.”

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden Join United Automobile Workers’ Picket Lines as Democrats Use Strike to Court Labor, The New York Times, Stephanie Saul, Sunday, 22 September 2019: “The Democratic presidential candidates have been chasing labor support all summer, appearing at small union halls and large conferences, and tweeting support for workers at companies like Amazon and Walmart. But now, as the United Automobile Workers, one of the nation’s largest unions, stages a strike that has even drawn words of support from President Trump, Democrats are seizing the moment to align themselves with workers in public and dramatic ways. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts walked the picket line Sunday alongside striking General Motors workers at an assembly plant in Detroit. Not to be outdone, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared at another G.M. assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan. The picket line visits of two of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination — with the third, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, planning to join striking workers in Detroit on Wednesday — illustrated the importance to Democrats of winning the support of rank-and-file union members, including those who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016.”


Monday, 23 September 2019, Day 977:


Greta Thunberg condemns world leaders in emotional speech at the United Nations, The Guardian, Oliver Milman, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Greta Thunberg has excoriated world leaders for their ‘betrayal’ of young people through their inertia over the climate crisis at a United Nations summit that failed to deliver ambitious new commitments to address dangerous global heating. In a stinging speech on Monday, the teenage Swedish climate activist told governments that ‘you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.’ Days after millions of young people joined protests worldwide to demand emergency action on climate change, leaders gathered for the annual United Nations general assembly aiming to inject fresh momentum into efforts to curb carbon emissions. But Thunberg predicted the summit would not deliver any new plans in line with the radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are needed to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown. ‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,’ a visibly emotional Thunberg said. ‘The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.'” See also, Greta Thunberg to world leaders at the United Nations: ‘How dare you–you have stolen my dreams and my childhood,’–video, The Guardian, Monday, 23 September 2019. See also, Transcript: Greta Thunberg’s Speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, NPR, Monday, 23 September 2019. See also, Greta Thunberg had one question at the U.N. climate summit: ‘How dare you?’ The Washington Post, Kayla Epstein and Juliet Eilperin, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg had one question for the global leaders assembled at the United Nations: ‘How dare you?’ Days after telling U.S. lawmakers ‘listen to the scientists,’ she made the same demand on an international scale. Thunberg chastised leaders for praising young activists like herself while failing to deliver on drastic actions needed to avert the worst effects of climate change, and she warned that if the world continued with business as usual, her generation would face an insurmountable catastrophe. ‘This is all wrong,’ said Thunberg, who was visibly emotional as she spoke on a panel at a U.N. climate summit Monday. With tears in her eyes and her face flushed, the 16-year-old activist — who began skipping school in her native Sweden a year ago to protest inaction on climate change — chastised the world leaders who had gathered in New York. ‘I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,’ said Thunberg, who traveled for two weeks on a solar-powered sailboat to reach the United States this month. ‘Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?'” See also, It’s Children vs the World in a Landmark Climate Complaint, Gizmodo, Brian Kahn, Monday, 23 September 2019: “On Monday, Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people filed a potentially world-changing climate complaint. On an abnormally steamy day in New York, when sweat built on the brows of the dark-suited diplomats funneling into the United Nations for a major climate summit, the group of teens cranked up the heat even further. They announced that they’re suing five of the world’s major carbon polluters on the grounds that the countries are violating their rights as children. If the suit is successful, the United Nations would classify the climate crisis as a children’s rights crisis. And more importantly, it would compel Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey—the five countries named in the suit—to work with other nations to forge binding emissions’ reduction targets, a sharp change from current international efforts that have so far basically rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic.” See also, Greta Thunberg and 15 other children have filed a legal complaint against 5 countries, joining a growing group of young people taking the climate fight to court, Business Insider, Aylin Woodward and Morgan McFall-Johnsen, published on Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “On Monday, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people from around the world filed a legal complaint against five of the world’s biggest global carbon polluters. The youth activists allege that those governments’ lack of action to combat climate change violates their rights as children. The group — whose ages range from 8 to 17 — announced the complaint at the Headquarters of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in New York. The five countries named are Brazil, France, Germany, Argentina, and Turkey — some of the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas emitters.”

At U.N. Climate Summit, Few Commitments and U.S. Silence, The New York Times, Somini Sengupta and Lisa Friedman, Monday, 23 September 2019: “The United Nations Climate Action Summit on Monday was meant to highlight concrete promises by presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives to wean the global economy from fossil fuels to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But despite the protests in the streets, China on Monday made no new promises to take stronger climate action. The United States, having vowed to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the pact among nations to jointly fight climate change, said nothing at all. A host of countries made only incremental promises. The contrast between the slow pace of action and the urgency of the problem was underscored by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, who excoriated world leaders for their ‘business as usual’ approach. ‘The eyes of all future generations are upon you,’ she said, her voice quavering with rage. ‘If you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.'” See also, World’s largest emitters stop short of sweeping climate commitments at U.N., The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, published on Tuesday, 24 September 2019.

Oil Giants, Under Fire From Climate Activists and Investors, Mount a Defense, The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Monday, 23 September 2019: “On Monday, as world leaders gathered at the United Nations climate summit and discussed the urgency of slashing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, 13 of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies presented their defense at a forum across town. But most of their proposals appeared designed to perpetuate the use of oil and gas for decades to come, rather than transition quickly to cleaner options.”

Officials say Trump ordered hold on military aid days before calling Ukrainian president, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, and Carol D. Leonnig, Monday, 23 September 2019: “President Trump told his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, to hold back almost $400 million in military aid for Ukraine at least a week before a phone call in which Trump is said to have pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden, according to three senior administration officials. Officials at the Office of Management and Budget relayed Trump’s order to the State Department and the Pentagon during an interagency meeting in mid-July, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. They explained that the president had ‘concerns’ and wanted to analyze whether the money needed to be spent. Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an ‘interagency process’ but to give them no additional information — a pattern that continued for nearly two months, until the White House released the funds on the night of Sept. 11.” See also, Trump Said to Have Frozen Aid to Ukraine Before Call With Its Leader, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos, Michael Crowley, and Kenneth P. Vogel, Monday, 23 September 2019: “President Trump personally ordered his staff to freeze more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine in the days before he pressed the new Ukrainian president to investigate the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate, two senior administration officials said Monday. Mr. Trump issued his directive to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who conveyed it through the budget office to the Pentagon and the State Department, which were told only that the administration was looking at whether the spending was necessary, the officials said. The timing of the decision to block the aid and Mr. Trump’s personal involvement, which were first reported by The Washington Post, add vital new elements to the raging debate over the president’s effort to persuade Ukraine to examine unsubstantiated corruption allegations involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden.” See also, Fact-checking Trump’s latest claims on Biden and Ukraine, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo, Monday, 23 September 2019. See also, Instead of ‘No Collusion!’ Trump Now Seems to Be Saying, So What if I Did?’ The New York Times, Peter Baker, Monday, 23 September 2019: “The last time he was accused of collaborating with a foreign power to influence an election, he denied it and traveled the country practically chanting, ‘No collusion!’ This time, he is saying, in effect, so what if I did? Even for a leader who has audaciously disregarded many of the boundaries that restrained his predecessors, President Trump’s appeal to a foreign power for dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is an astonishing breach of the norms governing the American presidency.” See also, Trump Denies He Tied Ukraine Aid to Corrupution Investigation of Biden, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Monday, 23 September 2019: “President Trump denied on Monday that he had withheld security aid from Ukraine in an effort to pressure its president to investigate a political rival, even as he defended his attempt to enlist a foreign leader to dig up dirt on an adversary. As he began several days of international diplomacy at the United Nations, Mr. Trump was defiant in the face of allegations that his conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he leveled unsubstantiated corruption charges against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, amounted to a grave abuse of presidential power.”

