Trump Administration, Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)


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

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Friday, 4 October 2019, Day 988:


Trump Denies Quid Pro Quo for Ukraine, but Text Messages and Testimony Collected by Congressional Investigators Indicated That His Own Representatives Saw It Differently, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “President Trump denied again on Friday that there was any quid pro quo attached to his pressure on Ukraine to investigate his political enemies, but text messages and testimony collected by congressional investigators indicated that his own representatives saw it differently. Envoys representing Mr. Trump sought to leverage the power of his office to prod Ukraine into opening investigations that would damage his Democratic opponents at home. They made clear to Ukrainian officials that the White House invitation their newly inaugurated president coveted depended on his commitment to the investigations. And the senior American diplomat posted in Ukraine suspected it went even further than a trade of an Oval Office visit. He told colleagues that it appeared that unfreezing $391 million in American aid that Mr. Trump had blocked was contingent on the former Soviet republic following through on the politically charged investigations sought by the president and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a conclusion sharply denied by another diplomat who said there were ‘no quid pro quo’s.’ The text messages, provided to three Democrat-led House committees by the former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt D. Volker, may shape the impeachment inquiry now threatening the future of Mr. Trump’s presidency. They provided new pieces of a timeline of events in recent months and a road map for further investigation by House Democrats.” See also, Read the Text Messages Between U.S. and Ukrainian Officials, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Josh Williams, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, Texts of senior State Department officials reveal belief that Trump wanted investigations as condition of meeting with Ukraine’s president, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, Josh Dawsey, and John Hudson, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House investigators released numerous text messages late Thursday night illustrating how senior State Department officials coordinated with the Ukrainian president’s top aide and President Trump’s personal lawyer to leverage a potential summit between the heads of state on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate the 2016 U.S. election and an energy company that employed the son of 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. The texts, which former special U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker provided investigators during a nearly 10-hour deposition Thursday, reveal that officials felt Trump would not agree to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky unless Zelensky promised to launch the investigations — and did so publicly. Although the texts do not mention Biden by name, congressional Democrats leading an impeachment inquiry are pointing to them as clear evidence that Trump conditioned normal bilateral relations with Ukraine on that country first agreeing ‘to launch politically motivated investigations,’ top Democrats said in a statement Thursday night.” See also, Former State Department Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker Gives New Details on Rudy Giuliani’s Role in Ukraine Policy, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The former State Department special envoy for Ukraine told congressional investigators that Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, demanded that Ukraine specifically commit to investigate involvement in the 2016 election and a firm tied to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. During testimony behind closed doors on Thursday, the special envoy, Kurt D. Volker, said Mr. Giuliani rejected a generic draft statement that Ukraine’s government had agreed to issue committing to fighting corruption generally. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said the Ukrainians had to promise to pursue two specific investigations that could damage the president’s political domestic adversaries.” See also, Texts Indicate the Trump Administration Used Potential Meeting to Pressure Ukraine on Biden, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hughes, and Dustin Volz, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, newly released text messages indicated, as President Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival. The president’s efforts to persuade Ukraine in a July phone call to investigate Mr. Biden have already set off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, who are looking at whether the president abused the power of his office for political gain. Text messages released by House committees late Thursday revealed that Trump administration officials sought to use a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation into Mr. Biden and other matters. The messages indicate that U.S. officials coordinated with aides to the Ukrainian president and Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s private lawyer, on a draft statement in which Kyiv would announce an investigation into Mr. Biden and the 2016 U.S. election—at the same time as announcing a visit by the Ukrainian president to the White House.” See also, Damning text messages detail Trump pressure on Ukraine, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Text messages released on Thursday between US diplomats and a senior Ukrainian aide show how a potential Ukrainian investigation into the 2016 election was linked to a desired meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Donald Trump.” See also, Trump, in August Phone Call With Republican Senator Ron Johnson, Denied Official’s Claim on Ukraine Aid, The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Hughes and Rebecca Ballhaus, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A Republican senator said he was told by an American diplomat in August that the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine was contingent on an investigation desired by President Trump and his allies, but Mr. Trump denied pursuing any such proposal when the lawmaker pressed him on it. Sen. Ron Johnson said that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, had described to him a quid pro quo involving a commitment by Kyiv to probe matters related to U.S. elections and the status of nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine that the president had ordered to be held up in July.” See also, Kurt Volker, Former Special Envoy to Ukraine, Told Congress That Trump’s Biden Conspiracy ‘Has No Credibility to Me,’ BuzzFeed News, Christopher Miller, Sarah Mimms, and Zoe Tillman, Friday, 4 October 2019.

2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings, New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman, Friday, 4 October 2019: “A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter. The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday  about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official was considering filing a complaint.”

Impeachment Investigators Subpoena White House and Ask Vice President Mike Pence for Documents on Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 4 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators widened the reach of their inquiry on Friday, subpoenaing the White House for a vast trove of documents and requesting more from Vice President Mike Pence to better understand President Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. The subpoena, addressed to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, calls for documents and communications that are highly delicate and would typically be subject in almost any White House to claims of executive privilege. If handed over by the Oct. 18 deadline, the records could provide keys to understanding what transpired between the two countries and what steps, if any, the White House has taken to cover it up.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents. They also demanded Ukraine documents from Vice President Mike Pence. Politico, Andrew Desiderio, John Bresnahan, and Heather Caygle, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Three top House Democrats subpoenaed the White House on Friday night seeking documents related to President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to target his political rivals, a dramatic escalation of the impeachment fight with the president. The subpoena was sent to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney by three Democratic committee chairmen — Reps. Adam Schiff of Intelligence, Eliot Engel of Foreign Affairs and Elijah Cummings of Oversight…. Democrats gave the White House a two-week deadline of Oct. 18 to comply with their demand, and they warned Mulvaney — a former House member himself — that his ‘failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena, including at the behest of the President or others at the White House, shall constitute evidence of obstructing the House’s impeachment inquiry and may be used as an adverse inference against you and the President.'” See also, What happened on impeachment on Friday, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Marisa Iati, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The House committees leading the impeachment inquiry requested a long list of documents and communications Friday from Vice President Pence related to Ukraine. Earlier, President Trump said that Democrats ‘unfortunately have the votes’ to impeach him in the House, but he predicted he would ‘win’ in a trial in the Republican-led Senate…. Trump’s comments to reporters at the White House came as fallout continued Friday from the late-night release of text messages by House investigators, while another key figure, the inspector general of the intelligence community, testified on Capitol Hill behind closed doors. The texts released late Thursday show how State Department officials coordinated with Zelensky’s top aide and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to leverage a potential summit between Trump and Zelensky on a promise from the Ukrainians to investigate an energy company, Burisma, that had employed Hunter Biden.” See also, House Democrats subpoena White House over Ukraine documents, The Guardian, Tom McCarthy and Julia Carrie Wong, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, House Democrats subpoena White House for Ukraine documents, escalating impeachment inquiry, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Friday, 4 October 2019.

Continue reading Week 142, Friday, 4 October – Thursday, 10 October 2019 (Days 988-994)

CIA’s top lawyer made ‘criminal referral’ on complaint about Trump Ukraine call, NBC News, Ken Dilanian and Julia Ainsley, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Weeks before the whistleblower’s complaint became public, the CIA’s top lawyer made what she considered to be a criminal referral to the Justice Department about the whistleblower’s allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office in pressuring the Ukrainian president, U.S. officials familiar with the matter tell NBC News. The move by the CIA’s general counsel, Trump appointee Courtney Simmons Elwood, meant she and other senior officials had concluded a potential crime had been committed, raising more questions about why the Justice Department later declined to open an investigation.”

Owner of Firm Tied to Hunter Biden Will Be Subject of Ukraine Prosecutor’s Review, The New York Times, Andrew E. Kramer, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Ukraine’s top prosecutor said on Friday he would audit several important cases previously handled by his predecessors, including a criminal case involving the owner of a natural gas company that employed a son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. The development came amid an impeachment inquiry against President Trump connected to a request he made to the Ukrainian president during a July phone call asking him to investigate Mr. Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, and his son’s work in Ukraine. The prosecutor’s announcement raised questions about whether Ukraine was bowing to public and private pressure from the president of the United States, on which it has depended on for millions of dollars in aid. But it did not — by design, analysts of Kiev’s tactics in the crisis say — answer those questions.” See also, Ukraine reviews cases on owner of firm that hired Biden’s son, The Washington Post, The Washington Post, Yuras Karmanau and Nataliya Vasilyeva, Associated Press, Friday, 4 October 2019. See also, Ukraine to Review Investigations Into Firm Linked to Biden’s Son, The Wall Street Journal, Thomas Grove and Georgi Kantchev, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said Friday it is reviewing past investigations into the owner of a gas company linked to former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s son, raising the possibility of restarting probes amid pressure from President Trump.”

Supreme Court to Hear Abortion Case From Louisiana, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear a challenge to a Louisiana law that its opponents say would leave the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions. The case is the court’s first on abortion since President Trump’s appointments of two justices shifted the court to the right, and the court’s ruling, expected in June, could thrust the abortion issue into the center of the presidential campaign. The Louisiana law, which was enacted in 2014, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Only one doctor in Louisiana has been able to meet the requirement, the law’s challengers say.” See also, Supreme Court agrees to review Louisiana’s abortion law that could limit women’s access, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Supreme Court said Friday that it will review a restrictive Louisiana abortion law, providing the first opportunity for a conservative majority reinforced by President Trump’s two appointees to begin reconsidering the court’s abortion rights landscape. In the coming months, the court will examine whether the state’s 2014 law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals unduly burdens women’s access to abortion. Practitioners have said the law would force most of Louisiana’s abortion clinics to close, leaving only one doctor eligible to perform the procedure.” See also, Supreme Court Agrees to Review Louisiana Abortion Restrictions, The Wall Street Journal, Brent Kendall, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Supreme Court agreed to review Louisiana abortion restrictions that require doctors to hold hospital admitting privileges near where the procedure is provided, a case that will test recent abortion precedent and reveal the thinking of the court’s newest members on the inflammatory issue.” See also, Supreme Court will review Louisiana abortion law, setting up blockbuster election year showdown, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Supreme Court on Friday announced it will review Louisiana abortion restrictions that could leave the state with just one abortion provider, in a case that gives the high court’s new conservative majority a chance to redefine abortion rights.”

Trump Will Deny Immigrant Visas to Those Who Can’t Pay for Health Care, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Miriam Jordan, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Trump administration will deny visas to immigrants who cannot prove they will have health insurance or the ability to pay for medical costs once they become permanent residents of the United States, the White House announced Friday in the latest move by President Trump to undermine legal immigration. Mr. Trump issued a proclamation, effective Nov. 3, ordering consular officers to bar immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they ‘will be covered by approved health insurance’ or can prove that they have ‘the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.'” See also, Trump’s order will deny visas to immigrants who lack health-care coverage, The Washington Post, Maria Sacchetti, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The White House late Friday issued a proclamation saying it would deny visas to immigrants who ‘will financially burden’ the U.S. health-care system starting Nov. 3, demanding that foreign nationals prove that they have insurance or are affluent enough to cover their own health-care costs before entering the United States.”

Justice Department lends its firepower to defend Trump in investigations into his private finances, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Ann E. Marimow, and Robert Barnes, Friday, 4 October 2019: “As President Trump tries to fight off multiple inquiries into his private finances — from state prosecutors, congressional committees and legal plaintiffs — he has gotten help from a powerful ally: the Justice Department. In at least three recent cases, the department — led by Attorney General William P. Barr, a Trump appointee — has intervened in lawsuits where Trump has personally sued those investigating him. In the most recent instance, on Wednesday, the department took Trump’s side in a federal lawsuit against the Manhattan district attorney. In that case, Trump has sought to block a subpoena for his tax returns — using the precedent-shattering argument that a sitting president shouldn’t be investigated by any prosecutor, for any reason, anywhere.”

