Trump Administration, Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)


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.

For “a weekly newsletter celebrating people-powered wins against the Trump administration’s agenda,” visit Small Victories.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!


Friday, 11 October 2019, Day 995:


Appeals Court Rules Congress Can Seek Trump’s Financial Records, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s accounting firm must comply with a House committee’s demands for eight years of his financial records, a federal appeals court panel ruled on Friday in a major victory for House Democrats in their struggle against his vow to stonewall ‘all’ of their oversight subpoenas. In a 66-page ruling, the panel rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that Congress had no legitimate legislative authority to seek his business records from the firm, Mazars USA, because the committee was trying to determine whether he broke existing laws — not weighing whether to enact a new one. ‘Having considered the weighty issues at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,’ wrote Judge David S. Tatel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Mr. Trump is virtually certain to appeal the ruling, either to the full Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court. But the decision — affirming an earlier ruling by a Federal District Court judge — was the first test at the appeals court level of the Trump legal team’s sweeping challenges to the constitutional authority of Congress to conduct oversight of his activities.” See also, Appeals court rules against Trump in fight with Congress over president’s accounting firm records, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Spencer S. Hsu, and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Congress can seek eight years of President Trump’s business records from his accounting firm, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday in one of several legal battles over access to the president’s financial data. In a 2-to-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Congress’s broad investigative powers and rejected the president’s bid to block lawmakers from subpoenaing the documents. That three-judge panel’s ruling is a significant victory for the Democratic-led House, but it will not result in the House obtaining Trump’s tax returns — at least, not immediately. The House agreed to hold off on enforcing the subpoenas while Trump’s appeal is pending. Trump could keep it pending for weeks or months by appealing the case to the full D.C. Circuit.” See also, Trump loses appeal to withhold financial records from Democrats, Politico, Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein, Friday, 11 October 2019.

Judges Strike Several Blows to Trump Immigration Policies. Judges in three states ruled against a policy that would withhold green cards to immigrants who receive public assistance such as Medicaid. Another judge rejected Trump’s plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump’s immigration agenda ran into legal blockades in courts around the country on Friday as judges in four states barred his administration from trying to withhold green cards from people who use public benefits and rejected his plan to divert funds to erect a border wall. In three rulings, federal judges in New York, California and Washington State issued injunctions temporarily blocking the ‘public charge’ rule, which would impose serious impediments to legal residency for those who use benefits such as Medicaid or those deemed likely to use them in the future. The rule, widely seen as an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help, was one of the Trump administration’s signature immigration policies — and it ran into a legal brick wall in three corners of the country on a single day…. Trump faced yet another legal setback in Texas, where a senior federal judge in El Paso ruled on Friday that he had acted unlawfully in announcing he would tap $3.6 billion in Pentagon money intended for military construction to build a barrier along the nation’s southwestern border.” See also, Federal Judges in 3 States Block Trump’s ‘Public Charge’ Rule for Green Cards, NPR, Laurel Wamsley, Pam Fessler, and Richard Gonzales, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15. The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled ‘Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,’ the rule sparked several legal challenges. See also, Judge rules Trump violated the law on wall funding with national emergency. In February 2019 Trump ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects be used instead for the barrier on Mexico’s border. NBC News, Pete Williams, Friday, 11 October 2019: “A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his declaration of a national emergency to get millions for building a wall on the southern border. The ruling is a victory for El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights, which sued to stop border construction in their community. They argued that Trump had no legal authority to spend more than what Congress appropriated for the wall project. In January the president asked for $5.7 billion to build ‘a steel barrier for the Southwest border,’ but Congress approved only $1.375 billion. In February, Trump declared a national emergency and ordered that money for Pentagon construction projects would be used instead for the wall.”

Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Says She Was Told Trump Wanted Her Our Over Lack of Trust. Her Boss Told Her She Had ‘Done Nothing Wrong.’ The New York Times, Sharon La Franiere, Nicholas Fandos, and Andrew E. Kramer, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The State Department’s request went in early March to Marie L. Yovanovitch, a longtime diplomat who had served six presidents: Would she extend her term as ambassador to Ukraine, scheduled to end in August, into 2020? Less than two months later came another departmental communiqué: Get ‘on the next plane’ to Washington. Her ambassadorship was over. How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats. And in nearly nine hours of testimony behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms. Yovanovitch said she was told after her recall that President Trump had lost trust in her and had been seeking her ouster since summer 2018 — even though, one of her bosses told her, she had ‘done nothing wrong.’ Her version of events added a new dimension to the tale of the campaign against her. It apparently began with a business proposition being pursued in Ukraine by two Americans who, according to an indictment against them unsealed on Thursday, wanted her gone, and who would later become partners with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in digging up political dirt in Ukraine for Mr. Trump…. DOCUMENT: Read Ms. Yovanovitch’s opening statement.” See also, Marie Yovanovitch, ousted ambassador to Ukraine, tells Congress Trump pressured the State Department to remove her, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, and Paul Sonne, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine whose abrupt ouster in May has become a focus of House impeachment investigators said Friday in remarks before Congress that her departure came as a direct result of pressure President Trump placed on the State Department to remove her. The account by Marie Yovanovitch depicts a career Foreign Service officer caught in a storm of unsubstantiated allegations pushed by the president’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and a cast of former Ukrainian officials who viewed her as a threat to their financial and political interests. She told lawmakers that she was forced to leave Kiev on ‘the next plane’ this spring and subsequently removed from her post, with the State Department’s No. 2 official telling her that, although she had done nothing wrong, the president had lost confidence in her and the agency had been under significant pressure to remove her since the summer of 2018.”

Continue reading Week 143, Friday, 11 October – Thursday, 17 October 2019 (Days 995-1,001)

What Happened Today in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine gave an extraordinary interview to impeachment investigators.”

Trump renews claim that he is immune from criminal investigation in effort to block Manhattan District Attorney from obtaining his tax returns, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump on Friday repeated his assertion of sweeping executive immunity — arguing in court that, because he is president, he cannot be investigated by any prosecutor, anywhere. Trump’s personal attorneys made the argument in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York. They are seeking to overturn a lower court’s dismissal of a suit the president filed seeking to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (D) from obtaining Trump’s tax returns.” See also, Trump Taxes: Justice Department Asks Judges to Block Subpoena, But the Department Did Not Agree With Trump’s lawyers That a Sitting President Is Immune From Criminal Investigation, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Friday to stop the release of President Trump’s tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, arguing that local prosecutors should have to meet a very high legal bar before investigating a sitting president. The filing meant Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department was lending support to his attempt to block a subpoena demanding eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The district attorney’s office issued the subpoena to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm in late August as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made before the 2016 presidential election. But in its filing, the Justice Department, which is led by Attorney General William P. Barr, stopped short of endorsing Mr. Trump’s most sweeping argument: that sitting presidents are totally immune from all criminal investigations.”

ISIS Rears Its Head, Adding to Chaos as Turkey Battles Kurds, The New York Times, Carlotta Gall and Patrick Kingsley, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria raised new fears of a resurgence of the Islamic State on Friday, as five militants escaped from a Kurdish-run prison and the extremist group claimed responsibility for a bomb that exploded in the regional capital. As Turkish troops launched a third night of airstrikes and ground incursions, Kurdish fighters said they had thwarted a second attempt to break out of a detention camp for families of Islamic State members. The moves compounded a mounting sense of turmoil in northeast Syria, where tens of thousands of residents were reported fleeing south. The Turkish government said its troops had advanced five miles inside part of the country. Several major roads had been blocked and a major hospital abandoned. Since Wednesday, Turkish forces have pummeled Kurdish-held territory with airstrikes and sent in ground troops, trying to seize land controlled by a Kurdish-led militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces. That militia fought alongside United States troops in the recent war against the Islamic State.”

Trump says the U.S. is deploying more forces to Saudi Arabia to counter Iran threat, Reuters, Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The United States announced the deployment of additional American military forces to Saudi Arabia on Friday to bolster the kingdom’s defenses after the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran. The large deployment, which was first reported by Reuters, includes fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing and air defense personnel, the Pentagon said. Together with the 200 forces to Saudi Arabia announced last month, the deployment totaled about 3,000 troops, it said.” See also, Trump Orders Troops and Weapons to Saudi Arabia in Message of Deterrence to Iran, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The United States is sending about 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia in the latest military response by the Trump administration after it accused Iran of attacks last month on Saudi oil facilities, the Pentagon said on Friday. The move came only five days after President Trump said that his desire to terminate America’s ‘endless wars’ led to his decision to pull back from the border area between Syria and Turkey about 50 troops who were working to create a ‘safe zone’ between Turkish and Kurdish troops. State Department officials struggled on Friday to answer questions about how the roles of the incoming American forces in the Persian Gulf kingdom and those being pulled back from the Syrian border differed, and whether the deployments to Saudi Arabia contradicted the president’s strategy of withdrawing from the Middle East.”

Trump Reaches ‘Phase 1’ Deal With China and Delays Planned Tariffs, The New York Times, Ana Swanson, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump said Friday that the United States had reached an interim deal with China that would forestall a tariff increase slated for next week, providing a temporary détente in a prolonged and economically painful trade war.”

Elizabeth Warren trolls Facebook with ‘false’ Zuckerberg ad, The Guardian, Julia Carrie Wong, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Facebook has been taking heat all week for its decision to allow politicians to make false statements in paid advertisements. Now the Democratic senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is taking the fight to the social media company’s own turf by taking out a series of Facebook ads that make false statements about Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. ‘Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election,’ the ads read, above a photograph of a recent Oval Office meeting between the billionaire tech executive and the president. The statement isn’t true, but as the Facebook executive Nick Clegg revealed late last month, the company’s policies banning false statements from paid advertisements do not apply to politicians. The exemption has drawn particular attention due to Facebook’s decision to allow Trump to run an ad that was rejected by CNN for promoting a ‘demonstrably false’ narrative about Joe Biden. Warren’s ad does correct the record – neither Facebook nor Zuckerberg has endorsed Trump – but goes on to argue her point: that ‘Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once’ and that ‘It’s time to hold Mark Zuckerberg accountable.'” See also, Elizabeth Warren Dares Facebook With Intentionally False Political Ad, The New York Times, Cecilia Kang and Thomas Kaplan, published on Saturday, 12 October 2019: “Elizabeth Warren is playing a game of dare with Facebook. The Democratic presidential candidate bought a political ad on the social network this past week that purposefully includes false claims about Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and President Trump to goad the social network to remove misinformation in political ads ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The ad, placed widely on Facebook beginning on Thursday, starts with Ms. Warren announcing ‘Breaking news.’ The ad then goes on to say that Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg are backing the re-election of Trump. Neither Mr. Zuckerberg nor the Silicon Valley company has announced their support of a candidate. ‘You’re probably shocked, and you might be thinking, “how could this possibly be true?” Well, it’s not,’ Ms. Warren said in the ad. In a series of tweets on Saturday, Ms. Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, said she had deliberately made an ad with lies because Facebook had previously allowed politicians to place ads with false claims. ‘We decided to see just how far it goes,’ Ms. Warren wrote, calling Facebook a ‘disinformation-for-profit machine’ and adding that Mr. Zuckerberg should be held accountable.”

