Trump Administration, Week 141: Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

Montreal Climate March, Friday, 27 September 2019

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, 27 September 2019, Day 981:


‘We are changing the world’: Greta Thunberg addresses hundreds of thousands at Montreal climate march, CBC, Benjamin Shingler, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets of Montreal on Friday in a climate march that turned the city’s downtown into a sea of placard-waving protesters. To deafening cheers, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg addressed the crowd at the end of the protest. ‘We are not in school today, you are not at work today, because this is an emergency, and we will not be bystanders,’ said the 16-year-old, whose activism has made headlines around the world. ‘Some would say we are wasting lesson time. We say we are changing the world. So that when we are older we will be able to look our children in the eyes and say that we did everything we could back then.’ Organizers said 500,000 people attended the march, making it the largest in the province’s history.” See also, As it happened–500,000 in Montreal climate march led by Greta Thunberg, Montreal Gazette, Andy Riga, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The best signs from Montreal’s climate march, CBC, Friday, 27 September 2019.

More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern,’ The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials have signed a statement warning that President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern’ and supporting an impeachment inquiry by Congress to determine ‘the facts.’ ‘To be clear, we do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress’ deliberative process,’ said the statement, released Friday. ‘At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.'” See also, Hundreds of ex-national security officials support impeachment inquiry into Trump, CNN, Veronica Stracqualursi, Friday, 27 September 2019: “More than 300 former national security officials have come out in support of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, arguing the President’s actions in regard to Ukraine are a ‘profound national security concern. President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes,’ a statement signed by the officials and dated Friday reads. ‘That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power.'”

House Democrats Issue First Subpoena (Secretary of State Mike Pompeo) in Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats, moving quickly to escalate their impeachment inquiry into President Trump, subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding that he promptly produce a tranche of documents and a slate of witnesses that could shed light on the president’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to help tarnish a leading political rival. The subpoena and demands for depositions were the first major investigative actions the House has taken since it launched impeachment proceedings this week in light of revelations that Mr. Trump pushed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, possibly using United States aid as leverage.” See also, Democrats subpoena Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as part of impeachment inquiry, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Democrats hit the gas on their impeachment inquiry Friday, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents they demanded weeks earlier that describe a pattern of interactions between President Donald Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and senior Ukrainian officials who they pressured to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.” See also, House subpoenas Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and schedules depositions of five State Department officials, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The chairmen of three powerful House committees subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to their investigation into President Trump’s controversial call with the leader of Ukraine. The House panels have also scheduled five depositions beginning next week with State Department officials who would have knowledge of Trump’s engagements with Ukraine. These are the first concrete steps taken as Democrats seek to build a case for impeachment. Members of the House Intelligence Committee had said they planned to continue working next week through Congress’s scheduled recess, promising a very busy next few weeks. Lawmakers shared their plans hours after Trump called for the committee’s chairman to resign and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused Attorney General William P. Barr of having ‘gone rogue.'” See also, Democrats Set Rapid Timetable for Trump Impeachment Probe, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Andrew Duehren, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats have settled on a narrow impeachment inquiry into President Trump centered on his campaign to enlist Ukraine to hurt a political rival, a rapid strategy that will produce hearings within a few weeks and build to a possible vote by November. That plan was put into action immediately on Friday, when a trio of House committees issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for records of interactions between the president and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the Ukrainian government. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which had requested the material about three weeks ago, also scheduled depositions starting next week with five State Department officials, including Kurt Volker, who late Friday resigned as the special envoy for Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the matter, after playing a role in arranging a meeting between Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and an aide to Ukraine’s president.” See also, House Democrats accelerate impeachment inquiry, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Heather Caygle, and Sarah Ferris, Friday, 27 September 2019: “House Democrats are moving swiftly in their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, subpoenaing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for key documents on Friday and announcing plans to haul in the intelligence community’s top watchdog next week over a scheduled recess. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) confirmed Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, will testify in a closed session before the panel next Friday.” See also, Where House Democrats stand on impeaching Trump, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Amber Phillips, and Kevin Schaul, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Now, 224 House Democrats and one Independent member say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry into whether the president committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Of those, 28 have gone a step further and said they support impeaching the president. The ranks of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump swelled in the past week, culminating on Sept. 24 when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry.” See also, What you missed while not watching Day 4 of President Trump’s impeachment drama, The Washington Post, Michael Scherer, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, Trump says the whistleblower complaint isn’t accurate. The White House keeps showing how it is. The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 27 September 2019. See also, The Integrity of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New Yorker, Steve Coll, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Many features of Trumpism—the cynical populism, the brazen readiness to profit from high office, the racist and nativist taunts—have antecedents in American politics. But Donald Trump’s open willingness to ask foreign governments to dig up dirt on political opponents has been an idiosyncratic aspect of his rise to power. At a press conference in July, 2016, when he was the presumptive Republican nominee for President, he invited Russia to get hold of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and leak them to the press. This past June, George Stephanopoulos asked him what he thought his campaign should do now ‘if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else,’ offered information on his political opponents—accept it or call the F.B.I.? Trump allowed that he might do both, adding, “If somebody called from a country—Norway—‘We have information on your opponent.’ Oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” (When the interview was released, Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, felt obliged to point out that ‘it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.’) We now know that, as Trump spoke to Stephanopoulos, he and Rudolph Giuliani, his personal lawyer, were deep in a vigorous effort to persuade the government of Ukraine to conduct investigations that might rake up some muck about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.” See also, Why the Trump Impeachment Inquiry Is the Only Option, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Friday, 27 September 2019.

Continue reading Week 141, Friday, 27 September – Thursday, 3 October 2019 (Days 981-987)

Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine and head of the McCain Institute, resigns, The State Press, Andrew Howard, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Executive Director of the McCain Institute Kurt Volker resigned from his position as the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Friday, following reports he collaborated with Ukraine and President Donald Trump.  An ASU [Arizona State University] official confirmed Volker’s resignation Friday, and said the University could not speak about his future at ASU because the University does not comment on personnel matters. Volker met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Friday to announce he would be resigning, the official said. Volker’s name was mentioned in the recent whistleblower complaint, which has sparked an impeachment inquiry for Trump.” See also, Kurt Volker, Trump’s Envoy for Ukraine, Resigns, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine who got caught in the middle of the pressure campaign by President Trump and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to find damaging information about Democrats, abruptly resigned his post on Friday. Mr. Volker, who told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday that he was stepping down, offered no public explanation, but a person informed about his decision said he concluded that it was impossible to be effective in his assignment given the developments of recent days. His departure was the first resignation since revelations about Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and other Democrats. The disclosures have triggered a full-blown House impeachment inquiry, and House leaders announced on Friday that they planned to interview Mr. Volker in a deposition on Thursday.” See also, Kurt Volker, US envoy to Ukraine, resigns amid scandal consuming Trump’s presidency, Politico, Nahal Toosi, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Shortly after being named the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations in mid-2017, Kurt Volker attended an invitation-only strategy session at the Atlantic Council with a small group of foreign-policy hands. There, he encouraged the people gathered at the downtown D.C. think tank to publicly praise President Donald Trump for his handling of Russia and Ukraine. It might have been in jest, but Volker’s point was obvious: Flattering Trump might lead him to ‘do the right thing’ and act in the U.S. interest, as one attendee put it…. Volker’s decision to leave comes a day after Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, claimed that Volker had asked him to talk to Ukrainian officials — discussions that may have involved demands that Ukraine dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic 2020 frontrunner.”See also, Kurt Volker, special envoy to Ukraine, resigns one day after whistleblower report released, CNN, Jay Shaylor, Evan Perez, Kylie Atwood, and Devan Cole, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Kurt Volker, US special envoy to Ukraine, has resigned one day after the release of a whistleblower report alleging a coverup by the White House of a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN. Volker was named in the report. The State Department has not returned messages seeking comment. The State Press, the school paper of Arizona State University, first reported Volker’s resignation.” See also, Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, resigns, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Anne Gearan, published on Saturday, 28 September 2019.

Trump’s Ukraine Plotting Has Been Happening in Plain Sight. So Why Didn’t We See It? ProPublica, Eric Umansky, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Try for a moment to imagine the world as it was a week ago. Before we knew that President Donald Trump put the squeeze on another country to investigate his political opponent, before we knew he wanted to involve the attorney general, or that aid may have been held up in the plotting. Except, we did know each of those things. The president hasn’t been quiet about what he’s up to. And while we didn’t know many details, much of the hanky-panky has been happening right before our eyes.”