Treasury inspector general to review handling of Trump’s tax returns, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Tom Hamburger, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Treasury Department’s acting inspector general has opened a review into whether the Trump administration acted improperly during its ongoing fight with House Democrats over releasing President Trump’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to comply with a request from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) for six years of the president’s business and financial returns. Democrats have said a 1924 law explicitly gives them the authority to request the documents, but Mnuchin has denied the request, and now the matter is pending in federal court.” See also, Treasury Inspector General to Review Handling of Trump’s Tax Returns, The New York Times, Alan Rappeport, Friday, 4 October 2019: “The Treasury Department’s inspector general is investigating how the department handled a congressional request for President Trump’s tax returns, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to turn over. The inquiry comes amid new concerns about political interference in the handling of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, which — like those of all presidents — are subjected to a mandatory audit. An Internal Revenue Service whistle-blower filed a complaint over the summer claiming that senior Treasury officials tried to exert improper influence over the audit. According to a government official familiar with its contents, it claims that political appointees in the Treasury Department were pressuring I.R.S. officials to ignore the requirement to scrutinize Mr. Trump’s returns.” See also, Treasury Inspector General is probing department’s refusal to give Democrats Trump’s tax returns, Politico, Brian Faler, Friday, 4 October 2019: “An independent watchdog at the Treasury Department is looking into how the agency handled House Democrats’ demands for President Donald Trump’s tax returns.”

Facebook Exempts political ads from ban on making false claims, The Guardian, Alex Hern, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Facebook has quietly rescinded a policy banning false claims in advertising, creating a specific exemption that leaves political adverts unconstrained regarding how they could mislead or deceive, as a potential general election looms in the UK. The social network had previously banned adverts containing “deceptive, false or misleading content”, a much stronger restriction than its general rules around Facebook posts. But, as reported by the journalist Judd Legum, in the last week the rules have narrowed considerably, only banning adverts that ‘include claims debunked by third-party fact-checkers, or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organisations with particular expertise.'”

Microsoft says Iranians tried to hack U.S. presidential campaign in effort that targeted hundreds, The Washington Post, Jay Greene, Tony Romm, and Ellen Nakashima, Friday, 4 October 2019: “An effort believed to be tied to the Iranian government attempted to identify, attack and breach email accounts belonging to a U.S. presidential campaign, government officials and journalists, according to new data unveiled by Microsoft, highlighting the continued global security threats that loom over the fast-approaching 2020 election.” See also, Iranian Hackers Target Trump Campaign as Threats to 2020 U.S. Election Mount, The New York Times, Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger, Friday, 4 October 2019: “Microsoft said on Friday that Iranian hackers, with apparent backing from the government, had made more than 2,700 attempts to identify the email accounts of current and former United States government officials, journalists covering political campaigns and accounts associated with a presidential campaign. Though the company would not identify the presidential campaign involved, two people with knowledge of the hacking, who were not allowed to discuss it publicly, said it was President Trump’s.”


Saturday, 5 October 2019, Day 989:


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Defends Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Saturday, 5 October 2019: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defiantly insisted on Saturday in Greece that the Trump administration was right to ask Ukrainian officials to investigate claims of election interference in the 2016 American presidential campaign, bolstering a widely debunked conspiracy theory that had already been dismissed by his own diplomatic envoy. In comments to journalists in Athens, where he was meeting with Greek leaders, Mr. Pompeo said it was the ‘duty’ of the Trump administration to pursue whether efforts to tamper in the United States election were rooted in Ukraine, even though the American intelligence agencies have long concluded Russia was to blame.” See also, Pompeo says he sent response to House investigators, but subpoenaed documents remain undelivered, The New York Times, Karen DeYoung, Karoun Demirjian, and Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 5 October 2019.

Trump pins Ukraine call on Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Axios, Alayna Treene and Jonathan Swan, Saturday, 5 October 2019: “President Trump told House Republicans that he made his now infamous phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the urging of Energy Secretary Rick Perry — a call Trump claimed he didn’t even want to make.” See also, Trump blames Energy Secretary Rick Perry for Ukraine call at center of impeachment inquiry, NBC News, Geoff Bennett, Alex Moe, and Kelly O’Donnell, published on Sunday, 6 October 2019.

Pentagon requests the preservation of all records relating to Ukraine, CNN Politics, Ryan Browne, Saturday, 5 October 2019: “Amid the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his administration’s actions regarding Ukraine, the Pentagon’s chief legal officer has requested that Defense Department agencies identify, preserve and collect any and all documents relating to the provision of security assistance to Kiev.”

Anti-Muslim Group ACT for America Planned Gala at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Private Club in Palm Beach, Florida, The New York Times, Mariel Padilla, Saturday, 5 October 2019: “An anti-Muslim organization plans to host its annual gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., in November. ACT for America claims to be the nation’s largest grass-roots national security organization, and is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups…. On Sunday, a day after news reports appeared about the gala, the invitation was removed from the website and a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said in an email, without elaboration, ‘This event will absolutely not be taking place at Mar-a-Lago.'” See also, Trump’s company cancels gala planned by anti-Muslim group at Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, published on Monday, 7 October 2019: “An anti-Muslim group that had been planning a gala at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida said Monday that the Trump Organization had abruptly canceled the event. The group, ACT for America, issued a statement saying Trump’s company had ‘caved to the Left’s bullying tactics’ in canceling its Nov. 7 dinner gala. After Florida newspapers reported on the planned gala last weekend, the event was condemned by groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”

What Happened in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry This Week, The New York Times, Kaly Soto, Saturday, 5 October 2019.


Sunday, 6 October 2019, Day 990:


2nd whistleblower comes forward after speaking with the intelligence community’s inspector general Michael Atkinson, ABC News, James Gordon Meek and Anne Flaherty, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower who sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and triggered an impeachment inquiry, tells ABC News that he is now representing a second whistleblower who has spoken with the inspector general. Zaid tells ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that the second person — also described as an intelligence official — has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office, Michael Atkinson. The existence of a second whistleblower — particularly one who can speak directly about events involving the president related to conversations involving Ukraine — could undercut Trump’s repeated insistence that the original complaint, released on Sept. 26, was ‘totally inaccurate.'” See also, Legal Team Says It Represents a Second Whistle-Blower Over Trump and Ukraine, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “An intelligence official with ‘firsthand knowledge’ has provided information related to President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and is now protected from retaliation as a whistle-blower, lawyers representing the official said on Sunday, confirming that a second individual has come forward in the matter. Much is unknown about the official, who has been interviewed by the intelligence community’s inspector general but has not filed a formal complaint. But the individual has hired the same legal team as the first whistle-blower. That, and the claim of ‘firsthand knowledge,’ suggests testimony that might bolster the impeachment case against Mr. Trump and further undermine one of his main defense claims: that the accusations against him are based on inaccurate, secondhand information.” See also, Whistleblower’s attorney says team now representing ‘multiple’ officials as impeachment inquiry expands, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Toluse Olorunnipa, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “An attorney for the whistleblower who sounded the alarm about President Trump’s pressure on Ukraine said Sunday that ‘multiple’ whistleblowers have come forward, deepening a political quagmire that has engulfed the president as well as several of his Cabinet members.” See also, Attorneys for CIA Officer Behind Trump Complaint Say They Now Represent ‘Multiple Whistleblowers,’ The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “At least one additional whistleblower with firsthand knowledge of the circumstances around President Trump’s July call with his Ukrainian counterpart has come forward, according to lawyers representing both the individual and the CIA officer whose initial complaint helped spark an impeachment inquiry. The existence of a second whistleblower comes as Mr. Trump repeatedly has sought to attack the credibility and motive of the first individual, whose whistleblower complaint in August details efforts by the president to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.”

‘We Absolutely Could Not Do That’: When Seeking Political Help From Foreign Countries Was Out of the Question, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “President Trump insists he and his attorney general did nothing wrong by seeking damaging information about his domestic opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and Britain or by publicly calling on China to investigate his most prominent Democratic challenger. But for every other White House in the modern era, Republican and Democratic, the idea of enlisting help from foreign powers for political advantage was seen as unwise and politically dangerous, if not unprincipled. A survey of 10 former White House chiefs of staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama found that none recalled any circumstance under which the White House had solicited or accepted political help from other countries, and all said they would have considered the very idea out of bounds.”

Attorney General William Barr and John H. Durham, a Top Prosecutor, Cast a Wide Net in Reviewing the Russia Inquiry, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, Sunday, 6 August 2019: “After a jet carrying Attorney General William P. Barr touched down in Rome last month, some diplomats and intelligence officials at the American Embassy were unsure why he had come. They were later surprised, two officials said, to discover that he had circumvented protocols in arranging the trip, where he met with Italian political and intelligence officials. Everything about Mr. Barr’s visit was unusual — not least his companion and their mission: John H. Durham, a top federal prosecutor whom Mr. Barr has assigned to review the origins of the Russia investigation. They were seeking evidence that might bolster a conspiracy theory long nurtured by President Trump: that some of America’s closest allies plotted with his ‘deep state’ enemies in 2016 to try to prevent him from winning the presidency.”

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You, The New York Times, David Leonhardt, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state and local taxes — than any other income group, according to newly released data.”

As the Supreme Court Gets Back to Work, Five Big Cases to Watch, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Sunday, 6 October 2019: “The Supreme Court returns to the bench on Monday to start a term that will be studded with major cases on gay and transgender rights, immigration, abortion, guns and religion. The rulings will arrive by June, in the midst of an already divisive presidential campaign.”


Monday, 7 October 2019, Day 991:


Trump Endorses Turkish Military Operation in Syria That Would Sweep Away U.S.-Backed Kurdish Forces, Shifting U.S. Policy, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Maggie Haberman, and Edward Wong, Monday, 7 October 2019: “In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be a terrorist insurgency, and has long sought to end American support for the group. But the Kurdish fighters, which are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the United States’ most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State in a strategic corner of northern Syria.” See also, Trump Throws Middle East Policy Into Turmoil Over Syria, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Lara Jakes, Monday, 7 October 2019: “President Trump threw Middle East policy into turmoil on Monday with a series of conflicting signals after his vow to withdraw American forces from the region touched off an uprising among congressional Republicans and protests by America’s allies. Defending his decision to clear the way for a Turkish military operation against America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, announced in a White House statement on Sunday night, Mr. Trump said it was ‘time for us to get out’ and let others ‘figure the situation out.’ But his move touched off a broad rebuke by Republicans, including some of his staunchest allies, in some of the sharpest language they have leveled against a Trump foreign policy decision. And in response, the president pivoted sharply and said he would restrain Turkey. ‘As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),’ the president wrote on Twitter. He did not explain what would be off limits, but aides insisted he had not given a green light to an invasion.” See also, Trump hails his own ‘great and unmatched wisdom’ in warning to Turkey, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Monday, 7 October 2019. See also, A Look at Who Is Affected by Trump’s Shift in Syria, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard, Monday, 7 October 2019: “President Trump’s decision on Sunday to step aside and let Turkish forces come into northern Syria instantly cast into doubt the fate of ethnic Kurds there who have been the United States’ closest allies in the fight against the Islamic State, and who had worked to achieve a degree of self-rule in that stretch of Syria. Now, the question of who could provide a long-term deterrent to Iranian and Russian interests in the area — and help ensure that ISIS does not rebound in Syria — is suddenly very much in play again.” See also, Republicans deliver rare rebuke of Trump, slamming his Syria withdrawal decision, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Seung Min Kim, Monday, 7 October 2019: “President Trump faced a swift torrent of Republican criticism Monday as lawmakers rebuked his plan to withdraw troops from northeast Syria, a move Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said would undermine U.S. national security and potentially bolster Islamic State terrorists. McConnell (R-Ky.), in a rare public split with Trump, said that a supermajority in the Senate disagreed with the president’s abrupt withdrawal announcement, raising the specter of veto-proof action to oppose the decision.” See also, Republicans unload on Trump for Syria Shift when he needs them most, Politico, Quint Forgey, Monday, 7 October 2019: “At a time when Republicans and Democrats are sharply divided over impeachment, President Donald Trump is uniting Congress — in condemnation of his Syria policies. Prominent lawmakers in both parties admonished the White House on Monday for its controversial decision to allow Turkey to invade northern Syria and potentially wipe out U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, with Republican hawks and moderates joining with Democrats to blast the move.” See also, ‘Shocking’: Trump Is Criticized for Pulling Troops From Syrian Border, NPR, Bill Chappell and Richard Gonzales, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Kurdish allies of the U.S. say President Trump’s decision to pull troops from the Syria-Turkey border is ‘shocking’ and deflating — and they warn that the U.S. is duplicating a mistake it made in Iraq, where it has ceded partial control to Iran.” See also, Official Who Heard Call Between Trump and Erdogan Says Trump Got ‘Rolled’ by Turkey and ‘Has No Spine,’ Newsweek, James Laporta, Monday, 7 October 2019. See also, US to let Turkish forces move into Syria, dumping Kurdish allies, The Guardian, Julian Borger and Bethan McKernan, Monday, 7 October 2019: “The White House has given the green light to a Turkish offensive into northern Syria, moving US forces out of the area in an abrupt foreign policy change that will in effect abandon the Kurds, Washington’s longtime military partner. Kurdish forces have spearheaded the campaign against Islamic State in the region, but the policy swerve, after a phone conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, means Turkey would take custody of captured Isis fighters, the White House said. It has also raised fears of fresh fighting between Turkey and Kurdish forces in Syria’s complex war now the US no longer acts as a buffer between the two sides.” See also, In Turkey Vs. Kurds Dispute, Trump Chooses Turkey Where He Has a Condo Complex. The Trump administration is letting Turkey move into northern Syria to wipe out the Kurds, who have long fought Islamic State terrorism alongside the U.S. HuffPost, S.V. Date, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Donald Trump’s abandonment of one of the United States’ strongest allies in the fight against Islamic State terrorists also happens to reward the authoritarian ruler of Turkey, where the U.S. president personally profits from the Trump Towers in Istanbul.” See also, Trump’s decision on Syria crystallizes questions about his business conflicts of interest–and his presidency, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Monday, 7 October 2019.

Seeking Ukraine Aid Records, House Subpoenas White House Budget Office and Pentagon, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 7 October 2019: “The House on Monday expanded its sprawling impeachment inquiry, issuing subpoenas to the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget for documents that could solve lingering mysteries about whether President Trump’s decision to withhold security aid for Ukraine was tied to his efforts to pressure the government there to investigate his political rivals. The action kicked off what was expected to be another busy week of investigation in Washington, where questions related to Ukraine appear increasingly likely to result in a vote on Mr. Trump’s impeachment.” See also, Trump dodges questions on China, and House committees subpoena documents from the Defense Department and from the Office of Management and Budget about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 7 October 2019: “President Trump repeatedly declined to answer questions Monday on whether he was joking about asking China to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump’s silence came as the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry barreled forward, with House investigators subpoenaing documents from the Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget about the withholding of military aid to Ukraine.” See also, Depositions and more: What to watch on impeachment this week, Associated Press, Jill Colvin, Monday, 7 October 2019.

House Lawyers to Ask Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, About Efforts to Sway Ukrainians to Investigate Joe Biden, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Daniel Michaels, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Gordon Sondland is set to be deposed Tuesday by House lawyers as part of the congressional impeachment inquiry looking into President Trump’s effort to press Kyiv for investigations of Joe Biden and other matters. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union is expected to be questioned on matters including the role that he and other officials played in crafting a statement in August in which Ukraine would commit to opening a corruption investigation in exchange for a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. In that effort, the U.S. officials turned to an outside adviser: Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer…. [T]ext messages released by House lawmakers last week suggest some Trump administration officials believed there was a link between the aid to Ukraine and the investigations Mr. Trump sought. ‘The nightmare is they give the interview and don’t get the security assistance,’ Mr. Taylor wrote in a Sept. 8 text message to Mr. Volker and Mr. Sondland, referring to the interview they had discussed Mr. Zelensky giving about investigations. The next day, Mr. Taylor told Mr. Sondland: ‘I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.’ Mr. Sondland called Mr. Trump before texting back less than five hours later, according to the person familiar with his activities. ‘The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind,’ Mr. Sondland said. He added: ‘I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.'” See also, Gordon Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union, called Trump on 9 September before texting ‘no quid pro quo’ to Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, NBC News, Josh Lederman, Heidi Przybyla, and Leigh Ann Caldwell, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland consulted directly with President Donald Trump before telling the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine that there had been ‘no quid pro quo’ regarding the administration’s pressure campaign on the country and urging the diplomat to stop texting about his concerns, a person with knowledge of the call confirmed to NBC News. Sondland spoke to Trump by phone on Sept. 9 before responding to acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s remark that it would be ‘crazy’ to link Ukraine assistance to help with a political campaign, the person said. When Sondland responded several hours later, he told Taylor that Trump had been ‘crystal clear’ that there had been no quid pro quo. The conversation between Trump and Sondland was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The Trump administration’s alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son while the U.S. withheld military aid to the country have given rise to an impeachment investigation in the House.” See also, Ukraine Continued: How a Crucial Witness Escaped, The New York Review of Books, Murray Waas, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “A classified State Department assessment concluded in 2018 that Ukraine’s former Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko—who is at the center of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump—had allowed a vital potential witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Konstantin Kilimnik, to escape from Ukraine to Russia, beyond the reach of the United States, after a federal grand jury in the US charged Kilimnik with obstruction of justice. If Kilimnik had been available for questioning, he had the potential to provide invaluable information to investigators that might have shed light on one of the most consequential unresolved questions that the American people deserve an answer to: whether the former chairman to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, and perhaps other aides to then presidential candidate Trump, conspired with Russia to aid Russia’s covert operations to intervene in the election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Trump. By allowing Kilimnik to escape to Russia, Lutsenko foreclosed any possibility that Kilimnik would ever be questioned by US law enforcement and intelligence agents.”

House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s Republican allies in Congress, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Karoun Demirjian, Monday, 7 October 2019: “House Democrats are weighing extraordinary steps to secure testimony from a whistleblower whose complaint prompted their impeachment inquiry, masking his identity to prevent President Trump’s congressional allies from exposing the individual, according to three officials familiar with the deliberations. The steps under consideration include having the whistleblower testify from a remote location and obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice, these officials said. The efforts reflect Democrats’ deepening distrust of their GOP colleagues, whom they see as fully invested in defending a president who has attacked the whistleblower’s credibility and demanded absolute loyalty from Republicans.”

Two South Florida businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, will not comply with a request for documents and depositions from three House committees overseeing impeachment inquiry, Miami Herald, Alex Daugherty and Kevin G. Hall, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Two South Florida businessman who peddled supposedly explosive information from Ukraine about corruption involving Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton will not comply with a request for documents and depositions from three House committees overseeing an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will not respond to a Monday deadline for documents and do not plan to appear for depositions scheduled for Thursday and Friday, their attorney John Dowd told the Miami Herald.”

Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal, Associated Press, Desmond Butler, Michael Biesecker, and Richard Lardner, Monday, 7 October 2019: “As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic. Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans. Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump. But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.”

Trump Ordered to Turn Over His Tax Returns to Manhattan District Attorney, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiser, Monday, 7 October 2019: “A federal judge on Monday rejected President Trump’s effort to shield his tax returns from Manhattan state prosecutors, calling the president’s argument that he was immune from criminal investigation ‘repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.’ The decision from Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan was the first significant ruling in a case that could require Mr. Trump to hand over his tax returns and ultimately test the limits of presidential power. The judge dismissed a lawsuit that had been filed by Mr. Trump, who was seeking to block a subpoena for eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The Manhattan district attorney demanded the records in late August as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump’s tax returns, however, remain protected for now. His lawyers quickly appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, which agreed to temporarily delay enforcement of the subpoena while it considers arguments in the case.” See also, Ruling on Trump’s Tax Returns: 5 Takeaways, The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, Monday, 7 October 2019: “On Monday, a federal judge issued a ruling that effectively ordered President Trump’s accountants to turn over eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns to the Manhattan district attorney. Mr. Trump’s lawyers immediately appealed the decision, and an appeals court temporarily blocked the ruling. So for now, the president can keep his financial information secret. But the case raises sweeping constitutional issues that could reach the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Trump argued that sitting presidents are immune from criminal investigations, a position that has not been tested in a court. In a 75-page decision, Judge Victor Marrero of Manhattan federal court called that argument an ‘extraordinary claim’ that was ‘repugnant to the nation’s governmental structure and constitutional values.'” See also, Federal judge ruled Trump must turn over his tax returns to Manhattan District Attorney, but Trump has appealed the ruling, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold and Ann E. Marimow, Monday, 7 October 2019. See also, Judge Rules Trump Isn’t Immune From Demand for Tax Records, Bloomberg, Bob Van Voris and Christian Berthelsen, Monday, 7 October 2019: “A federal judge in New York ruled early Monday that Trump can’t stop his accountants, Mazars USA LLP, from turning over eight years of taxes and other financial documents to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office is investigating whether the Trump Organization falsified business records related to hush payments. The judge called Trump’s claims of immunity ‘repugnant’ to the U.S. Constitution.” See also, Federal Judge Victor Marrero Rules That Trump Isn’t Above the Law–and Neither Are His Tax Returns, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, Monday, 7 October 2019: “In the past two and a half years, Donald Trump’s enablers have made a number of outlandish claims, but perhaps none of them was quite as preposterous as the one that his lawyers made last month, in an effort to prevent New York state prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his tax returns. In a filing to a federal court in New York, the Trump legal team, including Marc Mukasey, a son of Michael Mukasey, who served as Attorney General during the George W. Bush Administration, argued that, under the U.S. Constitution, a sitting President can’t be subjected to any criminal investigation except as part of an impeachment inquiry. The team’s argument was not merely that Trump can’t be hauled into court and prosecuted—a claim that now has the imprimatur of the U.S. Department of Justice—but that a President can’t be subjected to any type of ‘criminal process,’ because it would ‘distract him from his constitutional duties.’ A number of independent legal experts quickly pointed out that Trump’s lawyers were trying to rewrite the Constitution to create a whole new layer of executive protection and privilege. ‘I think there is some force to the argument that states can’t be allowed to hobble presidents with local prosecutions, but there is certainly no authority for the claim that they cannot at least investigate while a president is in office,’ Frank O. Bowman, a University of Missouri law professor who has written a book about impeachment, told the Times.”

Kevin McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Was Shouted Off the Stage at Georgetown University’s Law School, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, was forced offstage at Georgetown University’s law school by demonstrators who shut down his planned keynote address as they protested the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Almost immediately after Mr. McAleenan was introduced to give a speech hosted by the Migration Policy Institute, nearly a dozen advocates and law students in the crowd stood up holding signs saying, ‘Stand with immigrants’ and ‘Hate is not normal.’ Standing at the lectern in front of the packed auditorium, Mr. McAleenan tried to start speaking but was drowned out by chants of: ‘When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back.’ The protesters also read the names of the migrants who have died after being detained at the border.”

