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Another city may be running out of water
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 06:37:02 GMT
Australia is reeling from deadly bushfires and the worst drought in decades -- but fears are now growing that things could get worse, as a water shortage in the country's biggest city begins to bite.
What next for Bolivia?
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 19:09:40 GMT
A simple haircut can make Alfredo Mamani feel like things are getting back to normal. The school teacher is glad to get a trim after three tense weeks in Bolivia that have upturned its government.
Analysis: Hong Kong's government is being willfully blind to the chaos it's creating
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 10:46:33 GMT
Chile to change its constitution
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 09:03:11 GMT
Chile's Congress has reached an agreement to reform the country's constitution in an effort to restore peace after weeks of violent protests that have led to the deaths of at least 20 people.
This nine-year-old boy is about to graduate from college
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 15:52:07 GMT
Laurent Simons isn't like most other nine-year-old boys. He's on course to soon have his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.
Analysis: Alibaba's homecoming is about pleasing China
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 11:38:57 GMT
Alibaba's plan to raise billions of dollars by selling shares on the Hong Kong stock market will be one of the largest public offerings in the world this year. It's also a savvy political move.
Alibaba says the 'future of Hong Kong remains bright' as it kicks off share sale
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 08:35:43 GMT
Hong Kong's financial markets are getting a boost of confidence from Alibaba's multibillion-dollar public offering.
One woman's mission for equality in the oil and gas industry
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 12:03:03 GMT
To help bridge gender gaps in the energy sector, Kenyan Ogutu Okudo founded Women in Energy & Extractives (WEX Africa).
Is the Huawei Mate 30 worth its price? Not outside China
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 21:58:08 GMT
The Huawei Mate 30 features an excellent camera. But without access to popular apps like Google and Facebook, it'll be a hard sell outside of China.
US cities are losing 36 million trees a year. Here's why it matters
Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:44:32 GMT
If you're looking for a reason to care about tree loss, the nation's latest heat wave might be it. Trees can lower summer daytime temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a recent study.
Miami's Little Haiti wasn't a target for developers. Until the seas started to rise
Fri, 12 Jul 2019 15:14:00 GMT
How rich people could help save the planet from the climate crisis
Fri, 12 Jul 2019 09:20:40 GMT
Rich people don't just have bigger bank balances and more lavish lifestyles than the rest of us -- they also have bigger carbon footprints.
The beauty of Japan's lonely vending machines
Wed, 31 Jul 2019 11:17:43 GMT
How the Soviet 'Concordski' crashed and burned
Wed, 10 Jul 2019 10:19:57 GMT
A short history of the fashion show
Wed, 10 Jul 2019 10:19:57 GMT
Remember Madonna's cone bra?
Wed, 10 Jul 2019 10:19:57 GMT
Model's skin tone made her a social media star
Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:02:36 GMT
Why did this legendary car vanish for 30 years?
Tue, 23 Jul 2019 14:10:54 GMT
This fire has burned for 4,000 years
Wed, 31 Oct 2018 13:29:54 GMT
"This fire has burned 4,000 years and never stopped," says Aliyeva Rahila. "Even the rain coming here, snow, wind -- it never stops burning."
Secrets of the world's grandest place of worship
Mon, 26 Nov 2018 11:44:27 GMT
It's Abu Dhabi's star attraction, attracting millions each year, yet despite the footfall, there's a wonderful air of calm that surrounds the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
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Aide Testimony Said to Confirm Envoy Account: Impeachment Update
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:00:09 -0500
Aide Testimony Said to Confirm Envoy Account: Impeachment Update(Bloomberg) -- The House Intelligence Committee held its second public hearing on Friday to hear testimony by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from that post in May by President Donald Trump.The impeachment committees separately met in a closed session with David Holmes, a staff member at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, about this week’s revelation that Trump on July 26 asked envoy Gordon Sondland about the status of “investigations” he sought from Ukraine.Here are the latest developments:Aide Testimony Said to Confirm Envoy Account (5:54 p.m.)While Holmes testified behind closed doors, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters outside that “everything he says will confirm that what ambassador Taylor said was true.”Earlier this week, top U.S. envoy to Ukraine William Taylor testified in public that his aide -- later identified by an official as Holmes -- overheard Trump asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about “the investigations” when the ambassador used his cell phone to call the president. Lieu said Holmes “has some specific quotes that leave no doubt of what the president of the United States was thinking” when he said “investigations.” He meant investigations of Joe Biden and the 2016 election, Lieu said.Lieu also criticized the State Department should release notes taken by embassy officials. “If any of those notes exonerated the president, we would have them right now,” he said.Republican Mark Meadows questioned whether someone overhearing a phone call can really have firsthand knowledge.