Shepard Smith, Fox News Anchor, Abruptly Departs From Network, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Friday, 11 October 2019: “To critics who accuse Fox News of being uniformly pro-Trump, the network often points to the blunt-truth reporting of Shepard Smith, its veteran chief news anchor, whose coverage of the Trump White House stood out on a channel known best for conservative opinion. Starting now, Fox News will need to point to somebody else. In an announcement that stunned colleagues, Mr. Smith concluded his Friday newscast by signing off from Fox News — for good. ‘Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave,’ Mr. Smith said calmly. ‘After requesting that I stay, they obliged.'”

Ken Fisher, founder of the wealth management firm Fisher Investments who made offensive sexual comments at the Tiburon CEO Summit in San Francisco this week, loses a $600 million contract in backlash, The Washington Post, Katie Mettler, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The state of Michigan has pulled $600 million of its pension fund from wealth management firm Fisher Investments after the company’s founder and chairman made crude and sexually explicit comments during a fireside chat at the Tiburon CEO Summit in San Francisco this week…. During a moderated keynote discussion Tuesday with Chip Roame, managing partner at Tiburon Strategic Advisors, Fisher compared his wealth management strategy to picking up women for sex, according to summit attendees who recounted what they heard in interviews with The Washington Post. Fisher spoke of doing acid and his belief that charities are immoral. He also made crude comments about genitalia, attendees said, and mentioned financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges earlier this year before dying by suicide in prison. Despite a Tiburon policy that requires summit attendees to keep private what they hear and discuss there, three CEOs publicly shared their accounts of what Fisher said in the interest of exposing his behavior and holding the self-proclaimed ‘self-made multibillionaire’ accountable.”

Rudy Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Ben Protess, Kenneth P. Vogel, and William K. Rashbaum, Friday, 11 October 2019: “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry. The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.” See also, Federal Prosecutors Scrutinize Rudy Giuliani’s Ukraine Business Dealings and Finances,The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Davis O’Brien, and Rebecca Ballhaus, published on Monday, 14 October 2019: “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are examining Rudy Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine, including his finances, meetings and work for a city mayor there, according to people familiar with the matter. Investigators also have examined Mr. Giuliani’s bank records, according to the people. Witnesses have been questioned about Mr. Giuliani since at least August by investigators, who also want to know more about Mr. Giuliani’s role in an alleged conspiracy involving two of his business associates, the people said. The investigation is being led by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York.”

The Real Backstory to the Arrest of Two Ukrainian-American Trump Donors, Campaign Legal Center, Brendan Fischer and Maggie Christ, Friday, 11 October 2019: “The stunning arrest of Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas on criminal campaign finance charges arose directly from Campaign Legal Center’s (CLC’s) complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on this matter last year—and underscores the key roles these mysterious Rudy Giuliani associates with ties to Ukraine and big money have played in setting into motion a year-long influence effort. In July 2018, CLC uncovered how the Soviet-born Parnas and Fruman laundered six-figure contributions to President Trump’s super PAC through a shell corporation. CLC’s complaint with the FEC helped trigger a series of revelations showing how the pair leveraged the access their contribution had afforded to deepen their connections with figures close to the President.”

Indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas worked on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash who faces bribery charges in the United States, Reuters, Aram Roston, Karen Freifeld, and Polina Ivanova, Friday, 11 October 2019: “One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch. Lev Parnas, one of the two associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, served as a translator for lawyers representing oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Parnas was arrested on Thursday along with the other Florida businessman, Igor Fruman, on unrelated charges that included illegally funneling $325,000 to a political action committee supporting pro-Trump candidates.”

At Louisiana Rally, Trump Lashes Out at Impeachment Inquiry and at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, The New York Times, Katie Rogers, Friday, 11 October 2019: “President Trump left a dizzying trail of developments behind him in Washington on Friday evening, swapping the confines of the capital for a fiery rally where he used foul language, fierce political attacks and personal grievances to light up his supporters for the second day in a row.”


Saturday, 12 October 2019, Day 996:


Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, intends to tell Congress this coming week that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine came directly from Trump in a phone call, The Washington Post, Aaron C. Davis and John Hudson, Saturday, 12 October 2019: “The U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, intends to tell Congress this week that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by President Trump in a phone call, according to a person familiar with his testimony. Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he has no knowledge of whether the president was telling him the truth at that moment. ‘It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth,’ said the person familiar with Sondland’s planned testimony, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.”

Military leader of Syrian Kurds tells US ‘You are leaving us to be slaughtered,’ CNN Politics, Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, Saturday, 12 October 2019: “The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces told a senior US diplomat, ‘You are leaving us to be slaughtered,’ demanding to know whether the US is going to do anything to protect Syrian Kurds as Turkey continues its military operation targeting America’s Kurdish allies in Syria…. He insisted the US either help stop the Turkish attack or allow the Syrian Democratic Forces to strike a deal with the Assad regime in Damascus and their Russian backers, allowing Russian warplanes to enforce a no-fly zone over northeast Syria, thereby denying Turkey the ability to carry out airstrikes. The US does not want the Kurds turning to the Russians, administration officials say.”

In Show of Support, Trump Meets With Rudy Giuliani Over Lunch, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 12 October 2019: “President Trump had lunch on Saturday with Rudolph W. Giuliani amid revelations that prosecutors were investigating Mr. Giuliani for possible lobbying violations, and speculation that his position as the president’s personal lawyer was in jeopardy. The lunch, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Sterling, Va., was among several shows of the president’s support for Mr. Giuliani on Saturday. They seemed meant to tamp down questions about Mr. Giuliani’s status with a client famous for distancing himself from advisers when they encounter legal problems of their own.”

Trump threatens to sue top Democrats Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi amid impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Kate Sullivan, Nikki Carvajal, and Jeremy Diamond, Saturday, 12 October 2019: “President Donald Trump threatened on Saturday night to sue top congressional Democrats Rep. Adam Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid the House impeachment inquiry into the President. Trump, who has a long track record of calling for lawsuits against his critics and not following through, said, ‘We’re going to take a look at it. We’re going after these people. These are bad, bad people.’ The President was speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.”

Fact-Checking 5 Claims About the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Saturday, 12 October 2019: “President Trump and his defenders have inaccurately attacked the impeachment inquiry for what they say are procedural and constitutional violations, a faulty premise and a lack of support.”


Sunday, 13 October 2019, Day 997:


Trump Orders Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Northern Syria, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Eric Schmitt, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Sunday that President Trump ordered a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria, a decision that will effectively cede control of the area to the Syrian government and Russia, and could allow a resurgence of the Islamic State. Mr. Esper, appearing on both Fox News and CBS News, said that American troops, mostly Special Operations forces, would leave the northeastern part of the country in the face of Turkey’s incursion into the section of Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, a group of fighters trained and backed by the United States government. The Pentagon has slow-walked previous orders by Mr. Trump to evacuate from Syria, to protect its Kurdish partners and hold the ground it took back from the Islamic State. But Mr. Esper’s comments Sunday indicated that this time Mr. Trump’s drawdown order was being acted on with haste.” See also, Abandoned by U.S. in Syria, Kurds Find New Ally in American Foe. Under fire by Turkish forces, the militia that battled ISIS threw in its lot with Syria’s Russian-backed government. The New York Times, Ben Hubbard, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, and Patrick Kingsley, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “Kurdish forces long allied with the United States in Syria announced a new deal on Sunday with the government in Damascus, a sworn enemy of Washington that is backed by Russia, as Turkish troops moved deeper into their territory and President Trump ordered the withdrawal of the American military from northern Syria. The sudden shift marked a major turning point in Syria’s long war. For five years, United States policy relied on collaborating with the Kurdish-led forces both to fight the Islamic State and to limit the influence of Iran and Russia, which support the Syrian government, with a goal of maintaining some leverage over any future settlement of the conflict. On Sunday, after Mr. Trump abruptly abandoned that approach, American leverage appeared all but gone. That threatened to give President Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Russian backers a free hand. It also jeopardized hard-won gains against the Islamic State — and potentially opened the door for its return.” See also, Trump’s Pullback in Syria Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal,’ The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Ben Hubbard, and Helene Cooper, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “American commandos were working alongside Kurdish forces at an outpost in eastern Syria last year when they were attacked by columns of Syrian government tanks and hundreds of troops, including Russian mercenaries. In the next hours, the Americans threw the Pentagon’s arsenal at them, including B-52 strategic bombers. The attack was stopped. That operation, in the middle of the American-led campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, showed the extent to which the United States military was willing to protect the Syrian Kurds, its main ally on the ground. But now, with the White House revoking protection for these Kurdish fighters, some of the Special Forces officers who battled alongside the Kurds say they feel deep remorse at orders to abandon their allies. ‘They trusted us and we broke that trust,’ one Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria said last week in a telephone interview. ‘It’s a stain on the American conscience.'” See also, U.S.-allied Kurds strike deal to bring Assad’s Syrian troops back into Kurdish areas, The Washington Post, Liz Sly, Louisa Loveluck, Asser Khattab, and Sarah Dadouch, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “Syrian government troops began moving toward towns near the Turkish border Sunday night under a deal struck with Syrian Kurds, following a chaotic day that saw the unraveling of the U.S. mission in northeastern Syria. Hundreds of Islamic State family members escaped a detention camp after Turkish shellfire hit the area, U.S. troops pulled out from another base and Turkish-backed forces consolidated their hold over a vital highway, cutting the main U.S. supply route into Syria.” See also, As Trump withdraws U.S. forces from northern Syria, his administration scrambles to respond, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Dan Lamothe, Missy Ryan, and Kareem Fahim, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, where they had long kept an uneasy peace among competing forces, left the region in upheaval Sunday and the administration scrambling to respond to fast-moving events.” See also, Trump faces bipartisan criticism for Syria withdrawal, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “President Trump faced bipartisan criticism Sunday for his decision to order a withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria, with one congressional Republican denouncing the move as ‘weak’ and a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman warning that it will ‘diminish the character of our great nation.’ Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, announced that both chambers are readying a joint resolution urging Trump to reverse his decision.” See also, The Kurds’ Prisons and Detention Camps for ISIS Members, Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “The escalating chaos in northern Syria as Turkey presses forward with its attack on the United States’ erstwhile Kurdish allies is raising fears about the fate of thousands of Islamic State detainees that the Kurds have been holding in makeshift wartime prisons. When announcing that he had cleared the way for the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, President Trump insisted that Turkey must assume responsibility for the captured ISIS fighters and their families — then said the United States was taking custody of the most dangerous ones. But with the Pentagon preparing to withdraw American forces from northern Syria, it is far from clear that either aspiration will happen.”

Atatiana Jefferson Was Playing a Video Game With Her Nephew When She Was Shot Inside Her Home by Aaron Dean, a Fort Worth Police Officer, The New York Times, Marina Trahan Martinez, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, and Dave Montgomery, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “Minutes before she was shot and killed by a Fort Worth police officer, Atatiana K. Jefferson was playing video games in her bedroom with her 8-year-old nephew, a lawyer for her family said Sunday. Ms. Jefferson, 28, was proud of being the “cool auntie” to her siblings’ children, and had stayed up into the wee hours of Saturday morning with her nephew, Xbox controllers in their hands, according to S. Lee Merritt, the family’s lawyer. But the pair grew concerned around 2:30 a.m., he said, when they heard rustling outside the house and saw flashlights.”