Current and Former Officials Said the White House Used a Highly Classified Computer System Accessible to Only a Select Few Officials to Store Transcripts of Calls From President Vladimir Putin and the Saudi Royal Family, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Michael Crowley, Matthew Rosenberg, and Mark Mazzetti, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The White House concealed some reconstructed transcripts of delicate calls between President Trump and foreign officials, including President Vladimir V. Putin and the Saudi royal family, in a highly classified computer system after embarrassing leaks of his conversations, according to current and former officials. The handling of Mr. Trump’s calls with world leaders has come under scrutiny after questions over whether a transcript of a July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, was improperly placed into this computer system. The latest revelations show the focus that White House officials put on safeguarding not only classified information but also delicate calls with Mr. Trump, the details of which the administration did not want leaked.” See also, White House restricted access to Trump’s calls with Putin and Saudi crown prince, CNN, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto, and Kevin Liptak, published on Saturday, 28 September 2019: “White House efforts to limit access to President Donald Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to people familiar with the matter.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says Attorney General William Barr Has ‘Gone Rogue,’ The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said that Attorney General William P. Barr had “gone rogue,” and questioned whether he could objectively make decisions about legal action in response to an explosive whistle-blower complaint accusing President Trump of misconduct, because Mr. Barr himself was mentioned in the document.”

National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre Asks Trump to ‘Stop the Games’ Over Gun Legislation. Trump and LaPierre Discuss Prospective Gun Legislation and Whether the N.R.A. Can Provide Support for Trump as He Faces Impeachment, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Friday, 27 September 2019: “President Trump met in the White House on Friday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, and discussed prospective gun legislation and whether the N.R.A. could provide support for the president as he faces impeachment and a more difficult re-election campaign, according to two people familiar with the meeting. During the meeting, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said. It was not clear whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. LaPierre for his support, or what that support would look like. In a statement Friday evening, an N.R.A. spokesman confirmed the meeting took place but insisted The Times’s account of the meeting was ‘inaccurate.’ He pushed back on the account of some officials that any offer of support for the president was in exchange for opposition to gun laws.”

Trump told Russian officials in 2017 he wasn’t concerned about Moscow’s interference in U.S. election, The Washington Post, Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, and Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 27 September 2019: “President Trump told two senior Russian officials in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries, an assertion that prompted alarmed White House officials to limit access to the remarks to an unusually small number of people, according to three former officials with knowledge of the matter. The comments, which have not been previously reported, were part of a now-infamous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Trump revealed highly classified information that exposed a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also said during the meeting that firing FBI Director James B. Comey the previous day had relieved ‘great pressure’ on him.”

New Senate Report Reveals the National Rifle Association Was ‘Foreign Asset’ to Russia Ahead of 2016, NPR, Tim Mak, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The National Rifle Association acted as a ‘foreign asset’ for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election, according to a new investigation unveiled Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. Drawing on contemporaneous emails and private interviews, an 18-month probe by the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic staff found that the NRA underwrote political access for Russian nationals Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin more than previously known — even though the two had declared their ties to the Kremlin.”

Federal judge blocks Trump administration from detaining migrant children for indefinite periods, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 27 September 2019: “A federal judge in Los Angeles has blocked the Trump administration from activating new regulations that would have dramatically expanded its ability to detain migrant children with their parents for indefinite periods of time, dealing a blow to the president’s efforts to tamp down unauthorized border crossings. U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee issued the permanent injunction Friday, hours after hearing arguments from the Justice Department and advocates for immigrants in a long-running federal case in the Central District of California. Lawyers for the Justice Department had urged Gee to allow the Trump administration to withdraw from the Flores Settlement Agreement, a 1997 federal consent decree that sets basic standards for detaining migrant children. The decree led to a 20-day limit for holding children in detention facilities that have not been licensed by the states for the purpose of caring for minors.” See also, Federal judge won’t allow Trump to expand family detention, Politico, Ted Hesson, Friday, 27 September 2019: “A federal judge blocked a Trump administration regulation Friday that would allow families to be detained for lengthy periods of time. Los Angeles-based U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled that the regulation— set to take effect Oct. 22 — violated the terms of the so-called Flores settlement agreement, which currently governs the standards for the detention of migrant children. Under the terms of the agreement and subsequent court rulings, children cannot be detained with their parents for longer than 20 days. Gee said the new Trump detention regulations would allow migrant children to be held ‘indefinitely.’ As such, she said it runs afoul of the agreement’s requirement that children be placed in the least restrictive setting after being taken into custody.” See also, Judge Blocks Trump Administration Plan to Detain Migrant Children, The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 27 September 2019: “A federal judge on Friday rejected new regulations that would allow the government to hold children and their parents in detention for indefinite periods, one of the Trump administration’s signature efforts to curtail the large number of families arriving from Central America. Describing the government’s defense of its proposed new policy as ‘Kafkaesque’ in some of its reasoning, Judge Dolly Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California said it was up to Congress, not the administration, to supplant a 20-year-old consent decree that requires children to be held in state-licensed facilities and released in most cases within 20 days.”

Eric Holder-affiliated group launches new challenge to partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Friday, 27 September 2019: “A nonprofit organization connected to former Obama attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. is launching a new challenge to partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, filing a lawsuit Friday in state court seeking to throw out the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts in time for the 2020 elections. The suit, filed by the National Redistricting Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of a political committee led by Holder, aims to capi­tal­ize on a recent state ruling that portions of North Carolina’s state legislative districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to maximize Republicans’ advantage.”

Immigration Judges’ Union Lodges Labor Complaints Against the Trump Administration, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The union representing the nation’s immigration judges filed two labor complaints against the Justice Department on Friday, escalating a fight between the Trump administration and those who play a central role in the White House’s attempt to limit immigration to the United States. The National Association of Immigration Judges, representing the 420 judges overseeing immigration cases in the United States, filed one of the complaints a month after the Justice Department moved to decertify the union. Another is based off a separate episode in August, when the Justice Department’s executive office for immigration review sent court employees a link to a blog post from a white nationalist website that included anti-Semitic attacks on judges. The filing is the latest jab in a long-running fight between the outspoken union and the Justice Department, which has pressured the immigration judges to more quickly address a backlog of immigration cases that reached one million this year. Unlike other judges, immigration judges are under the Justice Department as opposed to the judicial branch. The union has long lobbied for its independence.”

House votes to overturn Trump’s national emergency to fund border wall–but falls short of veto-proof majority, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz and Erica Werner, Friday, 27 September 2019: “The House voted Friday to overturn President Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund his border wall, sending the Senate-passed resolution to the White House, where the president will certainly veto it. Only a handful of Republicans voted with Democrats to block Trump from moving money around to pay for the construction of his wall along the U.S. southern border. The resolution passed 236 to 174 — short of the two-thirds support needed for a veto-proof majority. The Senate also did not reach that threshold when it passed the measure on Wednesday.” See also, House Again Rejects Trump’s Border Emergency, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Congress voted on Friday to terminate the national emergency that President Trump has declared at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke of his efforts to redirect federal money to a border wall without congressional approval. The resolution of disapproval — the second time in two months that Congress has rejected Mr. Trump’s scheme to allocate large sums for a border barrier over lawmakers’ objections — fell short of its goal. With only 11 Republicans joining House Democrats in supporting it, the measure did not draw the two-thirds majority that would have been needed to overcome a veto. The Senate, which passed the measure this week, also did not muster a veto-proof majority. But the action underscored the continuing struggle between Mr. Trump and Congress over his signature political promise and domestic priority, a symbol of an immigration agenda that has divided the country and the two political parties.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls for a Government Bailout for New York Taxi Drivers, The New York Times, Brian M. Rosenthal, Friday, 27 September 2019: “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a government bailout for New York taxi drivers, emerging as the most prominent voice to back a financial rescue plan for thousands of drivers who were channeled into exploitative loans. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who said her district in the Bronx and Queens is home to many cabdrivers, jumped into a debate over how to help drivers who were urged to take out loans with high fees, interest-only payments and other one-sided terms. They borrowed the money to buy taxi medallions, the city permit that allowed them to own and operate their cabs. ‘This is manufactured financial indentured servitude,’ she said during a congressional hearing on lending on Thursday. ‘And it is wrong. We need to bail out these drivers.'”


Saturday, 28 September 2019, Day 982:


How a Shadow Foreign Policy in Ukraine Prompted an Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Andrew E. Kramer, and David E. Sanger, Saturday, 28 September 2019: “Petro O. Poroshenko was still the president of Ukraine earlier this year when his team sought a lifeline. With the polls showing him in clear danger of losing his re-election campaign, some of his associates, eager to hold on to their own jobs and influence, took steps that could have yielded a signal of public support from a vital ally: President Trump. Over several weeks in March, the office of Ukraine’s top prosecutor moved ahead on two investigations of intense interest to Mr. Trump. One was focused on an oligarch — previously cleared of wrongdoing by the same prosecutor — whose company employed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son. The other dealt with the release by a separate Ukrainian law enforcement agency to the media of information that hurt Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. The actions by the prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, did not come out of thin air. They were the first visible results of a remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign to gather and disseminate political dirt from a foreign country, encouraged by Mr. Trump and carried out by his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. In the last week their engagement with Ukraine has prompted a formal impeachment inquiry into whether the president courted foreign interference to hurt a leading political rival.”

Kurt Volker, former US Special Envoy for Ukraine, plans to appear before congressional committees next week, CNN, Kylie Atwood and Evan Perez, Saturday, 28 September 2019: “Former US Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker plans to appear at his deposition next Thursday in front of three congressional committees, according to a source familiar with his plans. The source would not say if the White House is seeking to use executive privilege to constrict Volker in terms of what he can say or provide. Volker’s appearance before the Intelligence, Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees was announced just hours before the news broke Friday evening that he had resigned.”

