What Now?! – 10/29/2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a “Dear Colleague” letter outlining House Democrats’ next steps in the impeachment inquiry, including public hearings.

The White House has argued the inquiry was not valid without a vote and therefore did not have to comply with subpoenas. Although Pelosi writes that argument has no merit, Democrats will take a vote on Thursday that will formalize procedures for the next phase of the impeachment inquiry.

In a letter obtained by ABC News to House Democrats, the attorney representing Charles Kupperman, the former deputy national security advisor, writes that until a federal judge rules on the White House’s efforts to block his clients testimony, he will not show up for his deposition with House investigators.

House investigators sent Kupperman a letter over the weekend warning that their subpoena “remains in full force” and that his absence “will constitute evidence that may be used against him in a contempt proceeding.”

USA Today: “Trump, who did not arrive in time for the national anthem or first pitch, was shown on the videoboard ahead of the fourth inning during a Salute to Veterans in-game segment. The crowd immediately responded by booing Trump loudly.”

“After initially boing Trump, the crowd continued into a ‘lock him up‘ chant.”

Playbook: “Nobody ought to be surprised that the president was booed at Nats Park, in a city where more than 90% of voters choose his opponent in 2016. What was striking, though, was that the reaction came only hours after President Trump proudly announced the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, in a U.S. military raid.”

“We’re not sure what the president expected to happen, but closeups of his face during the crowd’s reaction as name was announced on the stadium PA show a smile hardening into a slight scowl. How will he react today?”

“It’s a sign of the president’s isolation, too, that he took only his staunchest Republican allies with him to the game, along with the first lady. Nats Park is perhaps one of the only gathering places in town that draws Republicans and Democrats in equal measure — but his box was all red.

WUSA reports that the family who owns the Washington Nationals, the Lerners, asked Major League Baseball that they not be put in a position to respond to any requests that President Trump sit with them during Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

U.S. officials who also watched the feed of the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Syrian compound “have declined to echo details” of President Trump’s macabre account of the Isis’s leader death on Saturday, including that Baghdadi was “whimpering, crying and screaming all the way,” the Guardian reports.

New York Times: “Mr. Trump described the video footage he watched from the White House Situation Room as ‘something really amazing to see.’ The experience, the president said, was ‘as though you were watching a movie.’

“What the president saw, according to military and intelligence officials, was overhead surveillance footage on several video screens that, together, provided various angles from above, and in real time… Those surveillance feeds could not show what was happening in an underground tunnel, much less detect if Mr. al-Baghdadi was whimpering or crying.

NBC News: “A ‘beautiful’ and ‘talented’ dog got injured. A robot had been on standby to aid in the hunt for al-Baghdadi if needed. U.S. Special Operations Forces arrived in eight helicopters and were on the ground for about two hours. They entered al-Baghdadi’s compound within seconds by blowing holes in the side of the wall. They chased al-Baghdadi into a web of underground tunnels — many of them dead ends — that they already knew existed. Before the U.S. forces left for the 70-minute, ‘very low and very, very fast’ helicopter ride back along the same route from which they arrived, they captured some of al-Baghdadi’s henchmen and seized ‘highly sensitive material and information’ outlining the origin of ISIS and plans for future plots.”

“A few of those colorful details were wrong. Many of the rest were either highly classified or tactically sensitive, and their disclosure by the president made intelligence and military officials cringe, according to current and former U.S. officials.”

“Boris Johnson has lost his third bid for a general election, after Labour abstained and he failed to reach the two-thirds majority of MPs he needed for a poll,” The Guardian reports.

“The prime minister is now expected to back a Liberal Democrat plan to change the law in order to secure an early election, although the parties do not yet agree on a date.”

Financial Times: “EU leaders have agreed to offer the UK an extension on the Brexit deadline from October 31 to the end of January after France gave up on its objections to such an lengthy delay.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) “will not co-sponsor a Senate resolution that calls on Democrats to hold a vote to formalize their impeachment probe,” Politico reports.

“The measure, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last week, has support from 50 of the 53 Senate Republicans. It also asks that the House provide President Trump ‘due process’ and give House Republicans subpoena power.”

“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,” NBC News reports.

“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 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 Joe Biden’s son.”

“The revelation significantly moves up the timeline of when the White House learned that Trump’s allies had engaged with the incoming Ukrainian administration and were acting in ways that unnerved the Ukrainians — even before President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had been sworn in. Biden had entered the presidential race barely three weeks earlier.”

“Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) met in July with a former Ukrainian diplomat who has circulated unproven claims that Ukrainian officials assisted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, a previously unreported contact that underscores the GOP senator’s involvement in the unfolding narrative that triggered the impeachment inquiry of President Trump,” the Washington Post reports.

“The meeting points to Johnson’s emerging role as the member of Congress most heavily involved in the Ukraine saga that has engulfed the White House and has threatened Trump with impeachment.”

Washington Post: “Republican senators are lost and adrift as the impeachment inquiry enters its second month, navigating the grave threat to President Trump largely in the dark, frustrated by the absence of a credible case to defend his conduct and anxious about the historic reckoning that likely awaits them.”

“Recent days have delivered the most damaging testimony yet about Trump and his advisers commandeering Ukraine policy for the president’s personal political goals, which his allies on Capitol Hill sought to undermine by storming the deposition room and condemning the inquiry as secretive and corrupt.”

“Early in his presidency, Donald Trump’s White House explored whether the U.S. could cut off taxpayer funding for a network of charter schools affiliated with a political opponent of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” Bloomberg reports.

“The 2017 episode, never previously reported, came as the newly inaugurated U.S. president prepared to meet for the first time with Erdogan.”

“A measure of hiring by U.S. companies has fallen to a seven-year low and fewer employers are raising pay,” the AP reports.

“Just one-fifth of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said their companies have hired additional workers in the past three months. That is down from one-third in July. Job totals were unchanged at 69% of companies, up from 57% in July. A broad measure of job gains in the survey fell to its lowest level since October 2012.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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