Donald Trump has suffered a double blow after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his accountants, Mazars USA, must turn over eight years of his financial records to the House impeachment inquiry and his ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, confirmed he will now testify before Congress, defying a White House pledge to stonewall the Ukraine investigation.
At a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night, the president attacked “America-hating socialist” and local Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and also laid into Joe Biden, his son Hunter and House speaker Nancy Pelosi over the ongoing probe.
The House has meanwhile subpoenaed energy secretary Rick Perry and the two business associates of Rudy Giuliani arrested in Florida on Thursday, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, as the ex-US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, appears on Capitol Hill today to tell her side of the story.
We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.
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If you managed to miss this answer that Elizabeth Warren gave during an LGBTQ town hall last night, we sincerely feel bad for you — but have a solution.
Click away at this link. It’s brilliant.
The Pentagon has called on Turkey to stop its military offensive, which was made possible in part by the US pulling out of the region.
In a phone call between Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar and Defense secretary Mark Esper, the US “made it clear that the United States opposes Turkey’s uncoordinated actions,” according to a statement from Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
Rock climbers in Kentucky have reportedly scaled a wooden replica of Donald Trump’s steel border wall — which he claims is “impossible to climb” — in as little as a minute.
The replica was built by Rick Weber, a 75-year-old retired engineer, and active rock climber. He then invited mountain climbers to come attempt to scale the 18-foot structure.
Mr Weber is holding a competition this coming weekend, but several climbers have already scaled the replica — including an 8-year-old girl.
Here is the full testimony of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s prepared remarks, first obtained by the Washington Post.
A new Reuters analysis has found that the United States has sent back more than 13,000 migrant minors to Mexico just this year, as they await their asylum cases in US courts.
The number reportedly includes more than 400 infants.
The removals were made as a part of the new Migrant Protection Protocols — also known as Remain in Mexico — in which Central American asylum seekers are sent back to Mexico instead of waiting in the US for their cases to be processed.
Inside the testimony from ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador told investigators that she was fired from her post in spite of the State Department saying that they believed she had “done nothing wrong”.
The claim came during closed door meeting, and could further fuel calls for the impeachment of Mr Trump.
In the interview, Ms Yovanovitch warned that personal gain and private influence have corrupted diplomats’ judgement. In the process, the sentiment taking over could drive talent away from public service and undermine national interests, she said, according to the New York Times.
A sneak behind the door at the Yovanovitch deposition.
As is so often the case, this man is keeping score.
Minnesota Democrats are condemning Trump for criticising their state for welcoming in so many Somali refugees at his rally last night.
Minneapolis is home to the largest Somali population in the US and Trump said the city and state had allowed refugees in without considering the impact. He also said he thinks Democrats would throw open the nation’s borders if they regain power.
Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted that Trump should “stop using immigrants and refugees as political pawns.” She says they’ve made Minnesota “a wonderful place to live and work.”
Trump said no refugees should be placed in any city or state without permission from the mayor or governor. Mayor Jacob Frey retaliated: “Consent given. Immigrants and refugees are welcome in Minneapolis.”
Trump is currently on a retweeting spree, posting messages from Ivanka, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo and Dan Scavino as well as this on the Boston bomber, whose execution he appears to be advocating.
The Democrats are now seeking a disposition from Yovanovitch’s successor as ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, another name caught up in the explosive texts Kurt Volker handed over to the panel last week.
It was Taylor who texted Sondland to say it was “crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign”.
US military veterans are lining up to condemn Trump over the abandonment of America’s Kurdish allies in Syria.
Chris Riotta reports.
Trump really should have foreseen this failed meme coming back to haunt him.
Speaking of haunting, Darren Richman has more on his disturbing orgasm impression yesterday during the rally as he mocked FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
He ain’t no Meg Ryan.
As one door closes on Trump’s tax returns, another one opens.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the president’s accountants, Mazars USA, must turn over eight years of his financial records to the House, upholding a lower court’s decision. The only dissenting voice on the panel was, of course, a Trump appointee.
He certainly sounds chipper today.
It might not last though, as Marie Yovanovitch has just arrived on Capitol Hill on a one-woman mission to ruin his weekend.
Trump is under fire after making a disparaging remark about Beyonce, Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen on stage in Minneapolis last night. Doing so has naturally provoked an outcry on Twitter (as perhaps he intended), with 2020 Democrat Cory Booker coming to The Boss’s defence with some feeling.
It’s no wonder Trump doesn’t like Springsteen.
The New Jersey rock star told Rolling Stone in 2016 the then-candidate is a “moron”:
The republic is under siege by a moron, basically. The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it’s a tragedy for our democracy. When you start talking about elections being rigged, you’re pushing people beyond democratic governance.
And it‘s a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don’t go back in so easy, if they go back in at all.
The ideas he’s moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement. The outrageous things that he‘s done – not immediately disavowing David Duke? These are things that are obviously beyond the pale for any previous political candidate. It would sink your candidacy immediately.
Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the EU, will now testifying to the House impeachment inquiry next week in defiance of the White House, according to a statement from his lawyer.
Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, has come out in favour of the impeachment inquiry. Maybe the president calling Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” wasn’t such a hot idea after all.
Trump’s new national security adviser said on Thursday that he wants to reduce the White House foreign policy staff by half.
Robert O’Brien said that during the Obama administration the number of staffers swelled to more than 100.
He told employees at a National Security Council (NSC) town hall that he wants to bring the staff level back to where it was when Condoleezza Rice was national security adviser to George W Bush.
“That was about 100 staffers to give policy advice to the president and to help implement his decisions,” O’Brien said on Fox Business’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. “And that was with two wars going on” in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just ballooned into a massive, you know, bureaucracy… under the last administration,” he continued.
The size of the NSC has fluctuated over the years. O’Brien did not it say how he planned to cut the staff. Many staffers are detailed to the NSC from other government agencies so the reductions could be made by not replacing them when their tours are over and they return to other agencies.