Impeachment Battle to Turn for First Time on a President’s Ties to a Foreign Country, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 28 September 2019: “Alexander Hamilton, as usual, got right to the heart of the matter. When the framers were designing the Constitution and its power of impeachment, one of the high crimes they had in mind was giving into what Hamilton called ‘the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.’ For the authors of the country’s charter, there were few bigger threats than a president corruptly tied to forces from overseas. And so as the House opened an impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine this past week, the debate quickly focused on one of the oldest issues in America’s democratic experiment.”

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen L. Weintraub says a Republican colleague blocked wide release of her foreign activity memo, The Washington Post, Alex Horton, Saturday, 28 September 2019: “In a politically apocalyptic year, with the threat of foreign interference in the 2020 election looming, one thing has been constant: You could set your watch to the Federal Election Commission’s digest showing up online. The latest in election regulatory activity has published every Friday in 2019 and has posted in a similar frequency going back to 2009. The only recent disruption was the government shutdown that began around Christmas last year. That was until this Friday, after what FEC Chair Ellen L. Weintraub said was a Republican commissioner’s effort to block a draft memo on prohibited foreign national electoral activity from being included in the digest, which led to the digest being withheld from the public. But Weintraub found a way to get the information out. ‘Funny story,’ she began in a Friday tweetstorm. The Democratic chairwoman published the digest in piecemeal, with 57 tweets in all, including the foreign national prohibitions memo — all while calling out the commissioner who she said sought to block it from being widely publicized online.” See also, Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub Posts Foreign Interference Memo on Twitter, The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, published on Sunday, 29 September 2019: “The Federal Election Commission chairwoman, Ellen L. Weintraub, on Friday took the dramatic step of using Twitter to release the entire draft of a memo addressing foreign election interference. Ms. Weintraub, a Democrat appointed by President George W. Bush, said she had tried to publish the memo in the commission’s weekly digest, but that a Republican commission member, Caroline Hunter, had thwarted it. Ms. Weintraub said on Sunday that the six-page memo, which can also be found on the agency’s website, was drafted by the commission’s staff and was meant to provide guidance on rules about prohibited activities involving foreign nationals in elections.”

State Department intensifies email probe of Hillary Clinton’s former aides, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Karoun Demirjian, Saturday, 28 September 2019: “The Trump administration is investigating the email records of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent messages to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email, reviving a politically toxic matter that overshadowed the 2016 election, current and former officials said. As many as 130 officials have been contacted in recent weeks by State Department investigators — a list that includes senior officials who reported directly to Clinton as well as others in lower-level jobs whose emails were at some point relayed to her inbox, said current and former State Department officials. Those targeted were notified that emails they sent years ago have been retroactively classified and now constitute potential security violations, according to letters reviewed by The Washington Post.”


Sunday, 29 September 2019, Day 983:


Trump’s former national security advisor Tom Bossert is ‘deeply disturbed’ by Ukraine scandal: ‘Whole world is watching,’ ABC News, Chris Francescani, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “President Donald Trump’s first Homeland Security and counterterrorism adviser, who resigned after a year in the office, said on ‘This Week With George Stephanopoulos’ on Sunday that he is ‘deeply disturbed’ and ‘frustrated’ by the ‘entire mess’ that began in July with Trump’s phone call with a young Ukrainian president and suddenly this week sparked a firestorm of calls in Congress to impeach the president following the disclosure of an extraordinary whistleblower complaint.” See also, Trump Was Repeatedly Warned That Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Completely Debunked,’ The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman, and Peter Baker, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was ‘completely debunked’ long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday. Thomas P. Bossert, who served as Mr. Trump’s first homeland security adviser, said he told the president there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the 2016 election and did so on behalf of the Democrats. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” that Mr. Trump nonetheless tried to get Ukraine’s president to produce damaging information about Democrats.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Pushes for Simple Message on Impeachment as Inquiry Barrels Ahead, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a private appeal on Sunday to Democrats not to squander their chance to build public support for a full-scale impeachment inquiry into President Trump, pressing lawmakers to maintain a simple and somber message as she declared ‘we are ready’ to push forward with a politically divisive process. ‘The polls have changed drastically about this,’ Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, told her colleagues during a private conference call, according to a Democratic aide who listened and described the private conversation on condition of anonymity. ‘Our tone must be prayerful, respectful, solemn, worthy of the Constitution.'”

Biden Campaign Urges TV Networks to Stop Booking Rudy Giuliani, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign contacted top television anchors and networks on Sunday to ‘demand’ that Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, be kept off the air because of what they called his misleading comments about the Biden family and Ukraine. ‘We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump,’ a pair of top Biden campaign advisers, Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield, wrote in the letter. ‘Giving Rudy Giuliani valuable time on your air to push these lies in the first place is a disservice to your audience and a disservice to journalism,’ the advisers wrote. The note, which was obtained by The New York Times, was sent to executives and top political anchors at ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC, including star interviewers like Jake Tapper, Chuck Todd and Chris Wallace.”

Intelligence panel has deal to hear whistleblower’s testimony, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into President Trump. The announcement from Schiff came on the same day that Tom Bossert, a former Trump homeland security adviser, delivered a rebuke of the president, saying in an interview on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he was ‘deeply disturbed’ by the implications of Trump’s recently reported actions. Those comments come as members of Congress return to their districts for a two-week recess, during which they will either have to make the case for Trump’s impeachment or defend him to voters amid mounting questions about his conduct.”

Jamal Khashoggi: A missing voice, a growing chorus, The Washington Post, Fred Hiatt, Sunday, 29 September 2019: “One year ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman thought he could end a debate with a bone saw. He did succeed in ending a life and silencing a voice — that of our brave and distinguished colleague, Jamal Khashoggi. But as you will see here, the debate lives on, and the quests that animated Khashoggi’s life — for freedom, democracy, tolerance and greater understanding across cultures — cannot be so easily defeated.” See also, As backlash fears fade, major firms are returning to Saudi Arabia a year after Khashoggi’s killing, The Washington Post, Reed Albergotti, Josh Dawsey, and Kareem Fahim, published on Monday, 30 September 2019: “When Saudi Arabia hosted its high-profile investment conference just weeks after Jamal Khashoggi’s killing last October, top executives from some of the world’s biggest financial companies begged off, skipping the event over fears that negative publicity could tarnish their firms’ brands. A year later, human rights advocates say the kingdom has yet to deliver justice, failing to hold senior Saudi officials responsible for The Washington Post contributing columnist’s killing or to even reveal the location of his body. But business leaders have been far more forgiving. In a few weeks, senior executives from blue-chip firms including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and BlackRock will be returning to the kingdom for the conference dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert,’ according to an attendees list reviewed by The Post.”


Monday, 30 September 2019, Day 984:


Trump Pressed Australian Leader to Help Attorney General William Barr Investigate Mueller Inquiry’s Origins, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Katie Benner, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Trump pushed the Australian prime minister during a recent telephone call to help Attorney General William P. Barr gather information for a Justice Department inquiry that Mr. Trump hopes will discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two American officials with knowledge of the call. The White House restricted access to the call’s transcript to a small group of the president’s aides, one of the officials said, an unusual decision that is similar to the handling of a July call with the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump. Like that call, the discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia shows the extent to which Mr. Trump sees the attorney general as a critical partner in his goal to show that the Mueller investigation had corrupt and partisan origins, and the extent that Mr. Trump sees the Justice Department inquiry as a potential way to gain leverage over America’s closest allies. And like the call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the discussion with Mr. Morrison shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests.” See also, Trump pressed Australian Prime Minister to help with Justice Department review of the origins of the Russia investigation, CNN, Evan Perez and Paul LeBlanc, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Donald Trump pressed Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a recent phone call to help Attorney General William Barr with his review of the origins of the Russia probe, according to an official familiar with the call. An official briefed on the matter said the attorney general has asked the President to request the help of several countries, including Australia, with the review of the early stages of the Russia investigation. The call happened with Barr’s knowledge and at his suggestion, says the official. The New York Times first reported this call.”

House Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s Private Lawyer, for Ukraine Records, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday 30 September 2019: “House Democrats on Monday subpoenaed President Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a key figure in their impeachment inquiry, even as the president vowed to learn the identity of the anonymous whistle-blower whose accusations of presidential impropriety toward Ukraine lie at the center of the scandal. The Giuliani subpoena punctuated another day of confrontation in the capital, rife with accusations by both Democrats in Congress and an increasingly combative president.” See also, Three House committees subpoena Rudy Giuliano, Trump’s personal lawyer, for documents in the Ukraine investigation, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Three House committees issued a subpoena Monday to President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, demanding he turn over all records pertaining to his contacts regarding Ukraine, the Biden family and related matters. In a letter to Giuliani accompanying the subpoena, the chairmen of the three committees — Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) of the Intelligence Committee, Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) of Foreign Affairs, and Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) of Oversight — cited ‘a growing public record’ of information in accusing Giuliani of appearing ‘to have pressed the Ukrainian government to pursue two politically-motivated investigations.'”

