Trump Administration, Week 145, Friday, 25 October – Thursday, 31 October 2019 (Days 1,009-1,015)

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, 25 October 2019, Day 1,009:


Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal, Judge Rules, Giving Democrats a Victory, The New York Times, Charlie Savage and Emily Cochrane, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge handed a victory to House Democrats on Friday when she ruled that they were legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a decision that undercut President Trump’s arguments that the investigation is a sham. The declaration came in a 75-page opinion by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court in Washington. She ruled that the House Judiciary Committee was entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Typically, Congress has no right to view such evidence. But in 1974, the courts permitted lawmakers to see such materials as they weighed whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon. The House is now immersed in the same process focused on Mr. Trump, Judge Howell ruled, and that easily outweighs any need to keep the information secret from lawmakers.” See also, U.S. judge orders Mueller grand jury materials released to House Judiciary Committee in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge Friday ordered the Justice Department to release certain grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation to the House Judiciary Committee amid its impeachment inquiry. The materials must be disclosed by Wednesday. In a 75-page opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington handed a victory to House Democrats, saying the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from normal grand jury secrecy rules.”  See also, Federal Judge Rules Mueller Grand Jury Materials Must Be Transmitted to Congress, The Wall Street Journal, Byron Tau, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A federal judge ruled Congress can get its hands on grand-jury evidence collected by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and also determined that wide-ranging House inquiries into President Trump have legal standing as an impeachment investigation. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell granted a request from the House Judiciary Committee for access to material that was redacted from the 448-page special counsel report, released in the spring, as well as some of the exhibits and transcripts referenced in the report. The Justice Department has sought to prevent Congress from getting the full, unredacted report. As part of her ruling on Friday, Judge Howell also rejected arguments from Mr. Trump and his allies that the impeachment inquiry isn’t valid without a full House vote to authorize the process, the first time the judiciary has weighed in on the legality of the House inquiry. The administration has used that lack of a vote as a reason to try to keep witnesses from testifying and to ignore requests for documents.” See also, Federal judge rules the Department of Justice must turn over Mueller grand jury material to House Democrats, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Friday, 25 October 2019.

Government Inspectors General Demand Justice Department Withdraw Whistle-Blower Ruling, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Friday, 25 October 2019: “The government’s inspectors general sharply criticized a Justice Department ruling from last month that determined that the whistle-blower complaint about President Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader should not go to Congress. The opinion could ‘seriously impair whistle-blowing” and deter intelligence officials from reporting waste, fraud and misconduct, about 70 inspectors general from across the government warned in the letter, dated Oct. 22 and released on Friday. ‘Whistle-blowers play an essential public service in coming forward with such information, and they should never suffer reprisal or even the threat of reprisal for doing so,’ wrote the inspectors general, who serve as independent watchdogs for their agencies.”

How a Veteran Reporter Worked with Giuliani’s Associates to Launch the Ukraine Conspiracy, ProPublica, Jake Pearson, Mike Spies and J. David McSwane, Friday, 25 October 2019: “Last March, a veteran Washington reporter taped an interview with a Ukrainian prosecutor that sparked a disinformation campaign alleging Joe Biden pressured Ukrainians into removing a prosecutor investigating a company because of its ties to the former vice president’s son. The interview and subsequent columns, conducted and written by a writer for The Hill newspaper, John Solomon, were the starting gun that eventually set off the impeachment inquiry into the president. Watching from the control booth of The Hill’s TV studio was Lev Parnas, who helped arrange the interview. Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman were working with the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to promote a story that it was Democrats and not Republicans who colluded with a foreign power in the 2016 election. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted the duo this month on allegations that they illegally funneled foreign money into U.S. political campaigns.”

Continue reading Week 145, Friday, 25 October – Thursday, 31 October 2019 (Days 1,009-1,015)

House issues subpoenas to two Office of Management and Budget officials in impeachment inquiry; Trump praises Giuliani, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Reis Thebault, Friday, 25 October 2015: “House investigators pressed forward with their impeachment inquiry on Friday, issuing subpoenas to two Office of Management and Budget officials, one of whom has vowed that neither will cooperate with the Democratic-led probe. The move came as President Trump repeatedly insisted to reporters that he had done nothing wrong in pressing Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. He also praised his embattled personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani as a ‘great crime fighter.’ See also, Impeachment investigators issue subpoenas to 3 top Trump officials, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 25 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump’s acting budget director Russ Vought, part of a round of subpoenas sent by the House Intelligence Committee. Also subpoenaed were Michael Duffey, a senior official in the Office of Management and Budget, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, counsel at the State Department. All three men declined recent requests by investigators to testify voluntarily. Vought and Duffey are expected to face questions about their knowledge of a White House decision to block military aid to Ukraine despite approval from Congress and the Pentagon.”

Charles Kupperman, Key Witness in Impeachment Inquiry, Asks Federal Court to Rule Over Testifying, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Friday, 25 October 2019: “A key witness in the impeachment investigation filed a lawsuit Friday asking a federal judge to rule on whether he can testify, a move that raises new doubts about whether President Trump’s closest aides, like the former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, will be able to cooperate with the inquiry. House Democrats had subpoenaed the witness, Charles M. Kupperman, who served as Mr. Trump’s deputy national security adviser, to testify on Monday. But in an effort to stop Mr. Kupperman from doing so, the White House said on Friday that the president had invoked ‘constitutional immunity,’ leaving Mr. Kupperman uncertain about what to do.” See also, Charles Kupperman, Former top Trump aide, asks court to rule on whether he must testify in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins and Tom Hamburger, published on Saturday, 26 October 2019.

Advisers say Trump is frustrated as White House effort to defy impeachment inquiry fails to halt witness testimony, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 25 October 2019: “After weeks of dismissing the impeachment inquiry as a hollow partisan attack, President Trump and his closest advisers now recognize that the snowballing probe poses a serious threat to the president — and that they have little power to block it, according to multiple aides and advisers. The dawning realization comes as Democrats rapidly gather evidence from witness after witness testifying about the pressure put on Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rivals. The president is increasingly frustrated that his efforts to stop people from cooperating with the probe have so far collapsed under the weight of legally powerful congressional subpoenas, advisers said.”

Trump again appeals House subpoena for his tax returns from Mazars, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Friday, 25 October 2019: “President Donald Trump has asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his attempt to stop a subpoena of his longtime accounting firm, this time with Trump asking the full appellate court to reconsider his case. Trump lost his attempt to stop the House subpoena of accounting firm Mazars USA before a trial-level judge and 2-1 before an appellate panel. The courts so far have shot down Trump’s attempts to impede Congress’ subpoena power. The subpoena of Mazars, still halted in the appeals process, is one of several attempts by the House to dig up more financial records of Trump’s. This subpoena was for eight years of documents held by his accounting firm.”

Scientists Were Hunting for the Next Ebola. Now the U.S. Has Cut Off Their Funding. The New York Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Friday, 25 October 2019: “In a move that worries many public health experts, the federal government is quietly shutting down a surveillance program for dangerous animal viruses that someday may infect humans. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that a new animal disease that can also infect humans is discovered every four months. Ending the program, experts fear, will leave the world more vulnerable to lethal pathogens like Ebola and MERS that emerge from unexpected places, such as bat-filled treesgorilla carcasses and camel barns. The program, known as Predict and run by the United States Agency for International Development, was inspired by the 2005 H5N1 bird flu scareLaunched 10 years ago, the project has cost about $207 million.”