Climate Change Protests: With Fake Blood, Extinction Rebellion Hits N.Y., The New York Times, Anne Barnard, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Tourists and workers on Wall Street on Monday were met by a jarring spectacle: protesters, some lying in pools of fake blood outside the New York Stock Exchange, some dancing and others chanting, all to call attention to people killed by climate-related disease and disaster. ‘Drowned in attic,’ read one sign in the shape of a cardboard gravestone that was lying next to a protester playing dead; another read, ‘Couldn’t Outrun Wildfire.’ The demonstrators, led by the protest group Extinction Rebellion, were kicking off five days of civil disobedience planned across the city, the country and the rest of the world. By disrupting several landmarks in the heart of New York’s financial district and by blocking traffic on Broadway, the group hoped to start building up its relatively small American movement with the kind of street muscle and influence it has quickly amassed in its birthplace, the United Kingdom.”

Trump administration tells agencies to restrict unions in the workplace, The Washington Post, Eric Yoder, Monday, 7 October 2019: “Federal agencies have been told to carry out Trump administration directives aimed at restricting the role of unions in the federal workplace and giving agencies the maximum discretion in taking disciplinary actions against employees, now that a court ban against many of those policies has been lifted.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao favored Kentuckians in meeting with officials seeking grants, Politico, Tanya Snyder, Tucker Doherty, and Arren Kimbel-Sannit, Monday, 7 October 2019: “In her first 14 months as Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao met with officials from Kentucky, which her husband, Mitch McConnell, represents in the Senate, vastly more often than those from any other state. In all, 25 percent of Chao’s scheduled meetings with local officials from any state from January 2017 to March 2018 were with Kentuckians, who make up about only 1.3 percent of the U.S. population. The next closest were Indiana and Georgia, with 6 percent of meetings each, according to Chao’s calendar records, the only ones that have been made public.”

Federal judge rips into Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over student debt, Los Angeles Times, by Bloomberg, Monday, 7 October 2019: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos faces potential sanctions or a finding that she’s in contempt of court for continuing to collect on the debt of former students at bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc., going so far as to seize their tax refunds and wages. ‘I’m not sure if this is contempt or sanctions,’ U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim told lawyers for the Education Department at a hearing Monday in San Francisco. ‘I’m not sending anyone to jail yet, but it’s good to know I have that ability.’ The judge said she was ‘astounded’ that the department violated her June order to stop collecting the debts from students, who had been promised refunds of their tuition.” See also, Federal judge slams Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for violating order on Corinthian loans, Politico, Michael Stratford, published on Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “A federal judge on Monday sharply criticized the Education Department for violating her order to stop collecting the student loans of tens of thousands of borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges, the now-defunct for-profit education company. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim said in a hearing she was ‘extremely disturbed’ and ‘really astounded’ that the department and Secretary Betsy DeVos had sought to collect on the student loans in spite of her May 2018 order to stop doing so.” See also, Federal judge slams Betsy DeVos and the Education Department for violating order, and she considers a finding of contempt or monetary sanctions–or both, The Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019.



Tuesday, 8 October 2019, Day 992:


White House Declares War on Impeachment Inquiry, Claiming Effort to Undo Trump’s Election, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt, and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The White House declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, announcing that it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort ‘to overturn the results of the 2016 election’ and setting the stage for a constitutional clash with far-reaching consequences. In a letter to House Democratic leaders, the White House said the inquiry has violated precedent and denied President Trump’s due process rights in such an egregious way that neither he nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents…. But in refusing to cooperate with what Mr. Trump on Tuesday called a ‘kangaroo court,’ the president risked ensuring the very outcome he would rather avoid. House Democrats made clear that they may consider his failure to comply with their demands for information to be obstruction that could form the basis for its own article of impeachment. ‘The American people have the right to know if the president is acting in their interests, in the nation’s interests with an eye toward our national security, and not in his narrow personal, political interests,’ Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the inquiry, told reporters earlier in the day. The letter came shortly after the White House blocked the interview of a key witness, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, just hours before he was to appear on Capitol Hill. A senior administration official said no other witnesses or documents would be provided, putting a ‘full halt’ to cooperation.” See also, Read the White House Letter in Response to the Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “In a letter to House Democratic leaders, the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, called the House’s impeachment inquiry illegitimate, saying the administration will not cooperate unless the House votes to open an investigation.” See also, ‘Wow. This Letter Is Bananas.’ The New York Times, David Leonhardt, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “There is no legal or logical basis to President Trump’s claim that the impeachment inquiry is illegitimate. ‘Wow. This letter is bananas,’ Gregg Nunziata, a lawyer and former Republican staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote yesterday, referring to the White House letter announcing it would not cooperate with the inquiry. ‘A barely-lawyered temper tantrum. A middle finger to Congress and its oversight responsibilities. No Member of Congress should accept it, no matter his or her view on the behavior of Pelosi, Schiff, or Trump.’ The Constitution gives Congress the right to pursue impeachment. And a president inviting foreign interference in American affairs — for personal gain — clearly qualifies as a potential ‘high crime.'” See also, White House escalates standoff with Congress, saying it will not cooperate with impeachment inquiry of Trump, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Josh Dawsey, Shane Harris, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The White House on Tuesday said it would not cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry of President Trump, arguing that the probe ‘violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent’ in an escalating standoff with an unbowed Congress…. In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled that Democrats were undeterred and would move ahead with their investigation focused on Trump’s pressure on a foreign leader to dig up dirt on a domestic political rival. ‘The White House should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the President’s abuse of power from the American people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘Mr. President, you are not above the law. You will be held accountable.’ The White House letter, which lacked substantive legal arguments and echoed Trump’s political broadsides, capped a day of defiance and challenges as House Democrats have tried to force recalcitrant administration officials to divulge potentially incriminating information over Republican objections. But it also highlights the limitations of Democrats’ ability to exercise their oversight authority in the face of an administration that appears unfazed by flouting subpoenas.” See also, The White House’s scathing and legally questionable impeachment letter, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “White House Counsel Pat A. Cipollone served notice to House Democrats on Tuesday that the White House will not cooperate with their impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Cipollone’s scathing letter relies on a series of politically charged and legally questionable assertions. It also reads at times as though it was written with plenty of input from Trump himself (as many White House statements do these days). ‘As far as the legal basis, I think counsel’s on thin grounds here,’ said former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer. ‘But this is a political process, too.'” See also, White House says it will not cooperate with House impeachment inquiry; Democrats subpoena State Department official Gordon Sondland, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The White House said Tuesday that it will not cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, ratcheting up tensions between the legislative and executive branches amid an outcry from Democrats that the Trump administration is stonewalling their investigations. Trump personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said earlier Tuesday that he would not cooperate with House investigators and that he ‘can’t imagine’ that anyone from the Trump administration would appear before a Democratic-led panel investigating the president. Giuliani’s comments came hours after the State Department blocked a scheduled deposition by Gordon Sondland, a key figure in the Ukraine controversy, prompting three House committee chairmen to announce that they would issue a subpoena. The Democrats said they viewed the move as ‘obstruction of the impeachment inquiry,’ while President Trump sought to justify it by calling the House committees investigating him a ‘kangaroo court.'” See also, White House Says It Won’t Cooperate With Impeachment Inquiry, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hughes, and Byron Tau, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The White House said it won’t cooperate with the House impeachment probe after the administration blocked the deposition of a U.S. ambassador seen as central to the Ukraine controversy, marking clear battle lines in the fight between President Trump and Democratic lawmakers. House committees responded by subpoenaing Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, after the State Department early on Tuesday directed him not to appear for his planned testimony. Later on Tuesday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to congressional Democrats saying the administration would refuse to cooperate with the probe of President Trump’s effort to have Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Cipollone said the impeachment inquiry was an effort to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”

Republicans assail Trump’s decision to pull troops from northern Syria as Turkey readies offensive, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan, Kareem Fahim, and Sarah Dadouch, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Republicans in Congress assailed President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria’s border with Turkey on Monday, warning that a threatened Turkish invasion would lead to a dangerous resurgence of the Islamic State, the slaughter of U.S. allies in the region and a boon for American adversaries.” See also, Furor over pulling troops from northeast Syria began with troubling Trump phone call and White House statement on Sunday, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The furor over the decision to pull U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria began late Sunday night with a poorly conceived White House statement about an ominous telephone conversation between President Trump and the Turkish president. The results have been rapid and remain unpredictable — and, in the view of critics, amount to the abandonment of America’s Syrian Kurdish allies to a massive Turkish military assault.”

Trump says Turkish President Erdogan will visit D.C. in November, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “President Trump announced Tuesday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Washington next month, a day after bipartisan anger erupted about Trump’s decision to pull back U.S. troops supporting Kurdish forces in Syria. Trump has sent mixed messages to the region since announcing that decision, which would leave the Kurds vulnerable to a Turkish attack. The Turkish government views the Syrian Kurds, who were critical to the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, as terrorists allied with Kurdish separatists in Turkey. By Monday afternoon, as members of his own party slammed the decision, Trump said without offering specifics: ‘If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey.’ Then, on Tuesday morning, Trump defended Turkey and its close relationship with the United States.”

White House Official Told Whistle-Blower Trump’s Ukraine Call Was ‘Crazy’ and ‘Frightening,’ The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “A White House official who listened to President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s leader described it as ‘crazy,’ ‘frightening’ and ‘completely lacking in substance related to national security,’ according to a memo written by the whistle-blower at the center of the Ukraine scandal, a C.I.A. officer who spoke to the White House official. The official was ‘visibly shaken by what had transpired,’ the C.I.A. officer wrote in his memo, one day after Mr. Trump pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in a July 25 phone call to open investigations that would benefit him politically. A palpable sense of concern had already taken hold among at least some in the White House that the call had veered well outside the bounds of traditional diplomacy, the officer wrote.” See also, Read the whistleblower’s memo about Trump’s Ukraine call, as described to CBS News, CBS News, Arden Farhi, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “CBS News has learned the full contents of what appears to be a memo written by the whistleblower one day after President Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July. The memo, dated July 26, is based on a conversation the whistleblower had with an unnamed White House official who listened to the call.  According to a source familiar with the matter, the memo was among the factors that led the intelligence community inspector general to determine the whistleblower’s formal August 12 complaint was credible. The inspector general testified Friday behind closed doors before the three House committees leading the impeachment inquiry.” See also, The Evidence Collected So Far in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Weiyi Cai and Alicia Parlapiano, updated on Tuesday, 8 October 2019. See also, What Happened Today in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 8 October 2019.

House pushes for release of Mueller grand jury testimony, The Washington Post, Eric Tucker | AP, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Lawyers for House Democrats urged a judge Tuesday to release secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as Congress conducts an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The Justice Department is opposing the request, and Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell did not immediately rule after hearing arguments from both sides. The arguments tie together the two most consequential investigations to shadow the Trump administration — a criminal investigation by Mueller into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, and a new House inquiry into whether the president abused his office by pressing his Ukrainian counterpart for an investigation into Democratic political rival Joe Biden.”