Trump Seeks Whistle-Blower’s Identity, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Eileen Sullivan, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Trump said on Monday that the White House was ‘trying to find out’ the identity of the whistle-blower whose claims led Democrats to begin an impeachment inquiry last week, even as the whistle-blower’s lawyers have outlined ‘serious’ safety concerns for their client as Mr. Trump has repeatedly targeted him and compared him to a spy. Mr. Trump’s latest comment, made to reporters in the Oval Office during the swearing-in of his new labor secretary, Eugene Scalia, followed up on a series of Twitter posts over the weekend, in which Mr. Trump claimed that he deserved ‘to meet my accuser.’ It was not immediately clear what steps the White House was taking to identify the whistle-blower, but the White House has known for weeks that a C.I.A. officer lodged concerns about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Still, Mr. Trump’s fixation on discovering and discussing the identity of the whistle-blower, whose anonymity is protected by law, was seen as a brazen move for a president under scrutiny for abuse of power. ‘As the acting D.N.I. testified last week, the law and policy supports protection of the identity of the whistle-blower from disclosure and from retaliation,’ Mark Zaid, the lawyer for the whistle-blower, said Monday, referring to the acting director of national intelligence, in response to Mr. Trump’s most recent comments. ‘No exceptions exist for any individual.’ Mr. Trump on Monday also questioned whether the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff, should be arrested for treason for his description of a phone call Mr. Trump had with the president of Ukraine during a recent congressional hearing.” See also, Trump lashes out again at whistleblower and suggests Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff should be arrested for ‘treason,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Trump called the complaint lodged by a whistleblower ‘a fraud’ Monday as he continued to lash out at an anonymous U.S. intelligence official despite a warning by the individual’s lawyer that Trump’s previous comments had endangered his client’s safety. In a spate of morning tweets, Trump also questioned whether House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who is leading the investigation, should be arrested for ‘treason,’ renewing a line of attack from the weekend.” See also, Examining Trump’s Claims About Democrats and Ukraine, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Over the past week, the president has accused Democratic lawmakers of lying and hypocrisy on dealings with Ukraine. Here are the facts behind his claims.” See also, Trump lashes out at whistleblower and renews attack on House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, The Guardian, Ed Pilkington, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Lawyers acting for the whistleblower at the centre of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s attempts to solicit foreign help for his re-election campaign have warned that their client’s personal safety is in danger, partly as a result of the president’s remarks. After they did so, Trump continued to attack the whistleblower on Twitter and also suggested the chair of the House intelligence committee be arrested for treason.”

Official Says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Took Part in Ukraine Call, The Wall Street Journal, Courtney McBride and Sadie Gurman, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among the administration officials who listened in on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a senior State Department official said Monday, a disclosure that ties the State Department more closely to the House impeachment inquiry. Mr. Pompeo’s participation on the call, which hadn’t been previously reported, was one of several developments related to the controversy that centers on Mr. Trump’s repeated urging that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cooperate with Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, and Attorney General William Barr on investigations into Mr. Trump’s political opponents, including Democratic rival Joe Biden.”

Marie Louise Yovanovitch, Ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, could be crucial to impeachment inquiry, Los Angeles Times, Laura King, Sabra Ayres, Monday, 30 September 2019: “In President Trump’s rough parlance, she was ‘the woman.’ That’s how Trump described Marie Louise Yovanovitch, the widely respected former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, in his July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Now the 60-year-old envoy, who spent more than three decades in the diplomatic service, could prove key to illuminating murky events central to the House impeachment inquiry against Trump. The veteran diplomat was abruptly ordered back to Washington in May, ending her three-year tour two months early. By then, the events that ultimately would set the stage for the impeachment saga were already in play.”

‘Beyond repugnant’: Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger slams Trump for warning of ‘civil war’ over impeachment, The Washington Post, Katie Shepherd and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 30 September 2019: “As Democrats begin an impeachment inquiry, President Trump spent Sunday vigorously defending himself on Twitter and sharing cable news clips of his most ardent devotees insisting that he did nothing wrong in asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival, former vice president Joe Biden. Trump highlighted one quote from a longtime evangelical pastor warning of particularly dire consequences if the Democrats follow through. ‘If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal,’ Trump tweeted, adding his own parenthetical to a quote from Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist preacher speaking on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ on Sunday. Trump’s tweet invoking civil war marks a notable escalation in his rhetoric about the impeachment inquiry and also highlights his close relationship with Jeffress, a pastor known for viciously attacking other faiths who holds sway over both evangelical voters and the president. The tweet drew an immediate reaction, becoming the lead story on the Drudge Report and prompting critics — including one sitting Republican congressman — to accuse Trump of stoking violence and diminishing the reality of true civil war. ‘I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. @realDonaldTrump I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President,’ tweeted Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a decorated Air Force veteran who served as a pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan. ‘This is beyond repugnant.'” See also, Trump circulates quotation invoking ‘civil war-like fracture’ if he’s removed from office, CNN, Maegan Vazquez, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Donald Trump spent the weekend on Twitter defending himself against Democrats’ upcoming impeachment inquiry by quoting his supporters on cable news, including a pastor’s inflammatory prediction that the country could be destroyed and a civil war would ensue if the President was removed from office.” See also, Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger Slams Trump’s Quoting of Pastor’s ‘Civil War’ Warning as ‘Beyond Repugnant,’ HuffPost, Mary Papenfuss, Monday, 30 September 2019: “President Donald Trump on Sunday ominously raised the possibility of violence if he is removed from office, quoting an evangelical pastor who warned on Fox News of a ‘Civil War-like’ fracture. Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran of Iraq, quickly slammed Trump’s tweet as ‘beyond repugnant,’ adding: ‘I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a President.'”

Attorney General William Barr personally asked foreign officials to aid inquiry into CIA and FBI activities in 2016, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Shane Harris, and Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials seeking their help in a Justice Department inquiry that President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the matter. Barr’s personal involvement is likely to stoke further criticism from Democrats pursuing impeachment that he is helping the Trump administration use executive branch powers to augment investigations aimed primarily at the president’s adversaries.” See also, New reports reveal wider role for Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in impeachment scandal, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “An effort in recent months by Donald Trump to rewrite the history of the 2016 US presidential election and set up a 2020 re-election victory was more geographically sprawling and reliant on the day-to-day participation of top cabinet members than previously reported, it emerged on Monday. William Barr, the attorney general, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, collectively participated in contacts between Trump and leaders of at least four foreign countries, according to multiple reports. Those contacts were variously aimed at producing stories that could damage Joe Biden, Trump’s potential 2020 opponent, or at producing stories that could undermine the US intelligence community’s assessment from 2017 of Russian election tampering in the last election, the reports said.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says if House impeaches Trump, Senate rules would force him to start a trial, The Washington Post, Seumg Min Kim, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Mitch McConnell made it clear Monday that if the House impeaches President Trump, a trial in the Senate is unavoidable. But how the Senate majority leader proceeds from there is far less known. Should the impeachment spotlight turn to the Senate in the coming weeks, McConnell — who faces a reelection fight next year — will confront the dual pressures of minimizing political pain for his Senate majority and ensuring legitimacy and a sense of fairness for what would be only the third impeachment trial of a president in American history.”

What you need to know about the impeachment inquiry into Trump, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Monday, 30 September 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Sept. 24. Here’s what you need to know about what impeachment is and how it works, starting with the basics.”

Tax Law’s Cap on State and Local Deductions Is Upheld by Court, The New York Times, Ben Casselman, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Congress didn’t unconstitutionally penalize Democratic-leaning states when it imposed a cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes, a federal judge ruled Monday. The 2017 federal tax law, which President Trump signed after a party-line vote in Congress, limited to $10,000 the state and local tax payments that families can write off on their federal income taxes if they itemize deductions. The provision, known as the SALT cap, disproportionately affected residents of wealthy, high-tax states, where residents are more likely to have state tax bills that exceed the $10,000 limit.”

Bernie Sanders Proposes Corporate Tax to Address Pay Gap at Big Companies, The New York Times, Matt Stevens, Monday, 30 September 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposed a new corporate tax on Monday that would penalize some of the country’s largest companies if they did not narrow the gap between what they pay their chief executives and what they pay their workers. The proposal is the latest measure from Mr. Sanders aimed at reducing income inequality — a pillar of his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. It is also the latest example of the commitment by Mr. Sanders and his leading progressive rival, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, to use America’s tax system to address the wide gulf between ordinary Americans and the rich.”


Tuesday, 1 October 2019, Day 985:


Trump’s Ideas for Fortifying the U.S. Border With Mexico: Shoot Migrants’ Legs, Build a Water-Filled Trench and Stock With Snakes or Alligators, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The Oval Office meeting this past March began, as so many had, with President Trump fuming about migrants. But this time he had a solution. As White House advisers listened astonished, he ordered them to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day. The advisers feared the president’s edict would trap American tourists in Mexico, strand children at schools on both sides of the border and create an economic meltdown in two countries. Yet they also knew how much the president’s zeal to stop immigration had sent him lurching for solutions, one more extreme than the next. Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.” See also, Trump wanted to have U.S. forces equipped with bayonets to stop migrants at the border, among other ideas, officials say, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, published on Thursday, 3 October 2019.