Trumps Put Their Washington Hotel on the Market, The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 25 October 2019: “It is the most visible and potent symbol of the ethics debate that has dogged President Trump as he has served simultaneously as the nation’s chief executive and real estate developer with a chain of luxury hotels. And now it is for sale. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, five blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, has been put on the market, just three years after the Trump family spent $200 million to open it in the historic, federally owned Old Post Office building, and at a time when Mr. Trump is facing impeachment and a tough 2020 re-election campaign.” See also, Trump Organization said to be weighing sale of D.C. hotel lease, The Washington Post, Jonathan O’Connell, Friday, 25 October 2019: “President Trump’s company is considering selling the lease of its D.C. hotel, according to two people familiar with the discussions. The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans they were not permitted to make public, said the Trump Organization had hired the firm JLL to market the project.” See also, Trump Organization Exploring Sale of Marquee Washington Hotel, The Wall Street Journal, Craig Karmin and Julie Bykowicz, Friday, 25 October 2019: “President Trump’s real-estate business is considering unloading its opulent Washington, D.C., hotel, a move it says is motivated partly by criticism that the Trumps are flouting government-ethics laws by profiting from the property.”

In Tribute to Elijah Cummings, Obama Hints at Rebuke of Trump, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 25 October 2019: “Former President Barack Obama, who has remained largely silent amid the convulsive impeachment debate now gripping the nation, offered a tribute to a late Democratic congressman on Friday that sounded to some listeners like an implicit rebuke of President Trump. Speaking at a service for Representative Elijah E. Cummings, who died last week, Mr. Obama never mentioned the president by name but seemed to draw a contrast between his successor and the congressman whom Mr. Trump denigrated last summer. Mr. Obama said that Mr. Cummings showed that being strong meant being kind and that being honorable was no flaw.”

Microsoft Wins Pentagon’s $10 Billion JEDI Contract, Thwarting Amazon, The New York Times, Kate Conger, David E. Sanger, and Scott Shane, Friday, 25 October 2019: “The Department of Defense on Friday awarded a $10 billion technology contract to Microsoft over Amazon in a contest that was closely watched after President Trump ramped up his criticism of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and said he might intervene.”

Trump Administration Cuts Flights to Most Cuban Airports, The New York Times, Zach Montague, Friday, 25 October 2019: “The Transportation Department announced Friday that it would suspend flights from the United States to nine airports in Cuba beginning in December. The policy will sever air service to every international airport there except the one in Havana. The suspensions were made at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who endorsed the measure as ‘in line with the president’s foreign policy toward Cuba,’ according to a statement from the State Department, which has targeted Cuba in the last year over its support for President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela…. The new suspensions announced on Friday follow several other recent measures aimed at complicating travel to and within Cuba. In June, the Trump administration banned cruise ships and several other classes of vessels from travel to the island. Last week, the Commerce Department said it would restrict the leasing of commercial aircraft to Cuba’s state-owned airlines. ”

Rudy Giuliani butt-dials NBC reporter and is heard discussing need for cash and trashing the Bidens, NBC News, Rich Schapiro, Friday, 25 October 2019: “Late in the night Oct. 16, Rudy Giuliani made a phone call to this reporter. The fact that Giuliani was reaching out wasn’t remarkable. He and the reporter had spoken earlier that evening for a story about his ties to a fringe Iranian opposition group. But this call, it would soon become clear, wasn’t a typical case of a source following up with a reporter. The call came in at 11:07 p.m. and went to voicemail; the reporter was asleep. The next morning, a message exactly three minutes long was sitting in the reporter’s voicemail. In the recording, the words tumbling out of Giuliani’s mouth were not directed at the reporter. He was speaking to someone else, someone in the same room.”


Saturday, 26 October 2019, Day 1,010:


Trump Approves Special Ops Raid Targeting ISIS Leader Baghdadi, and Military Says He’s Dead, Newsweek, James Laporta, Tom O’Connor, and Naveed Jamali, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “The United States military has conducted a special operations raid targeting one of its most high-value targets, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), Newsweek has learned. President Donald Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place. Amid reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of the top-secret operation in the last bastion of the country’s Islamist-dominated opposition, a faction that has clashed with ISIS in recent years.”

Thanks, Whistle-Blower, Your Work Is Done, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “[Trump tweeted on Thursday night:] Where is the Whistleblower, and why did he or she write such a fictitious and incorrect account of my phone call with the Ukrainian President?’… Why did the IG allow this to happen? Who is the so-called Informant (Schiff?) who was so inaccurate? A giant Scam!’ The thing is, Mr. Trump, virtually every piece of information that the public first learned from the whistle-blower’s complaint has been corroborated by the White House’s reconstructed transcript of your call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or by the congressional testimony and documents provided by current and former administration officials. In the few remaining cases, save one, journalists have backed up his assertions through reporting.” See also, The Impeachment Inquiry This Week in 6 Developments, The New York Times, Kaly Soto, Saturday, 26 October 2019. See also, In impeachment inquiry, Republican lawmakers ask questions about whistleblower, loyalty to Trump, and conspiracy theories, The Washington Post, Greg Miller and Rachael Bade, Saturday, 26 October 2019.

Company with ties to Trump’s brother Robert awarded $33 million government contract, The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “A company in which President Trump’s brother has a financial stake received a $33 million contract from the U.S. Marshals Service earlier this year, an award that has drawn protests from two other bidders, one of which has filed a complaint alleging possible favoritism in the bidding process. The lucrative government contract, to provide security for federal courthouses and cellblocks, went to CertiPath, a Reston, Va.-based company that since 2013 has been owned in part by a firm linked to Robert S. Trump, the president’s younger brother. After the contract was awarded, an anonymous rival bidder filed a complaint with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general alleging that CertiPath had failed to disclose that ‘one of the President’s closest living relatives stood to benefit financially from the transaction,’ according to a copy of the July 22 complaint letter obtained by The Washington Post.”

Philip Reeker, the diplomat in charge of U.S. policy for Europe, says top leadership of the State Department rejected his entreaties to publicly support Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Carol Morello, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “Philip Reeker, the diplomat in charge of U.S. policy for Europe, told House impeachment investigators Saturday that he appealed to top State Department leaders to publicly support the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who was the target of a conspiracy-fueled smear campaign, a person familiar with his testimony said. Reeker expressed his concerns over the falsehoods about Marie Yovanovitch to David Hale, the third-highest-ranking official in the State Department, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, the closest adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose friendship began when they attended the U.S. Military Academy together, the person said. He never discussed Yovanovitch with Pompeo, and he eventually heard from staffers for Hale that there would be no public statement in her defense, the person said.” See also, Philip Reeker, Acting Assistant Secretary in Charge of European and Eurasian Affairs, Says Attempts to Rally Top State Officials Behind Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Failed, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sharon LaFraniere, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “A top diplomat told impeachment investigators on Saturday that he repeatedly pressed top State Department leaders, in vain, to defend the United States ambassador to Ukraine in the face of false attacks that he said were orchestrated by the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. The account by Philip T. Reeker, the acting assistant secretary in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs, underscored the bewilderment in American diplomatic ranks over the State Department’s decision in May to recall Marie L. Yovanovitch, a highly respected career diplomat and the top American official in Ukraine, months before her term was up.” See also, State Department’s Philip Reeker Testifies Top Officials Blocked Show of Support for Ousted Ambassador, The Wall Street Journal, Vivian Salama, published on Sunday, 27 October 2019.

Gordon Sondland, U.S. Envoy to the European Union, Told House Committees That He Believed White House Meeting Was Conditioned on Ukraine Opening Investigations, His Lawyer Says, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “A top U.S. diplomat told House committees last week that efforts by President Trump and his allies to press Kyiv to open investigations in exchange for a White House meeting with Ukraine’s president amounted to a quid pro quo, his lawyer said. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told House committees that he believed Ukraine agreeing to open investigations into Burisma Group—a gas company where Democrat Joe Biden’s son once served on the board—and into alleged 2016 election interference was a condition for a White House meeting between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer Robert Luskin said.”

Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman claimed to have sway with both foreign billionaires and Trump administration officials, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “As they assisted President Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani in his search for damaging information about Democrats in Ukraine, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were also attempting to leverage ties they claimed to have to powerful Ukrainian figures and U.S. officials, according to people familiar with their activities. In meetings this summer, the two men said they could broker a multimillion-dollar deal to buy gas from the Middle East on behalf of a Ukrainian billionaire facing bribery charges in the United States. In another, Parnas and Fruman boasted they had enough sway in Trump’s administration to secure the attendance of Vice President Pence at the inauguration of the new Ukrainian president — for a price.”

‘Keep the Oil’: Trump Revives Charged Slogan for New Syria Troop Mission, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “President Trump has offered several justifications for an American withdrawal from Syria. He has dismissed the country as nothing but ‘sand and death,’ discounted its American-backed Kurdish fighters as ‘no angels,’ and argued that he is winding down ‘endless wars.’ But in recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria’s oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has ‘secured’ oil fields in the country’s chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country’s main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there. ‘We’ve secured the oil,’ Mr. Trump told reporters last week at the White House, before reminding them of how, during the Iraq war, he called for selling off Iraq’s oil to defray the conflict’s enormous cost.”

Michael Milken, Symbol of ’80’s Greed, Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas, The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Jesse Drucker, Saturday, 26 October 2019: “In the 1980s, Michael Milken embodied Wall Street greed. A swashbuckling financier, he was charged with playing a central role in a vast insider-trading scheme and was sent to prison for violating federal securities and tax laws. He was an inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in the film ‘Wall Street.’ Mr. Milken has spent the intervening decades trying to rehabilitate his reputation through an influential nonprofit think tank, the Milken Institute, devoted to initiatives ‘that advance prosperity.’ These days, the Milken Institute is a leading proponent of a new federal tax break that was intended to coax wealthy investors to plow money into distressed communities known as ‘opportunity zones.’ The institute’s leaders have helped push senior officials in the Trump administration to make the tax incentive more generous, even though it is under fire for being slanted toward the wealthy. Mr. Milken, it turns out, is in a position to personally gain from some of the changes that his institute has urged the Trump administration to enact. In one case, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, directly intervened in a way that benefited Mr. Milken, his longtime friend.”


Sunday, 27 October 2019, Day 1,011:


Trump Says ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi Is Dead, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Eric Schmitt, and Helene Cooper, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “President Trump announced on Sunday that a commando raid in Syria this weekend had targeted and resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, claiming a significant victory even as American forces are pulling out of the area. ‘Last night, the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice,’ Mr. Trump said in an unusual nationally televised address from the White House. ‘Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.’ Mr. Trump said Mr. al-Baghdadi was chased to the end of a tunnel, ‘whimpering and crying and screaming all the way’ as he was pursued by American military dogs. Accompanied by three children, Mr. al-Baghdadi then detonated a suicide vest, blowing up himself and the children, Mr. Trump said. Mr. al-Baghdadi’s body was mutilated by the blast, but Mr. Trump said a test had confirmed his identity. The president made a point of repeatedly portraying Mr. al-Baghdadi as ‘sick and depraved’ and him and his followers as ‘losers’ and ‘frightened puppies,’ using inflammatory, boastful language unlike the more solemn approaches by other presidents in such moments. ‘He died like a dog,”’Mr. Trump said. ‘He died like a coward.'” See also, Transcript of Trump’s Remarks on the Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, The New York Times, Sunday, 27 October 2019. See also, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48, The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi and Falih Hassan, Sunday, 27 October 2019. See also, C.I.A Got Tip on al-Baghdadi’s Location From Arrest of a Wife and a Courier, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “The surprising information about the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s general location — in a village deep inside a part of northwestern Syria controlled by rival Qaeda groups — came following the arrest and interrogation of one of Mr. al-Baghdadi’s wives and a courier this past summer, two American officials said. Armed with that initial tip, the C.I.A. worked closely with Iraqi and Kurdish intelligence officials in Iraq and Syria to identify Mr. al-Baghdadi’s more precise whereabouts and to put spies in place to monitor his periodic movements, allowing American commandos to stage an assault Saturday in which President Trump said Mr. al-Baghdadi died. But Mr. Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American forces from northern Syria disrupted the meticulous planning and forced Pentagon officials to press ahead with a risky, night raid before their ability to control troops and spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared, according to military, intelligence and counterterrorism officials. Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death, they said, occurred largely in spite of Mr. Trump’s actions. The officials praised the Kurds, who continued to provide information to the C.I.A. on Mr. al-Baghdadi even after Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw the American troops left the Syrian Kurds to confront a Turkish offensive alone. The Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, one official said, provided more intelligence for the raid than any single country.” See also, Al-Baghdadi Raid Was a Victory Built on Factors Trump Derides, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “The death of the Islamic State’s leader in a daring nighttime raid vindicated the value of three traditional American strengths: robust alliances, faith in intelligence agencies and the projection of military power around the world. But President Trump has regularly derided the first two. And even as he claimed a significant national security victory on Sunday, the outcome of the raid did little to quell doubts about the wisdom of his push to reduce the United States military presence in Syria at a time when terrorist threats continue to develop in the region. Mr. Trump has long viewed the United States intelligence agencies with suspicion and appears to see its employees as members of the “deep state.” He also has a distinctly skeptical view of alliances — in this case, close cooperation with the Kurds, whom he has effectively abandoned. ‘The irony of the successful operation against al-Baghdadi is that it could not have happened without U.S. forces on the ground that have been pulled out, help from Syrian Kurds who have been betrayed, and support of a U.S. intelligence community that has so often been disparaged,’ Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Sunday. ‘While the raid was obviously a welcome success, the conditions that made the operation possible may not exist in the future,’ he said.” See also, Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Will Damage ISIS but Not Destroy It, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard, Rukmini Callimachi, and Alissa J. Rubin, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “Before the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State had decentralized, allowing followers and franchises to carry out its violent ideology on their own.” See also, Trump says Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up as U.S. troops closed in, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan and Dan Lamothe, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “President Trump on Sunday announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive Islamic State commander, died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, an important breakthrough more than five years after the militant chief launched a self-proclaimed caliphate that inspired violence worldwide.” See also, Trump’s news conference on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, published on Monday, 28 October 2019. See also, Pelosi says Trump notified Russians of Baghdadi raid before telling congressional leaders, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday called on the White House to brief lawmakers on the raid that targeted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, noting that President Trump had informed Russia of the military operation before telling congressional leadership. The statement from Pelosi (D-Calif.) came after Trump told reporters at a lengthy news conference that he did not inform the House speaker of the raid because he ‘wanted to make sure this kept secret.’ U.S. presidents typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted. ‘The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,’ Pelosi said. ‘Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.’ Pelosi’s statement had echoes of a remark she had made during a fiery confrontation with Trump at the White House earlier this month. She asked him why ‘all roads lead to Putin,’ as she stood up and pointed a finger at Trump before leaving the meeting.” See also, Trump’s Syria Troop Withdrawal Complicated Plans for al-Baghdadi Raid, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Helene Cooper, and Julian E. Barnes, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “President Trump knew the Central Intelligence Agency and Special Operations commandos were zeroing in on the location for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, when he ordered American troops to withdraw from northern Syria earlier this month, intelligence, military and counterterrorism officials said on Sunday. For months, intelligence officials had kept Mr. Trump apprised of what he had set as a top priority, the hunt for Mr. al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist. But Mr. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal order three weeks ago disrupted the meticulous planning underway and forced Pentagon officials to speed up the plan for the risky night raid before their ability to control troops, spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared with the pullout, the officials said.” See also, Donald Trump Makes the Raid That Killed Baghdadi All About Him, The New Yorker, John Cassidy, published on Monday, 28 October 2019.