Democrats Pressure White House and Republican Senate on the Ukraine Inquiry, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Democrats moved assertively on Monday to increase political pressure on the White House and congressional Republicans to furnish documentation about explosive allegations that President Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainian president to help produce damaging information on a leading political rival. In the House, where the revelations about a conversation between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, were fueling new calls for impeachment, the chairmen of three committees investigating the matter threatened to issue subpoenas in the coming days if the administration did not hand over a transcript of the call and a related whistle-blower complaint. Mr. Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he had leveled allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Mr. Zelensky, but on Monday, he denied that he had pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate and used a package of hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid as leverage. Mr. Trump has defended the conversation as entirely appropriate. Still, Democrats are demanding to see evidence. On Monday, they said a failure by the administration to disclose a complaint about Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky would be considered obstruction, an indication that they could consider it as grounds for impeachment.”

Republican challenger Bill Weld says Trump committed treason, and ‘the penalty for treason … is death,’ CNN, Paul LeBlanc, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Former Massachusetts governor and longshot candidate for the GOP nomination for president Bill Weld on Monday accused President Donald Trump of ‘treason’ for pressing Ukraine’s President to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and stated bluntly ‘the penalty for treason under the US code is death. Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a US election, it couldn’t be clearer,’ Weld said in an interview on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe.”‘ ‘And that’s not just undermining democratic institutions, that is treason. It’s treason pure and simple.'”

‘Seismic change’: Democratic hold-outs rush toward impeachment, Politico, Heather Cayble, Sarah Ferris, and John Bresnahan, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi and party leaders are ramping up their offensive against President Donald Trump for pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden — with a potential House vote on a resolution condemning Trump as the caucus edges toward impeachment. Pelosi spent all weekend and Monday working the phones, including reaching out to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, as she sought to take the temperature of the caucus on impeachment. She’s set to meet with the six committee chairmen investigating Trump on Tuesday afternoon to discuss Democrats’ next steps.”

New York prosecutors reject Trump’s immunity claim in tax returns case, Politico, Toby Eckert, Monday, 23 September 2019: “President Donald Trump has no “sweeping immunity” from a criminal probe while he remains in office, New York prosecutors said in a court filing Monday urging a federal judge to reject Trump’s effort to block a subpoena for his tax returns. The prosecutors also challenged the federal court’s jurisdiction in the matter, saying it belongs in state court. Trump asked a federal court Friday to block a New York grand jury subpoena for eight years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns. They are being sought as part of an investigation into hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.”

The Growing Threat to Journalism Around the World, The New York Times, A. G. Sulzberger, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Those of us leading The Times find it hard not to worry, knowing we have colleagues on the ground where war is raging, disease is spreading and conditions deteriorating. But we’ve long taken comfort in knowing that in addition to all our own preparations and all our own safeguards, there has always been another, critical safety net: the United States government, the world’s greatest champion of the free press. Over the last few years, however, something has dramatically changed. Around the globe, a relentless campaign is targeting journalists because of the fundamental role they play in ensuring a free and informed society. To stop journalists from exposing uncomfortable truths and holding power to account, a growing number of governments have engaged in overt, sometimes violent, efforts to discredit their work and intimidate them into silence. This is a worldwide assault on journalists and journalism. But even more important, it’s an assault on the public’s right to know, on core democratic values, on the concept of truth itself. And perhaps most troubling, the seeds of this campaign were planted right here, in a country that has long prided itself on being the fiercest defender of free expression and a free press…. The hard work of journalism has long carried risks, especially in countries without democratic safeguards. But what’s different today is that these brutal crackdowns are being passively accepted and perhaps even tacitly encouraged by the president of the United States…. The current administration … has retreated from our country’s historical role as a defender of the free press. Seeing that, other countries are targeting journalists with a growing sense of impunity. To give you a sense of what this retreat looks like on the ground, let me tell you a story I’ve never shared publicly before. Two years ago, we got a call from a United States government official warning us of the imminent arrest of a New York Times reporter based in Egypt named Declan Walsh. Though the news was alarming, the call was actually fairly standard. Over the years, we’ve received countless such warnings from American diplomats, military leaders and national security officials. But this particular call took a surprising and distressing turn. We learned the official was passing along this warning without the knowledge or permission of the Trump administration. Rather than trying to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believed, the Trump administration intended to sit on the information and let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for even alerting us to the danger. Unable to count on our own government to prevent the arrest or help free Declan if he were imprisoned, we turned to his native country, Ireland, for help. Within an hour, Irish diplomats traveled to his house and safely escorted him to the airport before Egyptian forces could detain him.”

Agriculture Department Flooded With Appeals to Stop Food Stamp Purge, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Monday, 23 September 2019: “Governors, mayors, attorneys general, state delegations, teachers and pediatricians have flooded the Agriculture Department with comments that overwhelmingly oppose the Trump administration’s proposed rule to limit eligibility for food stamps — and cut millions from the nation’s pre-eminent food assistance program. The rule change’s public comment period ended on Monday, with more than 75,000 comments logged, 70 from mayors and 17 from governors. Congressional delegations from VermontMaryland and Maine also voiced opposition to changing eligibility rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.” See also, Trump administration rule could end free school lunches for about 500,000 children, The Washington Post, Moriah Balingit, published on Tuesday, 24 September 2019.


Tuesday, 24 September 2019, Day 978:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain. Ms. Pelosi’s declaration, after months of reticence by Democrats who had feared the political consequences of impeaching a president many of them long ago concluded was unfit for office, was a stunning turn that set the stage for a history-making and exceedingly bitter confrontation between the Democrat-led House and a defiant president who has thumbed his nose at institutional norms. ‘The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,’ Ms. Pelosi said in a brief speech invoking the nation’s founding principles. Mr. Trump, she added, ‘must be held accountable — no one is above the law.’ She said the president’s conduct revealed his ‘betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.'” See also, Nancy Pelosi’s Statement on Impeachment: ‘The President Must Be Held Accountable,’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 24 September 2019. See also, Trump Makes Clear He’s Ready for a Fight He Has Long Anticipated, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “He knew it was coming. It almost felt inevitable. No other president in American history has been seriously threatened with impeachment even before his inauguration. So when the announcement came on Tuesday that the House would consider charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors, President Trump made clear he was ready for a fight. He lashed out at the opposition Democrats, denouncing them for ‘crazy’ partisanship. He denounced the allegations against him as ‘more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.’ And he proclaimed that even if the impeachment battle to come will be bad for the country, it will be ‘a positive for me’ by bolstering his chances to win a second term in next year’s election.” See also, How the Impeachment Process Works, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 24 September 2019. See also, Why an Impeachment Inquiry Now? Democrats Cite the Clarity of the Case. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “For months, dozens of House Democrats anxiously avoided even the mention of impeaching President Trump — right up until the moment that they demanded it. The sudden embrace of an impeachment inquiry by previously reluctant House Democrats — most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is attributable to one fundamental fact: They believe the new accusations against Mr. Trump are simple and serious enough to be grasped by a public overwhelmed by the constant din of complex charges and countercharges that has become the norm in today’s Washington.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry and says Trump’s courting of foreign political help is a ‘betrayal of national security,’ The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, and Karoun Demirjian, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step Tuesday of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent. Pelosi’s move came after Trump acknowledged that he urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds a wide lead over Trump, polls show, in a potential general election matchup. The revelation prompted a rush of moderate House Democrats to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, a step they had resisted for months. On Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) relented as well.” See also, How impeachment works, The Washington Post, Aaron Steckelberg, Harry Stevens, Bonnie Berkowitz, and Tim Meko, published on Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, ‘The times have found us’: Nancy Pelosi’s decision to support an impeachment inquiry, annotated, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Tuesday, 24 September 2019. See also, What you need to know about the impeachment inquiry into Trump, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, published on Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Nancy Pelosi Finally Goes All In on Impeachment, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “When the moment came, shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, it had been well trailed. Earlier in the afternoon, appearing at The Atlantic magazine’s festival, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, had given the game away, saying that she would be making an announcement later. ‘I’ve told people, as soon as we have the facts, we’re ready,’ Pelosi said, in response to a question about whether, in view of the allegation that Donald Trump pressured the President of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, she and her caucus were ready to go ahead with an impeachment inquiry. ‘Now that we have the facts, we’re ready—for later today.'” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Impeachment Inquiry of Trump, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Andrew Duehren, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would move ahead with an ‘official’ impeachment effort after reports that President Trump withheld aid to Ukraine while he was pressing the country to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. After months of resisting an impeachment investigation, Mrs. Pelosi said at the end of a day of meetings with House Democrats that she was directing six House committees already investigating Mr. Trump to continue their probes ‘under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.’ ‘The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,’ said Mrs. Pelosi (D., Calif.), who has expressed concern about the political risks of impeachment. Her chosen route avoids a full House floor vote on opening a probe, a step that has occurred each of the three previous times the House has launched impeachment proceedings against a president. Such a resolution would require 218 votes to pass; as of Tuesday evening, after several Democrats said they were joining the cause, there were more than 190 lawmakers who publicly supported moving forward on impeachment.” See also, ‘Betrayal of his oath of office’: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opens impeachment inquiry of Trump, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Heather Caygle, and John Bresnahan, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday formally threw her support behind an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, a dramatic move that puts the House on a trajectory to vote to remove the president from office later this fall.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls out ‘President’s betrayal of his oath of office’ in announcing formal impeachment inquiry, CNN, Dana Bash, Manu Reju, Sunlen Serfaty, and Clare Foran, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, a dramatic and historic move that comes as the President faces outrage over reports that he pressured a foreign leader in an effort to target a political rival.” See also, Here’s a timeline of Trump’s latest scandal. It’s damning.The Washington Post, Greg Sargent, Tuesday, 24 September 2019. See also, Why the House Democratic Caucus Was Able to Move so Rapidly Toward Impeachment, The Intercept, Ryan Grim, Tuesday, 24 September 2019.

