Monday, November 18, 2019

The weekend in startling impeachment news, explained

This past weekend served as a fitting cap to a dramatic week of public impeachment hearings — and set up this week’s sessions in riveting style. On Saturday, the House Intelligence Committee, which leads the impeachment process, released a transcript of the closed-door deposition of Tim Morrison, formerly the top Ukraine official on the National Security Council. He revealed that President Donald Trump ordered his staff to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into Joe Biden’s family and Democrats. Further, Morrison testified that Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 was so concerning, it...

The questions surrounding Trump’s trip to Walter Reed hospital, briefly explained

President Donald Trump made a trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, as White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham put it, to “begin portions of his routine annual physical exam” on Saturday. But there are indications the trip wasn’t as routine as the White House would have the public believe. To be clear, there’s no hard evidence that Trump’s trip to the hospital was anything more more than a 73-year-old man being proactive about his health. But the White House’s complete lack of credibility on issues from crowd size to foreign affairs makes it disconcertingly easy...

The wolves are coming for Kurt Volker

House impeachment investigators are probing whether President Donald Trump, or anyone in his inner circle, directed the president’s former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, to press Ukrainian senior officials to shut down a criminal investigation of ex-President Petro Poroshenko, according to sources close to the impeachment inquiry and committee records. If House investigators are able to uncover evidence that Trump — or anyone close to him — directed Volker to shut down the legitimate investigation of a former head of state as conducted by a sovereign foreign nation, that might constitute a new abuse of power to be included...

How Watchmen’s giant squid attack changes everything

The fifth episode of Watchmen takes us back to the ’80s — the age of hairspray, leather jackets, Howard Jones’s hit “Things Can Only Get Better,” the Cold War, and, in this universe, a psychic squid attack. The 1980s-era of the Watchmen world is seen through the eyes of Looking Glass, the stalwart police officer with a mirrorball face and the uncanny ability to tell when people are lying. We meet him as a teen trying to promote the good word of Doomsday, how the end is near, and how God has pandas in heaven. To Looking Glass’s chagrin,...

A Prince Andrew interview has renewed questions about his relationship with...

The United Kingdom’s Prince Andrew sat for an interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis that aired Saturday, and attempted to explain his relationship with financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein — but offered little in the way of clarity. Rather, Prince Andrew, the third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was rambling and inconsistent in the face of pointed questions about his actions and affiliations. Andrew has faced renewed questions about his relationship with Epstein following the financier’s death in August. At the time, Epstein was in jail, facing sex trafficking charges. Andrew, a longtime friend...

Poll: Pete Buttigieg becomes the presidential frontrunner in Iowa

The latest poll in Iowa shows South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with a resounding lead in the Democratic presidential primary for the first time. A November telephone poll conducted by noted Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer for CNN and the Des Moines Register saw Buttigieg soar to 25 percent support in the state, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a distant second place at 16 percent. Warren was found to be essentially neck-and-neck with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who each received 15 percent support. The gap between these three candidates fell within the 4.4 percentage...

SNL adds “pizzazz” to the impeachment hearings by turning them into...

The US House of Representatives commenced its public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump Wednesday, after weeks of closed-door testimonies. The hearings marked the first time the American people heard directly from those with knowledge of Trump’s relationship with Ukraine and the allegations Trump tried to withhold military aid from that country in exchange for an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of his political rival Joe Biden. Despite the hearings featuring in-depth questioning and new revelations — with top US diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian...

Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards hangs on to his seat in...

Gov. John Bel Edwards has won an incredibly tight race for reelection in Louisiana, hanging onto his seat as the sole Democratic governor in the Deep South. Edwards faced an intense challenge from Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who aligned himself tightly with Trump and touted the president’s endorsement during the campaign. Rispone’s loss marks the second time in recent weeks when Trump’s endorsement hasn’t been enough to boost a candidate to victory in a heavily Republican state. (Republican Gov. Matt Bevin also lost his reelection race in Kentucky.) Edwards, since his upset of former Sen. David Vitter in 2015, has...

Obama says that Americans are seeking “improvement” not “revolutionary” change

Former President Barack Obama has studiously avoided commenting on the Democratic presidential primary, but on Friday, before a crowd of wealthy liberal donors in Washington, he finally weighed in. His message? Don’t move too far to the left. “This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” he said at the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.” Obama’s remarks come at a time when the primary’s central dynamic is a clash over whether the best way forward is for...

A State Department aide overheard Trump pushing for Ukrainian investigations into...

David Holmes, a Kyiv-based State Department aide, told the House lawmakers leading the impeachment inquiry that he overheard a July call between President Donald Trump and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in which they discussed their efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Holmes’s opening statement — part of a closed-door testimony — was first obtained by CNN on Friday. It provides new firsthand information about Trump’s role in pressuring Ukraine, and also further highlights the key role Sondland, a former hotel magnate and Trump donor, has played in advancing Trump’s Ukraine agenda. Holmes...