Macabre Video of Fake Trump Shooting, Stabbing, and Brutally Assaulting Members of the News Media and His Political Critics Was Shown at His Miami Resort Last Week, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week, according to footage obtained by The New York Times. Several of Mr. Trump’s top surrogates — including his son Donald Trump Jr., his former spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis — were scheduled to speak at the three-day conference, which was held by a pro-Trump group, American Priority, at Trump National Doral Miami. Ms. Sanders and a person close to Mr. Trump’s son said on Sunday that they did not see the video at the conference…. The video, which includes the logo for Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, comprises a series of internet memes. The most violent clip shows Mr. Trump’s head superimposed on the body of a man opening fire inside the ‘Church of Fake News’ on parishioners who have the faces of his critics or the logos of media organizations superimposed on their bodies. It appears to be an edited scene of a church massacre from the 2014 dark comedy film ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service.’ The disclosure that the video was played shows how Mr. Trump’s anti-media language has influenced his supporters and bled into their own propaganda. Mr. Trump has made attacks on the news media a mainstay of his presidency, and he tweeted a similar — but far less violent video — in 2017. In recent weeks as he has confronted impeachment proceedings, he has ramped up his attacks on the news media, repeatedly calling it the ‘enemy of the people.'” See also, Violent Video Was the Product of Right-Wing Provocateurs and Trump Allies, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Kevin Roose, and Katie Rogers, published on Monday, 14 October 2019: “The creator of a gruesome video that showed a fake President Trump killing journalists and political opponents and that was played at a meeting of a pro-Trump group over the weekend is part of a loose network of right-wing provocateurs with a direct line to the White House. The unidentified creator of the video operates under the name of ‘The GeekzTeam’ and has proclaimed on Twitter to be a ‘red blooded American with ZERO tolerance for the liberal agenda.’ Like many in the online group, the person specializes in creating pro-Trump internet content, often by remixing the president’s image into clips from popular movies and television shows. Another of the provocateurs, Logan Cook, who often has posted the videos on MemeWorld, his website, participated in a social media summit at the White House in July and took his children to meet the president in the Oval Office, accompanied by Dan Scavino, the White House social media director. The connections underscore how the president’s escalating war on what he calls the ‘fake news’ media has elevated people from the far-right fringe into allies who defend Mr. Trump with extreme language and images.”

Protecting whistleblower’s identity is ‘our primary interest,’ House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff says, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday that protecting the identity of the whistleblower who raised the alarm about President Trump’s communications with Ukraine is ‘our primary interest,’ in a sign that House Democrats may not press the individual to testify before Congress. Schiff made the statement in an interview on CBS News’s ‘Face the Nation.’ He had said late last month that he expected his panel to hear from the whistleblower ‘very soon’ pending a security clearance from acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.”

Nancy Pelosi Responds to Trump on Impeachment at the New Yorker Festival, The New Yorker, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “After President Trump accused the Speaker of the House of Representatives of hating America, Nancy Pelosi struck back. During an appearance at the twentieth annual New Yorker Festival, speaking with the staff writer Jane Mayer, she described the President as having ‘a grotesque personality’ and accused him of ‘undermining the integrity of our elections’ in a way that was ‘not only wrong and unconstitutional—it’s poisonous.’ Pelosi said that Trump’s pressuring of a foreign head of state to dig up dirt for his personal political benefit was ‘so beyond’ that ‘he’s made lawlessness normal. He’s almost trying to make lawlessness a virtue.’ She said that she couldn’t tell whether Trump was incapable of distinguishing right from wrong or if he simply doesn’t care. When he described his Ukrainian actions to her as ‘perfect,’ in a phone call last month, she decided it was time to launch an impeachment inquiry.”

Inside Trump’s Botched Attempt to Hire Trey Gowdy, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, Sunday, 13 October 2019: “For 24 hours last week, Trey Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman best known for leading congressional investigations of Hillary Clinton, was the new face of President Trump’s outside legal defense and a symbol of a streamlined effort to respond to a fast-moving impeachment inquiry. A day later, the arrangement fell apart, with lobbying rules prohibiting Mr. Gowdy from starting until January, possibly after the inquiry is over. Now, according to two people familiar with events, Mr. Gowdy is never expected to join the team. And Trump advisers are back to square one, searching for a different lawyer. How a celebrated announcement quickly ended in disarray offers a rare public glimpse into the internal posturing — and undercutting of colleagues — that has been playing out in the West Wing on a daily basis since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry last month. Even as the White House confronts a deepening threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency, it has struggled to decide how to respond, and who should lead that response. This article is based on interviews with a half-dozen aides and other people close to Mr. Trump.”


Monday, 14 October 2019, Day 998:


Assad Forces Surge Forward in Syria as U.S. Pulls Back, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, Monday, 14 October 2019: “Syrian government forces streamed into the country’s northeast on Monday, seizing towns where they had not set foot in years and filling a vacuum opened up by President Trump’s decision to abandon the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies. Less than a week after Turkey launched an incursion into northern Syria with Mr. Trump’s assent, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the United States, has benefited handsomely, striking a deal with the United States’ former allies to take the northern border and rapidly gaining territory without a fight. In addition to Mr. al-Assad, Mr. Trump’s decision to pull American forces out of the way has also quickly redounded to the gain of Russia and Iran, as well as the Islamic State, as the retreat reconfigures battle lines and alliances in the eight-year war.” See also, The Syrian War: Today’s Top Developments, The New York Times, Monday, 14 October 2019: ” See also, Trump Followed His Gut on Syria. Calamity Came Fast. The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Trump’s acquiescence to Turkey’s move to send troops deep inside Syrian territory has in only one week’s time turned into a bloody carnage, forced the abandonment of a successful five-year-long American project to keep the peace on a volatile border, and given an unanticipated victory to four American adversaries: Russia, Iran, the Syrian government and the Islamic State. Rarely has a presidential decision resulted so immediately in what his own party leaders have described as disastrous consequences for American allies and interests…. [T]his much already is clear: Mr. Trump ignored months of warnings from his advisers about what calamities likely would ensue if he followed his instincts to pull back from Syria and abandon America’s longtime allies, the Kurds. He had no Plan B, other than to leave. The only surprise is how swiftly it all collapsed around the president and his depleted, inexperienced foreign policy team.” See also, Trump Imposes Sanctions on Turkey as Syria Conflict Intensifies, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport and Michael Crowley, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Trump said on Monday that he was imposing sanctions on Turkish government agencies and officials in response to Turkey’s incursion into Syria, an invasion that he himself had cleared the way for by withdrawing American troops. Mr. Trump, under mounting political pressure to retreat from his earlier suggestions that the United States should remain uninvolved, also said he was halting negotiations over a $100 billion trade deal and doubling tariffs on imports of Turkish steel.” See also, Who Are the Kurds, and Why Is Turkey Attacking Them in Syria? The New York Times, Patrick Kingsley, Monday, 14 October 2019. See also, Syrian troops enter key towns in northeast under deal with Kurds, The Washington Post, Erin Cunningham, Sara Dadouch, Asser Khattab, and Dan Lamothe, Monday, 14 October 2019: “Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad advanced Monday into several key towns across northeastern Syria after an 11th-hour deal with local Kurdish fighters, dramatically altering the balance of power inside the war-battered country. Under the deal, which aimed to forestall a Turkish assault against the Kurds, Syrian government forces arrived in the towns of Tabqa, on the outskirts of Raqqa, and Ain Issa, which served as the headquarters of the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria, about 20 miles from the Turkish border. Images published by the official Syrian Arab News Agency showed government troops arriving atop pickup trucks and waving Syrian flags. The swift Syrian advance was set in motion by President Trump’s abrupt decision in recent days to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, leaving Kurdish forces long allied with the United States vulnerable to attack from the Turkish military.” See also, Who are the Kurds, and why is Turkey attacking them? The Washington Post, Siobhán O’Grady and Miriam Berger, Monday, 14 October 2019. See also, Anger Over Syria Unites Trump Defenders and His Biggest Critics, Bloomberg, Daniel Flatley, Monday, 14 October 2019: “Republican Senators returning to Washington after a two-week recess will find themselves debating not only how to handle the House’s impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump but also the president’s widely condemned decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. ‘Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would re-create the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement. ‘I look forward to discussing what the United States can do to avoid a strategic calamity with my Senate colleagues and with senior administration officials.'”

John Bolton, Trump’s Former National Security Adviser, Objected to Ukraine Pressure Campaign, Calling Rudy Giuliani ‘a Hand Grenade,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 14 October 2019: “The effort to pressure Ukraine for political help provoked a heated confrontation inside the White House last summer that so alarmed John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers, House investigators were told on Monday. Mr. Bolton got into a tense exchange on July 10 with Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to three people who heard the testimony. The aide, Fiona Hill, testified that Mr. Bolton told her to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council about a rogue effort by Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the people familiar with the testimony. ‘I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,’ Mr. Bolton, a Yale-trained lawyer, told Ms. Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to two people at the deposition. (Another person in the room initially said Mr. Bolton referred to Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney, but two others said he cited Mr. Sondland.) It was not the first time Mr. Bolton expressed grave concerns to Ms. Hill about the campaign being run by Mr. Giuliani. ‘Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,’ Ms. Hill quoted Mr. Bolton as saying during an earlier conversation. The testimony revealed in a powerful way just how divisive Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to extract damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine on President Trump’s behalf were within the White House. Ms. Hill, the senior director for European and Russian affairs, testified that Mr. Giuliani and his allies circumvented the usual national security process to run their own foreign policy efforts, leaving the president’s official advisers aware of the rogue operation yet powerless to stop it.” See also, Fiona Hill, Trump’s ex-Russia adviser, told impeachment investigators of Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Shane Harris, and Rachael Bade, published on Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Fiona Hill, the White House’s former top Russia adviser, told impeachment investigators on Monday that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit President Trump, according to people familiar with her testimony. Hill, who served as the senior official for Russia and Europe on the National Security Council, was the latest witness in a fast-moving impeachment inquiry focused on whether the president abused his office by using the promise of military aid and diplomatic support to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals. In a closed-door session that lasted roughly 10 hours, Hill told lawmakers that she confronted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, about Giuliani’s activities which, she testified, were not coordinated with the officials responsible for carrying out U.S. foreign policy, these people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of her deposition.” See also, Attention turns to former national security advisor John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney after former aide told impeachment investigators he fought Giuliani’s shadow operation in Ukraine, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Rachael Bade, published on Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “The House’s impeachment inquiry is turning attention toward former national security adviser John Bolton, after a former top aide delivered explosive testimony Monday describing how he was infuriated by a shadow operation being conducted by the president’s allies and his lawyer in Ukraine to dig up dirt on the president’s political rivals. Fiona Hill, who was the National Security Council’s top Russia and Europe adviser under Bolton, told investigators that Bolton likened President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a driving force behind the efforts, to a ‘hand grenade,’ according to two people familiar with her testimony. Hill also testified that Bolton wanted to make clear he was not involved and very opposed to the ‘drug deal’ between the White House’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who were also involved in the effort, the people said.” See also, Former Russia Adviser Fiona Hill Testifies She Was Alarmed About Ukraine Pressure, The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Natalie Andrews, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Trump’s former top Russia adviser told House committees Monday that she and other White House officials grew so alarmed about the administration’s efforts to push Ukraine to open certain investigations that they raised their concerns with a White House lawyer, according to people familiar with the matter. Fiona Hill, who served on the National Security Council and left the administration in August, testified for about nine hours before three House panels as part of the impeachment inquiry examining the president, his administration and his allies’ dealings with Ukraine, including a July call in which he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.” See also, Fiona Hill: British-born Russia expert drawn into impeachment storm, The Guardian, Julian Borger, Monday, 14 October 2019. See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Monday, 14 October 2019. See also, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia aide, met with a National Security Council lawyer about Rudy Giuliani, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Donald Trump’s former top Russia aide Fiona Hill told House impeachment investigators on Monday that she had at least two meetings with a National Security Council lawyer about Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate the president’s political rivals, according to a person who was in the room for the testimony. Hill told lawmakers and aides that then-national security adviser John Bolton, after learning of Giuliani’s efforts, told her to speak with lawyer John Eisenberg, the person said. Hill testified that she met with Eisenberg briefly on July 10, the same day she attended a meeting with Ukrainian officials at the White House. Hill said she had a longer meeting with Eisenberg on July 11, the person added.”