Complete List: Who Supports an Impeachment Inquiry Against Trump? The New York Times, Alicia Parlapiano, Jason Kao, Emily Cochrane, and Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “The House will begin a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday. More than two-thirds of the 235 House Democrats had already said they support such an inquiry, according to a New York Times survey and public statements. At least 61 Democrats announced their support since Monday, as more details have emerged from Mr. Trump’s attempt this summer to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden.”

Trump Says He Will Release Transcript of Call With Ukraine’s President, The New York Times, Michael Crowley and Peter Baker, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “President Trump said on Tuesday that he would release the transcript of his July phone call with the Ukrainian president in an effort to quell the controversy over whether he pressed for Kiev to investigate a political rival…. While the July transcript will answer some questions, the call is only one aspect of Mr. Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainians that have come under scrutiny in recent days. A whistle-blower complaint, which the administration has blocked lawmakers from seeing, is said to deal at least in part with Ukraine and cover multiple actions.” See also, Trump says he has authorized release of transcript of call with the Ukrainian president, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “President Trump said Tuesday that he has authorized the release of the full transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian president in which Trump is said to have brought up investigating former vice president Joe Biden and his son. ‘I am currently at the United Nations representing our Country, but have authorized the release tomorrow of the complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript of my phone conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.”

White House Seeks Deal for Whistle-Blower to Speak to Congress, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Julian E. Barnes, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “White House and intelligence officials were working out a plan on Tuesday to release a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint that helped ignite the impeachment drive against President Trump and to allow the whistle-blower to speak with congressional investigators, people briefed on the matter said. The move toward disclosing more information demanded by Democrats was part of a broader effort by the administration to quell the growing calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, and became public after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the start of a formal impeachment inquiry.” See also, Democrats say whistleblower wants to appear before Congress, Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Martin Matishak, and Burgess Everett, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Congress might soon get a chance to hear directly from the whistleblower who filed a formal complaint involving President Donald Trump’s communications with foreign leaders. A lawyer for the whistleblower, who lodged the complaint to the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General in early August, has been in touch with both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees regarding potential testimony, according to the panel’s top Democrats.”

Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pursued shadow Ukraine agenda as key foreign policy officials were sidelined, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey, Paul Sonne, and Ellen Nakashima, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “President Trump’s attempt to pressure the leader of Ukraine followed a months-long fight inside the administration that sidelined national security officials and empowered political loyalists — including the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani — to exploit the U.S. relationship with Kiev, current and former U.S. officials said. The sequence, which began early this year, involved the abrupt removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, the circumvention of senior officials on the National Security Council, and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid administered by the Defense and State departments — all as key officials from these agencies struggled to piece together Giuliani’s activities from news reports. Several officials described tense meetings on Ukraine among national security officials at the White House leading up to the president’s phone call on July 25, sessions that led some participants to fear that Trump and those close to him appeared prepared to use U.S. leverage with the new leader of Ukraine for Trump’s political gain.”

Trump’s Misleading Defense for Withholding Assistance to Ukraine, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “The president, facing calls for impeachment over his pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival, inaccurately accused European countries of not providing aid to Ukraine.” See also, Trump’s Pinocchio-laden claims about Joe Biden, Ukraine, and polls, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, published on Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Trump changes story on withholding Ukraine aid, Politico, Quint Forgey, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday shifted his explanation for temporarily withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, citing what he criticized as a lack of similar financial contribution by other Western powers to the Eastern European nation. Trump’s latest remarks are at odds with his assertion Monday that he denied the assistance because he feared bureaucratic corruption within Ukraine’s government. The new claim also comes after weekend reports that he repeatedly pressured newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a July phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.”

Judge suspends order for Trump to testify about 2015 fight between his security guards and protesters, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “A judge has stayed an order for President Trump to testify in a legal dispute brought by protesters who say Trump’s security guards assaulted them during his campaign. New York Judge Doris M. Gonzalez previously called Trump’s testimony ‘indispensable’ and said the president would have to sit for a video before Thursday, when the now-delayed trial was set to begin. Men who protested at a September 2015 rally outside Trump Tower claim guards shoved them and ripped their signs and that Trump’s head of security, Keith Schiller, punched one of them in the head while another staffer tried to choke a protester. On Tuesday, Judge Dianne Renwick of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division granted an ‘interim stay’ of Gonzalez’s Sept. 20 order, ‘pending a determination of the matter by the full bench.’ Renwick instructed that the case should be expedited.”

Trump appears to mock climate change activist Greta Thunberg in tweet, and she quietly swipes back, NBC News, Rachel Elbaum and Elizabeth Chuck, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Hours after young environmental activist Greta Thunberg gave an emotional speech at the United Nations, President Donald Trump appeared to mock her on Twitter. Not to be outdone, Thunberg later quietly took a swipe of her own at him. ‘She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!’ Trump wrote late Monday, retweeting a video of the teen giving an impassioned plea at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Thunberg did not respond directly to Trump. But several hours later, she updated her Twitter bio to mimic his tweet. ‘A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,’ her bio read, an update from her previous description, which said ’16 year old climate activist with Asperger’s. Join the global climate strikes on Sept 20-27th! #FridaysForFuture.'” See also, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg Offers a rejoinder to Trump’s sarcastic late-night tweet, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Tuesday, 24 September 2019.

Greta Thunberg Is the Anti-Trump, The New Yorker, Masha Gessen, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “She is young and he is old. She is honest and he is a habitual liar. She relies on science and he relies on nothing but his gut. Her focus is on the forecastable future, and he lives in an imaginary past. Greta Thunberg is the anti-Trump.”

What we lose when animals go extinct, National Geographic, Elizabeth Kolbert, published online on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 and in the October 2019 print edition: “Animals are disappearing at hundreds of times the normal rate, primarily because of shrinking habitats. Their biggest threat: humans.”

Environmental Protection Agency threatens to cut California’s highway funding over Clean Air Act ‘failure,’ Los Angeles Times, Alexa Díaz, Anna M. Phillips, Tony Barboza, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “The Trump administration’s political feud with California intensified Monday with a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency threatening to cut federal transportation funding from the state as punishment for not submitting timely pollution-control plans.” See also, Trump Administration Threatens to Cut U.S. Highway Funds From California, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “The political war between California and the Trump administration escalated Monday with a letter from Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, warning that Washington would withhold federal highway funds from the state if it did not rapidly address a decades-long backlog of state-level pollution control plans. The letter is the latest parry between President Trump and the liberal West Coast state that he appears to relish antagonizing. California’s recent actions on clean air and climate change policy have blindsided and enraged him, according to two people familiar with the matter.” See also, Trump officials threaten to withhold highway funding from California for its ‘chronic air quality problems,’ The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Dino Grandoni, Tuesday, 24 September 2019.