Supreme Court Considers Whether Civil Rights Act Protects L.G.B.T. Workers, The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Jeremy W. Peters, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “In a pair of exceptionally hard-fought arguments on Tuesday, the Supreme Court struggled to decide whether a landmark 1964 civil rights law bars employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status. Job discrimination against gay and transgender workers is legal in much of the nation, and the wide-ranging arguments underscored the significance of what could be a momentous ruling. If the court decides that the law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, applies to many millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees across the nation, they would gain basic protections that other groups have long taken for granted. The cases were the court’s first on L.G.B.T. rights since the retirement last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinions in all four of the court’s major gay rights decisions. And without Justice Kennedy, who joined four liberals in the 5-to-4 ruling granting same-sex couples the right to marry, the workers who sued their employers in the three cases before the court may face an uphill fight. For the most part, the justices seemed divided along predictable ideological lines on Tuesday. But there was one possible exception: Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, a member of the court’s conservative majority, who asked questions suggesting that his vote might be in play.” See also, Trump nominees could play pivotal role as Supreme Court decides on protections for gay and transgender workers, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday about whether federal discrimination laws protect gay and transgender workers, and President Trump’s appointments to the court could play the pivotal roles in deciding the outcome. The issue, one of the most significant facing the court this term, concerns the reach of ­Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which, besides protecting against workplace discrimination because of race, religion and other characteristics, also prohibits discrimination ‘because of sex.’ The court has since interpreted that definition to include discriminating on the basis of sex stereotypes.” See also, What You Need to Know About Today’s LGBTQ Rights Arguments Before the Supreme Court, American Civil Liberties Union, James Esseks, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases in which the Trump administration is urging the court to rule that it’s legal to fire workers for being LGBTQ. For the LGBTQ civil rights movement, this is a big moment. These cases will affect more people than the Supreme Court’s decision about the freedom to marry, and they potentially implicate a broader range of contexts in which LGBTQ people may face harm, if the Court green-lights discrimination. Worse still, a bad ruling would strip away protections against discrimination that LGBTQ people have been able to use to protect themselves for two decades. And all this in a context where nearly one in three transgender people has experienced discrimination in the workplace. In short, the stakes are very high.” See also, ‘Sex’ at the Supreme Court, The New York Review of Books, David Cole, published online on Thursday, 26 September 2019 and in the print edition on Thursday, 24 October 2019: “Aimee Stephens was a successful funeral director for R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan for nearly six years, appearing as a man and using the name she was given at birth, until she informed her employer in 2013 that she was transgender and would begin living as a woman. He promptly fired her, explaining that he believes ‘a male should look like a…man, and a woman should look like a woman.’ Donald Zarda taught skydiving for fifteen years but was fired by Altitude Express on Long Island in 2010 when a female customer complained that he had told her he was gay to make her feel less anxious about being strapped together with him during a tandem skydive. Gerald Bostock lost his job as an advocate for children in a Georgia juvenile court in 2013 when his employers learned that he was playing in a gay softball league. All three filed suit alleging that their employers had discriminated against them…. [I]s firing someone for being gay or transgender illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating “because of…race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”? The Supreme Court will take up that question in October, when it hears arguments in the cases of Stephens, Zarda, and Bostock. (The ACLU, where I am national legal director, represents both Stephens and Zarda; I will be arguing Stephens’s case before the Court. Zarda died in a BASE jumping accident in 2014; his partner and sister have pursued his case.) At issue is whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have a right to be treated equally in the workplace, since discriminating against them is inextricably ‘because of sex.’… To insist that men should love only women, or that those assigned a male sex at birth should identify as men is, literally, to enforce a sex-specific rule. And to fire someone for contravening such a rule is to discriminate ‘because of sex.'”

Republican-Led Senate Intelligence Committee Affirms Russia Attacked 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, and Urges Action, The New York Times, David McCabe, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “As President Trump amplifies unsubstantiated claims of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed on Tuesday that Russian operatives engaged in a widespread social media campaign to improve his chances in the race. In a report, the committee backed up the conclusions of the intelligence community, the special counsel and researchers that Russia mounted a broad campaign to interfere in the election. A Russian troll farm central to the election campaign supported ‘Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin,’ the committee said. The panel said Congress should consider new disclosure requirements for political ads online, which unlike television or radio ads do not need to carry information about who paid for them. A bill introduced in 2017 by the top Democrat on the committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, to put into effect new rules for online ads has failed to gain much momentum.” See also, The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee endorses finding that Russia interfered to help Donald Trump in the 2016 election. This Bipartisan Senate report calls for sweeping effort to prevent Russian interference in 2020 election. The Washington Post, Craig Timberg and Tony Romm, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “A bipartisan panel of U.S. senators Tuesday called for sweeping action by Congress, the White House and Silicon Valley to ensure social media sites aren’t used to interfere in the coming presidential election, delivering a sobering assessment about the weaknesses that Russian operatives exploited in the 2016 campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee, a Republican-led panel that has been investigating foreign electoral interference for more than 2½ years, said in blunt language that Russians worked to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton while bolstering Republican Donald Trump — and made clear that fresh rounds of interference are likely ahead of the 2020 vote.” See also, Senate Intelligence Committee unveils a new bipartisan report detailing Russian efforts to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election, Politico, Cristiano Lima, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping new bipartisan report detailing Russian efforts to boost Donald Trump’s White House bid on social media during the 2016 U.S. elections, dealing an indirect blow to a push by the president and his allies to shift focus toward claims of anti-Trump meddling by Ukraine. The report corroborates past findings by researchers and the intelligence community that the notorious Internet Research Agency troll farm, as the committee wrote, ‘sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.'” See also, New Senate report highlights how Russia’s social media campaign influenced Americans offline, The Washington Post, Cat Zakrzewski, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 election weren’t limited to memes and Instagram accounts. A new bipartisan Senate report spotlights even more aggressive actions by Kremlin-allied provocateurs to manipulate people offline — influencing Americans to host protests, sign petitions and, in one instance, even teach self-defense classes.”

Western Security Officials Say Top Secret Russian Unit Seeks to Destabilize Europe, The New York Times, Michael Schwirtz, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “First came a destabilization campaign in Moldova, followed by the poisoning of an arms dealer in Bulgaria and then a thwarted coup in Montenegro. Last year, there was an attempt to assassinate a former Russian spy in Britain using a nerve agent. Though the operations bore the fingerprints of Russia’s intelligence services, the authorities initially saw them as isolated, unconnected attacks. Western security officials have now concluded that these operations, and potentially many others, are part of a coordinated and ongoing campaign to destabilize Europe, executed by an elite unit inside the Russian intelligence system skilled in subversion, sabotage and assassination.”

Bernie Sanders Says He Will ‘Change the Nature’ of His Campaign After Heart Attack, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Senator Bernie Sanders, a week after suffering a heart attack in Las Vegas, said on Tuesday that he planned to slow down his pace on the campaign trail and acknowledged that voters would likely consider his health when deciding whether to vote for him. Speaking to reporters outside his home in Burlington, following a visit with a local cardiologist, Mr. Sanders gave no indication he was planning to drop out of the race and said he would continue to campaign actively.”

Elizabeth Warren stands by her account of being pushed out of her first teaching job because of pregnancy, CBS News, Zak Hudak and Bo Erickson, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “On the campaign trail, Elizabeth Warren often tells the story of how she was fired from her first teaching job in 1971 because she was pregnant, a pivotal moment that ultimately put her on a path to Harvard, the United States Senate, and quite possibly the presidency. But recently, several media outlets have questioned the veracity of these claims. In an exclusive interview with CBS News on Monday evening, Warren said she stands by her characterizations of why she left the job. ‘All I know is I was 22 years old, I was 6 months pregnant, and the job that I had been promised for the next year was going to someone else. The principal said they were going to hire someone else for my job,’ she said.” See also, Elizabeth Warren Details Her Account of Losing Teaching Job Because of Pregnancy, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “It is one of Elizabeth Warren’s signature anecdotes in her stump speech: By the end of her first year as a public-school teacher, she was ‘visibly pregnant,’ and the principal wished her luck and hired another teacher to replace her. In recent days, a conservative news site and other outlets have cited evidence that challenges her account, including past remarks by Ms. Warren in which she did not mention being forced to leave the school and minutes from a school board meeting showing that her contract was initially extended for the next school year. Ms. Warren is now pushing back against any suggestion that she has misrepresented the circumstances of her departure, and pointing to the discrimination that many pregnant women have faced on the job. The school board did extend her contract early in her pregnancy, before the school knew about it, she said in an interview with CBS News. But two months later, when it was clear that she was pregnant, she lost the job.” See also, The Elizabeth Warren pregnancy smear shows how poisoned the media world is, The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019.

Last Year the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Found the FBI’s Use of Foreign-Surveillance Tool Violated Americans’ Privacy Rights, The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz and Byron Tau, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Some of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s electronic surveillance activities violated the constitutional privacy rights of Americans swept up in a controversial foreign intelligence program, a secretive surveillance court has ruled. The ruling deals a rare rebuke to U.S. spying activities that have generally withstood legal challenge or review. The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near total secrecy. The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers—in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database only be searched by the FBI as part of seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.” See also, Judge Rules F.B.I. Practices for Intercepted Emails Violated 4th Amendment, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “A federal judge secretly ruled last year that the F.B.I.’s procedures for searching for Americans’ emails within a repository of intercepted messages that were gathered without a warrant violated Fourth Amendment privacy rights, newly declassified files showed. The files show that the F.B.I. resisted a new congressional mandate that required it to keep closer track of when it searched for Americans’ information gathered by the government’s warrantless surveillance program. The F.B.I.’s defiance set off a secret court fight that ultimately prompted the bureau to relent, the files showed. Moreover, they show, the F.B.I. improperly searched the repository for information involving large numbers of Americans who fit within general categories but against whom there was no individualized basis for suspicion. In a twist, one March 2017 search used more than 70,000 identifiers, like email addresses, linked to the F.B.I.’s own work force.”

Senior Interior official William Perry Pendley denied there was an ozone hole and compared undocumented immigrants to cancer, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski, Paul LeBlanc, and Nathan McDermott, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The acting director of the federal agency responsible for managing one in every 10 acres of land in the United States has repeatedly denied the existence of climate change and falsely claimed in a 1990s speech there was no credible evidence of a hole in the ozone layer. William Perry Pendley was appointed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt as the acting director of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in July 2019. Prior to his appointment, Pendley was a conservative activist, commentator, lawyer and served as the longtime president of the conservative Mountain States Legal Foundation. ‘Despite the total absence of credible scientific evidence, the media is convinced and is attempting to convince us that we have global warming, an Ozone hole and acid rain and that it is all man’s fault,’ Pendley said in a 1992 speech to the Heritage Foundation. In other comments uncovered during a CNN KFile review of his social media activity, writings and public appearances, Pendley cited an anti-Muslim figure to claim Islam was at war with the United States, compared undocumented immigrants to cancer and blamed them for diseases.”

Ronan Farrow’s New Book ‘Catch and Kill’ Alleges Matt Lauer Raped His NBC News Colleague Brooke Nevils, Variety, Kate Aurthur and Ramin Setoodeh, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Ronan Farrow’s new book ‘Catch and Kill’ recounts his investigation of Harvey Weinstein; the hurdles his then-employer NBC News put in his way that caused him to publish the story in the New Yorker instead; and how Weinstein hired Black Cube, an investigative firm that employs ex-Mossad officers, to stop him. But Farrow’s most explosive interview in the book is with Brooke Nevils, the former NBC News employee whose complaint about Matt Lauer led to the co-anchor’s firing from the ‘Today’ show in 2017. At the time, NBC News kept Nevils’ identity anonymous from press reports at her request. The full details of her allegations have not been made public until now. In the book, obtained by Variety, Nevils alleges that at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Lauer anally raped her in his hotel room.” See also, Matt Lauer is accused of raping former colleague Brooke Nevils in Ronan Farrow’s new book, The Washington Post, Bethonie Butler, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019.

Facebook’s Hands-Off Approach to Political Speech Gets Impeachment Test, The New York Times, Cecilia Kang, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “The 30-second video ad released by the Trump campaign last week is grainy, and the narrator’s voice is foreboding. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., it says, offered Ukraine $1 billion in aid if the country pushed out the man investigating a company tied to Mr. Biden’s son. Saying it made false accusations, CNN immediately refused to air the advertisement. But Facebook did not, and on Tuesday, the social network rejected a request from Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign to take it down, foreshadowing a continuing fight over misinformation on the service during the 2020 election as well as the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. In a letter to the Biden campaign, Facebook said the ad, which has been viewed five million times on the site, did not violate company policies. Last month, the social network, which has more than two billion users, announced that politicians and their campaigns had nearly free rein over content they post there. Even false statements and misleading content in ads, the company has said, are an important part of the political conversation.”