Exclusive: Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Reuters, Karen Freifeld and Aram Roston, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday. The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination. Giuliani said Parnas’ company, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, whose website says it aims to help clients ‘reduce and mitigate fraud,’ engaged Giuliani Partners, a management and security consulting firm, around August 2018. Giuliani said he was hired to consult on Fraud Guarantee’s technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues.”

Former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder for killing Atatiana Jefferson in her own home, CNN, Holly Yan, Hollie Silverman, and Amir Vera, Monday, 14 October 2019: “The former Fort Worth police officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home Saturday morning was arrested and charged with murder Monday, police said. The officer, identified as Aaron Dean, is being held in the Tarrant County Jail, the Fort Worth Police Department wrote on Twitter. Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family, says neither he nor the family have a reaction at the moment. The family had been calling for Dean to be arrested and charged. Dean resigned earlier Monday. He was served a written administrative complaint Sunday, placed on detached duty and stripped of his badge and firearm, interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said.” See also, Fort Worth Officer Aaron Dean Charged With Murder for Shooting Atatiana Jefferson in Her Home, The New York Times, Marina Trahan Martinez, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, and Sarah Mervosh, Monday, 14 October 2019: “A former Fort Worth police officer who fatally shot a woman while she was at home playing video games over the weekend was arrested and charged with murder on Monday, the latest development in a case that has sparked national outrage and renewed demands for police accountability. The officer, Aaron Y. Dean, who is white, resigned earlier on Monday, hours before the police chief had planned to fire him, amid growing anger and frustration in the community that the woman, Atatiana Jefferson, had become yet another black person killed by the police, this time in the safety of her own home.” See also, What We Know About the Fort Worth Police Shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, The New York Times, published on Tuesday, 15 October 2019.

Ohio Was Set to Purge 235,000 Voters. It Was Wrong About 20% of Them. The New York Times, Nicholas Casey, Monday, 14 October 2019: “Ohio, where the Democratic presidential candidates are set to debate Tuesday, is both a battleground state and the site of some of the country’s strictest voting laws, from voter ID requirements to a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ provision that lets officials drop voters seen as inactive. The combination has led voting rights advocates to contend that parts of the state are regularly disenfranchised, largely in purges aimed at those who have died or moved away, but which also hit real voters who don’t learn they can’t vote until Election Day. Election officials in other battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas regularly purge their voter lists as well.”

Census Bureau seeks state data, including citizenship information, despite the Supreme Court ruling that a specific citizenship question can’t be included in the 2020 Census questionnaire, PBS, Monday, 14 October 2019: “The U.S. Census Bureau is asking states for drivers’ license records that typically include citizenship data and has made a new request for information on recipients of government assistance, alarming some civil rights advocates. The two approaches, documented by The Associated Press, come amid President Donald Trump’s efforts to make citizenship a key aspect of federal information-gathering in the run-up to the 2020 Census, despite this year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a specific citizenship question can’t be included in the 2020 Census questionnaire. Civil rights advocates worry that the wider net being cast by the Trump administration for such information could chill Latino participation in the population count, which will determine how many congressional seats each state gets and guide the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal funding. The results of the 2020 Census also will be used to redraw state and local electoral maps.”

In his new book, Ronan Farrow says that right before Trump was elected in 2016 the National Enquirer shredded secret Trump documents that had been held in a top-secret safe, Politico, Daniel Lippman, Monday, 14 October 2019: “American Media, Inc. and the National Enquirer shredded sensitive Donald Trump-related documents that had been held in a top-secret safe right before Trump was elected in 2016, according to fresh allegations made in a new book by journalist Ronan Farrow. During the first week of November 2016, the book alleges that Dylan Howard, who was then editor in chief of the National Enquirer, ordered a staff member to ‘get everything out of the safe’ and that ‘we need to get a shredder down there.'”

In 2013 Trump wanted to release his taxes to show how smart he was for paying so little, CNN Politics, Vicky Ward, Monday, 14 October 2019: “President Donald Trump’s fight to keep his tax returns private is at odds with his own thinking in 2013 and 2014 that releasing them as part of a presidential bid would make him look like a smart businessman who had spent years lowering his taxable income, according to two people with firsthand knowledge of conversations at the time.”

Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims over 993 days, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Monday, 14 October 2019: “As President Trump approaches his 1,000th day in office Wednesday, he has significantly stepped up his pace of spouting exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasts and outright falsehoods. As of Oct. 9, his 993rd day in office, he had made 13,435 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement he has uttered. That’s an average of almost 22 claims a day since our last update 65 days ago. One big reason for the uptick: The uproar over Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25 — in which he urged an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, a potential 2020 election rival — and the ensuing House impeachment inquiry. We’ve added a new category of claims, Ukraine probe, and in just a few weeks it has topped 250 entries.”


Tuesday, 15 October 2019, Day 999:


Elizabeth Warren Draws Fire From All Sides, Reflecting Her Status as an Emerging Front-Runner, While Joe Biden Faced Scrutiny Over His Son’s Financial Dealings Overseas, The New York Times, Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts faced a sustained barrage of criticism from her Democratic rivals at a presidential debate in Ohio on Tuesday, tangling with a group of underdog moderates who assailed her liberal economic proposals, while former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared to fade from the fray after parrying President Trump’s attacks on his family. The debate confirmed that the primary race had entered a new phase, defined by Ms. Warren’s apparent strength and the increasing willingness of other Democrats to challenge her. She has risen toward the top of the polls while confronting limited resistance from her opponents, and in past debates she attracted a fraction of the hostility that Democrats trained on Mr. Biden.” See also, Fact-Checking the Democratic Debate, The New York Times, Tuesday, 15 October 2019. See also, 6 Takeaways From the October Democratic Debate, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Reid J. Epstein, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Elizabeth Warren faces first sustained attack in debate that began with unified condemnation of Trump, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Chelsea Janes, and Matt Viser, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Transcript of the October Democratic debate, The Washington Post, The Fix Team, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Fact-checking the fourth Democratic presidential debate, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo, and Meg Kelly, Tuesday, 15 October 2019. See also, Democratic Debate Questions Slammed: ‘Three Hours and No Questions Tonight About Climate Crisis, Housing, or Immigration. But You Know, Ellen,’ Newsweek, Harriet Sinclair, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Moderators came in for criticism from Democrats over the topic choices for the fourth Democratic debate after a question about Ellen DeGeneres’ friendship with former President George W. Bush made it onto the agenda but climate change and immigration did not. Host Anderson Cooper, in his final question on the night, said: ‘Last week, Ellen DeGeneres was criticized after she and former President George W. Bush were seen laughing together at a football game. Ellen defended their friendship, saying, “We’re all different and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s OK, that we’re all different.” So in that spirit, we’d like you to tell us about a friendship that you’ve had that would surprise us and what impacts it’s had on you and your beliefs.'”

Ilhan Omar Endorses Bernie Sanders, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Will Do So as Well, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Representative Ilhan Omar endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse Mr. Sanders at a rally this weekend, according to his campaign. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York and a star of the progressive left, will join Mr. Sanders at his ‘Bernie’s Back’ rally in Queens on Saturday. Earlier Tuesday, his campaign had teased that Mr. Sanders would have a ‘special guest’ at the event.” See also, Senator Bernie Sanders to be endorsed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an influential voice among young liberals, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and David Weigel, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the most influential voices among young liberals and a rising Democratic star, plans to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president and appear with him at a rally on Saturday, according to two people with knowledge of her plans. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), another member of the ‘Squad’ of four liberal congresswomen, also announced late Tuesday that she was backing Sanders.” See also, ‘Huge Moment in the 2020 Race’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Endorse Bernie Sanders for President, Common Dreams, Eoin Higgins and Jon Queally, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, The Washington Post reported Tuesday night, a political coup for the Vermont senator as he looks to increase his standing in the polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. ‘This is big,’ said Politico campaign reporter Holly Otterbein after confirming the news with members of the Sanders campaign.”

Exclusive: ‘I’m here’: Hunter Biden hits back at Trump taunt in ABC News interview, ABC News, Victoria Thompson, Nadine Shubailat, Lucien Bruggeman, and Victor Ordonez, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “As President Donald Trump continues to fill his Twitter feed and campaign speeches with attacks on Hunter Biden over his foreign business deals, the former vice president’s son defended the ethical implications of his private ventures in an interview with ABC News, but conceded taking a misstep in failing to foresee the political implications on his father’s career.” See also, Hunter Biden Admits to ‘Poor Judgment’ but Denies ‘Ethical Lapse’ in the Work He Did Overseas, The New York Times, Katie Glueck and Stephanie Saul, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son, said in an interview released on Tuesday that he probably would not have been named to the board of a foreign company if his last name weren’t Biden and acknowledged ‘poor judgment,’ but he rejected suggestions by President Trump that he and his father had engaged in wrongdoing. ‘Did I make a mistake? Well maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah,’ Mr. Biden said in an interview with ABC News. ‘But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.'”