Moving Closer to Trump, Impeachment Inquiry Faces Critical Test, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators are speeding toward new White House barriers meant to block crucial testimony and evidence from the people who are closest to President Trump — obstacles that could soon test the limits of Democrats’ fact finding a month into their inquiry. What has been a rapidly moving investigation securing damning testimony from witnesses who have defied White House orders may soon become a more arduous effort. Investigators are now trying to secure cooperation from higher-ranking advisers who can offer more direct accounts of Mr. Trump’s actions but are also more easily shielded from Congress.” See also, A Clarifying, Upending Week in the Impeachment Inquiry, The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “On the eve of the 2016 election, Trump railed against a ‘rigged’ political system that was conspiring to produce a victory for Hillary Clinton. Observers pointed to the recklessness of his words and to the ways in which delegitimatizing the system might eventually culminate in unrest. He has gone considerably farther down that road. Last week, he called Republicans who do not support him ‘human scum,’ and referred to the impeaching process as a ‘lynching.’ According to the N.A.A.C.P., between 1882 and 1968 nearly five thousand people were lynched in the United States, three-quarters of them African-Americans. None of them had a former U.S. Attorney and mayor of New York City acting as their personal lawyer, or an entire political party defending them. The current situation has arisen not as a result of Democratic overreach but because the facts increasingly indicate that the President has committed impeachable violations.”

Trump met with sustained boos when introduced at Game 5 of the World Series, The Washington Post, Maura Judkis and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 27 October 2019: “President Trump was booed during Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night when he made a rare public appearance in a luxury ballpark suite in ­Democrat-dominated Washington. When the president was announced on the public address system after the third inning as part of a tribute to veterans, the crowd roared into sustained booing — hitting almost 100 decibels. Chants of ‘Lock him up’ and ‘Impeach Trump’ then broke out at Nationals Park, where a sellout crowd was watching the game between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.”


Monday, 28 October 2019, Day 1,012:


Democrats Move Toward Bringing Impeachment Inquiry Public, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 28 October 2019: “House Democrats moved quickly on Monday to bring their impeachment case against President Trump into the open, saying they would forgo court battles with defiant witnesses and would vote this week on procedures to govern nationally televised hearings. Representative Adam B. Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who is leading the inquiry, said that Democrats would not wait to fight the Trump administration in court as it moves to block key witness testimony. Instead, after Mr. Trump’s former deputy national security adviser defied a subpoena, he issued a warning: White House directives not to cooperate would only bolster the case that the president had abused his office and obstructed Congress. By the afternoon, Speaker Nancy Pelosi added to that sense of urgency, announcing that after weeks of private fact-finding, the full House would vote on Thursday to initiate a public phase of the inquiry. That vote would establish rules for the public presentation of evidence and outline due process rights for Mr. Trump.” See also, House will vote on impeachment procedures Thursday to ‘ensure transparency,’ Democrats say, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Brittany Shammas, Monday, 28 October 2019: “House Democrats said Monday that the House will vote Thursday to formalize procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Democrats said the move would “ensure transparency and provide a clear path forward” as the inquiry continues.” See also, House to take first vote on impeachment inquiry of Trump, forcing lawmakers on record, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian, and Mike DeBonis, published on Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “The House will take its first vote on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Thursday, forcing lawmakers to go on record in support or opposition of the investigation and dictating the rules for its next phase. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that the vote would ‘affirm’ the existing probe, now in its sixth week, and establish which hearings would be open and how the transcripts from witnesses who have already testified in closed sessions would be released. Pelosi said the vote also would grant due process to the president and his attorney, countering a repeated criticism by Trump that he has been treated unfairly.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says House to Vote on Impeachment Inquiry This Week, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Byron Tau, Monday, 28 October 2019: “The House of Representatives will vote on a resolution laying out Democrats’ path forward on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and move to a public phase of the investigation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Monday.” See also, Democrats prepare to take impeachment probe public, Politico, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and Kyle Cheney, Monday, 28 October 2019.

Justice Department appeals order to release Mueller grand jury materials to House in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Monday, 28 October 2019: “The Justice Department has appealed a federal judge’s order to release certain grand jury materials from Robert S. Mueller III’s special counsel investigation to the House Judiciary Committee by Wednesday, asking a court to stay its demand to disclose materials pending appeal…. In a 75-page opinion Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington handed a victory to House Democrats, saying the House was legally engaged in a judicial process that exempts Congress from normal grand jury secrecy rules.” See also, Trump administration appeals ruling on Mueller grand jury material, Politico, Josh Gerstein, Monday, 28 October 2019.

Lt. Col Alexander S. Vindman, the Top Ukraine Expert on the National Security Council, Heard Trump’s Ukraine Call and Reported Concerns, The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Monday, 28 October 2019: “A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior. Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a ‘sense of duty,’ he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.” See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Monday, 28 October 2019.

White House told in May of Ukraine President Zelenskiy’s concerns about Giuliani and Sondland, NBC News, Josh Lederman and Dan De Luce, Monday, 28 October 2019: “The White House was alerted as early as mid-May — earlier than previously known — that a budding pressure campaign by Rudy Giuliani and one of President Donald Trump’s ambassadors was rattling the new Ukrainian president, two people with knowledge of the matter tell NBC News. Alarm bells went off at the National Security Council when the White House’s top Europe official was told that Giuliani was pushing the incoming Ukrainian administration to shake up the leadership of state-owned energy giant Naftogaz, the sources said. The official, Fiona Hill, learned then about the involvement of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Giuliani associates who were helping with the Naftogaz pressure and also with trying to find dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.”

As Kurds Tracked ISIS Leader, U.S. Withdrawal Threw Raid Into Turmoil, The New York Times, Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt, Monday, 28 October 2019: “When the international manhunt for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, zoomed in on a village in northwestern Syria, the United States turned to its local allies to help track the world’s most-wanted terrorist. The American allies, a Kurdish-led force that had partnered with the United States to fight ISIS, sent spies to watch his isolated villa. To confirm it was him, they stole a pair of Mr. al-Baghdadi’s underwear — long, white boxers — and obtained a blood sample, both for DNA testing, the force’s commander, Mazlum Abdi, said in a phone interview on Monday. American officials would not discuss the specific intelligence provided by the Kurds, but said that their role in finding Mr. al-Baghdadi was essential — more so than all other countries combined, as one put it — contradicting President Trump’s assertion over the weekend that the United States ‘got very little help.'”

Bernie Sanders gets personal in a conversation about Israel policy, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and David Weigel, Monday, 28 October 2019: “Within 90 seconds of stepping onstage in a crowded convention hall Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders raised an issue he rarely mentions while running for president: his identity. ‘I am very proud to be Jewish and look forward to being the first Jewish president,’ he said. The senator from Vermont spoke of relatives killed in the Holocaust and centuries of suffering before concluding that ‘if there is any people on earth who should do everything humanly possible’ to combat President Trump’s divisiveness, ‘it is the Jewish people.’ The comments, at a conference in Washington hosted by the liberal Jewish organization J Street, were Sanders’s most direct attempt yet to fuse his heritage to his political approach and policy agenda. His participation also served as a stark reminder of the distinctive space he occupies in the Democratic field. Sanders is the only prominent Jewish candidate, a vocal critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a staunch Palestinian defender and the preferred candidate of the nation’s first two Muslim congresswomen.”