Bernie Sanders Proposes a Wealth Tax: ‘I Don’t Think That Billionaires Should Exist,’ The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to create a new tax on the wealth of the richest Americans, including a steep tax on billionaires that could greatly diminish their fortunes. With the proposal, Mr. Sanders is embracing an idea that has been a centerpiece of the campaign of his top progressive rival, Senator Elizabeth Warren. But while Ms. Warren came first, Mr. Sanders is going bigger. His wealth tax would apply to a larger number of households, impose a higher top rate and raise more money.”

Trump Celebrates Nationalism in U.N. Speech and Plays Down Iran Crisis, The New York Times, Michael Crowley and David E. Sanger, Tuesday, 24 September 2019: “President Trump delivered a sharp nationalist message and assailed ‘globalists’ in remarks to the world’s leading international body on Tuesday, while stopping short of urging any specific action against Iran for a major attack on Saudi oil facilities that his administration has said was Tehran’s responsibility.” See also, Trump condemns globalism and touts nationalistic view of foreign affairs at U.N., The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 24 September 2019.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019, Day 979:


The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns, The New York Times, Brad Plumer, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Climate change is heating the oceans and altering their chemistry so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to the hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts, according to a sweeping United Nations report issued Wednesday. The report concludes that the world’s oceans and ice sheets are under such severe stress that the fallout could prove difficult for humans to contain without steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Fish populations are already declining in many regions as warming waters throw marine ecosystems into disarray, according to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking.” See also, New U.N. climate report: Monumental change is already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions, The Washington Post, Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Climate change is already having staggering effects on oceans and ice-filled regions that encompass 80 percent of the Earth, and future damage from rising seas and melting glaciers is now all but certain, according to a sobering new report from the United Nations. The warming climate is killing coral reefs, supercharging monster storms, and fueling deadly marine heat waves and record losses of sea ice. And Wednesday’s report on the world’s oceans, glaciers, polar regions and ice sheets finds that such effects foreshadow a more catastrophic future as long as greenhouse gas emissions remain unchecked. Given current emissions levels, a number of serious effects are essentially unavoidable, says the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).” See also, UN report warns of accelerating sea level rise in a warming world, Politico, Kalina Oroschakoff, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Earth’s Oceans Are Getting Hotter and Higher, NPR, Rebecca Hersher, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “As the world’s climate changes, ocean warming is accelerating and sea levels are rising more quickly, warns a new report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The report is a synthesis of the most up-to-date climate science on oceans and ice, and it lays out a stark reality: Ocean surface temperatures have been warming steadily since 1970, and for the past 25 years or so, they’ve been warming twice as fast.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Next Big Effort: Tackling Poverty, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “For a House freshman and political neophyte, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has proved to be remarkably adept at shaping the debate on her Democratic Party’s left flank, boosting the visibility of single-payer health care through her support of “Medicare for all” and elevating climate change with her Green New Deal. On Wednesday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez hopes to do for the nation’s poor what she has done with health care and climate politics with the unveiling of an ambitious anti-poverty package that, among other things, would cap annual rent increases, ensure full access to social welfare programs for people with convictions and undocumented immigrants, pressure federal contractors to offer better wages and benefits, and update official poverty measurements by taking into account geographic cost-of-living variations and access to health insurance, child care, and ‘new necessities’ such as internet access.”

Trump Pressed Ukraine’s President to Investigate Democrats as ‘a Favor,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “President Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate leading Democrats as ‘a favor’ to him during a telephone call last summer in which the two discussed the former Soviet republic’s need for more American financial aid to counter Russian aggression. In a reconstruction of the call released Wednesday by the White House, Mr. Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Attorney General William P. Barr and Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, on corruption investigations connected to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats.” See also, Full Document: Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President, The New York Times, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The White House released this document on Wednesday, showing a July call between President Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. The document warned its contents were ‘not a verbatim transcript.’ Read our live coverage of the impeachment inquiry.” See also, The Trump-Zelensky Phone Call: Key Takeaways From Two New Documents, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The Trump administration on Wednesday released a reconstructed transcript of President Trump’s 30-minute conversation with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on July 25 that was at least in part the focus of a disputed whistle-blower complaint. Separately, the Justice Department released a revised version of a memo by its Office of Legal Counsel that declared that it was lawful to withhold that complaint from Congress, notwithstanding an inspector general’s determination that the complaint was credible and raised an ‘urgent concern’ of the sort that a statute says must be shown to lawmakers. Both documents should be treated with caution. A footnote in the five-page reconstructed transcript says it is not verbatim, and its text contains ellipses. Similarly, a footnote in the Office of Legal Counsel memo says it is a rewritten version and that ‘we have changed the prior version to avoid references to certain details that remain classified.’ Notably, the revised memo talks only about a single phone call, but the inspector general told Congress the whistle-blower’s complaint concerned more than one action.” See also, ‘Do Us a Favor’: Call Shows Trump’s Interest in Using U.S. Power for His Personal Gain, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Trump’s Not-So-Excellent Day, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Michael Crowley, and Katie Rogers, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Rough Transcription Shows Trump Pressed Ukraine to Look Into Joe Biden and His Son, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Sadie Gurman, and Dustin Volz, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “President Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to ‘look into’ former Vice President Joe Biden and his son and said he would direct his personal lawyer and Attorney General William Barr to contact Mr. Zelensky to help him in a possible investigation, according to a document released Wednesday by the White House. The document, a rough transcription of a July phone call between the leaders, also revealed that Mr. Trump, before asking Ukraine to examine actions by Mr. Biden’s son, reminded Mr. Zelensky that the U.S. sends security aid to Ukraine.” See also, What We Know and Don’t Know About the Trump-Ukraine Affair, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Charlie Savage, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Trump offered Ukrainian president the help of the Justice Department in an investigation of Joe Biden, phone memo shows, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Carol D. Leonnig, and Shane Harris, published on Wednesday, 26 September 2019: “President Trump repeatedly urged the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden, one of his chief political rivals, and offered to enlist the U.S. attorney general in that effort while dangling the possibility of inviting the foreign leader to the White House, according to a rough transcript of the call released Wednesday. The July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky raised alarms among some intelligence officials, leading in August to a secret whistleblower complaint and a Justice Department referral to determine whether the president’s conduct amounted to a violation of a campaign finance law that bars foreign contributions to U.S. politicians.” See also, Official readout: Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, The Washington Post, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, The full, rough transcription of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, 7 takeaways from the rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Wednesday, 25 September 2019. See also, Trump’s call with Ukrainian leader is unlike anything presidential scholars have heard before, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Wednesday, 25 September 2019.

Justice Department rejected investigation of Trump phone call with Ukrainian president just weeks after it began examining the matter, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Justice Department officials took less than a month to abandon an inquiry into President Trump’s communications with his Ukrainian counterpart about investigating former vice president Joe Biden — reigniting concerns among Democrats and legal observers that the law enforcement agency is serving as a shield for the commander in chief. Just weeks after intelligence leaders asked the Justice Department and FBI to consider examining a summer phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the head of the department’s criminal division determined there was not sufficient cause to even launch an investigation, senior Justice Department officials said.” See also, Justice Department’s Dismissal of Ukraine Call Raises New Questions About Attorney General William Barr,The New York Times, Katie Benner, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “At the end of August, when two top intelligence officials asked a Justice Department lawyer whether a whistle-blower’s complaint should be forwarded to Congress, they were told no, Attorney General William P. Barr and his department could handle the criminal referral against the president of the United States. About four weeks later, the department rendered its judgment: President Trump had not violated campaign finance laws when he urged Ukraine’s president to work with Mr. Barr to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The very same evidence, a reconstructed transcript of a July call between Mr. Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, has whipped Washington into an impeachment crisis in a matter of days. The sharply different responses to the call’s reconstruction, released by the White House on Wednesday, has helped further the perception that Mr. Trump regards Mr. Barr not as the nation’s highest law enforcement officer but as his political ally and legal protector.” See also, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler demands Attorney General William Barr recuse himself after release of rough transcription of July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, The Week, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Attorney General William Barr is in the thick of it now. The White House memorandum logging a rough transcript of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reveals that Trump suggested he would have both Barr and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani call Zelensky to discuss investigations involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, as well as Crowdstrike, the firm the Democratic National Convention hired to look into the Russian hacking of its email list in 2016. The Justice Department was quick to deny the attorney general has interacted with Ukraine or Trump about the Bidens or ‘any subject,’ for that matter. The department’s statement also denied that Barr ever spoke with Giuliani about ‘anything relating to Ukraine.’ That’s not good enough for some people, however, including House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who demanded Barr recuse himself ‘until we get to the bottom of this matter.'”