Alabama capital Montgomery elects first black mayor in 200-year history, ABC News, The Associated Press, Tuesday, 8 October 2019: “Alabama’s capital, a city once known as the cradle of the Confederacy and later the birthplace of the civil rights movement, elected its first African American mayor Tuesday. Probate Judge Steven Reed, 45, clasped the history-making victory to be elected the next mayor of Montgomery after defeating businessman David Woods by a decisive margin. Reed won about 67% of the vote in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff, according to unofficial returns.”


Wednesday, 9 October 2019, Day 993:


Turkey Launches Syria Offensive, Targeting U.S.-Backed Kurds, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard and Carlotta Gall, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Turkey launched a ground and air assault on Wednesday against a Syrian militia that has been a crucial American ally in the fight against ISIS, days after President Trump agreed to let the operation proceed. As Turkish warplanes bombed Syrian towns and troops crossed the border, the chaos in Washington continued, with President Trump issuing seemingly contradictory policy statements in the face of strident opposition from his Republican allies in Congress.” See also, Turkish Forces Launch Military Attack Against Kurds at Syrian Border, NPR, Bill Chappell, Scott Neuman, Merrit Kennedy, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Turkish forces began crossing the Syrian border on Wednesday, launching an operation in Kurdish-dominated areas of the country’s north, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced. The Turkish offensive jeopardizes Kurdish-led forces who have been a key U.S. ally in the bloody fight against ISIS. Turkey says those same forces are linked to militant groups who stage attacks in a separatist movement against the Turkish government.” See also, Turkey unleashes airstrikes against Kurds in north-east Syria, The Guardian, Bethan McKernan, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Turkey has launched an offensive into north-eastern Syria, unleashing air strikes and artillery barrages aimed at US-backed Kurdish forces who control the region. Video footage showed civilians fleeing towns with columns of smoke rising in the background and jet trails visible in the sky. Activists and observers say at least seven civilians have been killed so far. Turkey’s offensive was triggered by a call between Donald Trump and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Sunday, in which the Turks claim Trump handed over leadership of the campaign against Isis in Syria to Ankara. The American president announced on Sunday night that US troops would withdraw from the region. On Wednesday, hours after the bombing had begun, Trump issued a statement mildly criticising the offensive aimed at Kurdish forces which for nearly five years fought alongside the US against Isis.” See also, Senator Lindsey Graham on Trump’s Syria decision: ‘He’s putting the nation at risk,’ Axios, Jonathan Swan, Wednesday, 9 August 2019: “In an interview with Axios on Tuesday night, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) condemned President Trump in his harshest language yet for deciding to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, suggesting Trump is violating his oath of office by allowing Turkey to move in and attack the Kurds…. [Graham said] ‘Nobody besides Trump believes the president’s claim that the U.S. is not abandoning the Kurds.'” See also, Donald Trump’s longtime business connections in Turkey are back in the spotlight as a potential area for conflicts of interest, NBC News, Heidi Przybyla and Anna Schecter, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to pull U.S. troops out of Northern Syria late Sunday night has drawn harsh rebukes from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, raised alarm bells among America’s allies across the globe and sent the Pentagon and the State Department scrambling to contain the fallout. While the president has defended the decision as part of his longtime promise to end U.S. military involvement in the region, even his staunchest supporters at home warned that it has essentially given Turkey a green light for a major military offensive against the Kurdish minority there, a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State militant group and a longtime target of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan…. [T]he fact that Trump made his decision to pull the U.S. troops out of Syria shortly after the phone call with Erdogan has raised alarm bells from policymakers, as well as government ethics watchdog groups who have long seen Trump’s extensive business interests as a potential area for conflicts of interest. ‘It’s absolutely staggering’ that Trump made a decision that ‘has put us on the brink of causing genocide in Syria,’ said Wendy Sherman, an undersecretary at the State Department during the Obama administration. The decision underscores the ‘impulsiveness’ and ‘the transactional, quid pro quo-ness of the president,’ she said.”

On Ukraine Aid, ‘Nothing to See Here’: Diplomats Urged to Play Down Funds’ Release, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “American diplomats who had pushed for the Trump administration to restore security funding to Ukraine were advised by the White House to play down the release of the money when it was finally approved, documents show. ‘Keep moving, people, nothing to see here …’ Brad Freden, the State Department’s acting deputy assistant secretary overseeing issues in Europe and Eurasia, wrote in a Sept. 12 email obtained by The New York Times.” See also, Trump told Energy Secretary Rick Perry and State Department officials as early as May to talk to Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine, CNN, Katelyn Polantz, Gloria Borger, and Kylie Atwood, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “President Donald Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and two top State Department officials to deal with his private attorney Rudy Giuliani when the Ukrainian President sought to meet Trump, in a clear circumvention of official channels, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.”

Joe Biden Calls for Trump Impeachment for First Time, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. Trump as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of ‘shooting holes in the Constitution.’ Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress move against the president.” See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Wednesday, 9 October 2019. See also, What’s next in the Trump impeachment inquiry, and will Trump cooperate with it? The Washington Post, Harry Stevens, Dan Keating, and Kevin Uhrmacher, Wednesday, updated every day. See also, The revealing splits in Republican senators’ reactions to impeachment, The Washington Post, Adrian Blanco, Amber Phillips, Kate Rabiniwitz, JM Rieger, and Kevin Schaul, Wednesday, 9 October 2019. See also, The ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ presidency: Trump turns to schoolyard taunts in impeachment battle, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “After House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the Oval Office occupant countered with a creative offer of his own: Impeach me? No, impeach you! And so it was that Trump suggested, in a series of tweets, that perhaps the two California Democrats leading the effort against him — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — should be impeached instead. ‘Must all be immediately Impeached!’ wrote Trump, who, in a separate missive, also debuted an ‘#IMPEACH­­MITT­ROMNEY’ hashtag, after Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) criticized him for calling on both Ukraine and China to investigate a political rival. Left unsaid was the pesky fact for the president that lawmakers cannot, in fact, be impeached. But the schoolyard taunt offered another window into Trump’s ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue’ approach to the impeachment inquiry now consuming his administration.” See also, Trump’s broad claims of executive immunity lead to criticism he is acting above the law, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Ann E. Marimow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “In a series of legal maneuvers that have defied Congress, drawn rebukes from federal judges and tested the country’s foundational system of checks and balances, President Trump has made an expansive declaration of presidential immunity that would essentially place him beyond the reach of the law. In courts and before Congress, Trump’s legal teams are simultaneously arguing two contradictory points: that the president can’t be investigated or indicted by prosecutors because Congress has the sole responsibility for holding presidents accountable, and that the House’s impeachment inquiry is an unconstitutional effort that the White House can ignore.”

Whistleblower’s lawyers say their client is not politically motivated, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Lawyers for the whistleblower whose complaint against President Trump sparked House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry issued a statement Wednesday refuting Trump’s claims that their client is politically biased. ‘Our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign, or party’ and ‘has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions in the Executive Branch,’ wrote attorneys Andrew Bakaj and Mark Zaid. They added that ‘in these positions our client has come into contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials — not as candidates.'”

Trump’s Sweeping Case Against Impeachment Is a Political Strategy, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Breathtaking in scope, defiant in tone, the White House’s refusal to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry amounts to an unabashed challenge to America’s longstanding constitutional order. In effect, President Trump is making the sweeping assertion that he can ignore Congress as it weighs his fate because he considers the impeachment effort unfair and the Democrats who initiated it biased against him, an argument that channeled his anger even as it failed to pass muster with many scholars on Wednesday. But the White House case, outlined in an extraordinary letter to Democratic leaders on Tuesday, is more a political argument than a legal one, aimed less at convincing a judge than convincing the public, or at least a portion of it. At its core, it is born out of the cold calculation that Mr. Trump probably cannot stop the Democrat-led House from impeaching him, so the real goal is to delegitimize the process.”

As White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone Builds Case for Defiance on Impeachment, The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “As a lawyer in private practice, Pat A. Cipollone, now President Trump’s White House counsel, told colleagues that there were two approaches to legal fights. One, he said, was like the Department of State, when the two sides would try to work out a deal to avoid painful and expensive litigation. The other, when the first failed, was the Department of War. As of this week, Mr. Cipollone has put himself squarely in the war camp when it comes to Mr. Trump’s defense against the House impeachment inquiry. After earlier advocating that the president adopt a policy of transparency by releasing the document at the heart of the impeachment debate — the reconstructed transcript of Mr. Trump’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart — Mr. Cipollone has shifted course and is now leading a no-cooperation strategy that holds substantial political risks but also seems to suit his combative client in the Oval Office.”

Trump Urged Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Help Giuliani Client Reza Zarrab Who Was Facing Department of Justice Charges, Bloomberg, Nick Wadhams, Saleha Mohsin, Stephanie Baker, and Jennifer Jacobs, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “President Donald Trump pressed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader who was a client of Rudy Giuliani, according to three people familiar with the 2017 meeting in the Oval Office. Tillerson refused, arguing it would constitute interference in an ongoing investigation of the trader, Reza Zarrab, according to the people. They said other participants in the Oval Office were shocked by the request.” See also, In the fall of 2017 Trump asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help broker deal to end U.S. prosecution of Turkish Iranian gold trader represented by Rudy Giuliani, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Carol D. Leonnig, and Matt Zapotosky, published on Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Trump sought to enlist then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the fall of 2017 to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani to help stop the prosecution of a Turkish Iranian gold trader represented by the former New York mayor, according to people with knowledge of the request. Trump urged Tillerson in an Oval Office meeting to try to craft a diplomatic ‘deal’ to stop the U.S. case against Reza Zarrab on corruption charges in exchange for concessions from Turkey. The request shocked the then-secretary of state, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations involving the president. At the time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was personally lobbying Trump to get the charges dropped.” See also, In 2017 Rudy Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap in Oval Office Meeting with Trump and Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, The New York Times, Jo Becker, Maggie Haberman, and Eric Lipton, published on Thursday, 10 October 2019: “During a contentious Oval Office meeting with President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017, Rudolph W. Giuliani pressed for help in securing the release of a jailed client, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader, as part of a potential prisoner swap with Turkey. The request by Mr. Giuliani provoked an immediate objection from Mr. Tillerson, who argued that it would be highly inappropriate to interfere in an open criminal case, according to two people briefed on the meeting. The gold trader, Reza Zarrab, had been accused by federal prosecutors of playing a central role in an effort by a state-owned Turkish bank to funnel more than $10 billion worth of gold and cash to Iran, in defiance of United States sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program. But at the White House meeting in early 2017, Mr. Giuliani and his longtime friend and colleague, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, pushed back on Mr. Tillerson’s objections.” See also, Trump Asked Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Help Scrap a Criminal Case Against Rudy Giuliani’s Client, Vanity Fair, Alison Durkee, published on 10 October 2019. See also, Rudy Giuliani used Oval Office meeting with Trump and Tillerson to press for help for client, CNN Politics, Evan Perez and Kevin Liptak, Thursday, 10 October 2019.

Donald Trump Allegedly Hid Behind a Tapestry to Grope a Woman at Mar-a-Lago in the Early 2000s, Esquire, Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Donald Trump’s alleged transgressions against women are numerous, and as a new book reveals, they stretch back far further than we’ve previously realized. In All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy draw on over 100 interviews, many of them exclusive, to craft a detailed history of Trump’s relationships with women, stretching back to his childhood and education as well as his rise through real estate, entertainment, and politics. What emerges from the authors’ reporting is a portrait of a serial predator who hides behind wealth and institutional power to frequently harass and abuse women. While the president has publicly faced allegations from two dozen women, this book reveals another 43 allegations of alleged inappropriate behavior, including 26 instances of unwanted sexual contact.” See also, Will the 26 New Sexual Allegations Against Trump Be Ignored Like the Rest? Vice, Harry Cheadle, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Another woman has just accused the president of sexual assault, and the depressing thing is that it barely feels like news. In an Esquire excerpt from a new book, a woman named Karen Johnson said that in the early 2000s, Donald Trump committed what amounts to an attack on her while she was at a New Year’s Eve party with her ailing husband.”

