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Three witnesses, almost 12 hours of testimony

  • The impeachment inquiry moved squarely into the public eye this week with the first open hearings, featuring testimony from State Department officials Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch. [CNBC / Kevin Breuninger]
  • In his testimony alongside Kent on Wednesday, Taylor furnished one big new piece of information: a phone call on July 26 to US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in which President Trump was said to ask about “investigations” in Ukraine. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Kent also testified about a memo he wrote after learning of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky. [New York Times / Sheryl Gay Stolberg]
  • On Friday, Yovanovitch testified about her removal from her position as the ambassador to Ukraine in May as well as a smear campaign against her linked to Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. [FiveThirtyEight]
  • While Yovanovitch testified to her feelings of dismay and perception of Trump’s discussion of her as a threat, the president tweeted an attack on her — which nearly everyone agreed was a bad idea and might even count as witness tampering. [Washington Post / Rosalind S. Helderman and Rachael Bade]
  • The hearings pick back up next week with eight witnesses are on the schedule for public testimony, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, former special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker, National Security Council senior director for Russia Fiona Hill, and Sondland. [CBS News]
  • Despite hours of televised questioning and statements, 81 percent of voters say that the public hearings will have little or no impact on their view of Trump. [Politico / Steven Shepard]

Dozens dead from Israel airstrike exchange

  • Israel conducted a military strike against Islamic Jihad positions in Gaza, in a continuation of fighting despite a ceasefire. [Haaretz]
  • Friday, the Israel Defense Forces admitted to launching more raids targeting the group whose top official, Bahaa Abu al-Ata, was killed in a strike on Tuesday. [Al Jazeera]
  • Since al-Ata’s death, over 450 rockets have been fired into Israel, according to the IDF. This is the largest rocket attack since May. [Wall Street Journal / Dov Lieber]
  • Less than 24 hours after the ceasefire was agreed upon by both the IDF and Islamic Jihad, airstrikes killed over 30 people. Around half of those killed were civilians. [AP News / Josef Federman and Fares Akram]
  • “Too often civilians pay the price for political brinkmanship by states and armed group,” said Omar Shakir, country director at Human Rights Watch. Shakir went on the call the attacks “unlawful.” [New York Times]


  • Texas State Rep. Alfonso Nevárez stated his intent not to run for reelection; an arrest warrant in his name was issued after being caught on camera dropping an envelope of cocaine. [Dallas Morning News / Lauren McGaughy]
  • Taylor Swift’s messy and public battle with her record label continued with a social media post late Thursday. [Vox / Constance Grady]
  • Paging Dr. Llama: why these furry South American camelids are becoming increasingly popular in the therapy world. [New York Times / Jennifer A. Kingson]
  • Chile’s embattled government announced a plan to hold a constitutional referendum next April. [Reuters / Dave Sherwood]
  • A 9-year-old from Belgium is set to graduate from his undergraduate studies, and he already knows what he wants to do when he grows up: create artificial organs after attaining a PhD in engineering and studying medicine. [CNN / Jack Guy]


“We thought it was important that justice be done for Kateryna Handziuk and for others who fight corruption in Ukraine. It’s not a tabletop exercise there. Lives are in the balance. So we wanted to bring attention to this.” [Former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifying before Congress about how she was honoring a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist when she got the call to leave Ukraine]

Watch this: We’re melting the Arctic and reviving deadly germs

A warming planet is thawing some nasty pestilences. [YouTube / Danush Parvaneh, Liz Scheltens, and Christina Thornell]

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