“We know it’s not a firsthand account because this witness, to my knowledge, has never talked to the president. That would be firsthand,” Meadows said. ”Overhearing a phone call of someone else can be very dangerous if you try to draw too many conclusions from it.”Embassy Aide Questioned About Trump Call (4:54 p.m.)Democrats on the three committees leading the inquiry are questioning Holmes about the phone call he overheard between Trump and Sondland that took place in a restaurant “on what looks like a totally unsecured cell phone,” said Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.“Cell phones can be hacked by any foreign government,” Lieu said. “It’s very disturbing that maybe it wasn’t just Holmes that heard this but the Russians and other foreign governments as well.”North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows, a Republican on the Oversight Committee, said he didn’t expect to learn much from Holmes’s testimony “other than a phone call was overheard.” He said Democrats still must address what he described as a “fundamental question: why was the aid withheld?”Envoy Was An ‘Obstacle’ to Trump (3:50 p.m.)In closing the hearing after about six hours of testimony, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the entire episode began with an effort to get Yovanovitch out of the way because she was an impediment to the investigation of Joe Biden that Trump and Rudy Giuliani wanted.“The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery,” Schiff said. “It doesn’t make it any less immoral and corrupt. It just means that it was unsuccessful.”“You were viewed as an obstacle that had to go,” Schiff said. If people read the transcript of testimony, they’ll see “that the president praises the corrupt, Lutsenko,” referring to former prosecutor general of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko, who resigned under pressure in August.“He condemns the just, you,” Schiff said to Yovanovitch. “And then he asks for an investigation of the Bidens. There is no camouflaging that corrupt intent.”After the hearing, Republican panel member Elise Stefanik of New York called the session “day two of an abject failure” by Schiff. She said Republicans will keep asking about Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s membership on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings.Stefanik called impeachment “wishful political thinking” by the Democrats and said no impeachable offenses were discussed at Friday’s hearing.Envoy Says Ukraine Didn’t Try to Aid Clinton (3:09 p.m.)Yovanovitch said that in her view, there was no Ukrainian strategy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio suggested Trump faced opposition from Ukrainian officials during his 2016 campaign, including in an op-ed article in a Washington publication by the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S.Most clearly wanted Democrat Hillary Clinton to win, he said. Jordan asked Yovanovitch if Trump’s concern was justified.She said she couldn’t say, but that in her view there wasn’t a Ukrainian strategy to interfere in the U.S. election. Politicians sometimes criticize the policies of other foreign leaders or candidates, but that’s not election meddling, she said.“This happens in politics, and it doesn’t necessarily” constitute interference, Yovanovitch said.Embassy Official Arrives for Closed Hearing (2:56 p.m.)Holmes, the political counselor for the embassy in Ukraine who overheard a phone call between Trump and another diplomat, arrived on Capitol Hill for a private deposition behind closed doors.Including his testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry became especially important after William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said during his public hearing Wednesday that one of his staff members overheard Trump ask Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, about “the investigations.”Taylor didn’t identify Holmes during the hearing, but officials familiar with the inquiry later confirmed that he was the aide with Sondland at the time.Trump Ally Told Envoy to ‘Go Big or Go Home’ (2:49 p.m.)Yovanovitch said she reached out to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland when she realized that Rudy Giuliani was maneuvering against her. She said Sondland told her “I needed to. The best thing to do was to send out a tweet, praising the president, that sort of thing.”She said she thought that wasn’t in keeping with her role as an ambassador and didn’t do so.Asked by Democrat Denny Heck of Washington to assess the impact of the situation on Ukraine, she said, “When we engage in questionable activities that raises a question.””It emboldens those who are corrupt, who don’t want to see Ukraine become a democracy, free market economy, a part of Europe, but want Ukraine to stay under Russia’s thrall, and that’s not in our national security interests,” Yovanovitch said.Envoy Cites ‘Chilling Effect’ of Ouster (1:39 p.m.)Yovanovitch said her ouster as ambassador has had a “chilling effect” within the State Department because officials there can’t be sure if the government will support their efforts.“That is a dangerous place to be,” she said while being questioned by Democrat Terri Sewellof Alabama.“It’s been a very, very difficult time,” Yovanovitch said. “There’s a question as to why the kind of campaign to get me out of Ukraine happened, because all the president has to do is to say he wants a different ambassador.”Republican Mike Conaway of Texas sought to show that Yovanovitch hasn’t been harmed by her dismissal from the ambassadorship. He asked if she continues to get respect from her colleagues at the State Department.“I’ve actually received an outpouring of support,” she said.Later, she said that she agrees that presidents “can remove an ambassador at any time for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”Envoy Aware of Hunter Biden Role on Board (1:16 p.m.)Under questioning by a Republican staff lawyer, Yovanovitch said she arrived several months before the 2016 elections, and that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma Holdings energy company wasn’t something she focused on. She said she never spoke with him.She was “aware” of the perception problem with Vice President Joe Biden’s son being on the board.Republican staff attorney Steve Castor asked whether Yovanovitch knew that Trump thought that elements in Ukraine’s government were “out to get him” during the 2016 campaign. She said that wasn’t an area of focus while she was ambassador and that she didn’t perceive any such effort during the election.