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions, The Guardian, Matthew Taylor and Jonathan Watts, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “The Guardian today reveals the 20 fossil fuel companies whose relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas and coal reserves can be directly linked to more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era. New data from world-renowned researchers reveals how this cohort of state-owned and multinational firms are driving the climate emergency that threatens the future of humanity, and details how they have continued to expand their operations despite being aware of the industry’s devastating impact on the planet. The analysis, by Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in the US, the world’s leading authority on big oil’s role in the escalating climate emergency, evaluates what the global corporations have extracted from the ground, and the subsequent emissions these fossil fuels are responsible for since 1965 – the point at which experts say the environmental impact of fossil fuels was known by both industry leaders and politicians. The top 20 companies on the list have contributed to 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide, totalling 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) since 1965.”

Pentagon Analyst Is Charged in Leaks of Classified Reports, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “A Pentagon counterterrorism analyst shared classified information with two journalists for more than a year, one of whom he was dating, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday. The analyst, Henry Kyle Frese, 30, was arrested on Wednesday at his office at the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he has worked since January 2017, first as a contractor and then as an employee, prosecutors said. His arrest was the latest in the Justice Department’s aggressive efforts to crack down on illegal leaks of classified information. Six people have been charged with unlawfully sharing government information since Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, vowed in August 2017 to ramp up the fight on leaks, said John Demers, the head of the department’s National Security Division.” See also, Defense Intelligence Agency employee charged with leaking classified information to journalists, The Washington Post, Paul Duggan, Justin Jouvenal, and Matt Zapotosky, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “A counterterrorism analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency has been charged with leaking top-secret details about foreign countries’ weapons systems to two journalists, including a reporter with whom he apparently was romantically involved, federal authorities said Wednesday. Henry K. Frese, 30, of Alexandria, Va., ‘was caught red-handed disclosing sensitive national security information,’ according to the Justice Department, which billed the case as part of the Trump administration’s prosecutorial crackdown on leakers who provide such materials to the news media and public.”

Bernie Sanders Says He Knew of Heart Attack Three Days Before Disclosing It, The New York Times, Maggie Astor and Sydney Ember, Wednesday, 9 October 2019: “Bernie Sanders acknowledged on Wednesday that he knew he had suffered a heart attack three days before his campaign released that information, but he defended the decision to keep those details private…. Mr. Sanders, 78, rejected the idea that his campaign had showed a lack of transparency in not disclosing the information more quickly.’No, I don’t accept that. I think that’s a media thing,’ he told NBC, adding that his campaign had been trying ‘to understand what in fact is going on. I think we did it appropriately and did it as quickly as we could,’ he said. ‘No apologies.’… Asked in the NBC interview what voters should think with regard to the future of his campaign, Mr. Sanders said: ‘People should think that I had a procedure which hundreds of thousands of people a year have. People should think that according to the doctors, I’m on the way to a full recovery.'”


Thursday, 10 October 2019, Day 994:


Turkish Forces Escalate Campaign in Syria Against Kurdish-Led Militia, The New York Times, Carlotta Gall and Patrick Kingsley, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Turkish forces and their Syrian Arab allies swept into northern Syria on Thursday, killing at least 23 Kurdish fighters in a sharp escalation of a campaign against a Kurdish-led militia that had fought alongside the United States against the Islamic State. The Turkish assault, which began on Wednesday after President Trump acceded to it and moved American troops out of the way, has pulled the militia out of its fight against the remnants of the Islamic State in Syria. Three American officials said Thursday that all counterterrorism operations by the militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, had been suspended. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential military assessments, said the militia had been carrying out several dozen missions per day, some in conjunction with American Special Forces.” See also, Turkish forces push deeper into Syria as Kurds fight back, The Washington Post, Kareem Fahim and Erin Conningham, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Turkey defied mounting international criticism Thursday as it deepened its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, while deadly rocket fire from inside ­Syria menaced Turkish towns. The escalating violence sent thousands of civilians on both sides of the border fleeing their homes, and aid agencies warned of a humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations reporting more than 70,000 people already displaced in northeast Syria.” See also, In Syria, Trump Distills a Foreign Policy of Impulse, and Faces the Fallout, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Lara Jakes, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “No one should have been surprised, and yet it seems that everyone was. President Trump made clear long ago that he wanted to get out of the Middle East, but even some of his own supporters evidently assumed that he would not follow through or that someone would stop him. As a result, the international crisis that many of his opponents feared for so long has finally arrived, but it is one of Mr. Trump’s own making and one that pits him against his own party and his own government. The Turkish assault on America’s Kurdish allies that he effectively facilitated reflects his foreign policy in its rawest Trumpian form. It is a foreign policy built primarily on reflex and increasingly resistant to outside advice. Unimpressed by the national security establishment and uninterested in the tedium of traditional policymaking, Mr. Trump often demonstrates more faith in what some overseas strongman tells him than the soft-boiled guidance of the bureaucrats, diplomats, intelligence analysts and military officers in the Situation Room.” See also, Senator Lindsey Graham calls Trump decision on Syria the ‘biggest blunder of his presidency, The Washington Post, Chris Dixon and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday called President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria ‘the biggest blunder of his presidency,’ as the three top Republicans in the House took steps toward imposing sanctions on Turkey over its military offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. Graham, one of Trump’s strongest defenders, has broken with the president over his sudden decision to withdraw American military personnel, a move that triggered widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats. Turkish forces deepened their offensive against the Kurds on Thursday.” See also, Trump Says the Kurds ‘Didn’t Help’ at Normandy. Here’s the History. Critics of Mr. Trump’s comments on Wednesday argued that World War II combatant status was a bizarre subject to invoke, especially since the Kurds were — and are — stateless and not a monolith. The New York Times, Jacey Fortin, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Trump drew an odd historical parallel this week as he defended his decision to pull American support from allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, leaving them vulnerable to a Turkish offensive that began on Wednesday. ‘They’re fighting for their land,’ Mr. Trump said of the Kurds on Wednesday. ‘And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the Second World War. They didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example.’… Kurds may not have been present at the D-Day landings, but there is evidence some fought for the Allies during World War II…. Critics of Mr. Trump’s comments on Wednesday argued that World War II combatant status was a bizarre subject to invoke, especially since the Kurds were — and are — stateless and not a monolith. And in any case, the United States today is friendly with Germany, Japan and Italy, the main Axis powers during World War II. Others questioned whether any member of the Trump family had fought for the United States during World War II and noted that during the Vietnam War, the president received five draft deferments.” See also, Fact check: Trump falsely claims ‘we have no soldiers in Syria,’ CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, Ryan Browne, and Jennifer Hansler, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Thursday that the United States has no troops in Syria…. The US still has about 1,000 soldiers in Syria, military officials have told CNN and other news outlets, and the troops Trump removed from the area of the Turkish incursion offensive were not removed from the country…. Trump was defending his decision to remove American troops from a part of northern Syria that Turkey wanted to attack. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Trump asserted, ‘We have no soldiers in Syria. We’ve won, we beat ISIS, and we beat ’em badly and decisively. We have no soldiers. The last thing I want to do is bring thousands and thousands of soldiers in and defeat everybody again. We’ve already done that,’ Trump said.”

2 Giuliani Associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Were Arrested With One-Way Tickets at Dulles International Airport, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Eileen Sullivan, Adam Goldman, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Federal prosecutors unsealed charges on Thursday against two men who have aided President Trump’s efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents, a criminal case that signaled growing legal exposure for the president’s allies as Mr. Trump tries to blunt an impeachment inquiry in Congress. The indictment of the two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, sketched a complex scheme to violate campaign finance laws and did not accuse Mr. Trump of wrongdoing. But it revealed new details about the push to pressure Ukraine: a campaign encouraged by Mr. Trump, led by his private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and assisted by obscure figures like Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.” See also, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two business associates of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, have been arrested on campaign finance charges, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, John Wagner, and Rosalind S. Helderman, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Two associates of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani have been arrested on charges they schemed to funnel foreign money to U.S. politicians while trying to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations, according to a newly unsealed indictment. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who had been helping Giuliani investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden, were arrested Wednesday evening at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, where they had one-way tickets on a flight out of the country, officials said.” See also, Ukraine Saga’s Growing Cast of Characters, The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere, Thursday, 10 October 2019. See also, Ukraine Scandal Snags Pete Sessions’s Congressional Comeback Bid in Texas, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Former Representative Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who is seeking a return to Congress, was caught in the fallout of the Ukraine scandal on Thursday when he was referred to in the indictment of two presidential allies accused of campaign finance allegations. Mr. Sessions, who served 11 terms in Congress until he was swept out last year, is described as ‘Congressman-1’ in the indictment of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested and charged on Thursday with illegally funneling foreign money to American political candidates and campaigns. The two men are associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani — President Trump’s personal lawyer and a point man in Mr. Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political rivals — and are believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry.” See also, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Two Men Who Worked With Rudy Giuliani to Dig Up Dirt on Biden, Have Been Arrested, BuzzFeed News, Zoe Tillman, Emma Loop, and Michael Sallah, Thursday, 10 October 2019. See also, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Two Key Players in the Ukraine Controversy, Spent Lavishly As They Dug for Dirt on Biden, BuzzFeed News, Michael Sallah and Emma Loop, published on Wednesday, 9 October 2019. See also, Giuliani’s Ukraine Team: In Search of Influence, Dirt, and Money, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “When Rudolph W. Giuliani set out to dredge up damaging information on President Trump’s rivals in Ukraine, he turned to a native of the former Soviet republic with whom he already had a lucrative business relationship. Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman with a trail of debts and lawsuits, had known Mr. Giuliani casually for years through Republican political circles. Last year, their relationship deepened when a company he helped found retained Mr. Giuliani — associates of Mr. Parnas said he told them he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars — for what Mr. Giuliani said on Thursday was business and legal advice. Even as he worked with Mr. Parnas’s company, Fraud Guarantee, Mr. Giuliani increasingly relied on Mr. Parnas to carry out Mr. Trump’s quest for evidence in Ukraine that would undercut the legitimacy of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference on his behalf in the 2016 election and help him heading into his 2020 re-election campaign.”

At least four national security officials raised alarms about Ukraine policy before and after Trump call with Ukrainian president, The Washington Post, Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “At least four national security officials were so alarmed by the Trump administration’s attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes that they raised concerns with a White House lawyer both before and immediately after President Trump’s July 25 call with that country’s president, according to U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter. The nature and timing of the previously undisclosed discussions with National Security Council legal adviser John Eisenberg indicate that officials were delivering warnings through official White House channels earlier than previously understood — including before the call that precipitated a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry of the president. At the time, the officials were unnerved by the removal in May of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, by subsequent efforts by Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to promote Ukraine-related conspiracies, as well as by signals in meetings at the White House that Trump wanted the new government in Kiev to deliver material that might be politically damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Those concerns soared in the call’s aftermath, officials said.”

White House Shifted Authority Over Ukraine Aid Amid Legal Concerns. House Democrats investigate why a political appointee was given control of dispensing military aid after career budget staff questioned delay. The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Duehren and Gordon Lubold, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “The White House gave a politically appointed official the authority to keep aid to Ukraine on hold after career budget staff members questioned the legality of delaying the funds, according to people familiar with the matter, a shift that House Democrats are probing in their impeachment inquiry. President Trump’s order to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine in mid-July is at the center of House Democratic efforts to investigate allegations that Mr. Trump used U.S. foreign policy powers to benefit himself politically. The hold came days before Mr. Trump’s request, on a July 25 call, that the Ukrainian president work with Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to conduct investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential hopeful.”