I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine Years Ago. Then the Right-Wing Spin Machine Turned the Story Upside Down. The Intercept, James Risen, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “It is strange to see my journalism twisted, perverted, and turned into lies and poisonous propaganda by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and their enablers. But that’s what has happened to a news story I wrote four years ago. In 2015, I wrote a story for the New York Times about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Ukraine. Many observers now seem to think this suddenly hot story came out of nowhere this year, but that is not true. The truth behind that story has been lost in a swamp of right-wing opposition research, White House lies, and bizarre follow-up stories. Now it appears that the Biden-Ukraine story will play a role in a new impeachment inquiry against Trump, amid evidence that he sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by withholding U.S. aid unless Zelensky agreed to investigate the Bidens.”

Trump deflects and defies as Democrats speed up impeachment strategy, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Rachael Bade, and Robert Costa, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “President Trump struck a stance of defiance Wednesday, proclaiming his innocence and leveling distortions and falsehoods after the publicly released notes of his phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart turbocharged the push on Capitol Hill for his impeachment. The five pages of a rough transcript of Trump’s call asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Attorney General William P. Barr and personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden landed like a hand grenade on Capitol Hill and led House Democrats to recalibrate their strategy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her fellow Democratic leaders agreed to speed up their impeachment investigation and significantly narrow it to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to five Democrats familiar with their discussions during a closed-door emergency meeting Wednesday in Pelosi’s office.” See also, ‘When They Speak, Everybody Listens.’ How Freshmen Are Shaping the Impeachment Push. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The drive to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump began with pressure from the left, and ended with a tide of statements from moderates concerned about national security.”

Trump Officials Turn Over Whistle-Blower Complaint as Impeachment Inquiry Begins, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “House Democrats rushed on Wednesday to plot the course of their formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, getting their first glimpses of the secret intelligence whistle-blower complaint that touched off the investigation that could lead to his removal. But even as they obtained crucial details about allegations that Mr. Trump pressured a foreign leader to help him tarnish a political rival, Democrats did not plan any immediate action to formalize their impeachment inquiry. They do not intend to hold a vote on the House floor to authorize the proceedings, as has been done in the past, lawmakers and senior party officials said, because they do not believe it is necessary. Instead, they were planning to use the coming weeks to build as strong a case as they could against Mr. Trump, with an eye toward drafting articles of impeachment against him. That would mean the House would not vote on the matter unless the articles of impeachment were brought to the floor.” See also, Highlights: Whistle-Blower Complaint Goes to House as Ukraine Phone Call Gets Released, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 25 September 2019.  See also, Whistleblower complaint about Trump delivered to Congress, CNN, Zachary Cohen and Ted Barrett, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “A whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukraine was hand delivered Wednesday afternoon to Capitol Hill, giving lawmakers their first chance to see the classified account that spurred Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry. Democrats reading the document, which is available to lawmakers in two secure facilities, one in each chamber, say it backs up their commitment to their investigation. The move comes just hours after the White House released a rough transcript of a July 25 phone call that shows the President repeatedly pressed the leader of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.”

Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire threatened to resign if he couldn’t speak freely before Congress on whistleblower complaint, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Shane Harris, and Karoun Demirjian, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The acting director of national intelligence threatened to resign over concerns that the White House might attempt to force him to stonewall Congress when he testifies Thursday about an explosive whistleblower complaint about the president, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. The revelation reflects the extraordinary tensions between the White House and the nation’s highest-ranking intelligence official over a matter that has triggered impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The officials said Joseph Maguire, who was thrust into the top intelligence post last month, warned the White House that he was not willing to withhold information from Congress, where he is scheduled to testify in open and closed hearings on Thursday. Maguire denied that he had done so. In a statement, he said that ‘at no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now. I am committed to leading the Intelligence Community to address the diverse and complex threats facing our nation.’ The White House also disputed the account. ‘This is actually not true,’ White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a tweet. After these statements were issued, Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said, ‘We stand by the story.'”

Whistle-Blower Is Said to Allege Concerns About White House Handling of Ukraine Call, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Michael S. Schmidt, and Julian E. Barnes, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The intelligence officer who filed a whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine raised alarms not only about what the two men said in a phone call, but also about how the White House handled records of the conversation, according to two people briefed on the complaint. The whistle-blower, moreover, identified multiple White House officials as witnesses to potential presidential misconduct who could corroborate the complaint, the people said — adding that the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, interviewed witnesses.” See also, Whistleblower complaint against Trump is declassified and could be released Thursday, NBC, Geoff Bennett and Phil Helsel, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The whistleblower complaint that reportedly centers on President Donald Trump and his interactions with Ukraine has been declassified, sources familiar with the matter told NBC News on Wednesday night. The complaint, which the administration initially withheld from Congress, was declassified with what were described as minimal redactions, the sources said, and there is an expectation that it will be released Thursday morning.”

White House Sends Impeachment Talking Points to Democrats, Then Tries to Recall Them, The New York Times, Niraj Chokshi, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “A White House official on Wednesday accidentally sent talking points for allies defending the president to Democratic officials, then tried to ‘recall’ the memo. In the email, the White House laid out guidance for how supporters should publicly discuss President Trump’s July phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. An allegation that Mr. Trump tried to use that conversation for political gain contributed to the decision by House Democrats to announce a formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. But the White House list of concise points and counterpoints was also sent to the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers. ‘They’re complete Orwellian lies and toxic trash, but maybe you’d like to read them to appreciate their corruption!’ Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said on Twitter, alongside screenshots of the email.” See also, White House mistakenly sends Trump-Ukraine talking points to Democrats, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “In the hours after the release Wednesday of the rough transcript of President Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House circulated an email with proposed talking points for Trump’s defenders. Unfortunately for the White House, the email was mistakenly sent to not only Republicans but also Democratic lawmakers and their staff. The message, titled, ‘What you need to know: President Trump’s call with President Zelenskyy,’ was quickly recalled — but not before Democrats took to Twitter to ridicule the White House over the error.”

Trump’s news conference with Ukrainian president Zelensky, annotated, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Only hours after the release of a rough transcript of a conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York.”

Donald Trump Actually Has 2 Whistleblowers to Worry About, HuffPost, Arthur Delaney, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “An intelligence community whistleblower has stunned Washington with possible evidence that President Donald Trump perverted U.S. foreign policy for his own personal gain. But there’s another whistleblower ― one with possible evidence that Trump tried to corrupt an Internal Revenue Service audit of his personal tax returns ― who has received relatively little attention…. The tax whistleblower … went straight to Congress ― specifically to the House Ways and Means Committee, which had sued the Trump administration for refusing to provide copies of the president’s tax returns in response to a formal request. Democrats say they need Trump’s returns to make sure the IRS properly enforces tax laws against the president. But Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is far less outspoken than Schiff, and his approach to the tax case has been cautious. He decided to stay focused on the lawsuit, using the whistleblower’s material to bolster that case.” See also, Progressives Say Democrats Have Duty to Inform the Public About ‘Potentially Explosive’ Whistleblower Alleging Trump Effort to Corrupt the Internal Revenue Service, Common Dreams, Jake Johnson, published on Thursday, 26 September 2019: “House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal is reportedly sitting on a credible and ‘potentially explosive”‘ whistleblower complaint alleging that President Donald Trump attempted to influence an IRS audit of his tax returns. On Wednesday, as much of the public’s attention focused on a whistleblower complaint regarding Trump and Ukraine, HuffPost reported that a federal employee in July approached the House Ways and Means Committee with evidence the president ‘tried to corrupt an Internal Revenue Service audit of his personal tax returns.'”