As Impeachment Fights Begin, Administration and Congress Clash Over Deposition, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Lara Jakes, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The Trump administration clashed on Tuesday with leaders of the House impeachment inquiry over their demands to question State Department officials who might have witnessed President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political advantage. In the first skirmish in what promises to be an epic impeachment struggle between the executive and legislative branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at three congressional committees that are seeking to depose diplomats involved in American policy toward Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo called their demands for confidential interviews ‘an act of intimidation.’ The House postponed the first of the depositions, which had been scheduled for Wednesday with the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, but not before the impeachment inquiry’s leaders upbraided Mr. Pompeo for questioning their work and for asserting that their bid to swiftly schedule depositions did not allow enough time for a proper response.” See also, Impeachment inquiry erupts into battle between executive and legislative branches, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Josh Dawsey, Karoun Demirjian, and John Hudson, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The House impeachment inquiry broke into a full-throated battle between the executive and legislative branches Tuesday, as congressional Democrats and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traded threats and accusations, President Trump questioned whether a leader of the probe should be arrested, and a senior Democrat said Trump should be imprisoned in ‘solitary confinement.’ As the scope of the inquiry broadened, it touched a wide swath of top administration officials. In letters to Vice President Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, demanded answers by Friday to questions about what they knew, when they knew it and their roles in Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine. But much of the day’s turmoil centered on Pompeo, who said in a letter to the chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform committees heading the investigation that five State Department officials called to give depositions over the next two weeks would not appear as scheduled…. By the end of the day, however, at least one of the five — Kurt Volker, a former administration envoy to Ukraine — planned to appear anyway before the committees Thursday. A second official, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, would appear Oct. 11, according to a committee official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss lawmakers’ deliberations. Meanwhile, the committees were notified that the State Department’s inspector general had requested to speak with them Wednesday ‘to discuss and provide staff with copies of documents related to the State Department and Ukraine,’ according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rebuffs House Democrats’ demands in impeachment inquiry, Politico, Sarah Ferris and Andrew Desiderio, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is resisting House Democrats’ demands for documents and testimony relevant to their impeachment inquiry, ratcheting up the clash between Congress and the Trump administration. In a letter to top Democrats on Tuesday, Pompeo signaled the department would not comply with Democrats’ recent requests to speak with several State officials, complaining of ‘serious substantive and procedural deficiencies’ in their investigation.” See also, State Department Draws More Scrutiny in Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Jessica Donati, and Dustin Volz, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “House leaders set plans to question two key State Department witnesses after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought Tuesday to block the effort, in the first clash between congressional Democrats and the Trump administration of the newly minted impeachment inquiry. Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will be deposed Oct. 11, postponing her scheduled session by nine days, a committee aide said Tuesday. Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations who resigned last week, will be deposed on Thursday.”

Trump Wants to ‘Interview’ Whistle-Blower, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday kept his focus on an anonymous whistle-blower, asking why he was not ‘entitled to interview’ the person, a day after he said the White House was trying to find out the person’s identity, despite institutional directives and confidentiality protections. In addition to interviewing the ‘so-called Whistleblower,’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, he would also like to interview ‘the person who gave all of the false information to him.’… Mr. Trump is particularly focused on the source of the information the whistle-blower disclosed and the fact that the whistle-blower’s most serious allegations were not witnessed firsthand. But witnessing actions is not a requirement for filing a complaint, according to the inspector general of the intelligence community, which said on Monday in a release that a whistle-blower ‘need not possess firsthand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern.’ Although Mr. Trump wants to learn the identity of the whistle-blower, policies have been devised to prevent that. ‘The law and policy supports protection of the identity of the whistle-blower from disclosure and from retaliation,’ Mark Zaid, a lawyer representing the whistle-blower, has said. ‘No exceptions exist for any individual.'” See also, Trump Again Attacks Whistleblower as Lawmakers Defend His Confidentiality, The Wall Street Journal, Alex Leary and Dustin Volz, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “President Trump again lashed out at the whistleblower whose complaint is driving the House impeachment inquiry, while also pushing for his identity to be revealed. The president’s renewed attacks came as senators of both parties called for officials to protect the whistleblower, and the inspector general for the intelligence community rebuffed comments by Trump allies casting doubt on the propriety of the whistleblower’s complaint.”

Senior Republican Senator Chuck Grassley rebukes Trump and says whistleblower ‘ought to be heard out,’ CNN, Haley Byrd, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chamber’s most senior Republican and a long-time defender of whistleblowers, rebuked President Donald Trump on Tuesday when he said that the individual behind a complaint at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry ‘appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected.’ Trump and his allies in recent days have repeatedly maligned the whistleblower’s motives and pushed to reveal the individual’s identity.” See also, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley Defends Whistleblower Amid Trump Attacks, HuffPost, Igor Bobic, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a longtime advocate of government whistleblower protections, issued an implicitly sharp rebuke of President Donald Trump and his allies on Tuesday by voicing support for the Ukraine whistleblower.” See also, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley breaks with Trump over protecting whistleblower, Politico, Burgess Everett, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “As President Donald Trump and his allies attack the whistleblower who kicked off the House’s impeachment inquiry, the unidentified person gained a powerful ally on Tuesday: Chuck Grassley.” See also, The Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry: What We Know So Far, The New York Times, Aisha Khan, updated on Tuesday, 1 October 2019. See also, The Extra-Secret White House Computer System Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Matthew Rosenberg, and Adam Goldman, Tuesday, 1 October 2019.

Justice Department told by federal judge to produce 500 pages of interview memos from Mueller investigation, CNN, David Shortell, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The Justice Department will produce 500 pages of memos documenting what witnesses told special counsel Robert Mueller‘s office and the FBI during their investigation next month. The documents, known as 302s, memorialize interviews conducted by the office and form the backbone of much of the Mueller report. CNN and BuzzFeed News had sued for the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, and on Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, DC, ordered the Justice Department to produce their first tranche of documents by November 1.”

Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger Is Guilty of Murder for Killing Her Neighbor Botham Jean In His Own Apartment, The New York Times, Marina Trahan Martinez, Sarah Mervosh, and John Eligon, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The case was unusual from the very beginning: An off-duty police officer in Dallas said she came home from work one night last year, and, believing she had found an intruder inside her apartment, shot the man inside. But it quickly became clear that the officer, Amber R. Guyger, who is white, was in the wrong apartment. And the man she shot was not an intruder, but her neighbor, Botham Shem Jean, a 26-year-old black accountant who was watching television and eating ice cream in the apartment he rented directly above Ms. Guyger’s. On Tuesday, Mr. Jean’s family braced themselves for the possibility that his death would be treated like many others across the country, in which police officers have been cleared of wrongdoing in the killings of unarmed black men. But that moment never came: A Dallas County jury found Ms. Guyger, 31, guilty of murder, choosing the more serious conviction over a lesser option of manslaughter…. The case did not fit into the familiar narratives of police killings in which officers fired their weapons on duty. But it was widely viewed as a test for whether there was anywhere in America where black men could be safe, if not in their own homes. With Ms. Guyger’s tearful testimony that she was afraid for her life when she saw a silhouetted figure in the darkened living room, the guilty verdict was seen by many activists as a step toward police accountability, and a rebuke of the stereotype that black men are inherently scary.”

Federal judge temporarily blocks Georgia anti-abortion law, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Maya T. Prabhu, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal judge handed an early win to abortion rights activists Tuesday by blocking Georgia’s restrictive law from going into effect — but it is only the first step as a lawsuit makes its way through the court system. District Judge Steve C. Jones’ ruling stops House Bill 481 from taking effect Jan. 1 while the case plays out. Anti-abortion activists are hoping the case winds up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia sued the state saying the law, which bans most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, violates a woman’s constitutional right to abortion as established by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. The new law would have outlawed abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. Jones said the U.S. Supreme Court has ‘repeatedly and unequivocally’ upheld Roe v. Wade, saying a state may not ban abortion before a fetus is viable — established in Roe as between 24 and 26 weeks of pregnancy.” See also, U.S. Judge Temporarily Blocks Georgia Abortion Law, The New York Times, Mihir Zaveri, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal judge in Georgia on Tuesday temporarily blocked a state law that would effectively ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, the latest ruling to halt efforts by conservatives to severely restrict access to abortion across the country.” See also, Federal judge temporarily blocks Georgia abortion ban from taking effect, The Washington Post, Samantha Schmidt, Tuesday, 1 October 2019.

A Federal Appeals Court Upholds Net Neutrality Repeal, With Some Caveats, The New York Times, David McCabe, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal appeals court upheld on Tuesday the government’s repeal of strict regulations for the companies that connect consumers to the internet. But the court also said the Federal Communications Commission had overstepped by broadly stopping state and local governments from writing their own rules. The mixed ruling, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ensures that debate about so-called net neutrality rules will continue, including in state capitals. But over all, the decision Tuesday was a victory for the Trump administration, which has encouraged deregulation across the government. The F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Trump, made the repeal of the rules a top priority, saying it would encourage innovation and help propel the economy.” See also, Appeals court ruling upholds FCC’s canceling of net neutrality rules, The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled in favor of the Federal Communications Commission and upheld its repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections, issuing a mixed decision that also appeared to open the door for state and local governments to try to introduce their own rules.” See also, FCC Rollback of Net Neutrality Rules Is Partly Upheld by Appeals Court, The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall and John D. McKinnon, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal appeals court upheld most parts of a Republican rollback of Obama-era rules governing so-called net neutrality, but the decision gave room for states to issue tougher restrictions that run counter to the deregulatory approach.”

Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg Hates Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Facebook. She Doesn’t Care. The New York Times, Matt Stevens, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “For months, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has made “big, structural change,” the rallying cry of her presidential campaign. And when it comes to the tech sector, that has meant taking square aim at giant companies like Facebook — companies she says have become so large that they are stifling competition. Ms. Warren rolled out a proposal to break up Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants in March. To ensure that tech workers got her message, her campaign paid for a billboard near a major transit station in San Francisco. It read ‘Break Up Big Tech,’ in capital letters. On Tuesday, nearly seven months after Ms. Warren first unveiled her plan, The Verge offered a window into what Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, thinks about it. In leaked audio recordings of open meetings with employees this summer, Mr. Zuckerberg can be heard saying that the company would sue if Ms. Warren were to enact the plan as president.” See also, All Hands On Deck: In two hours of leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg rallies Facebook employees against critics, competitors, and the US government, The Verge, Casey Newton, Tuesday, 1 October 2019.

Federal Judge Upholds Harvard’s Race-Conscious Admissions Process, NPR, Clare Lombardo and Elissa Nadworny, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A judge has ruled in favor of Harvard University in a high-profile court case centered on whether the school’s admissions process forces Asian Americans to clear a higher bar to get in. Federal District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs issued her decision Tuesday, saying ‘the Court finds no persuasive documentary evidence of any racial animus or conscious prejudice against Asian Americans.’ In the decision, Burroughs said that while Harvard’s admissions program is ‘not perfect,’ ‘ensuring diversity at Harvard relies, in part, on race conscious admissions.'” See also, Judge Rules Harvard Does Not Discriminate Against Asian-Americans in Admissions, The New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “A federal judge on Tuesday rejected claims that Harvard had intentionally discriminated against Asian-American applicants, in a closely watched case that presented one of the biggest legal challenges to affirmative action in years. The lawsuit against the university came from a group hoping to overturn a longstanding Supreme Court precedent that allows race to be considered as one factor among many in admissions, but prohibits universities from using racial quotas.”

Homeland Security Department Affirms Threat of White Supremacy After Years of Prodding, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 1 October 2019: “The Department of Homeland Security is beginning to address white supremacist terrorism as a primary security threat, breaking with a decade of flagging attention after bigoted mass shooters from New Zealand to Texas took the lives of nearly 100 people in the last six months. In a little-noticed strategy document published last month to guide law enforcement on emerging threats and in recent public appearances by Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, the department is trying to project a new vigilance about violent white nationalism, beating back criticism that the agency has spent a decade playing down the issue.”


Wednesday, 2 October 2019, Day 986:


‘We’re Not Fooling Around’: House Democrats Vow to Subpoena White House, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Peter Baker, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “House Democrats moved on Wednesday to compel the White House to cooperate in their impeachment inquiry, announcing plans to issue a subpoena by Friday if it did not comply with requests for documents related to President Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a leading political rival, and any attempt to conceal his actions. Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee, notified his panel of the impending subpoena on Wednesday. He said the White House had thus far ignored voluntary requests he submitted with the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees.”  See also, Trump Attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam Schiff From the Oval Office, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “During a meeting at the White House with President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, President Trump raged at his Democratic inquisitors. With his guest sitting a few feet away, Mr. Trump angrily called Representative Adam B. Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, ‘a lowlife,’ and said he ‘should resign from office in disgrace, and frankly they should look at him for treason.’… Mr. Trump, who in a morning Twitter post said that Democrats are focused on ‘BULLSHIT,”’ chose to censor himself in a critique of Mr. Schiff, who said on Wednesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may try to ‘interfere with witnesses’ ordered to testify before Congress. ‘That guy couldn’t carry his blank strap,’ Mr. Trump said, unfavorably comparing Mr. Schiff to Mr. Pompeo. Mr. Trump seemed to be avoiding the words ‘jock strap’ and using a common insult about masculinity.” See also, Trump Impeachment Inquiry: Latest Updates, The New York Times, Wednesday, 2 October 2019. See also, Trump impeachment inquiry: The reporting and analysis to help you understand Congress’s look into Trump’s request for help from the Ukrainian president and whistleblower report, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Wednesday, 2 October 2019. See also, Fact-Checking 4 of Trump’s Claims About the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Wednesday, 2 October 2019.

Secretary of State Mike Popmeo Confirms He Listened to Trump’s Call to Ukraine President, The New York Times, Jason Horowitz and Richard Pérez-Pena, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had listened in on President Trump’s telephone conversation with the president of Ukraine — a call that has become the subject of a whistle-blower’s complaint and is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.”

Odd markings, ellipses fuel doubts about the rough transcript of Trump’s Ukraine call, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Craig Timberg, and Drew Harwell, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “President Trump said Wednesday that his controversial July call with his Ukrainian counterpart was transcribed ‘word-for-word, comma-for-comma,’ an assertion that fueled growing questions about the nature and completeness of an official memorandum about the call released by the White House last week. ‘This is an exact word-for-word transcript of the conversation, taken by very talented stenographers,’ Trump said. White House officials previously had portrayed the document as not a verbatim transcription but rather a summary that closely tracked the words the president used in his July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. They said it was being released in a bid to bring transparency and clarity to a call at the heart of a consuming political scandal that has sparked a House impeachment investigation.”

Trump involved Vice President Mike Pence in efforts to pressure Ukraine’s leader, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe, and Ashley Parker, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “President Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in efforts to exert pressure on the leader of Ukraine at a time when the president was using other channels to solicit information that he hoped would be damaging to a Democratic rival, current and former U.S. officials said. Trump instructed Pence not to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May — an event White House officials had pushed to put on the vice president’s calendar — when Ukraine’s new leader was seeking recognition and support from Washington, the officials said. Months later, the president used Pence to tell Zelensky that U.S. aid was still being withheld while demanding more aggressive action on corruption, officials said. At that time — following Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelenksy — the Ukrainians probably understood action on corruption to include the investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.”

Donald Trump impeachment: Trump called Boris Johnson for help to discredit Mueller inquiry, The Times, Catherine Philp, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “President Trump personally contacted Boris Johnson to ask for help as he tried to discredit the Mueller investigation into possible connections between Russia and his 2016 election campaign, The Times understands. Mr Trump also contacted the leaders of countries including Australia and Ukraine to ask them to help William Barr, his attorney-general, to gather evidence to undermine the investigation into his campaign’s links to Russia. Robert Mueller, the special counsel, refused to exonerate Mr Trump of wrongdoing when he released his findings in April, prompting the president to set up his own investigation in an effort to prove that the inquiry was politically motivated.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew, Showing How Determined the Whistle-Blower Was to Make Known His Allegations, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt and Matthew Rosenberg, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials. The early account by the future whistle-blower shows how determined he was to make known his allegations that Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s government to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.” See also, Whistleblower sought informal guidance from Schiff’s committee before filing complaint against Trump. Informal inquiries from whistleblowers are fairly routine. The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The intelligence officer whose allegations of presidential wrongdoing have sparked a full-blown impeachment inquiry sought guidance from a Democratic-led congressional committee days before filing his complaint with an inspector general, according to panel aides. The whistleblower’s interaction with an aide for Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, reflects the officer’s sense of urgency in surfacing the allegations that President Trump had pressed the president of Ukraine to intervene in the 2020 election in a way that would harm a potential political rival. It is also fairly routine for the committee to receive an informal inquiry from a whistleblower before a formal complaint is made, according to current and former committee staffers.”

Trump lashes out at impeachment inquiry in fiery news conference, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, and Colby Itkowitz, published on Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump launched a broadside against Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) at a joint news conference Wednesday afternoon with the president of Finland, after the House Intelligence Committee chairman warned the White House that ‘we’re not fooling around’ on the impeachment inquiry. The president’s attacks on Schiff came after Democrats announced that they would subpoena documents related to Trump’s July phone call with the leader of Ukraine. House and Senate committee staff met with the State Department inspector general who gave them a packet of documents containing conspiracy theories about Biden’s son as well as the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. But it’s unclear where they originated.”

State Department inspector general gives Congress documents that Rudy Giuliani provided, CNN, Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, and Jennifer Hansler, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The State Department inspector general provided Congress on Wednesday with documents that included materials President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had given to the department earlier this year containing unproven claims about Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The documents, which were obtained by CNN, include claims against the Bidens that formed the basis of President Donald Trump’s accusations in his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, as well as accusations against former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled earlier this year and whom Trump also criticized in the call. In addition, the packet contains internal State Department emails from officials discussing articles critical of Yovanovitch, calling some of it a ‘fake narrative.’ There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.”