House Impeachment Investigators Subpoena Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Ukraine. They also Demand That Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Two Associates of Rudy Giuliani, Appear for Depositions Next Wednesday. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “House investigators pounded the Trump administration and its allies on Thursday with new subpoenas, demanding documents from Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and testimony from two more witnesses as they aggressively challenged a White House pledge to starve their impeachment inquiry of evidence. Three Democratic chairmen leading the inquiry instructed Mr. Perry to turn over by next Friday any records that would shed light on President Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open corruption investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son. Investigators also want answers on whether Mr. Perry tried to influence the management of Ukraine’s state-owned gas company. Hours earlier, they demanded that two businessmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, appear for depositions next Wednesday and hand over records related to their work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer. Mr. Giuliani has been the point man in the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, around which the inquiry is centered. The subpoenas came shortly after the two men were indicted on federal campaign finance charges that touched on their work in Ukraine.” See also, House Democrats subpoena Energy Secretary Rick Perry and two Giuliani associates; Trump to hold first campaign rally since impeachment inquiry launch, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “House investigators issued subpoenas Thursday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and two associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, seeking ‘key documents’ that have not been produced as part of the impeachment inquiry. The subpoenas of the Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, came after their arrests on campaign finance charges Wednesday night.” See also, Democrats subpoena Energy Secretary Rick Perry for documents in impeachment inquiry, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Kyle Cheney, and Anthony Adragna, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “House Democrats issued a subpoena on Thursday to Energy Secretary Rick Perry as part of their impeachment inquiry. The subpoena demands a series of documents related to Perry’s knowledge of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump pushed his counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.”

Senator Lindsey Graham dishes on Trump in hoax calls with Russians, Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has in the last year become something of a congressional point man for President Donald Trump’s negotiations with Turkey, leading discussions on everything from Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile system over the summer to their more recent incursion into northern Syria. So when he received a call from a man he thought was Turkey’s minister of defense earlier in August, it didn’t strike him as unusual. ‘Thank you so much for calling me, Mr. Minister,’ Graham said. ‘I want to make this a win-win, if we can.’ But it wasn’t the Turkish defense minister at all. Instead, it was Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, Russian pranksters with suspected ties to the country’s intelligence services who go by ‘Lexus and Vovan.’… The substance of Graham’s conversation with Stolyarov, who was posing as Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, is newly relevant in light of the South Carolina senator’s push for sanctions on Turkey as punishment for their offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria. Graham labeled the Kurds a ‘threat’ to Turkey in the call, seemingly contradicting what he has said publicly in recent days. Graham also mentions Trump’s personal interest in a ‘Turkish bank case’ in the call that appears to refer to a U.S. case involving Reza Zarrab, an Iranian-Turkish gold trader and client of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Trump had asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 to help persuade the Justice Department to drop the Zarrab case.”

Appeals Court Says Deutsche Bank Doesn’t Have Trump’s Tax Returns, The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Deutsche Bank AG , President Trump’s longtime lender, doesn’t have the president’s tax returns that were requested by congressional subpoenas, a federal appeals court said Thursday after reviewing an unredacted letter filed by the bank. The ruling, from the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, comes in response to a request by news organizations, including Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, to unseal that letter. In the ruling, the three-judge panel denied the request to unseal the letter but commented on the redactions. ‘That letter reports that the only tax returns it has for individuals or entities named in the subpoenas are not those of the President,’ U.S. Circuit Judge Jon Newman wrote.” See also, Trump’s biggest lender, Deutsche Bank, told an appeals court it does not have Trump’s personal tax returns, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Trump’s biggest lender has told an appeals court it does not have in its possession Trump’s personal tax returns, according to a ruling released Thursday in a legal battle between Congress and the president. The disclosure came in an order from the New York-based appeals court, which is considering whether Trump can block subpoenas from two House committees seeking years of his personal financial documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One. The lawsuit, which preceded the House impeachment inquiry, is one of several the president has filed to try to block access to his business data. A coalition of media organizations, including The Washington Post, had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to unseal a letter Deutsche Bank filed in response to the court’s questions at oral argument in August about whether the bank has Trump’s tax returns among others.”

Trump Lashes Out at Fox News Poll as Attorney General William Barr Meets With Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Attorney General William P. Barr met privately Wednesday evening with Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who is one of President Trump’s frequent confidants but whose Fox News is viewed by the president as more hostile toward him than it used to be. The meeting was held at Mr. Murdoch’s home in New York, according to someone familiar with it. It was unclear if anyone else attended or what was discussed. Aides to both Mr. Murdoch and Mr. Barr declined requests for comment on the meeting. The visit took place as the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump by House Democrats has gathered momentum. Mr. Barr has emerged as a key defender of the president’s concerns about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Barr was criticized in the spring for his handling of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, before it was released publicly. Mr. Trump has sought out Mr. Murdoch’s opinion on a wide range of issues in the past, and Fox News has provided Mr. Trump with key support both as a candidate and as president.”

George Conway and other prominent conservative lawyers call for ‘expeditious’ impeachment probe, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “More than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers, including George T. Conway III, offered their legal reasoning for an ‘expeditious’ impeachment probe into President Trump, creating a document they hope will be read by Republicans who continue to stand by the president. The 16 attorneys, many of whom worked in Republican administrations, wrote in a joint statement to be released Thursday morning that Trump’s now infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the text messages between diplomats and Trump’s public call for China to investigate a political opponent are ‘undisputed’ events that amount to Trump violating his oath of office. ‘We have not just a political candidate open to receiving foreign assistance to better his chances at winning an election, but a current president openly and privately calling on foreign governments to actively interfere in the most sacred of U.S. democratic processes, our elections,’ they wrote.”

For the first time in decades, the Environmental Protection Agency is overhauling how communities must test for lead in water, but the overhaul fails to take the most important step, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued a long-awaited proposal aimed at improving how communities around the nation test for lead in drinking water and forcing quicker action when problems arise. The overhaul comes nearly three decades after the federal government last updated its lead and copper rule — a regulation that has been criticized as complicated, poorly enforced and not tough enough when it comes to protecting Americans from a toxic metal that scientists say is unsafe at any level. The EPA’s revamped rule, which has been in the works since 2010, is meant to provide what the agency called a ‘proactive and holistic approach’ to more reliably identify elevated lead levels across 68,000 public water systems and to force utilities to tackle problems faster…. However, while Thursday’s sprawling proposal seeks significant changes to the status quo, environmental advocates said the agency’s overhaul fails to take the most important step: requiring the steady removal of the estimated 6 million or more lead service lines that remain underground throughout the nation. ‘Everything else is small potatoes,’ said Erik Olson, a senior director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘From a public health standpoint, that’s absolutely critical. There are going to be problems with lead contamination as long as you leave lead pipes in the ground.'”

An International Monetary Fund study says the world needs a massive carbon tax in just 10 years to limit climate change catastrophe, The Washington Post, Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “A global agreement to make fossil fuel burning more expensive is urgent and the most efficient way of fighting climate change, an International Monetary Fund study found on Thursday. The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.”

These State Birds May Be forced Out of Their States as the World Warms, The New York Times, Brad Plumer, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “Each state in America has an official state bird, usually an iconic species that helps define the landscape. Minnesota chose the common loon, whose haunting wails echo across the state’s northern lakes each summer. Georgia picked the brown thrasher, a fiercely territorial bird with a repertoire of more than 1,000 song types. But as the planet warms and birds across the country relocate to escape the heat, at least eight states could see their state birds largely or entirely disappear from within their borders during the summer, according to a new study.”

Trump attacks energy-efficient lightbulbs, disparaging the way they make him look, The Washington Post, Dino Grandoni, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Trump renewed his attack on energy-efficient lightbulbs, disparaging the way they make him look — and holding them up as a prime example of his deregulatory agenda…. [T]he image-conscious president’s criticism takes on a uniquely Trumpian flare by focusing on how the lightbulbs make him look personally. During a policy retreat with House Republicans in Baltimore last month, for example, Trump drew laughs when he asked, ‘what’s with the lightbulb?’ He continued: ‘The bulb that we’re being forced to use, No. 1 to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst.'”

Highlights From the CNN Equality Town Hall, Where Protesters Took the Spotlight, The New York Times, Jennifer Medina, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “During a nationally televised forum on Thursday focusing on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, several Democratic presidential candidates were interrupted by transgender activists who repeatedly called for more focus on the murders of African-American transgender women and said that the forum had not done enough to include their voices. Ultimately, one woman took the microphone from an audience member while former Representative Beto O’Rourke was onstage. ‘Black trans women are dying,’ said the woman, Blossom C. Brown. ‘Our lives matter. I am an extraordinary black trans woman, and I deserve to be here.’ There have already been at least 19 deaths of transgender people this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. And last year, there were at least 26 such deaths, most of which were of black trans women.” See also, Elizabeth Warren Has Quick Comeback to Gay Marriage Question, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “The campaign trail can bring fraught encounters for a presidential candidate. At a televised forum on L.G.B.T.Q. issues on Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked to consider a hypothetical one. Suppose a supporter approached her and said: ‘Senator, I’m old-fashioned and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman.’ How would she respond? ‘Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that,’ Ms. Warren replied. ‘And I’m going to say, then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that.’ The audience laughed and applauded. About 10 seconds passed, and Ms. Warren shrugged. ‘Assuming you can find one,’ Ms. Warren added, to the delight of the crowd.” See also, Democratic 2020 candidates address LGBTQ forum–as it happened, The Guardian, Sam Levin, Maanvi Singh, and Joan E. Greve, published on Friday, 11 October 2019.

The Democrats on criminal justice, The Marshall Project, Katie Park and Jamiles Lartey, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “The candidates vying to challenge President Trump next November want to move their party left on bail reform, marijuana, immigration and more. Here’s where they stand.”

As Elizabeth Warren Rises, Republicans Deploy an Old Sexist Trope in Politics, Attacking Her Over Authenticity, The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “President Trump and his allies have struggled for months to come up with effective ways to confront Senator Elizabeth Warren…. But in the past week, conservative news sites have challenged Ms. Warren’s story about how a public school principal forced her out of a teaching job in 1971 because she was ‘visibly pregnant,’ and the Republican National Committee grabbed onto the issue to wage its own attack. In doing so, Republicans employed a tactic — questioning a female candidate’s authenticity — that is at once often a sexist trope in politics and a strategy used against Hillary Clinton in 2016.”

At Minneapolis Rally, an Angry Trump Reserves Sharpest Attack for Joe Biden, The New York Times, Annie Karni and Peter Baker, Thursday, 10 October 2019: “A fired-up President Trump lashed out against Democrats at a combative campaign rally on Thursday night, deriding them as ‘very sick and deranged people’ who were only investigating him for abuse of power in order to ‘erase your vote.’ Facing impeachment in the House, Mr. Trump took his case to his core supporters, arguing that Democrats were trying to overturn the 2016 election because they knew they could not beat him in 2020. He singled out former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as nothing but a toady for President Barack Obama. ‘He was only a good vice president because he knew how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass,’ Mr. Trump said, a line that drew huge roars of approval from the crowd.” See also, ‘Stunning in ugliness & tone: Trump denounced for attacking Somali refugees in Minnesota, The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu, published on Friday, 11 October 2019: “For roughly six minutes Thursday night, President Trump predictably singled out Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) during his campaign rally in her home district of Minneapolis. As photos of Omar wearing a headscarf flashed across jumbo screens at the Target Center in the city, Trump ramped up his broadsides against the freshman lawmaker, slamming her as an ‘America-hating socialist’ and a ‘disgrace.’ But he didn’t stop there. The president soon widened his attack to target Somali refugees in Minnesota, a group that includes Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the East African country. He promised rally attendees, who booed loudly at the mention of the state’s Somali residents, that he would ‘give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls.'” See also, Trump attacks Bidens in personal and coarse terms at Minnesota rally, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Aaron Blake, published on Friday, 11 October 2019.