George Kent, Senior State Department Ukraine Expert, Says White House Sidelined Him, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “A senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine policy told impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he was all but cut out of decisions regarding the country after a May meeting organized by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, describing his sidelining by President Trump’s inner circle as ‘wrong,’ according to a lawmaker who heard the testimony. The revelation from George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, emerged as he submitted to hours of closed-door testimony to the House committees investigating how President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Despite an edict by the White House not to cooperate with what it has called an illegitimate inquiry, Mr. Kent was one of a procession of top officials who have made the trip to the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, unspooling a remarkably consistent tale. They have detailed how Mr. Trump sought to manipulate American policy in Ukraine to meet his goals, circumventing career diplomats and policy experts and inserting his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani into the process, raising alarms in the West Wing and throughout the government.” See also, Senior State department official George Kent tells House investigators that the White House directed ‘three amigos’ to run Ukraine policy, The Washington Post, Paul Kane, Karoun Demirjian, and Rachael Bade, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney organized a meeting this spring in which officials were determined to take Ukraine policy out of the traditional channels, putting Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker in charge instead, a top State Department official told lawmakers Tuesday. George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, told House investigators he was instructed to ‘lay low,’ focus on the five other countries in his portfolio and defer to Volker, Sondland and Perry — who called themselves the ‘three amigos’ — on matters related to Ukraine, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) told reporters Tuesday. Kent took that as a sign, Connolly added, that having been critical of the plan he was being pushed aside ‘because what he was saying was not welcome’ at high levels of the government.” See also, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent told by a supervisor to lie low after raising complaints about Rudy Giuliani undermining US foreign policy in Ukraine, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, and Lauren Fox, published on Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent told lawmakers on Tuesday that he had been told by a supervisor to lie low after he raised complaints about Rudy Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine undermining US foreign policy, according to Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, a senior member of the House Oversight Committee. Connolly, a Virginia lawmaker, said Kent described Giuliani’s campaign to oust the US ambassador to Ukraine outside of the State Department channels as having ‘undermined 28 years of US efforts to try to promote the rule of law in Ukraine.’ See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 15 October 2019.

White House Is Said to Open Internal Review of Ukraine Call, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Maggie Haberman, and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “President Trump has for weeks sought to unmask the whistle-blower who shed light on his Ukraine dealings. But instead aides have fixated on one another: Advisers began a fact-finding review that some fear is a hunt for a scapegoat, according to White House aides and other people familiar with it. Even as the impeachment inquiry intensifies in Congress, White House lawyers are leading their own review, the people said. They are seeking to understand White House officials’ actions around Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which is central to the whistle-blower’s allegation that Mr. Trump abused his power. The lawyers’ inquiry centers on why one of their colleagues, the deputy White House counsel John A. Eisenberg, placed a rough transcript of the call in a computer system typically reserved for the country’s most closely guarded secrets. Mr. Trump later directed that a reconstructed transcript be released amid intensifying scrutiny from House Democrats. The review shows how quickly the impeachment inquiry escalated tensions in a West Wing already divided over the publication of the transcript, and it appears to be the latest example of administration officials rushing to protect themselves in the Ukraine scandal.”

Ex-White House Officials Said Rudy Giuliani Pushed Trump to Deport Fethullah Gulen, a Cleric Sought by Turkey, The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg, Maggie Haberman, and Michael D. Shear, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, repeatedly urged President Trump to arrange for the deportation of a Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, calling him a violent extremist who needed to face justice in Turkey, former White House officials said on Tuesday. Turkey has requested that the United States hand over Mr. Gulen, a permanent American resident living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, to be tried on charges that he instigated a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.” See also, Former officials say Rudy Giuliani pressed Trump to eject Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from the U.S., a top priority of Turkish president Erdogan, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Ellen Nakashima, Josh Dawsey, and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Rudolph W. Giuliani privately urged President Trump in 2017 to extradite a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States, a top priority of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to multiple former administration officials familiar with the discussions.”

In Syria, Russia Is Pleased to Fill a Void Left by Trump’s Withdrawal. As the United States withdraws from Syria, Russia is stepping in, running patrols to separate warring factions, striking deals, and helping President Bashar al-Assad advance. The New York Times, Ben Hubbard, Anton Troianovski, Carlotta Gall, and Patrick Kingsley, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Russia asserted itself in a long-contested part of Syria on Tuesday after the United States pulled out, giving Moscow a new opportunity to press for Syrian army gains and project itself as a rising power broker in the Middle East. Russian and Syrian troops drove through a key town where the United States had held sway and picked over abandoned American outposts to announce their presence in the area and deter the Turkish incursion that began last week. The Russian advance, enabled by President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw, may boost Russia’s Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, while blunting the Turkish incursion. It was a telling demonstration of how influence over the eight-year-old conflict in Syria has shifted from the United States to Russia. But in this case, there appeared to be little balance left in the Americans’ favor.” See also, Russia patrolling between Turkish and Syrian forces after U.S. troops withdraw, The Washington Post, Kareem Fahim, Sarah Dadouch, and Will Englund, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Russia announced Tuesday that its units were patrolling between Turkish and Syrian military forces near the strategically important Syrian town of Manbij, in a sign that Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, was moving to fill a security vacuum after U.S. troops withdrew from the area.” See also, 4 Big Questions About Syria’s Future, The New York Times, Anne Barnard, Anjali Singhvi, Sarah Almukhtar, Allison McCann, and Jin Wu, Tuesday, 15 October 2019.

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Will Meet With Turkish President Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday to Push Him for Pullback From Syria, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Eric Schmitt, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Ankara on Thursday to relay President Trump’s demand that Mr. Erdogan negotiate a cease-fire in Syria and to reiterate the president’s threat to impose economic sanctions if he does not comply. The president’s sending of the delegation — to also include his national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, and the State Department’s special envoy for Syrian affairs, James F. Jeffrey — is part of a scrambled effort to wrest back control of a chaotic situation in Syria that has endangered American forces there even as they prepared to leave.”

U.S. Indicts Turkish Bank on Charges of Evading Iran Sanctions, The New York Times, Eric Lipton, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “The Justice Department on Tuesday sharply escalated economic pressure on Turkey by filing fraud and money-laundering charges against the country’s second-largest state-owned bank, accusing it of helping Iran evade United States sanctions. The charges against the institution, Halkbank, came as the administration sought ways to project that it was taking a tough line with Turkey after President Trump effectively signaled this month that the United States would not stand in the way of Turkey’s desire to send forces into northern Syria. Mr. Trump’s willingness to allow the military action has thrown the region into chaos and ignited an intense bipartisan backlash against him at home. As the criticism has mounted, the White House has emphasized the steps it is taking to restrain Turkey’s offensive, including a round of sanctions announced on Monday.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Office of Management and Budget Say They Won’t Give Congress Documents in Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Natalie Andrews, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “The office of Vice President Mike Pence declined a records request from House committees leading an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, while Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, said he doesn’t intend to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents. The Office of Management and Budget also didn’t comply Tuesday with a subpoena for documents about a delay in disbursing nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine, according to a senior administration official. House Democrats are seeking documents about why the aid was withheld.” See also, Rudy Giuliani and the Office of Management and Budget defy House Democrats’ impeachment subpoena, CNN Politics, Michael Warren and Evan Perez, Tuesday, 15 October 2019.

Former Texas congressman Pete Sessions is subpoenaed by grand jury investigating Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani’s two business associates charged last week with a scheme to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “A federal grand jury in New York has issued a subpoena to former Texas congressman Pete Sessions seeking records and other information on his interactions with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two Giuliani associates charged last week with a scheme to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians, according to two people familiar with the investigation. The subpoena seeks records about Sessions’s dealings with Giuliani and two business associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who before their arrest had been helping Giuliani investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden. Parnas and Fruman were charged last week with violating campaign finance law in an ongoing investigation that has ensnared the president’s personal lawyer because of his relationship with the two men. The subpoena indicates the investigation remains active, with investigators keen to determine whether Giuliani committed any wrongdoing.” See also, Former Republican Texas Congressman Pete Sessions Is Subpoenaed Over Interactions With Giuliani and Giuliani’s Business Associates, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “A grand jury has issued a subpoena related to Manhattan federal prosecutors’ investigation into Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents from former Rep. Pete Sessions about his dealings with President Trump’s personal lawyer and associates, according to people familiar with the matter. The subpoena seeks documents related to Mr. Giuliani’s business dealings with Ukraine and his involvement in efforts to oust the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, as well as any interactions between Mr. Sessions, Mr. Giuliani and four men who were indicted last week on campaign-finance and conspiracy accounts, the people said.”

Trump emoluments case over his D.C. hotel gets second chance in legal challenge, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a lawsuit claiming that President Trump is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his hotel in downtown Washington. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit agreed to rehear the lawsuit, brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District, which was dismissed over the summer by a three-judge panel of the court. The brief order set oral arguments before a full panel of judges for Dec. 12 and essentially gives the novel lawsuit, which tests the anti-corruption emoluments provisions of the Constitution, a second chance.”

Trump administration proposes expanding logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “The Trump administration Tuesday proposed allowing logging on more than half of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America. President Trump instructed federal officials to reverse long-standing limits on tree cutting at the request of Alaska’s top elected officials, on the grounds that it will boost the local economy. But critics say that protections under the ‘roadless rule’ finalized just before President Bill Clinton left office in 2001, are critical to protecting the region’s lucrative salmon fishery and tourism operations.” See also, Forest Service Backs an End to Limits on Roads in Alaska’s Tongass Forest, The New York Times, Coral Davenport, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “The Trump administration on Tuesday took a step toward opening up the pristine woodlands of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and road construction, saying it would prefer an end to all road-building restrictions throughout the forest. The move, which was widely expected, comes after years of prodding by successive Alaska governors and congressional delegations, which have pushed the federal government to exempt the Tongass, the nation’s largest national forest, from a Clinton-era policy known as the roadless rule, which banned logging and road construction in much of the national forest system. A final rule is not expected until next June. On Tuesday, the United States Forest Service, which comes under the Department of Agriculture, took a step forward and put its weight behind a final decision that would be welcomed by most politicians in the state but dreaded by environmentalists.”

Trump Again Vetoes Measure to End National Emergency, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “President Trump on Tuesday issued his second veto against legislation seeking to end his national emergency at the southwestern border, rejecting bipartisan objections to his efforts to obtain funds for a border wall. His move, announced late Tuesday night, was expected and will return the resolution to Congress. It is unlikely to garner the two-thirds majority needed there to override the veto.”

House Democrats Unveil Plan to Make College More Affordable, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the federal higher education law, aiming to increase access to college for low-income and minority students with huge infusions of financial aid and the creation of a $94 billion program that allows states to offer tuition-free community college. The legislation, the College Affordability Act, would update the Higher Education Act of 1965 for the first time in more than a decade, at an estimated cost of $400 billion over 10 years. Its prescriptions for financial aid, debt repayment and free community college are unlikely to clear the Republican-controlled Senate, but progress in the House could prod the sclerotic Senate to move forward on its version of a new higher education law.”

Update: We Found a ‘Staggering’ 281 Lobbyists Who Have Worked in the Trump Administration, ProPublica, David Mora, Columbia Journalism Investigations, Tuesday, 15 October 2019: “At the halfway mark of President Donald Trump’s first term, his administration has hired a lobbyist for every 14 political appointments made, welcoming a total of 281 lobbyists on board, a ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations analysis shows. With a combination of weakened rules and loose enforcement easing the transition to government and back to K Street, Trump’s swamp is anything but drained. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. And former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for. Even government watchdogs who’ve long monitored the revolving door say that its current scale is a major shift from previous administrations. It’s a ‘staggering figure,’ according to Virginia Canter, ethics chief counsel for the D.C.-based legal nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. ‘It suggests that lobbyists see themselves as more effective in furthering their clients’ special interests from inside the government rather than from outside.'”