State Court Bars Using North Carolina House Map in 2020 Elections, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Monday, 28 October 2019: “A North Carolina state court effectively threw out the state’s map of congressional districts on Monday, saying critics were poised to show ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander favoring Republicans. The ruling, by a three-judge panel in Superior Court in Raleigh, technically imposes a temporary ban on using the map in primary elections next spring. But the judges signaled that they were unlikely to change their minds by inviting plaintiffs in the case to seek a summary judgment ending the case in their favor. And the judges said they were prepared to postpone primary elections should that prove necessary to further litigate the case or draw new House districts.”

Dissent Erupts at Facebook Over Hands-Off Stance on Political Ads, The New York Times, Mike Isaac, Monday, 28 October 2019: “The letter was aimed at Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and his top lieutenants. It decried the social network’s recent decision to let politicians post any claims they wanted — even false ones — in ads on the site. It asked Facebook’s leaders to rethink the stance. The message was written by Facebook’s own employees. Facebook’s position on political advertising is ‘a threat to what FB stands for,’ the employees wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. ‘We strongly object to this policy as it stands.'” See also, Read the Letter Facebook Employees Sent to Mark Zuckerberg About Political Ads, The New York Times, Monday, 28 October 2019.

General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry, The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Monday, 28 October 2019: “Breaking with some of their biggest rivals, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards for automobiles. Their decision pits them against leading competitors, including Honda and Ford, who this year reached a deal to follow California’s stricter rules. It represents the latest twist in one of the Trump administration’s most consequential rollbacks of regulations designed to fight climate change. It has also opened a rift among the world’s biggest automakers — the very industrial giants that the Trump administration maintains it was trying to help with regulatory relief. The Trump administration has proposed a major weakening of federal auto emissions standards set during the Obama administration, prompting California to declare that it will go its own course and keep enforcing the earlier, stricter standards.” See also, GM, Toyota, and Chrysler side with the White House in fight over California fuel standards, exposing auto industry split, The Washington Post, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Monday, 28 October 2019.

Trump Came to Chicago With Insults. For Chicagoans, the Feeling Was Mutual. The New York Times, Julie Bosman, Monday, 28 October 2019: ““He’s not welcome in our city,” said Pam Capraro, 65, as she walked along the Chicago River to join a chanting, singing, sign-waving, occasionally sousaphone-playing crowd outside the Trump International Hotel & Tower. ‘He represents everything that Chicago isn’t — racism, sexism, xenophobia.'”

Here are five overlooked controversies from Trump’s economic team and other top officials, The Washington Post, Tory Newmyer, Monday, 28 October 2019: “The headlines that the Trump administration’s economic hands and other top officials continue generating usually would keep congressional investigators fully occupied. But they’ve taken a back seat so far to even bigger developments transfixing the attention of official Washington and beyond — from the Ukraine scandal and the impeachment inquiry it has launched, to the ongoing crisis in Syria. Here’s what you should know about five revelations from the past several days alone that are all deserving of follow-up.”


Tuesday, 29 October 2019, Day 1,013:


Democrats Unveil Proposed Rules for Public Impeachment Proceedings, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “President Trump’s lawyers would be allowed to present a formal defense of him and cross-examine witnesses once the House Judiciary Committee begins debate over whether to impeach him, under proposed rules House Democrats unveiled on Tuesday to begin the next, more public phase of their inquiry. A vote on the rules scheduled for Thursday would mark the first time the full House would go on the record explicitly blessing the impeachment inquiry. Styled as a direction to continue ‘ongoing’ impeachment investigations, the Democrats produced the resolution after weeks of complaints by Republicans about the lack of such a vote. But while the rules would afford the president many of the rights that congressional Republicans have demanded, including allowing Mr. Trump’s lawyers or Republican lawmakers to submit written proposals to call additional witnesses, they are unlikely to satisfy his allies. As in past impeachment inquiries, Democrats as the majority party could block subpoenas requested by the minority Republicans if they disagreed that hearing from those people was necessary. That could foreshadow a fight over whether to call such people as the unidentified C.I.A. whistle-blower who brought to light Mr. Trump’s use of his powers to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.” See also, Democrats Unveil procedures for Trump’s impeachment inquiry, rebutting Republican attacks, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Monday, 29 October 2019: “House Democrats unveiled new procedures for the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Tuesday, responding to Republican demands for due process by setting out rules for future public hearings delving into whether Trump should be removed from office. The resolution backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hands the lead role to the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who would have broad latitude to organize extended questioning of potential public witnesses. Two other committees that have so far participated in the closed-door investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform — would not be permitted to directly participate in the open proceedings under the legislation.” See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the Top Ukraine Expert on the National Security Council, Sought, but Failed, to Correct Transcript of Trump Call With Ukraine’s President, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Nicholas Fandos, and Danny Hakim, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony. The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter. Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.” See also, Vindman offers a firsthand account of critical episodes in alleged quid pro quo, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian and Greg Jaffe, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine expert assigned to the National Security Council, testified in the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday, offering new details on the push for investigations of President Trump’s political rivals and corroborating other witnesses with his firsthand account of the alleged attempt at a quid pro quo. Vindman is the first impeachment witness to have listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump said he wanted a ‘favor’ after Zelensky broached defense cooperation between the United States and Ukraine, a key component of which is American military aid. Vindman was listening from the White House Situation Room along with other NSC officials and members of Vice President Pence’s staff, he said in prepared remarks, and was so ‘concerned by the call’ — and that the president’s request could be seen as ‘a partisan play’ that could ‘undermine U.S. national security’ — that he reported it to the NSC’s lead counsel.” See also, Read the document: Opening Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, The Washington Post, published on Monday, 28 October 2019. See also, Firsthand account of Trump’s Ukraine call by Alexander Vindman puts Republicans in a bind and emboldens Democrats, The Washington Post, Rachael Bade, Karoun Demirjian, Mike DeBonis, and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 29 October 2019. See also, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who oversees Ukraine policy at the White House, testifies Trump undermined national security with Ukraine pressure, Politico, Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, published on Monday, 28 October 2019: “A senior White House official told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he believed President Donald Trump undermined national security when he appealed to Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by POLITICO.” See also, Democrats and Republicans Spar Over White House Aide Col. Vindman in Combative Impeachment Hearing, The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, Andrew Restuccia, and Siobhan Hughes, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Testimony of a White House national security official turned combative Tuesday as Democrats accused Republicans of trying to unmask the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, while the GOP lawmakers argued theirs was a legitimate line of questioning. The appearance by Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a White House Ukraine expert who testified that he expressed alarm at a U.S. pressure campaign on Ukraine’s president over the summer, spurred Mr. Trump and his allies to attack his background and credentials, which drew some pushback from Republicans.” See also, Meet Alexander Vindman, the Colonel Who Testified on Trump’s Phone Call, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 29 October 2019. See also, ‘Extremely disturbing’: Top Democrats alarmed over Vindman’s testimony on Trump-Ukraine call, NBC News, Adam Edelman and Rebecca Shabad, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was ‘extremely disturbing’ and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House. The closed-door deposition before House impeachment investigators lasted more than 10 hours. Once it concluded, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters that he hopes Vindman’s example of patriotism ‘will be emulated by others.’ Schiff said that he was ‘deeply appalled’ by attacks made against Vindman on Fox News Tuesday night.” See also, Trump allies attack loyalty of impeachment inquiry witness because he was born in Ukraine, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Seung Min Kim, and Mike DeBonis, Tuesday, 29 October 2019. See also, After Vindman’s Testimony Went Public, Right-Wing Conspiracies Fired Up, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum and Davey Alba, Tuesday, 29 October 2019.