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani consulted on Ukraine with imprisoned Paul Manafort via a lawyer, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Tom Hamburger, Paul Sonne, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “In his quest to rewrite the history of the 2016 election, President Trump’s personal attorney has turned to an unusual source of information: Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Rudolph W. Giuliani in recent months has consulted several times with Manafort through the federal prisoner’s lawyer in pursuit of information about a disputed ledger that would bolster his theory that the real story of 2016 is not Russian interference to elect Trump, but Ukrainian efforts to support Hillary Clinton.”

Rudy Giuliani Is a One-Man Wrecking Crew, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “On Monday night, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, where he has taken up semipermanent residence. Earlier in the day, three congressional committees had issued Giuliani with subpoenas for documents and records relating to his role in the Ukraine scandal. Hannity asked if he would agree to testify to Congress. ‘Oh, I don’t know. I’m weighing the alternatives,’ Giuliani said, stroking his chin. ‘I’ll get all my evidence together. I’ll get my charts. I don’t know. If they let me use videotapes and tape recordings that I have—if they let me.’ Then he changed the subject. Think for a moment about what Giuliani said. By his own account, he not only took part in an effort to persuade a foreign government to investigate a political rival of the President—Joe Biden—but also recorded at least some of this activity on videotape and audiotape. He’s even got charts. It’s almost as if he wanted posterity, or congressional investigators, to have a full record of his Ukraine caper, which is now the subject of a Presidential impeachment inquiry. Armed with their subpoenas, the committees on Capitol Hill will likely get access to any Ukraine-related materials that Giuliani possesses, including tapes, e-mails, travel records, and other documents.”

Trump’s Justice Department Asks Judge to Block Subpoena for His Tax Returns, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The Justice Department on Wednesday asked a federal judge to temporarily block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney that would require President Trump to turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. Mr. Trump has been fighting off an attempt by the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., to obtain his tax returns as it investigates hush-money payments made to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels.” See also, Justice Department asks federal judge to temporarily block N.Y. subpoena for Trump’s tad returns, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Ann E. Marimow, Wednesday, 2 October 2019.

Federal judge blocks California law requiring Trump to release tax returns to appear on ballot, CNN, Ariane de Vogue, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “A federal judge in California blocked a state law that requires candidates for president to disclose income tax returns before their names can appear on the state’s primary ballot. The ruling is a win for President Donald Trump, who is resisting efforts to turn over his tax returns in a battle largely playing out in the courts.”

Justice Department assures judge the White House won’t destroy records of Trump calls and meetings with foreign leaders, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “Justice Department attorneys promised a federal judge Wednesday that the White House will not destroy records of President Trump’s calls and meetings with foreign leaders while the court weighs a lawsuit brought by historians and watchdog groups. In a two-page filing, Justice Department lawyer Kathryn L. Wyer told a judge in Washington that the Trump administration and executive office of the president ‘voluntarily agree . . . to preserve the material at issue pending’ litigation.” See also, Justice Department tells White House to preserve notes of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders, CNN, Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The Justice Department told White House personnel on Wednesday that they must preserve all notes regarding President Donald Trump’s meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders. ‘Defendants today instructed relevant personnel to preserve the information,’ Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge in a court filing.”

U.S. Government Plans to Collect DNA From Detained Immigrants, The New York Times, Caitlin Dickerson, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The Trump administration is moving to collect DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people booked into federal immigration custody each year and to enter the results into a national criminal database, an immense expansion of the use of technology to enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that the Justice Department was developing a federal regulation that would give immigration officers the authority to collect DNA in detention facilities across the country that are currently holding more than 40,000 people.”

Environmental Protection Agency cites San Francisco for ‘water pollution,’ fulfilling Trump’s threat, The Guardian, Vivian Ho, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “The Trump administration issued an environmental notice of violation to San Francisco on Wednesday, fulfilling Donald Trump’s threat to cite the city over an inaccurate claim that linked water pollution with the city’s homeless crisis.”

Joe Biden releases gun plan that would reinstate assault weapons ban and establish a voluntary buyback program, The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Felicia Sonmez, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “Joe Biden’s campaign on Wednesday outlined a proposal to put new restrictions on gun sales and combat gun violence, packaging a series of ideas that he has spoken about on the campaign trail over the past several months. Biden’s 11-page plan includes support for universal background checks and reinstating the assault weapons ban, which have widespread support from the Democratic presidential field. His proposal calls for a voluntary buyback program of assault weapons, stopping short of candidates and advocates who are calling for a mandatory gun buyback.”

Joe Biden Fires Back at Trump: ‘You’re Not Going to Destroy Me,’ The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday night delivered his most forceful response yet to President Trump’s attacks on him and his son, accusing the Trump team of waging a campaign of ‘lies, smears, distortions and name calling’ geared at knocking him out of the presidential race.”

Senate Democrats ask the IRS to consider stripping the NRA of its tax-exempt status, NBC, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “Senate Democrats Wednesday asked the IRS to investigate the National Rifle Association and determine whether the organization should be stripped of its tax-exempt status following a months-long investigation that found that the NRA worked closely with Russian nationals who wanted access to the American political system. The letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, written by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, claims that the NRA didn’t act as a social welfare organization in the run-up to the 2016 elections and violated the restrictions placed on non-profits from profiting off its activities.”

A Trump hotel mystery: Giant reservations followed by empty rooms, Politico, Anita Kumar, Wednesday, 2 October 2019: “House investigators are looking into an allegation that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to President Donald Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them. It’s a previously unreported part of a broad examination by the House Oversight Committee, included in Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, into whether Trump broke the law by accepting money from U.S. or foreign governments at his properties.”


Thursday, 3 October 2019, Day 987:


Trump Publicly Urges China to Investigate the Bidens, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump, already facing impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, publicly called on China on Thursday to examine former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well, an extraordinary request for help from a foreign power that could benefit him in next year’s election. ‘China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,’ Mr. Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida. His request came just moments after he discussed upcoming trade talks with China and said that ‘if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous power.'” See also, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff slams Trump’s call for China to investigate the Bidens as ‘repugnant,’ Axios, Zachary Basu, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that President Trump’s call for China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden is ‘repugnant’ and ‘ought to be condemned by every member’ of Congress. Schiff has been tasked with leading the impeachment investigation into Trump’s alleged efforts to push the government of Ukraine to investigate Biden. As that investigation heats up, Trump on Thursday appeared to again call for a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 election — this time in public.” See also, Trump publicly calls on China to investigate Bidens, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Rachael Bade, and Colby Itkowitz, published on Friday, 4 October 2019: “President Trump on Thursday publicly urged China to investigate Democratic challenger Joe Biden, a new request that a foreign government assist his reelection campaign adding to the extraordinary pattern of conduct at the center of a fast-accelerating impeachment inquiry. With his brazen and direct appeal to the Chinese, delivered before journalists assembled on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump seemed to make a mockery of the charge that he abused the power of his office by pressing his Ukrainian counterpart to examine unfounded allegations of corruption by Biden and his son Hunter.” See also, Did Donald Trump Just Self-Impeach? The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “On Thursday morning, Trump appeared to dispense with excuses altogether, no longer even bothering to contest the charge that he leaned on Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter. How do we know this? Because Trump did it again, live on camera, from the White House lawn. In a demand that is hard to interpret as anything other than a request to a foreign country to interfere in the U.S. election, Trump told reporters that Ukraine needs a ‘major investigation’ into the Bidens. ‘I would certainly recommend that of Ukraine,’ the President added, shouting over the noise of his helicopter, as he prepared to board Marine One en route to Florida. He also volunteered, without being asked, that China ‘should start an investigation into the Bidens,’ too, given that Hunter Biden also had business dealings there while his father was in office. Trump, minutes after threatening an escalation in his trade war with China, suggested that he might even personally raise the matter of the Bidens with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. You could practically hear the collective gasp in Washington. Republicans had spent days denying what Trump had more or less just admitted to. ‘As President Trump keeps talking, he makes it more and more difficult for his supporters to mount an actual defense of his underlying behavior,’ Philip Klein, the executive editor of the Washington Examiner, a conservative magazine, soon wrote. It was as though Richard Nixon in 1972 had gone out on the White House lawn and said, Yes, I authorized the Watergate break-in, and I’d do it again. It was as though Bill Clinton in 1998 had said, Yes, I lied under oath about my affair with Monica Lewinsky, and I’d do it again.”