17 States, the District of Columbia, and New York City Sue to Block Trump’s Endangered Species Act Rollback, HuffPost, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “A coalition of 17 states, the District of Columbia and New York City sued the Trump administration on Wednesday to block its recent rollback of the Endangered Species Act. The legal effort, led by the attorneys general of California, Massachusetts and Maryland, aims to safeguard one of America’s most important laws for protecting imperiled plants and animals.” See also, The Trump administration weakened Endangered Species Act rules. Today 17 state attorneys general sued over it. The Washington Post, Darryl Fears, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Attorneys general in 17 states on Wednesday made good on a promise to sue the Trump administration over rule changes that substantially weakened how Endangered Species Act protections are considered and enforced. The attorneys general vowed to challenge the administration in mid-August when the Interior and Commerce departments announced new rules that would allow officials to decrease the amount of habitat threatened and endangered animals require to survive and remove tools used by scientists to predict future harm to species as a result of climate change. The administration would also be allowed to reveal, for the first time in the 45 years since the act was signed into law by the Nixon administration, the financial burden of protecting wildlife.”

Aurelia Skipwith, Trump’s nominee to lead the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is linked to groups opposed to protections for endangered species, The Guardian, Jimmy Tobias and Emily Holden, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the US Fish and Wildlife Service has links to powerful agricultural interests opposed to protections for endangered species she would oversee, the Guardian has learned. Aurelia Skipwith, who is already a top official at the interior department, formerly worked at the agrochemical giant Monsanto.”

The Trump administration just inked another agreement making it harder to claim asylum in the US, Vox, Nicole Narea, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The Trump administration signed an agreement Wednesday that could require immigrants coming to America through Honduras to seek asylum there, regardless of whether they’re seeking help from the United States under international torture agreements or the asylum system. The administration signed a similar agreement with El Salvador on Friday and another with Guatemala in July. Neither has gone into effect yet. Together, the three countries are the source of most migrants crossing the southern border. The terms of Wednesday’s agreement, which are not yet public, allow the US to send migrants back to Honduras, in addition to El Salvador and Guatemala, if they did not seek asylum or other protections in those countries first, according to a senior Department of Homeland Security official.” See also, U.S. announces asylum deal with Honduras that could send migrants to one of the world’s most violent nations, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The Trump administration announced a migration deal Wednesday that will give U.S. immigration authorities the ability to send asylum seekers from the border to Honduras, one of the most violent and unstable nations in the world. Department of Homeland Security officials reached the accord with the government of President Juan Orlando Hernández, who is embroiled in allegations of government corruption and charges that he and others have been operating the nation as a criminal enterprise — Hernández has been named as a co-conspirator in a major U.S. drug trafficking case. The deal paves the way for the United States to take asylum seekers from the U.S. border and ship them to a nation with one of the highest murder rates in the world, a country with gang wars that have fueled waves of mass migration and multiple ‘caravans’ to the United States that became a major irritant to President Trump.”

Senate Again Votes to Terminate Trump’s Border Emergency, but Falls Short of a Veto-Proof Majority, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 25 September 2019: “The Senate voted on Wednesday for a second time to terminate the national emergency that President Trump declared at the southwestern border, in a bipartisan rejection of Mr. Trump’s bid to build a wall without congressional approval. But the 54-to-41 vote, in which 11 Republicans joined Democrats to break with the president over his signature domestic priority, fell short of the margin that would be needed to overcome a presidential veto, ensuring that Mr. Trump would be able to continue to redirect military funding to build a barrier on the southwestern border.”


Thursday, 26 September 2019, Day 980:


Document: Read the Whistle-Blower Complaint, The New York Times, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Here is the complaint filed by an intelligence officer about President Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine. It was released with a letter from the inspector general of the intelligence community.” See also, Whistle-Blower Says the White House Tried to ‘Lock Down’ Ukraine Call Records, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Senior White House officials tried to ‘lock down’ a record of President Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine in an attempted cover-up of Mr. Trump’s efforts to compel an investigation of a Democratic rival, a whistle-blower alleged in an explosive complaint released Thursday. The whistle-blower — a C.I.A. officer who once worked at the White House — said in the complaint that White House officials moved a transcript of the July 25 call with the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, onto a secure, classified system in order to conceal actions by Mr. Trump that officials in his administration found ‘deeply disturbing.’ In the complaint, the officer added details to what a reconstructed transcript of the call revealed about the interaction between the two leaders, asserting that government officials, including some at the White House, believed Mr. Trump had abused his power for personal political gain by pressuring Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden.” See also, 8 Takeaways From the Whistle-Blower Complaint, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released a declassified version of a whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s effort to press the leader of Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It also released a letter from the intelligence community’s inspector general that investigated the complaint and found that it was credible and raised an urgent concern. These files, and the Trump administration’s efforts to block Congress and the public from seeing them, have led to heightened calls among Democrats to impeach Mr. Trump. Here are takeaways from the newly disclosed files.” See also, Trump Attacks Whistle-Blower’s Sources and Alludes to Punishment for Spies, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “President Trump told a crowd of staff from the United States Mission to the United Nations on Thursday morning that he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was ‘close to a spy’ and that ‘in the old days,’ spies were dealt with differently. The remark stunned people in the audience, according to a person briefed on what took place, who had notes of what the president said. Mr. Trump made the statement several minutes into his remarks before the group of about 50 mission employees and their families at the event intended to honor the mission. At the outset, he condemned the former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s role in Ukraine at a time when his son Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Mr. Trump repeatedly referred to the whistle-blower and condemned the news media reporting on the complaint as ‘crooked.’ He then said the whistle-blower never heard the call in question. ‘I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.'” See also, Listen: Audio of Trump discussing whistleblower at private event: ‘That’s close to a spy,’ Los Angeles Times, Eli Stokols, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “President Trump expressed disgust Thursday morning with the explosive whistleblower complaint, slamming the intelligence officer and the White House aides who helped him or her as ‘almost a spy’ and suggested it was treason. Speaking at a private event with U.S. diplomatic officials in New York, Trump described reporters as ‘scum’ and raged at the Democrats’ new impeachment proceedings, which were spurred by the whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump tried to strong-arm Ukraine’s leader to interfere in the 2020 election.” See also, ‘Spies and Treason’: Read a Transcript of Trump’s Remarks Related to the Whistle-Blower, The New York Times, Thursday, 26 September 2019. See also, Whistle-Blower Is a C.I.A. Officer Who Was Detailed to the White House, The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt, and Julian E. Barnes, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The whistle-blower who revealed that President Trump sought foreign help for his re-election and that the White House sought to cover it up is a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity. The man has since returned to the C.I.A., the people said. Little else is known about him. His complaint made public Thursday suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law. The whistle-blower’s expertise will likely add to lawmakers’ confidence about the merits of his complaint, and tamp down allegations that he might have misunderstood what he learned about Mr. Trump. He did not listen directly to a July call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the political firestorm over the president’s mixing of diplomacy with personal political gain.” See also, Why The Times Published Details of the Whistle-Blower’s Identity, The New York Times, Thursday, 26 September 2019. See also, Whistle-Blower Shines Light on Super-Secret National Security Council Computer System, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Thursday, 26 September: “When the White House first released the reconstructed transcript of President Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with the president of Ukraine, some former government officials noticed something peculiar about it. The document lacked a standard marking in its upper right-hand corner, known as a ‘package number,’ or the number that the National Security Council officials would assign to the transcript as they logged it for storage. Instead, it bore the marking ‘[PkgNumberShort],’ which former officials, including one who served in the Trump White House, said was an indication that the document had not been formally placed into the council’s carefully organized records system according to normal practice. The full meaning of that became clear on Thursday only with the release of the complaint by an anonymous whistle-blower brought against Mr. Trump. The complaint explained that the transcript of the call between Mr. Trump and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was handled in a highly unusual manner, stored not in the National Security Council’s main computer system but in a far more secret and restricted system maintained by intelligence officials within the White House.” See also, Whistleblower claimed that Trump abused his office and that White House officials tried to cover it up, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, and Shane Harris, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The whistleblower complaint at the heart of the burgeoning controversy over President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president claims not only that Trump misused his office for personal gain and endangered national security, but also that unidentified White House officials tried to keep it a secret even within the government. In seven stark, carefully worded pages, the unidentified whistleblower alleged that the commander in chief pushed his foreign counterpart to investigate Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and that senior White House officials then tried to ‘lock down’ records related to the matter.” See also, 5 key takeaways and allegations from the Trump whistleblower complaint, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 26 September 2019. See also, Timeline: The alarming pattern of actions by Trump included in whistleblower allegations, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Thursday, 26 September 2019. See also, Whistleblower says White House tried to cover up Trump’s abuse of power, CNN, Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz, David Shortell, Tammy Kupperman, and Michael Callahan, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “President Donald Trump abused his official powers ‘to solicit interference’ from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up, according to a stunning whistleblower complaint released Thursday. Several White House officials were ‘deeply disturbed’ by Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and tried to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call, especially the word-for-word transcript produced by the White House, the complaint states.” See also, Whistleblower says White House tried to ‘lock down’ Ukraine call, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “An intelligence community whistleblower claimed White House officials expressed alarm that they had witnessed President Donald Trump ‘abuse his office for personal gain’ during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, and later tried to ‘lock down’ details of the conversation. According to an unclassified version of the complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning, the unidentified whistleblower said White House officials who listened to the call were ‘deeply disturbed’ by Trump’s requests that Zelensky investigate former vice president and 2020 presidential hopeful Joe Biden and revisit claims related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