Gordon Sondland, Trump’s most favorable witness, faces credibility crisis, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Natasha Bertrand, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Though Democrats are more confident than ever in their growing impeachment case against President Donald Trump, they’re also setting their sights on a top Trump ally: Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Some Democrats have begun to raise the specter that Sondland, a Republican donor who is Trump’s representative to the European Union, perjured himself during his closed-door testimony to impeachment investigators earlier this month. Testimony from other witnesses has put the credibility of Trump’s most favorable witness into serious doubt as the White House struggles to define a response to the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry beyond simply refusing to cooperate with it. Democrats have cited Sondland’s repeated memory lapses pertaining to central events surrounding Trump’s pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden.”

Internal White House debate stifles release of Pence-Zelenskiy call, NBC News, Monica Alba and Carol E. Lee, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “It’s been almost three weeks since Vice President Mike Pence said he had “no objection” to releasing a reconstructed transcript of his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. But as House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry continues moving swiftly into its second month, the White House still has not made a decision on whether to make those details of Pence’s call public. The internal debate has divided White House officials over whether releasing the call would help or hurt their flailing efforts to counter accusations that President Donald Trump held up military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals, according to two people familiar with the discussions.”

House Judiciary Committee says it has ‘urgent’ need for Mueller grand jury documents, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “The House Judiciary Committee argued to a federal judge on Tuesday it has an ‘urgent’ need for access to grand jury secrets from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Trump administration had appealed a decision giving the House access to the details by Thursday, and is asking the courts to step in to pause the handover of grand jury transcripts, exhibits and currently redacted details in the Mueller report. ‘The public interest demands a swift but thorough impeachment investigation,’ the House wrote in its filing Tuesday. ‘Delay in this case would not only hinder the House’s ability to consider impeachment quickly, but also enhance DOJ’s ability to run out the clock on the committee’s impeachment inquiry altogether.’ The House argues it wants to see the details both for its Ukraine impeachment investigation and in examining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the Russia investigation, which Mueller thoroughly investigated.”

Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050 Than Previously Thought, New Research Shows, The New York Times, Denise Lu and Christopher Flavelle, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “Rising seas could affect three times more people by 2050 than previously thought, according to new research, threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities. The authors of a paper published Tuesday developed a more accurate way of calculating land elevation based on satellite readings, a standard way of estimating the effects of sea level rise over large areas, and found that the previous numbers were far too optimistic. The new research shows that some 150 million people are now living on land that will be below the high-tide line by midcentury.”

No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “The United States is on track to not admit any refugees in October, after already canceling around 500 flights this month, CNN has learned. A pause on admissions that was expected to lift on Tuesday will now extend into November, leaving those who expected to resettle in the US in limbo. It also means additional travel will need to be canceled and re-booked at the expense of federal taxpayers.”

Alabama Abortion Ban Is Temporarily Blocked by a Federal Judge, The New York Times, Rick Rojas and Alan Blinder, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect next month in Alabama, ensuring the procedure remains legal and available in the state while the case winds its way through the courts. In ruling against the Alabama law — the most far-reaching anti-abortion measure passed by state lawmakers this year — Judge Myron H. Thompson of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama wrote that it violates Supreme Court precedent and ‘defies’ the Constitution.” See also, Federal judge blocks Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Tuesday, 29 October 2019. See also, Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Restrictive Alabama Abortion Law, The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas, Tuesday, 29 October 2019.

In Another Bipartisan Rebuke of Trump, House Votes for Sanctions Against Turkey, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to impose a series of sweeping sanctions on Turkey over its brutal assault on the Kurds in northern Syria, dealing its second bipartisan rebuke to President Trump this month for pulling back American forces to allow for the Turkish incursion. The measure drew broad support from Republicans, including the party’s leaders, underscoring how Mr. Trump’s decision to effectively surrender American influence in the region and abandon Kurdish fighters has provoked the most vocal and intense criticism of the president by his own party since he was elected. The vote was 403 to 16, with 15 Republicans and one Democrat, Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, voting against the legislation. This month, two-thirds of House Republicans joined with Democrats to censure his withdrawal of troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote. It was, at the time, the most significant bipartisan repudiation of Mr. Trump since he took office.”

House Passes Resolution Recognizing Armenian Genocide, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Rick Gladstone, Tuesday, 29 October 2019: “The House voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to formally recognize the Armenian genocide and denounce it as a matter of American foreign policy, a symbolic vindication for the Armenian diaspora made possible by a new torrent of bipartisan furor at Turkey.”


Wednesday, 30 October 2019, Day 1,014:


White House lawyer John Eisenberg moved transcript of Trump call to classified server after Ukraine adviser Alexander Vindman raised alarms, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Greg Miller, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Moments after President Trump ended his phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25, an unsettled national security aide rushed to the office of White House lawyer John Eisenberg. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine adviser at the White House, had been listening to the call and was disturbed by the pressure Trump had applied to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rivals, according to people familiar with Vindman’s testimony to lawmakers this week. Vindman told Eisenberg, the White House’s legal adviser on national security issues, that what the president did was wrong, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. Scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad, Eisenberg proposed a step that other officials have said is at odds with long-standing White House protocol: moving a transcript of the call to a highly classified server and restricting access to it, according to two people familiar with Vindman’s account.”

Trump’s Ukraine dishonesty barrage continues. He made 96 false claims last week. CNN Politics, Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “President Donald Trump was relentlessly dishonest last week about the scandal over his dealings with Ukraine, making false claims about just about every component of the story. Trump made 96 false claims last week, the second-highest total of the 16 weeks we’ve counted at CNN. He made 53 false claims last Monday alone — a remarkable 31 in rambling comments at his Cabinet meeting and 22 more in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.”

John Bolton Is Summoned to Testify in Trump Impeachment Inquiry, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “House impeachment investigators on Wednesday summoned John R. Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and two top White House lawyers to testify next week in their inquiry into Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, closing in on critical witnesses as they prepare to go public with their investigation…. But his appearance is far from assured. His lawyer said that Mr. Bolton was ‘not willing to appear voluntarily,’ declining to specify what his client would do should he be subpoenaed.” See also, House Committees Seek John Bolton’s Testimony in Impeachment Inquiry, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus, Siobhan Hugnes, and Warren P. Strobel, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “House committees are seeking to depose John Bolton next week for their impeachment inquiry, after a series of witnesses have testified that the former national security adviser raised alarms about efforts by Rudy Giuliani and Trump administration officials to push for investigations in Ukraine. The committees also requested testimony on Nov. 4 from John Eisenberg, a top White House lawyer who heard concerns about Mr. Giuliani’s efforts, and his deputy, Michael Ellis, said a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Eisenberg directed that the records of a July 25 call between President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, in which the president pressed for investigations into Democrat Joe Biden and alleged election interference, be moved into a classified computer system typically reserved for the government’s most precious secrets, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The decision to move the records of the call were referenced in a whistleblower complaint filed in August that helped spark the impeachment inquiry.” See also, House investigators seek John Bolton’s testimony in impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Elise Viebeck, Karoun Demirjian, and Rachael Bade, Wednesday, 30 October 2019. See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Wednesday, 30 October 2019. See also, Democrats, Once Wary of Partisan Impeachment Inquiry Vote, Unite as Politics Shift, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Wednesday, 30 October 2019.

Top State Department Official John Sullivan Confirms Smear Campaign Against Marie Yovanovitch, Ousted Ambassador to Ukraine, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “John Sullivan, the deputy secretary of state, said on Wednesday that President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani was involved in a smear campaign to oust the ambassador to Ukraine, publicly confirming a key part of the saga behind the impeachment inquiry. Jumping into an impeachment fight that so far has been waged in the House behind closed doors, Senate Democrats used Mr. Sullivan’s nomination to be President Trump’s next ambassador to Russia to bring the drama into the open. Mr. Sullivan, testifying under oath and on camera before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, corroborated private testimony from one of House Democrats’ central impeachment witnesses, Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Pressed on whether he believed it was appropriate for the president to demand investigations into domestic political opponents, Mr. Sullivan said, ‘I don’t think that would be in accord with our values.'” See also, Trump’s choice to be ambassador to Russia breaks with him over Ukraine phone call, Politico, Nahal Toosi, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan implicitly broke with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, telling lawmakers that it would not be ‘in accord with our values’ for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. Sullivan was speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is vetting his nomination as the next U.S. ambassador to Russia. His appearance has offered Senate Democrats a rare chance to quiz a top Trump administration official on issues related to the House-led impeachment inquiry into Trump — and they took full advantage.”