Wednesday, 16 October 2019, Day 1,000:


In Bipartisan Rebuke, House Majority Condemns Trump for Syria Withdrawal, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “The House on Wednesday dealt a stinging bipartisan rebuke to President Trump for his decision to withdraw American forces just inside Syria’s border, registering overwhelming opposition in Congress to a move that has thrown the region into bloody chaos and unraveled Middle East policy. In a rare break with a president they are normally unwilling to criticize, two-thirds of House Republicans, including all of the party’s elected leaders, joined Democrats in approving a resolution that opposed Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the Turkish assault against the Kurds, who have been crucial American allies in the fight against the Islamic State. The measure passed, 354 to 60, in the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office. It enraged the president, who lashed out at Democratic congressional leaders at the White House shortly afterward at a meeting called to discuss the incursion, which devolved into a bitter confrontation in which he hurled insults at Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she pointedly mentioned the devastating vote tally.” See also, Trump and Democrats Clash After House Passes Resolution Opposing U.S. Withdrawal in Syria, The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Duehren, Vivian Salama, Lindsay Wise, and David Gauthier-Villars, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “House Republicans deserted President Trump to oppose his withdrawal of troops from Syria, a prelude to a rancorous White House meeting with congressional leaders in which the president insulted Democrats before they walked out. The acrimony came after House Democrats and Republicans voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to oppose his troop pullout and urge the administration to contain the fallout from Turkey’s incursion into Syria. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were set to travel to Turkey for talks on Thursday. The House measure—which passed by a 354-to-60 vote—was unanimously backed by Democrats. They were joined by 129 Republicans, a rare display of GOP opposition to a stance held by the Republican president on a high-profile matter. After the vote, congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), met with Mr. Trump at the White House. The meeting was brief and contentious, with Mr. Trump calling Mrs. Pelosi a ‘third-rate politician’ and Mrs. Pelosi later countering that Mr. Trump was experiencing a meltdown.” See also, House overwhelmingly votes bipartisan condemnation of Trump withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, NBC News, Associated Press, Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Trump Lashes Out on Syria as Republicans Rebuke Him in House Vote, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “President Trump faced off against both parties in Congress on Wednesday in an extraordinary confrontation over his decision to abandon America’s Kurdish allies as the vast majority of House Republicans joined Democrats to condemn his policy in an overwhelming vote. Mr. Trump found himself increasingly isolated after withdrawing troops from Syria and clearing the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurds who had fought alongside the United States. The president all but washed his hands of the conflict, saying that it ‘has nothing to do with us,’ generating withering criticism from Republicans and leading to a stormy clash with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Bereft of supporters and under pressure from an impeachment inquiry, Mr. Trump spent much of the day defending his decision and lashing out against rivals. He dismissed the Kurds, who until last week shared outposts with American soldiers, saying they were ‘no angels’ and fought for money. And he berated Ms. Pelosi as a ‘third-grade politician’ or ‘third-rate politician,’ depending on the version, prompting Democrats to walk out of a White House meeting. Mr. Trump said it was the other way around. ‘Nancy Pelosi needs help fast!’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!'” See also, Democrats angrily walk out of White House meeting after Trump ‘meltdown,’ NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and Alex Moe, Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Who was in the White House photo of the ‘meltdown’ meeting, annotated, The Washington Post, JM Rieger, Thursday, 17 October 2019.

Trump tries to distance himself from chaos in Syria as tensions with lawmakers in both parties escalate, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Mike DeBonis, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “President Trump on Wednesday attempted to distance himself from the escalating chaos in northern Syria following his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region and lashed out at lawmakers critical of the decision, including during an extraordinary White House meeting that ended in acrimony. In remarks in the Oval Office early in the day, Trump insisted that the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the Kurds was ‘over land that has nothing to do with us’ and that the Kurds, who served as a U.S. ally against the Islamic State, were ‘no angels.’ ‘There’s a lot of sand that they can play with,’ Trump said as he sat alongside Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whom the White House was hosting for a visit Wednesday.” See also, Trump claims Turkish incursion into Syria ‘has nothing to do with us,’ and Kurds are ‘not angels,’ CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Maegan Vazquez, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Turkey’s incursion of northern Syria ‘has nothing to do with us’ and added that former US allies — the Kurds — are ‘not angels.’ He also falsely claimed the Kurds ‘are much safer now,’ despite his recent decision to pull US forces out of northern Syria — where the US was fighting alongside Kurds in the region.” See also, Fact-Checking Trump on Syria, Erdogan, and the Kurds, The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “

Turkey Rejects U.S. Call for Immediate Cease-Fire in Syria, The Wall Street Journal, David Gauthier-Villars, Vivian Salama, and Dion Nissenbaum, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Turkey dismissed a U.S. call for an immediate cease-fire in northeast Syria, pressing ahead with its military offensive as senior Trump administration officials rushed to Ankara to try to halt fighting triggered by the withdrawal of American troops from the region. President Trump on Tuesday dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence to the Turkish capital, where they will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to urge him to stop a weeklong military incursion in northeastern Syria. But Mr. Trump, defending his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, refrained on Wednesday from criticizing Turkey for the assault on Kurdish-held areas, saying Ankara’s incursion has ‘nothing to do with us.'”

Read Trump’s full letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ PBS, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that he can ‘destroy’ the Turkish economy if Erdogan does not ‘work out a deal,’ presumably over the country’s continued attacks on the Kurds in northern Syria. In the letter, dated Oct. 9 and shared Oct. 16 by FOX Business on Twitter, Trump urges Erdogan to ‘work out a good deal,’ saying ‘you don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people.’ The White House confirmed the authenticity of the letter to the PBS NewsHour.” See also, Trump wrote letter to Erdogan telling him ‘don’t be a fool,’ CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “In an extraordinary letter sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, President Donald Trump warned that he could destroy Turkey’s economy if the situation in Syria is not contained and resolved in a humane way, CNN has confirmed. The tone of the letter is consistent with Trump’s unconventional approach to diplomacy, particularly when dealing with strongman leaders, as he tells Erdogan: ‘Let’s work out a good deal’ and ‘Don’t be a fool!'” See also, Trump’s extraordinary letter to Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘Don’t be a tough guy.’ NBC News, Dareh Gregorian and Peter Alexander, Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Read Trump’s Letter to Turkey’s President Erdogan, The New York Times, Wednesday, 16 October 2019. See also, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘threw Trump’s Syria letter in bin,’ BBC, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put US President Donald Trump’s letter ‘in the bin,’ the BBC has been told. In the letter dated 9 October, and sent after US troops were pulled out of Syria, Mr Trump told Mr Erdogan: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ President Trump was urging Turkey not to launch a military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, but Mr Erdogan ignored this request. US Vice President Mike Pence is now in Ankara to push for a ceasefire. The US has faced intense criticism for the withdrawal of troops, which critics say gave Turkey the green light to launch the military attack.”

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney emerges as a key facilitator of the campaign to pressure Ukraine to deliver material that would be politically valuable to Trump, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey, and Greg Jaffe, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “In late May, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney organized a meeting that stripped control of the country’s relationship with Ukraine from those who had the most expertise at the National Security Council and the State Department. Instead, Mulvaney put an unlikely trio in charge of managing the U.S.-Ukraine account amid worrisome signs of a new priority, congressional officials said Tuesday: pressuring the fledgling government in Kiev to deliver material that would be politically valuable to President Trump. The work of those ‘three amigos,’ as they came to call themselves — diplomats Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, plus Energy Secretary Rick Perry — has come to light in recent days through newly disclosed text messages and the testimony of government witnesses appearing before an impeachment inquiry in Congress.”

Federal investigation of Rudy Giuliani includes counterintelligence probe, CNN Politics, Evan Perez, Sara Murray, and Shimon Prokupecz, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “For months, investigators looking into Rudy Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine have dug into everything from possible financial entanglements with alleged corrupt Ukrainian figures to counterintelligence concerns raised by some of those business ties, according to people briefed on the matter. The counterintelligence part of the investigation indicates that FBI and criminal prosecutors in Manhattan are looking at a broader set of issues related to Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, than has been previously reported. Kenneth McCallion, a New York attorney, says that investigators first approached him earlier this year to ask about Giuliani’s ties to Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates indicted last week on campaign-finance related charges.”

Michael McKinley, Former Senior Adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Tells Impeachment Investigators He Resigned Because Career Diplomats Had Been Sidelined on Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Julian E. Barnes, and Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “A former top aide to Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, told Congress on Wednesday that he resigned amid mounting frustrations over the Trump administration’s sidelining of career diplomats working on Ukraine policy and its failure to support them in the face of the impeachment inquiry, several people familiar with his testimony said. In several hours of closed-door testimony, Michael McKinley, who until last week was a senior adviser to Mr. Pompeo, described his disappointment with how politicized the State Department had become under President Trump, saying that the last straw for him was the ouster of Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine whom Mr. Trump ordered removed. Mr. McKinley said that he had tried to get top State Department officials to publicly support Ms. Yovanovitch against what he viewed as a politically motivated smear campaign, and ultimately received no response, according to two of the people familiar with his testimony, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe a closed-door deposition. ‘The timing of my resignation was the result of two overriding concerns: the failure, in my view, of the State Department to offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry on Ukraine,’ Mr. McKinley said in an opening statement, according to a former colleague familiar with his testimony. ‘And, second, by what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance a domestic political objective.'” See also, Michael McKinley, former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, tells Congress he resigned over Trump’s attacks on the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the unwillingness of the State Department to protect career diplomats from political pressure,  Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “A former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told House impeachment investigators on Wednesday that he abruptly resigned last week because of President Donald Trump’s attacks on the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and the State Department’s unwillingness to protect career diplomats from political pressure, according to two people familiar with the testimony. Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer with nearly 40 years of experience, had a front-row seat to Pompeo’s decision-making at the State Department. And like other current and former officials who have testified for the House’s impeachment inquiry, McKinley told investigators he was deeply alarmed by efforts by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals.” See also, Ex-Pompeo adviser Michael McKinley tells impeachment investigators he was ‘disturbed’ by attempts to use foreigners to hurt Trump’s political opponents, The Washington Post, Carol Morello and John Hudson, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told House impeachment investigators Wednesday that he quit his job last week out of concern about the mistreatment of career U.S. diplomats and the alarming allegations related to efforts to pressure Ukraine’s president into investigating President Trump’s political rivals.”

Fiona Hill, a Former Top White House Foreign Policy Adviser, Told House Impeachment Investigators She Saw Gordon Sondland, Trump Donor and Ambassador to the European Union, as a Potential National Security Risk, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “A former top White House foreign policy adviser told House impeachment investigators this week that she viewed Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, as a potential national security risk because he was so unprepared for his job, according to two people familiar with her private testimony. The adviser, Fiona Hill, did not accuse Mr. Sondland of acting maliciously or intentionally putting the country at risk. But she described Mr. Sondland, a hotelier and Trump donor-turned-ambassador, as metaphorically driving in an unfamiliar place with no guardrails and no GPS, according to the people, who were not authorized to publicly discuss a deposition that took place behind closed doors.”

Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, asked Ukrainian officials during private White House talk about gas firm linked to Hunter Biden, NBC News, Josh Lederman, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Lawmakers plan to grill Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on Thursday about a private discussion he had with top Ukrainian officials in the White House in which he explicitly mentioned the Ukrainian gas company linked to Hunter Biden, amid negotiations over granting Ukraine’s new president an audience with President Donald Trump, NBC News has learned. Sondland’s meeting with the Ukrainians just steps away from the White House Situation Room came minutes after a larger West Wing meeting that included then-National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had been noncommittal about scheduling a meeting between Trump and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Sondland directly contradicted Bolton by telling the Ukrainians that in fact, Trump was committed to meeting with Zelenskiy on the condition he open a corruption investigation, two people told about the matter tell NBC News. Bolton abruptly ended the meeting. But, the individuals say, Sondland then invited the Ukrainian officials to continue the conversation separately, escorting them to a private room in the White House basement, the individuals said. That’s when Sondland was overheard discussing Burisma Holdings, whose board of directors former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden joined in 2014.”

House Democrats ask Bill Taylor, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, to appear for questioning, NBC News, Heidi Przybyla and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor left Kyiv, Ukraine on Wednesday for Washington D.C. after House Democrats requested he appear for a Tuesday deposition in the investigation into President Trump’s alleged misconduct involving Ukraine, NBC News has confirmed. Taylor is a crucial eye witness to Trump’s attempts to press Ukainian President for an investigation of Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. His return to the U.S. and deposition comes as numerous Trump officials, including acting European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland, are defying the White House’s attempts to bloc testimony from Congress and providing critical testimony to Congress.”

Rick Perry Called Rudy Giuliani at Trump’s Direction on Ukraine Concerns, The Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko and Rebecca Ballhaus, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he sought out Rudy Giuliani this spring at President Trump’s direction to address Mr. Trump’s concerns about alleged Ukrainian corruption, a sign of how closely the president’s personal lawyer worked with the administration on Ukraine policy. Mr. Perry, in an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal, said he contacted Mr. Giuliani in an effort to ease a path to a meeting between Mr. Trump and his new Ukrainian counterpart. He said Mr. Giuliani described to him during their phone call several concerns about Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election, concerns that haven’t been substantiated.”

David Correia, Who Was Indicted Last Week With Guiliani Associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, Is Arrested, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum and Michael Gold, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “David Correia, who was charged last week in a campaign finance scheme along with two longtime associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, was arrested Wednesday, officials said. Mr. Correia, 44, surrendered to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 10:30 a.m. at Kennedy International Airport, after he returned from a foreign country, officials said. He had been charged in a federal indictment unsealed last week with participating in a conspiracy to conceal the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions that came from overseas donors.” See also, David Correia, the fourth defendant in Giuliani associates’ case, is arrested at New York airport, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “David Correia, the fourth defendant in a campaign finance case involving business associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, was arrested Wednesday morning at a New York City airport, officials said. Correia has been charged with participating in a scheme to use foreign money to build political support for a fledgling recreational marijuana business in Nevada and other states, according to an indictment unsealed last week that also charged Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with conspiracy and making false statements to campaign finance regulators. The other defendants were quickly arrested by the FBI, but Correia had been traveling in the Middle East and returned to the United States to surrender to authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Correia made a brief court appearance Wednesday, where a judge ordered him released on $250,000 bond. He and the other person charged in the case, Andrey Kukushkin, are due back in court Thursday.”

Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies, ProPublica, Heather Vogell, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.”

Trump Stuns the Grieving Parents of Harry Dunn: Meet the Suspect in Your Son’s Death. At the White House, the parents of Harry Dunn were told that the woman they want to hold accountable for his death in a car crash was in an adjoining room. The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Iliana Magra, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “President Trump said on Wednesday that he had tried unsuccessfully to arrange a White House meeting between the parents of a teenager killed in an August crash in Britain and the American driver involved in the crash. The parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office Tuesday evening but balked when he said that Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat whom British police are seeking for her involvement in the crash, was in a nearby room and wanted to meet with them. ‘I offered to bring the person in question in,’ the president told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. ‘They weren’t ready for it. But I did offer.'” See also, Grieving Parents of British Teen Harry Dunn Were ‘Ambushed’ by Trump, Who Had Teen’s Killer Waiting at White House, The Daily Beast, Barbie Latza Nadeau, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “You can almost imagine the reality-show excitement that surely went into the ill-considered plan to introduce Anne Sacoolas, the American diplomatic wife who killed 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn when she drove down the wrong side of an English lane in August, to Dunn’s grieving parents. Sacoolas left the U.K. in early September under diplomatic-immunity protections and has not been seen in public since. The Dunn family, now in the United States to drum up support to send Sacoolas back to the U.K. to face justice, had accepted an ‘urgent’ invitation by the White House from National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, to visit Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night. President Trump said Wednesday that he had arranged the meeting at the request of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Speaking at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, he described the encounter as ‘beautiful in a certain way,’ adding that he expressed condolences ‘on behalf of our country.’ He then admitted that he tried to get the family to meet Sacoolas, who was waiting in an adjacent room. ‘I offered to bring the person in question in,’ he said. ‘And they weren’t ready for it.’ Trump, it seems, thought he could convince the Dunns to meet the woman who killed their son, and would do so by opening a side door through which she would walk. The whole scene would be captured by a pool of photographers who had been summoned for the meeting. But the Dunns would have none of it and refused to meet her. Dunn family spokesman Radd Seiger said that the family felt ‘ambushed’ when the ‘bombshell’ was dropped that Sacoolas was next door.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs law aimed at weakening Trump’s pardon power, closing ‘double jeopardy’ loophole, NBC News, Allan Smith and Dareh Gregorian, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a measure Wednesday that would allow the state to pursue charges against people who have received a presidential pardon — a law seen as a direct shot at President Donald Trump. Multiple ex-Trump aides or associates are imprisoned or facing legal scrutiny in New York. The president, whose business and campaign are both headquartered in New York, also is facing numerous federal, state and congressional investigations related to his administration, campaign and business dealings. The newly signed law creates a narrow exception in the state’s double jeopardy law, which prohibits the prosecution of a person who’s been tried for the same crime by the federal government. The change takes effect immediately. ‘No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them,’ Cuomo said in a statement. ‘The closure of this egregious loophole gives prosecutors the ability to stand up against any abuse of power, and helps ensure that no politically motivated, self-serving action is sanctioned under law.'” See also, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Law Aimed at Foiling Trump Pardons, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Wednesday clearing away legal hurdles that could have prevented state prosecutions of people pardoned by President Donald Trump for federal crimes. Supporters of the new law, including newly empowered Democrats elected last year, said New York’s broad double jeopardy law didn’t explicitly give state prosecutors a green light to bring charges when a defendant has received a federal pardon. The law says a presidential pardon wouldn’t be sufficient for a member of a president’s family or close associate.”

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Plan to Ease Bird Protections on Oil Lands, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration’s plan to ease protections for an iconic bird that makes its home on millions of acres of oil and gas-rich sagebrush lands, dealing a blow to government efforts to allow more drilling, mining and logging in the west. Judge B. Lynn Winmill of the United States District Court for the District of Idaho granted a preliminary injunction that suspends efforts by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to weaken protections for the bird, known as the greater sage grouse, in ten states. While the halt is temporary, the judge indicated that the environmental organizations that brought the legal challenge — arguing that the Interior Department failed to consider reasonable alternatives and did not thoroughly examine the environmental consequences of its actions — is likely to prevail.”

Trump Administration Delays Cuts to Food Stamps and School Meals, The New York Times, Lola Fadulu, Wednesday, 16 October 2019: “Amid widespread condemnation, the Trump administration may be softening on a proposal to toughen access to food stamps and free school meals, reopening public comment on a regulatory change that would deprive food assistance to millions of Americans. Nearly three million people could lose access to food stamps under the proposed rule, according to the Agriculture Department’s own estimates. A second analysis released this week estimated that nearly one million children would lose automatic eligibility for free or reduced-price school meals, double the agency’s initial estimate. The second analysis became public only after Representative Robert C. Scott of Virginia, the chairman of the House Education Committee, pushed for the Agriculture Department to release information that department officials had privately told his staff. Their initial estimate of the number of children who could lose automatic eligibility for free school meals, 500,000, was almost half the newest figure.”


Thursday, 17 October 2019, Day 1,001:


In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria, The New York Times, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump. The best that can be said for the agreement is that it may stop the killing in the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. But the cost for Kurds, longtime American allies in the fight against the Islamic State, is severe: Even Pentagon officials were mystified about where tens of thousands of displaced Kurds would go, as they moved south from the Turkey-Syria border as required by the deal — if they agree to go at all. And the cost to American influence, while hard to quantify, could be frightfully high. In the 11 days between Mr. Trump’s fateful phone call with Mr. Erdogan and the trip to Ankara by Mr. Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, the United States has ceded ground in Syria — including American bases — to the Russian-backed Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. And it has shaken the faith of American allies that, in a time of stress, Washington will have their back.” See also, Vice President Mike Pence announces Syria ceasefire that appears to give Turkey everything it wants, CNN Politics, Maegan Vazquez, Ryan Browne, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “US Vice President Mike Pence announced in Turkey Thursday that he and Turkish President Erdogan agreed to a ceasefire halting Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, which was launched after President Donald Trump effectively gave Turkey the go ahead on a phone call with Erdogan earlier this month. The deal appears to secure Turkey most of its military objectives, forcing America’s one-time allies in the fight against ISIS — Kurdish forces — to cede a vast swath of territory, with one senior US official very familiar with operations in Syria telling CNN that the deal meant the US was “validating what Turkey did and allowing them to annex a portion of Syria and displace the Kurdish population.” See also, Syria cease-fire agreement lifts threat of U.S. sanctions while letting Turkey keep buffer zone, The Washington Post, Kareem Fahim, Karen DeYoung, and Seung Min Kim, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Turkey agreed Thursday to a cease-fire that would suspend its march into Syria and temporarily halt a week of vicious fighting with Kurdish forces, while allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to carve out a long-coveted buffer zone far beyond its borders. The agreement, announced by Vice President Pence after hours of negotiations, appeared to hand Turkey’s leader most of what he sought when his military launched an assault on northeastern Syria just over a week ago: the expulsion of Syrian Kurdish militias from the border and the removal of a U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Turkey’s vulnerable economy. See also, Turkish Proxies Appear to Be Using White Phosphorus in Syria, Foreign Policy, Lara Seligman, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Turkish-backed forces appear to be using white phosphorus-loaded munitions—a chemical that can maim and kill when it comes in contact with human flesh—in their violent campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, Foreign Policy has learned. Meanwhile, reports emerged overnight that Turkey continues to attack Kurdish fighters and civilian settlements in the border town of Ras al-Ain, despite a ceasefire agreement announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Turkish-backed forces targeted a Kurdish medical convoy and an American aid organization trying to get into the town to evacuate wounded civilians, according to a Syrian conflict monitor. Photos provided to Foreign Policy by a Kurdish source and confirmed by a senior U.S. administration official show children in Ras al-Ain with chemical burns on their chests and faces consistent with white phosphorus. (One of the photos, which is graphic, is published here.)” See also, Trump Compares Turks and Kurds to ‘Two Kids’ Fighting on a Playground Who Need to Slug It Out Before Settling Their Differences, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “President Trump insisted on Thursday night that he was smart to let Turkey attack America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, comparing the two warring sides to children on a playground who need to slug it out before settling their differences. Speaking at a campaign rally hours after Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brokered a cease-fire, Mr. Trump defended his decision to withdraw American forces from Syria, effectively clearing the way for a brutal Turkish assault on Kurdish fighters who had fought for years alongside the United States against the Islamic State.” See also, Trump on Turks and Kurds: ‘Like two kids in a lot, you’ve got to let them fight,’ The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Jenna Johnson, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “President Trump celebrated the temporary cease-fire in Syria that his envoys negotiated Thursday and argued it had been wise for him to allow Turkish forces to invade and attack Kurds because ‘sometimes you have to let them fight a little while.’ Addressing supporters at a campaign rally here in Texas, Trump likened the warring in Syria to a schoolyard squabble. The carnage erupted after Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria, exposing the Kurds — U.S. allies — to the Turkish attack, but the president boasted that ‘not one drop of American blood’ was shed.”