White House Knew of Whistle-Blower’s Allegations Soon After Trump’s Call With Ukraine Leader, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The White House learned that a C.I.A. officer had lodged allegations against President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine even as the officer’s whistle-blower complaint was moving through a process meant to protect him against reprisals, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The officer first shared information about potential abuse of power and a White House cover-up with the C.I.A.’s top lawyer through an anonymous process, some of the people said. The lawyer shared the officer’s concerns with White House and Justice Department officials, following policy. Around the same time, the officer separately filed the whistle-blower complaint. The revelations provide new insight about how the officer’s allegations moved through the bureaucracy of government. The Trump administration’s handling of the accusations is certain to be scrutinized, particularly by lawmakers weighing the impeachment of the president.” See also, Justice Department Got Early Word of Concerns About Trump’s Ukraine Call, The Wall Street Journal, Sadie Gurman, Rebecca BAllhaus, and Warren P. Strobel, updated on Friday, 27 September 2019: “Justice Department officials learned about allegations of impropriety concerning President Trump’s July conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart before the formal whistleblower complaint was passed along from the intelligence community, people familiar with the matter said. The revelation sheds new light on how the administration handled the allegations, which are now driving House Democrats’ impeachment probe. The Justice Department had initially blocked sending the whistleblower report to Congress, but relented this week after a legal dispute and pressure from lawmakers. The report was released to the public Thursday.”

Whistleblower painstakingly gathered material and almost single-handedly set impeachment in motion, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The whistleblower’s identity remains obscured, the details of his work for the CIA cloaked in secrecy. But the document he delivered reveals almost as much about the investigative mission he carried out in stealth as it does about the alleged abuses of power by the president. From the moment he learned about President Trump’s attempts to extract political dirt on former vice president Joe Biden from the newly elected leader of Ukraine on July 25, the CIA officer behind the whistleblower report moved swiftly behind the scenes to assemble material from at least a half-dozen highly placed — and equally dismayed — U.S. officials. He wove their accounts with other painstakingly gathered material on everything from the intervention of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in the U.S.-Ukraine relationship to alleged efforts by American diplomats sent to Kiev and attorneys in the Office of the White House Counsel to contain or suppress the accruing damage.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire says he was not directed to withhold whistleblower complaint from Congress, The Week, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified Thursday he went to the White House first after receiving the whistleblower complaint about President Trump but said he was never directed to withhold it from Congress. During a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Maguire clarified the timeline of events under questioning by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who asked if the ‘first party’ his office went to after receiving the whistleblower complaint was the White House. Maguire confirmed his team first went to the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel before going to the Department of Justice’s Department of Legal Counsel. This, Magurie said, was to determine whether the complaint would be subject to executive privilege, saying he didn’t have authority to share the complaint with Congress until that was determined. Schiff objected to Maguire going ‘to the subject of the complaint for advice first about whether you should provide the complaint to Congress.'” See also, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire defends his handling of whistleblower complaint in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Karoun Demirjian, and Ellen Nakashima, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, appeared on Capitol Hill on Thursday, the first Trump administration official to speak at length about an extraordinary complaint by an intelligence community whistleblower who alleges that President Trump used his office to solicit interference by a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign.” See also, What we learned from Joseph Maguire’s testimony about the whistleblower complaint,The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Why did the nation’s top intelligence officer keep from Congress for more than a month a whistleblower complaint alleging the president abused his power? That question was at the heart of a hearing Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee with acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire. After public pressure from House Democrats, the complaint was released Wednesday to Congress and a redacted version was released publicly Thursday…. [Joseph] Maguire doesn’t think he did anything wrong in keeping the complaint from Congress. He says he followed protocol: He got a whistleblower complaint that he immediately regarded as ‘serious,’ detailing allegations of abuse of power by the president. So Maguire went to the White House’s lawyers to make sure it wouldn’t fall under executive privilege. Then he went to the Justice Department’s lawyers to get their advice about whether this complaint was ‘urgent’ enough to require being sent to Congress. And they decided it wasn’t, so he couldn’t. ‘I have to work with what I got,’ he said. The problem with how Maguire handled this, Democrats argue, is that he failed to take into context the politics of the moment. This isn’t a typical whistleblower complaint; those normally deal with bad-acting middle managers. It’s a complaint against the president of the United States. ‘Do you think it’s appropriate that you go to a department run by someone who’s the subject of the complaint to get advice — or who is a subject of the complaint or implicated in the complaint for advice as to whether you should provide that to Congress? Did — did that conflict of interest concern you?’ asked House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).” See also, Joseph Maguire, Acting Director of National Intelligence, Holds His Ground, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Adam Goldman, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “For days, the nation’s top intelligence official found himself wedged between lawmakers eager to see a potentially explosive whistle-blower complaint and other Trump administration officials who deemed it off-limits. Senior intelligence officials described Joseph Maguire, who became acting director of national intelligence last month, as reeling from accusations that he broke the law by keeping the complaint from Congress. Mr. Maguire, a retired three-star admiral who friends and allies say did not want the job and was unprepared to wage a political battle, now finds himself trying to protect his reputation, former officials familiar with the workings of his office said.” See also, ‘This is unprecedented’: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire defends withholding whistleblower complaint, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 26 September 2019. See also, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire tells Congress the ‘whistleblower did the right thing,’ CNN, Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 26 September 2019.

Effort to shield Trump’s call with Ukrainian leader was part of broader secrecy effort, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Carol D. Leonnig, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The White House has taken extraordinary steps over the past two years to block details of President Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders from becoming public, following embarrassing disclosures early in his administration that enraged the president and created a sense of paranoia among his top aides. The number of aides allowed to listen on secure ‘drop’ lines was slashed. The list of government officials who could review a memo of the call’s contents was culled. Fewer copies of transcripts went to agencies, and they were stamped with ‘EYES ONLY DO NOT COPY.’ And some officials who deliver call memos had to sign for the records to create a custody record if they were to leak, according to people familiar with the moves who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them.”

In gambit for Trump, Giuliani engaged parade of Ukrainian prosecutors, The Washington Post, Paul Sonne, Michael Birnbaum, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Rudolph W. Giuliani spent months cultivating current and former prosecutors in Ukraine with a particular goal: Help President Trump in next year’s election by ensuring that Ukrainian authorities pursued allegations that could damage his Democratic rivals.”