State Department officials Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson offer new details about Trump’s shadow diplomacy with Ukraine, Politico, Adrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Two veteran foreign service officers revealed new details to House impeachment investigators on Wednesday about the unconventional efforts by President Donald Trump’s associates to influence U.S. policy toward Ukraine, according to copies of their opening statements obtained by POLITICO. Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, State Department officials who served as senior advisers on Ukraine, described to investigators the unusual intrusion into U.S. foreign policy by Trump-aligned consultants, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Robert Livingston, a lobbyist and former GOP congressman.” See also, READ: Ukraine Specialist Catherine Croft’s Written Testimony in Impeachment Inquiry, NPR, Brandon Carter, Wednesday, 30 October 2019. See also, READ: Christopher Anderson’s Written Testimony in Impeachment Inquiry, NPR, Amita Kelly, Wednesday, 30 October 2019. See also, Testimony from career diplomats Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson outlines Trump’s dark view of Ukraine, The Washington Post, John Hudson and Elise Viebeck, Wednesday, 30 October 2019. See also, Ex-Representative Bob Livingston, player in Clinton impeachment, emerges as character in Trump impeachment inquiry, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Anu Narayanswamy, Wednesday, 30 October 2019.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that Kashyap Patel, an acolyte of Republican Representative Devin Nunes, misrepresented himself to Trump as Ukraine expert, Politico, Natasha Bertrand, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “The decorated Army officer who testified to House investigators on Tuesday told lawmakers that a close associate of Republican Rep. Devin Nunes ‘misrepresented’ himself to President Donald Trump in an effort to involve himself further in Ukraine policy, according to two people familiar with his closed-door deposition. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, told lawmakers that after attending Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration in May as part of a delegation led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Vindman had been looking forward to debriefing Trump and giving a positive account of Zelensky’s vision for Ukraine’s future. ‘The U.S. government policy community’s view is that the election of Zelenskyy and the promise of reforms to eliminate corruption will lock in Ukraine’s Western-leaning trajectory, and allow Ukraine to realize its dream of a vibrant democracy and economic prosperity,’ Vindman said in his opening statement. But he was instructed ‘at the last second’ not to attend the debriefing, Vindman told lawmakers, because Trump’s advisers worried it might confuse the president: Trump believed at the time that Kashyap Patel, a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February and had no discernible Ukraine experience or expertise, was actually the NSC’s top Ukraine expert instead of Vindman.”

Tim Morrison, Trump’s Russia Director, to Leave National Security Council Amid Impeachment Inquiry, NPR, Franco Ordonez, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump’s National Security Council, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, is set to leave his White House post imminently, three sources familiar with the plan told NPR…. Morrison is a crucial figure in the House Democratic investigation into whether Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch an investigation of a political rival. Morrison had alerted NSC lawyers about alleged demands being placed on the Ukrainian government to investigate a company where the son of former Vice President Joe Biden sat on the board, according to testimony this month from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine.”

Two Disputed Judicial Nominees Could Help Trump Reach Milestone, The New York Times, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “President Trump is nearing a milestone in his push to overhaul the federal judiciary with conservative judges. If the Senate confirms a batch of nominees now working their way through the approval process, a quarter of the nation’s 179 appeals court judges — those sitting just below the Supreme Court — will be appointees of Mr. Trump. That number is far higher than the number of appointees to the appeals court that either George W. Bush or Barack Obama had made at this point in their presidencies.”

Trump judicial nominee Lawrence VanDyke cries over scathing letter from the American Bar Association, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “The American Bar Association had no shortage of criticism in its assessment of the Trump administration’s new judicial nominee. Colleagues found Lawrence VanDyke to be ‘arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice,’ the chair of an ABA committee wrote in the scathing letter, the result of 60 interviews with lawyers, judges and others who worked with the Justice Department attorney. Acquaintances also alleged a lack of humility, an ‘entitlement’ temperament,’ a closed mind and an inconsistent ‘commitment to being candid,’ the letter said. It deemed VanDyke ‘not qualified’ for a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.”

Georgia Plans to Purge 300,000 Names From Its Voter Rolls, The New York Times, Nicholas Casey, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “A coming purge of Georgia’s voter rolls has raised alarms among advocacy groups in the state and nationwide, many of whom see the issue of who gets to cast a ballot re-emerging with next year’s election, particularly in battleground states. This week, Georgia state officials said they would be removing about 300,000 names from their lists of eligible voters, a number that amounts to almost 4 percent of those registered to vote.”

Twitter Will Ban All Political Ads, C.E.O. Jack Dorsey Says, The New York Times, Kate Conger, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Twitter said on Wednesday that it would ban all political ads, putting a spotlight on the power and veracity of online advertising and ramping up pressure on Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to reverse his hands-off stance. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, said political ads, including manipulated videos and the viral spread of misleading information, presented challenges to civic discourse, ‘all at increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale.’ He said he worried the ads had ‘significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.’ He added that he believed that the reach of political messages ‘should be earned, not bought.'” See also, Twitter to ban all political ads amid 2020 election uproar, The Washington Post, Tony Romm and Isaac Stanley-Becker, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Twitter on Wednesday said it would ban all advertisements about political candidates, elections and hot-button policy issues such as abortion and immigration, a significant shift that comes in response to growing concerns that politicians are seizing on the vast reach of social media to deceive voters ahead of the 2020 election.” See also, Twitter drops all political ads in shot at Zuckerberg, Politico, Nancy Scola and Steven Overly, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Twitter will no longer run political ads, CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Wednesday in a shot across the bow at Facebook, which faces rising heat over its policy of allowing candidates to lie in their campaign messaging. The move drew quick praise from Democrats including Hillary Clinton, who called it ‘the right thing to do for democracy in America and all over the world.’ But it provoked an immediate rebuke from President Donald Trump’s campaign, which denounced it as ‘yet another attempt to silence conservatives.'” See also, Twitter to Ban Political Ads, The Wall Street Journal, Georgia Wells and Emily Glazer, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Twitter Inc. is banning political advertising, taking the opposite position of rival Facebook Inc. on an issue that is riling campaigns and prompting social-media companies to rethink how to deal with the spread of potentially false and misleading information on their platforms.”

Russia Tests New Disinformation Tactics in Africa to Expand Influence, The New York Times, Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Russia has been testing new disinformation tactics in an enormous Facebook campaign in parts of Africa, as part of an evolution of its manipulation techniques ahead of the 2020 American presidential election. Facebook said on Wednesday that it removed three Russian-backed influence networks on its site that were aimed at African countries including Mozambique, Cameroon, Sudan and Libya. The company said the online networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch who was indicted by the United States and accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election.”

How the New Syria Took Shape, The New York Times, Allison McCann, Anjali Singhvi, and Jeremy White, Wednesday, 30 October 2019: “Russia, Turkey, and Bashar al-Assad carved up northern Syria as the Americans retreated.”