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Says, Then Later Denies, That Trump Held Back Ukraine Aid as Quid Pro Quo, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Katie Rogers, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, threw the Trump’s administration defense against impeachment into disarray on Thursday when he said that the White House withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests. Mr. Mulvaney told a room full of journalists in a White House briefing that was televised live that the aid was withheld in part until Ukraine investigated an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails in 2016 — a theory that would show that Mr. Trump was elected without Russian help. The declaration by Mr. Mulvaney, which he took back later in the day, undercut Mr. Trump’s repeated denials of a quid pro quo that linked American military aid for Ukraine to an investigation that could help Mr. Trump politically. The comments sent Washington into turmoil as Democrats and some Republicans said they were deeply damaging to Mr. Trump.” See also, Read Mulvaney’s Conflicting Statements on Quid Pro Quo, The New York Times, Thursday, 17 October 2019. See also, 15 Times Trump and His Allies Claimed ‘No Quid Pro Quo,’ The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Thursday, 17 October 2019. See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Thursday, 17 October 2019. See also, After saying Trump held back aid to pressure Ukraine, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tries to walk back his comments, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and John Hudson, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said at a news conference Thursday that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in military aid in part to pressure Ukraine to pursue an investigation that could benefit him politically — acknowledging before the nation a quid pro quo that is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry and that the president and his allies have vigorously denied for weeks. Mulvaney told reporters that Trump wanted the government in Kyiv to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory that a hacked Democratic National Committee computer server was taken to Ukraine in 2016 to hide evidence that it was that country, not Russia, that interfered in the presidential election. ‘Did [Trump] also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server?’ he said. ‘Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.'” See also, ‘Get over it’: White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s twin admissions put Trump at the center of emoluments and Ukraine controversies, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Thursday, 17 October 2019. See also, White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledges aid to Ukraine was withheld to boost political investigation, Politico, Quint Forgey, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Donald Trump’s top aide on Thursday acknowledged that the administration held up military funds to Ukraine over the president’s desire for a political probe, undermining past denials of any quid pro quo and blowing up weeks of White House messaging amid an escalating impeachment inquiry. In a whirlwind 40-minute news conference, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters the U.S. aid was withheld at least in part because of a request to have Ukraine investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election.” See also, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Says Holdup of Ukraine Aid Was Tied to Trump’s Demand for Democratic National Committee Server, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Michael C. Bender, and Vivian Salama, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “A top White House official for the first time linked President Trump’s decision to hold up aid to Ukraine to his desire for Kyiv to probe a Democratic National Committee server related to the 2016 election, then hours later issued a statement contradicting his own remarks. The initial comments at a White House briefing by acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney caused alarm among senior White House aides and the president’s legal team. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied there was any quid pro quo related to the aid. Late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Mulvaney issued a statement, reviewed by Mr. Trump, reversing his remarks and saying there was no connection. In his briefing with reporters earlier Thursday, Mr. Mulvaney said that Mr. Trump’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine—including an unfounded suspicion expressed by the president that a hacked DNC server has since been hidden in Ukraine—were partly responsible for Mr. Trump’s order to withhold nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in July.”

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Told House Impeachment Investigators That Trump Delegated Ukraine Policy to His Personal Lawyer Rudy Giuliani, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, told House impeachment investigators on Thursday that President Trump delegated American foreign policy on Ukraine to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a directive that he said he disagreed with but nonetheless followed. Mr. Sondland, a Trump campaign donor who has emerged as a central figure in the Ukraine scandal, testified under subpoena that he did not understand until later that Mr. Giuliani’s goal may have been an effort ‘to involve Ukrainians, directly or indirectly, in the president’s 2020 re-election campaign.’ According to a copy of his opening statement to investigators, which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Sondland said that Mr. Trump refused to take the counsel of his top diplomats, who recommended to him that he meet with the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, without any preconditions. The president said that the diplomats needed to satisfy concerns that both he and Mr. Giuliani had related to corruption in Ukraine, Mr. Sondland asserted.” See also, Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Criticizes Trump Over Efforts to Pressure Ukraine to Investigate a Political Rival, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, criticized President Trump over his efforts to enlist Ukraine in investigating a political rival and said he and other U.S. officials were disappointed by the president’s directive to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters. Mr. Sondland made the comments in prepared testimony to House committees as part of their impeachment inquiry, which is examining the president, his personal lawyer Mr. Giuliani and top diplomats’ dealings with Ukraine.” See also, Gordon Sondland says Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, pushed Ukraine investigations at Trump’s direction, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, bolstered Democrats’ impeachment inquiry Thursday as he broke sharply from President Donald Trump in testimony before House investigators. During his nearly nine-hour testimony, Sondland said he reluctantly indulged what he described as the president’s efforts to run Ukraine policy through his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. He indicated that he opposed Trump’s orders to reach out to Giuliani, who was pushing the Ukrainian government to investigate Trump’s political rivals.” See also, Gordon Sondland testifies Trump ordered diplomats to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine, The Guardian, Julian Borger, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Donald Trump instructed US diplomats to go through his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to make the Ukrainian president’s access to the White House dependent on launching investigations into Trump’s political opponents, the US ambassador to the EU has testified. In his opening statement to Congress on Thursday, Gordon Sondland, a wealthy hotelier and Trump donor, sought to distance himself from the president, saying he had been ‘disappointed’ Trump had chosen to conduct an important strategic relationship through his lawyer.”

Attorney General William Barr Is Trump’s New Roy Cohn, The New York Review of Books, Peter Stone, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “The William Barr-run Justice Department is facing fresh criticism from former senior Justice and intelligence officials and leading Democrats on two fronts: first, over Barr’s part in a wide-ranging review of the FBI’s initial inquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and the help US intelligence agencies provided the FBI​; and second, over the DOJ’s decision not to open a criminal investigation of a possible election law violation involving President Trump’s asking Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open an investigation into discredited allegations involving for​mer Vice-President Joe Biden, his potential rival in 2020, and his son, Hunter. It was this ‘favor’ that Trump asked for in a July 25 phone call, which came when Trump was withholding from Kiev military assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars, that emerged in a whistleblower complaint and led House Democrats to open impeachment proceedings.”

Trump Will Host Next G7 Summit at His Doral Resort Near Miami, The New York Times, Katie Rogers and Eric Lipton, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “President Trump has decided to host the Group of 7 meeting next June at the Trump National Doral near Miami, Mick Mulvaney, the president’s acting chief of staff, said Thursday, a decision that prompted immediate questions about whether it was a conflict of interest for him to choose one of his own properties for a diplomatic event…. House Democrats said the president’s choice of his own hotel was just the latest example of Mr. Trump using his office to promote his business interests. ‘The administration’s announcement that President Trump’s Doral Miami resort will be the site of the next G7 summit is among the most brazen examples yet of the president’s corruption,’ said Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which is charged with drawing up articles of impeachment against the president. ‘He is exploiting his office and making official U.S. government decisions for his personal financial gain,’ Mr. Nadler said. ‘The emoluments clauses of the Constitution exist to prevent exactly this kind of corruption.’… Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Wednesday had a contentious exchange with the president over his decision to pull American troops from Syria, said Mr. Trump was violating long-established laws meant to protect against foreign influence. ‘The Constitution is clear,’ Ms. Pelosi wrote on Twitter, citing the emoluments clause. ‘The President cannot accept gifts or payments from foreign governments. No one is above the law.'” See also, The White House announced Trump has awarded next year’s G-7 summit of world leaders to his Miami-area resort, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, David A. Fahrenthold, and Jonathan O’Connell, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “President Trump has awarded the 2020 Group of Seven summit of world leaders to his private company, scheduling the summit for June at his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida, the White House announced Thursday. That decision is without precedent in modern American history: The president used his public office to direct a huge contract to himself. Trump’s Doral resort — set among office parks near Miami International Airport — has been in sharp decline in recent years, according to the Trump Organization’s own records. Its net operating income fell 69 percent from 2015 to 2017; a Trump Organization representative testified last year that the reason was Trump’s damaged brand. Now, the G-7 summit will draw hundreds of diplomats, journalists and security personnel to the resort during one of its slowest months of the year, when Miami is hot and the hotel is often less than 40 percent full. It will also provide a worldwide spotlight for the club.” See also, Holding the G-7 Summit at a Trump Golf Course Is Blatant Corruption, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, published on Friday, 18 October 2019: “Since resigning as the head of the U.S Office of Government Ethics, in 2017, Walter Shaub has taken on the invaluable role of pointing out Trump’s many transgressions and challenging them alongside his colleagues at the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or crew. But, as Shaub pointed out to me in a conversation on Friday, the selection of Doral represents a ‘new low’ in the President’s behavior. ‘It’s just so obviously a right-and-wrong issue,’ Shaub said. ‘It’s the kind of thing that we see happening in completely broken nations. There is no definition of corruption that anyone could think of that would lead them to say this isn’t corruption.'”

Elijah Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David Stout, Thursday, 17 October 2019: “Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a son of sharecroppers who rose to become one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress and a central figure in the impeachment investigation of President Trump, died on Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was 68…. With a booming voice and speaking cadence that hinted of the pulpit — his parents were preachers — Mr. Cummings was a compelling figure on Capitol Hill. For more than two decades, he represented a section of Baltimore with more than its share of social problems. He campaigned tirelessly for stricter gun control laws and help for those addicted to drugs. He was at times gruff, but always respected. But it was as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform — the panel charged with maintaining integrity in government — that Mr. Cummings may have left his most lasting legacy. The position gave him sweeping power to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration — and he used it.” See also, ‘He Was Loved by All’: Friends in Baltimore Mourn Elijah Cummings, The New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise, Thursday, 17 October 2019. See also, Representative Elijah Cummings rose from segregated childhood to powerful political voice in Baltimore and Washington, The Baltimore Sun, Jeff Barker, Thursday, 17 October 2019.