Trump’s Efforts to Push Ukraine Toward a Biden Inquiry: A Timeline, The New York Times, Weiyi Cai, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Alicia Parlapiano, Jugal K. Patel, and Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “President Trump repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Here’s a timeline of events since January.”

In Trump’s Ukraine Phone Call, Alarmed Aides Saw Trouble, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “No one bothered to put special limits on the number of people allowed to sit in the ‘listening room’ in the White House to monitor the phone call because it was expected to be routine. By the time the call was over 30 minutes later, it quickly became clear that it was anything but. Soon after President Trump put the phone down that summer day, the red flags began to go up. Rather than just one head of state offering another pro forma congratulations for recent elections, the call turned into a bid by Mr. Trump to press a Ukrainian leader in need of additional American aid to ‘do us a favor’ and investigate Democrats. The alarm among officials who heard the exchange led to an extraordinary effort to keep too many more people from learning about it. In the days to come, according to a whistle-blower complaint released on Thursday, White House officials embarked on a campaign to ‘lock down’ the record of the call, removing it from the usual electronic file and hiding it away in a separate system normally used for classified information. But word began to spread anyway, kicking off a succession of events that would eventually reveal details of the call to the public and has now put Mr. Trump at risk of being impeached by a Democrat-led House for abusing his power and betraying his office. The story of the past two months is one of a White House scrambling to keep secrets to protect a president willing to cross lines others would not, only to find the very government he frequently disparages expose him.” See also, Donald Trump’s Call With Ukrainian Leader, One Day After Robert Mueller’s Congressional Testimony, Shows the President Is a Brazen Criminal, The Intercept, James Risen, Thursday, 26 September 2019.

Former Ukraine prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko says Hunter Biden ‘did not violate anything,’ The Washington Post, Michael Birnbaum, David L. Stern, and Natalie Gryvnyak, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “A former top Ukrainian prosecutor, whose allegations were at the heart of the dirt-digging effort by Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Thursday he believed that Hunter Biden did not run afoul of any laws in Ukraine. ‘From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything,’ former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko told The Washington Post in his first interview since the disclosure of a whistleblower complaint alleging pressure by President Trump on Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky.”

Trump’s other Ukraine problem: New concern about his business, The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Buried in the controversy over President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was an effort by the Ukrainian leader at currying favor with Trump through his business. ‘Actually, last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park, and I stayed at the Trump Tower,’ Zelensky told Trump, according to a rough transcript of the July 25 call released Wednesday. Zelensky’s comments mark the first known example of an interaction Democrats and government ethics experts warned about when Trump took office: that foreign leaders would try to influence Trump by spending money at his properties and telling him about it.”

Phil Scott Is First Republican Governor to Back Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont on Thursday endorsed the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, becoming the first Republican governor to do so. Mr. Scott’s announcement, at a news conference, was carefully calibrated. He did not say that he believed Mr. Trump should be impeached, much less removed from office. He said only that Congress should examine the full whistle-blower report, and that it was appropriate for the House to proceed with the inquiry that Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday.” See also, A first: Vermont Republican governor Phil Scott backs Trump impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Wilson Ring|AP, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “Vermont’s governor became the first Republican chief executive to support an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump but cautioned that he wants to know more before any further actions are taken.”

Trump Slashes Refugee Cap to 18,000, Curtailing U.S. Role as Haven, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “President Trump has decided to slash the American refugee program by almost half, greatly dimming the United States’ role in accepting persecuted refugees from most parts of the world, the State Department announced Thursday. The administration said it would accept 18,000 refugees during the next 12 months, down from the current limit of 30,000 and a fraction of the 110,000 President Barack Obama said should be allowed into the United States in 2016, his final year in office.” See also, Trump administration slashes refugee limit for the third consecutive year to a historic low of 18,000, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Maria Sacchetti, and Seung Min Kim, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The Trump administration has set the cap on the number of refugees admitted to the United States next year at 18,000, the lowest level since the program began four decades ago, officials said Thursday. The new limit represents a 40 percent drop from the 2019 cap and marks the third consecutive year that the administration has slashed the program since the United States admitted nearly 85,000 refugees in President Barack Obama’s final year in office.”

Immigrant Population Growth in the U.S. Slows to a Trickle, The New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The United States population gained immigrants at the slowest pace in a decade last year, according to an analysis of new census data, a notable slowdown that experts said was quite likely linked to a more restrictive approach by the Trump administration. The net increase of immigrants in the American population dropped to about 200,000 people in 2018, a decline of more than 70 percent from the year before, according to William Frey, chief demographer at the Brookings Institution, who conducted the analysis.”

Environmental Protection Agency tells California it is ‘failing to meet its obligations’ to protect the environment, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The Trump administration accused the state of California Thursday of ‘failing to meet its obligations’ to protect the environment, claiming that a growing homeless population threatens the state’s water quality. Days after President Trump mocked Los Angeles and other big cities for their ‘tremendous pollution,’ EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent an oversight letter charging California officials with failing to meet federal health standards in numerous communities where large homeless populations litter the streets with trash, drug paraphernalia and human waste. The unusual move ratchets up the Trump administration’s ongoing assault on the nation’s most populous state, a multipronged campaign that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has described as ‘weaponizing’ the federal government. The outcome of that battle — which has involved the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the EPA — could determine who gets to set policy on a range of issues, from immigration to transportation.”

Caltech Gets a Windfall for Climate Research: $750 Million, The New York Times, Dana Goldstein, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “It will take huge efforts, according to experts, to avert disasters related to climate change. Commitments from reluctant leaders to reform the global economy. Shifts in the daily routines of citizens. And research from the world’s greatest minds — lots of it. To help pay for that research, the billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick are set to announce on Thursday the second-largest donation ever to an American university: $750 million to the California Institute of Technology for environmental study, much of it focused on technological solutions to combat climate change.”

Eugene Scalia Confirmed by Senate as Labor Secretary, The New York Times, Noam Scheiber, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The Senate on Thursday confirmed Eugene Scalia, a longtime lawyer representing corporations, to be labor secretary. Mr. Scalia was chosen by President Trump in July, days after Mr. Trump’s first labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced that he would resign. He is a son of the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. The nomination was approved on a 53-to-44 vote along party lines…. Democrats and labor groups questioned whether Mr. Scalia’s background was consistent with the interests of American workers. ‘Mr. Scalia’s nomination is a slap to the face of labor because Mr. Scalia’s life’s work has been utterly opposed to the mission of the agency to which he’s nominated,’ Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said Thursday on the Senate floor.” See also, Senate confirms Eugene Scalia as labor secretary, succeeding Alex Acosta who resigned in July amid outcry over Epstein plea deal, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Eli Rosenberg, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “The Senate on Thursday confirmed Eugene Scalia to succeed Alex Acosta, the labor secretary who resigned in July amid an outcry over his role in a plea deal for the multimillionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Scalia is a partner at the Washington law firm Gibson Dunn, where he has represented companies such as Walmart, Ford and UPS in workers rights claims. He is also the son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia was confirmed Thursday on a 53-to-44 vote. Democrats have argued that Scalia’s record as a corporate lawyer has shown him to be ‘anti-worker.’ In remarks on the Senate floor Thursday morning, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) contended that Scalia fought to protect the interests of chief executives and the wealthy elite and opposed worker protections throughout his career, describing his nomination by President Trump as a ‘disgrace.'”

Data suggests Trump’s travel ban really is a Muslim ban, The Washington Post, Vahid Niayesh, Thursday, 26 September 2019: “On Tuesday, House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs subcommittees held a hearing on President Trump’s effort to ban travel to the United States from mostly Muslim-majority countries. Commonly known as the Muslim ban, the policy went into full effect on Dec. 4, 2017, after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted temporary injunctions imposed by federal courts. The policy involved seven countries: five Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia) and North Korea and Venezuela. How much has this policy mattered? Based on data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which regularly provides the number of visas issued for all countries, the effect is dramatic.”