Thursday, 31 October 2019, Day 1,015:


A Divided House Endorses Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Sheryl Gay Stolbert, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A bitterly divided House of Representatives voted Thursday to endorse the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump, in a historic action that set up a critical new public phase of the investigation and underscored the political polarization that serves as its backdrop. The vote was 232 to 196 to approve a resolution that sets out rules for an impeachment process for which there are few precedents, and which promises to consume the country a little more than a year before the 2020 elections. It was only the third time in modern history that the House had taken a vote on an impeachment inquiry into a sitting president.” See also, A divided House backs impeachment probe of Trump, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, and Elise Viebeck, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A divided House approved a resolution Thursday formally authorizing and articulating guidelines for the next phase of its impeachment inquiry, a move that signaled Democrats are on course to bring charges against President Trump later this year.” See also, House Passes Impeachment Resolution on Stark Partisan Lines, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Vivian Salama, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “The House passed a resolution almost entirely along party lines laying out the framework for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry, the first significant vote since the investigation into President Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine began last month.” See also, House votes to formalize impeachment inquiry procedures, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Jeremy Herb, Alex Rogers, and Haley Byrd, Thursday, 31 October 2019. See also, House takes huge impeachment step with vote on Trump investigation, Politico, Sarah Ferris and John Bresnahan, Thursday, 31 October 2019. See also, The Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What Happened Today, The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Thursday, 31 October 2019. See also, The full Trump-Ukraine timeline, The Washington Post, Philip Bump and Aaron Blake, published on 1 November 2019. See also, Meet the Democrats Who Broke Ranks on Impeachment, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 31 October 2019.

Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council Aide, Confirms He Saw Signs of a Quid Pro Quo on Ukraine, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A National Security Council aide testified on Thursday that a top diplomat who was close to President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating Mr. Trump’s political rivals, corroborating a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry. The closed-door deposition by Timothy Morrison, who announced his resignation on Wednesday on the eve of his appearance before impeachment investigators, suggests that a Trump-appointed ambassador proposed a quid pro quo in which security assistance money allocated by Congress would be provided only in exchange for the political investigations the president was seeking. His account confirmed the one given last week by Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, during his private testimony. Mr. Morrison briefed Mr. Taylor on a series of communications involving the president and his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, according to his prepared remarks for Thursday’s appearance, which were reviewed by The New York Times.” See also, Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on Trump’s National Security Council, corroborates diplomat’s account that Trump appeared to seek quid pro quo with Ukraine, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, John Hudson, Karoun Demirjian, and Rachael Bade, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A White House adviser on Thursday corroborated key impeachment testimony from a senior U.S. diplomat who said last week he was alarmed by efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate President Trump’s political rivals in exchange for nearly $400 million in military aid. Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Trump’s National Security Council, told House investigators over eight hours of closed-door testimony that the ‘substance’ of his conversations recalled by William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was ‘accurate,’ according to his prepared remarks and people familiar with Morrison’s testimony. In particular, Morrison verified that Trump’s envoy to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, conveyed to a Ukrainian official that the military aid would be released if the country investigated an energy firm linked to the son of former vice president Joe Biden. Morrison, who announced his resignation the night before his testimony, said he did not necessarily view the president’s demands as improper or illegal, but rather problematic for U.S. policy in supporting an ally in the region.” See also, Tim Morrison, top National Security Council Russia official, confirms key testimony linking Trump to quid pro quo with Ukraine, Politico, Andrew Desiderio, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “President Donald Trump’s top Russia aide on Thursday corroborated aspects of a key U.S. diplomat’s testimony connecting the president to a quid pro quo with Ukraine, according to people familiar with the aide’s testimony to House impeachment investigators.” See also, White House National Security Official Tim Morrison Says Trump Phone Call to Ukraine Leader Was Concerning, The Wall Street Journal, Natalie Andrews and Vivian Salama, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A White House national security official who listened to President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president said he was concerned by the conversation but heard nothing illegal, while also backing a previous witness’s testimony that tied held-up aid to an investigation related to the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.”

Trump is rewarding with cold cash Republican senators who support him on impeachment, Politico, Alex Isenstadt, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don’t to get on board. Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as ‘unprecedented and undemocratic.'”

Trump’s Claim That Aides Are Immune From Testifying Before Congress Is Tested in Courts, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A federal judge on Thursday sharply questioned a Justice Department lawyer about President Trump’s attempt to block a congressional subpoena to his former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, suggesting that the Trump administration’s legal arguments posed a threat to constitutional checks and balances.” See also, Charles Kupperman, John Bolton’s former deputy, asks judge to resolve conflicting demands for House impeachment testimony, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “Lawyers for two former high-level Trump administration officials were in court Thursday in legal battles that center on whether they will testify in the House impeachment inquiry and test the limits of the administration’s claims that presidential advisers are ‘absolutely immune’ from congressional subpoena. Both cases come down to whether the two former aides — White House counsel Donald McGahn and deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman — can be forced to testify on Capitol Hill. The cases — heard simultaneously in neighboring courtrooms in the District Court in Washington — set up a separation-of-powers test between the White House and Congress that could affect other impeachment-related testimony.” See also, Judge chides the Department of Justice for trying to block the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, star Mueller witness, Politico, Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “A federal judge sharply challenged the Trump administration on Thursday over its objections to a House Democratic lawsuit trying to force the testimony of one of Robert Mueller’s star witnesses as part of their broader impeachment inquiry. Lawmakers have been fighting to bring in former White House counsel Don McGahn for questioning since he showed up repeatedly at the center of anecdotes detailing President Donald Trump’s potential obstruction of justice in the special counsel’s final report. But the Justice Department has tried to block McGahn’s testimony, arguing that the ex-Trump aide can essentially ignore a congressional subpoena related to his time in the White House, and that the courts shouldn’t weigh in on a dispute between Congress and the executive branch.”

Keystone Pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons of oil in second big spill in two years, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “Approximately 383,000 gallons of crude oil have spilled into a North Dakota wetland this week in the latest leak from the Keystone Pipeline, fueling long-standing opposition to plans for the pipeline network’s extension.”

Environmental Protection Agency to Roll Back Rules to Control Toxic Metals from Coal Plants, The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation that was to limit emissions of dangerous heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury from coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans. In a rule expected as early as Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency will move to weaken the 2015 regulation by relaxing some of the requirements on power generators and also exempting a significant number of power plants from even those requirements. The effort was designed to extend the life of old, coal-fired power plants that have been shutting down in the face of competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy generators. Environmental groups warned that the move could lead to health problems caused by contaminated drinking water, including birth defects, cancer and stunted brain development in young children.”

Katie Hill condemns ‘misogynistic culture’ and ‘gutter politics’ in her exit from Congress, The Washington Post, Brittany Sahmmas, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “In her final speech from the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Katie Hill apologized for her mistakes but also condemned the ‘double standard’ and ‘misogynistic culture’ that she said forced her to resign. The 32-year-old California congresswoman, who had been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, announced Sunday that she was stepping down amid an ethics inquiry into allegations that she had an improper relationship with a staffer. The claims surfaced on conservative websites, which also published nude photos of Hill and details of her sex life with her estranged husband…. ‘I’m leaving,’ Hill said. ‘But we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in boardrooms, on the Supreme Court, in this very body, and worst of all, in the Oval Office. So the fight goes on to create the change that every woman and girl in this country deserves.'” See also, Katie Hill’s resignation speech, annotated, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Thursday, 31 October 2019.

Trump, Lifelong New Yorker, Declares Himself a Resident of Florida, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 31 October 2019: “In late September, Mr. Trump changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla., according to documents filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Melania Trump, the first lady, also changed her residence to Palm Beach in an identical document…. White House officials declined to say why Mr. Trump changed his primary residence, but a person close to the president said the reasons were primarily for tax purposes.”




During the day on Saturday, I’ll post stories that were published on Friday. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened rather than on speculation and prognostication, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I do include opinion pieces when I think they are appropriate.