Trump Ordered Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Removed After Complaints From Giuliani and Others, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Michael C. Bender, and Vivian Salama, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump ordered the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine after months of complaints from allies outside the administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, that she was undermining him abroad and obstructing efforts to persuade Kyiv to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, according to people familiar with the matter. The recall of Marie Yovanovitch in the spring has become a key point of interest in the House impeachment inquiry. A whistleblower complaint by a CIA officer alleges the president solicited foreign interference in the 2020 elections by pressing Ukraine’s president in a July 25 call to pursue investigations, including into the activities of Mr. Biden, a Democrat who is running for president. The complaint cites Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster as one of a series of events that paved the way for what the whistleblower alleges was an abuse of power by the president. Mr. Trump has described the call with his Ukrainian counterpart as ‘perfect’ and the House inquiry as a ‘hoax.'” See also, Trump ordered removal of ambassador over Biden probe; Trump calls for China to investigate Bidens, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump ordered the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine over concerns that she was biased against him and an obstacle in his effort to get Ukrainians to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Wall Street Journal first broke the news, which a senior administration official confirmed. Earlier Thursday, Trump called on China to investigate the younger Biden’s business dealings abroad during the tenure of the former vice president. Trump’s comments came as Democrats accelerated an impeachment inquiry that was sparked by a whistleblower’s complaint that Trump had pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a similar investigation. Some Democrats said Trump’s latest comments had generated another potential article of impeachment.” See also, Trump calls on China to investigate Biden in extraordinary demand, The Guardian, Julian Borger and Lauren Gabino, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “Donald Trump has called for China to investigate his leading political rival, in defiance of impeachment proceedings in Congress, where he stands accused of abusing his office to put similar pressure on Ukraine. At the same time as calling for an investigation of the former vice-president and frontrunner in the Democratic primary, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, Trump noted that the US was in trade talks with China and ‘if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power.'” See also, Trump now says both China and Ukraine should investigate the Bidens, CNN, Kevin Liptak, Thursday, 3 October 2019.

Trump raised Biden with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June call housed in highly secure server, CNN, Kylie Atwood, Kevin Liptak, Pamela Brown, Jim Sciutto, and Gloria Borger, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “When President Donald Trump suggested — without prompting — that China should investigate Joe Biden and his son, he thrust another political grudge into what was already the world’s most complicated and consequential relationship. The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy. And it amounted to the latest extraordinary effort by Trump to openly request political assistance from foreign governments. Thursday’s comments weren’t the first time Trump has injected Biden into his relationship with China, though he said Thursday he has never pushed Xi to investigate the former vice president. Nor is it the first time he has sought to trade favors with Xi, who this week celebrated the 70th birthday of his communist state with a note of congratulations from Trump. During a phone call with Xi on June 18, Trump raised Biden’s political prospects as well as those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls, according to two people familiar with the discussion. In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed.”

Two of Trump’s Top Envoys, Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, Pushed Ukraine to Commit to Investigating Biden, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “Two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine worked on a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations sought by Mr. Trump into his political rivals, according to three people briefed on the effort and documents released Thursday night. Their work on the statement is new evidence of how Mr. Trump’s fixation with conspiracy theories linked to Ukraine began driving senior diplomats to bend American foreign policy to the president’s political agenda in the weeks after a July 25 call between the two leaders. The statement was worked on by Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, according to the documents and the three people who have been briefed on the statement. Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and the de facto leader of a shadow campaign to push the Ukrainians to press ahead with investigations, provided the critical element of the language, Mr. Volker told House Democratic investigators on Thursday, a person familiar with his testimony said.” See also, Bill Taylor, top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said it was ‘crazy to withhold security assistance’ to Ukraine to help with Trump’s political campaign, ABC News, Katherine Faulders and Conor Finnegan, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “In newly disclosed text messages shared with Congress, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine writes to a group of other American diplomats that ‘I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.’ The exchange, provided by another American diplomat, former U.S Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, as part of his closed-door deposition before multiple House committees Thursday, shows what appears to be encrypted text messages he exchanged with two other American diplomats in September regarding aid money President Donald Trump ordered to be held back from Ukraine. In the Sept. 9 exchange, obtained by ABC News, the concerns are expressed by Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine.” See also, Texts From Top Ukrainian Diplomat Kurt Volker Described ‘Crazy’ Plan to Keep Aid From Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Julian E. Barnes, and Peter Baker, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “A top American diplomat in Ukraine repeatedly raised concerns with colleagues about the White House’s decision to withhold $391 million in security aid from Ukraine, describing it as a ‘crazy’ plan to withhold security assistance ‘for help with a political campaign,’ according to texts released Thursday as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The texts, which were turned over to Congress by Kurt D. Volker, the State Department’s former special envoy for Ukraine, come from a series of early September exchanges. They appear to show a dispute among American diplomats over whether the president was trying to use security aid or a White House meeting with the country’s new leader as leverage to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on a leading political rival — a charge at the heart of the impeachment investigation.” See also, How a Fringe Theory About Ukraine Took Root in the White House, The New York Times, Scott Shane, Thursday, 3 October 2019. See also, In 2016 letter, Republican senators echoed Biden in urging Ukrainian president to reform prosecutor general’s office, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “A newly unearthed letter from 2016 shows that Republican senators pushed for reforms to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office and judiciary, echoing calls then-Vice President Joe Biden made at the time. CNN’s KFile found a February 2016 bipartisan letter signed by several Republican senators that urged then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to ‘press ahead with urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and judiciary.’ The letter shows that addressing corruption in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office had bipartisan support in the US and further undercuts a baseless attack made by President Donald Trump and his allies that Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire then Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin to stop investigations into a Ukrainian natural gas company that his son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden, nor is it clear whether Hunter was under investigation at all.”

Pence Makes Clear There Is No Daylight Between Him and Trump, The New York Times, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “He held firm when the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape nearly ended President Trump’s 2016 campaign. He did not waver through even the most trying moments of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. And once again, Vice President Mike Pence has risen to Mr. Trump’s defense at a moment of crisis that some Republicans fear could inflict lasting damage on them both. Amid questions about Mr. Pence’s role in the campaign of political pressure directed at Ukraine’s government that has become the subject of a House Democratic impeachment action against Mr. Trump, the vice president appeared before reporters in Arizona on Thursday and was all in.”

10 times Trump Cabinet officials said something that soon fell apart, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo admitted Wednesday that he was on that fateful call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president — about a week and a half after playing dumb about the call’s contents in an interview. As The Post’s Philip Bump writes, it’s a great example of a politician saying things that are strictly true while completely misleading the people he’s supposed to serve. And as far as obfuscations go, it’s got plenty of company in Trump’s Cabinet. From basically Day One, Trump Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials have made claims or offered explanations that — similar to Pompeo’s — would soon fall apart in spectacular fashion. Oftentimes, they were doing so to toe the Trump line; other times, they were merely covering their own backsides.”

IRS whistleblower said to report Treasury political appointee might have tried to interfere in audit of Trump or Pence, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein, Tom Hamburger, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “An Internal Revenue Service ­official has filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns, according to multiple people familiar with the document. Trump administration officials dismissed the whistleblower’s complaint as flimsy because it is based on conversations with other government officials. But congressional Democrats were alarmed by the complaint, now circulating on Capitol Hill, and flagged it in a federal court filing. They are also discussing whether to make it public.”

How the Law Protects Intelligence Whistle-Blowers, and Leaves Them at Risk, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump has threateningly targeted the whistle-blower who brought to light how he pressured Ukraine’s leader to open investigations that could benefit him politically, not only portraying the whistle-blower as a spy but also expressing a desire to ‘interview and learn everything about’ him. As the House pursues an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Trump’s ominous talk, including allusions to the historical practice of executing spies, has heightened interest in what legal rules protect officials who raise alarms about wrongdoing inside the executive branch.”

CNN Rejects 2 Trump Campaign Ads, Citing Inaccuracies, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum and Tiffany Hsu, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “The 2020 campaign ad wars have begun. CNN rejected a pair of provocative ads from President Trump’s re-election campaign on Thursday, saying the 30-second spots deriding the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry — one deeming the effort ‘nothing short of a coup’ — contained inaccuracies and unfairly attacked the network’s journalists. It is unusual but not unprecedented for television networks to reject a political advertisement from a presidential candidate. On the eve of last year’s midterm elections, major channels, including Fox News, removed a commercial from Mr. Trump’s political team that portrayed immigrants as a violent threat.” See also, Facebook says Trump and other politicians can lie in their Facebook ads,Popular Information, Judd Legum, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “Last week, Facebook quietly changed the language of its advertising policies to make it easier for politicians to lie in ads.  On Tuesday, the Trump campaign launched a new ad on Facebook, which includes a claim that was ruled false by Facebook-approved third-party fact-checkers. On the surface, such an ad appears to violate Facebook’s rules against false content in ads. But Facebook quietly amended its policy on ‘misinformation’ in advertising, allowing it to accept nearly any from a politician, including this new one from the Trump campaign.”

Attorney General William Barr Pushes Facebook for Access to WhatsApp Messages, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Katie Benner, and Mike Isaac, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “The Justice Department has renewed its fight for access to encrypted communications, arguing that it is a vital crime-fighting tool even as technology companies and advocates have countered that it will threaten individual privacy. Attorney General William P. Barr took aim at Facebook’s plan to make WhatsApp and its other messaging services more secure, pressing its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to create a loophole to that goal of full encryption. The Justice Department said that investigators needed lawful access to encrypted communications to fight terrorism, organized crime and child pornography.”

A ‘Chilling Message’: Trump Critics See a Deeper Agenda in California Feud, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Thursday, 3 October 2019: “President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state. When the administration last month revoked California’s authority to set state-level standards on climate-warming tailpipe emissions, it simultaneously stripped that power from 13 other states that follow California’s standards and ensured that no other state could set fuel-efficiency standards in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water.”