“People are critical, but that doesn’t mean” that a government is trying toundermine a campaign, she said. “Our own U.S. intelligence community has conclusively determined that those who interfered in the election were in Russia.”Nunes Says Envoy Lacks First-Hand Knowledge (12:35 p.m.)Top committee Republican Devin Nunes said, “I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today,” adding that Yovanovitch “is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations being hurled at the president.”Under questioning by Nunes, she affirmed that she wasn’t involved in Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy or Vice President Mike Pence’s later meeting with Zelenskiy. She also said she hasn’t spoken to Trump or acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney this year.Envoy Calls Trump Tweet ‘Intimidating’ (10:36 a.m.)Yovanovitch said that it is “intimidating” that Trump tweeted an attack on her while she is testifying to the Intelligence Committee.Told by Chairman Adam Schiff that Trump had just written that everywhere she went “turned bad,” she said, ”I don’t think I have such powers.””I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have made things demonstrably better, both for the U.S. and the countries I served in,” she said.Schiff asked, “Now the president in real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said.“Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,“ Schiff responded.Yovanovitch also said she had asked the State Department for a public statement of support while false stories were being spread about her work in Ukraine.She said State Department official David Hale told her that the department wouldn’t issue a statement because “the president might issue a tweet contradicting that.”“They were concerned about a tweet by the president of the United States?” asked Democratic committee lawyer Dan Goldman, who was conducting the questioning.“That’s my understanding,” Yovanovitch said.Envoy Says Trump Comment Sounded Like Threat (10:15 a.m.)Yovanovitch said she was “shocked, appalled, devastated” when she learned that Trump called her “bad news” and said she would “go through some things” during his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.“It didn’t sound good. It sounded like a threat,” she said. “I wondered what that meant. It concerned me.”Yovanovitch also said she felt “terrible” when she was recalled to the U.S.“No real reason was offered as to why I had to leave and why it was being done in such a manner,” she said. “It’s not the way I wanted my career to end.”She said she had been told return to Washington at once. She was told “there were concerns up the street,” which she believed referred to the White House. Yovanovitch said she argued against the return, but eventually did go to Washington.Trump Attacks Yovanovitch During Testimony (10:06 a.m.)During Yovanovitch’s testimony, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”Yovanovitch Says Ukraine Policy in Disarray (9:49 a.m.)Yovanovitch said corrupt forces in Ukraine sought to remove her, and said she was “amazed” they found allies among Americans.“Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she said.“Such conduct undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like President Putin,” she said.“I remain disappointed that the department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong,” she said, in a clear swipe at Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.“This is about far, far more than me or a couple of individuals. As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already,” she said.Yovanovitch Says Claims About Her Untrue (9:40 a.m.)Yovanovitch called “untrue” the allegations that she “told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because ‘he was going to be impeached’ -- or for any other reason.”She also said the Obama administration “did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign, nor would I have taken any such steps if they had.”Regarding Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, she said that she had “minimal” contact with him.“I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” she said.Envoy Describes Service Regardless of Party (9:32 a.m.)Yovanovitch opened her testimony by describing herself as an American citizen “who has devoted the majority of my life, 33 years, to service to the country that all of us love.“She said her job in the foreign service is to carry out the policies of the president “regardless of which person or party was in power.”“I had no other agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals,” Yovanovitch said.Before she began her testimony, Schiff called on the administration to release a number of withheld documents, including notes kept by Bill Taylor, current envoy to Ukraine. He also said he hopes Trump will explain why he told Vice President Mike Pence not to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration.Nunes Reads Transcript of Initial Trump Call (9:26 a.m.)Top committee Republican Devin Nunes, during his opening remarks, read the newly released transcript of Trump’s April phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskiy congratulating him on his election as Ukraine’s president.Zelenskiy called Trump a “great example” and invited him to attend the inauguration. Trump responded that at the least, a “great representative” would attend.Nunes also said the witnesses being brought before the impeachment hearings are giving second-hand accounts. “In other words, rumor,” he said.“I’ll note that House Democrats vowed they would not put the American people through a wrenching impeachment process without bipartisan support -- and they have none,” Nunes said. “Add that to their ever-growing list of broken promises and destructive deceptions.”Trump is watching only Nunes’s remarks, said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.“The president will be watching Congressman Nunes’ opening statement, but therest of the day he will be working hard for the American people,” she said in a statement.Nunes Says Democrats Aim to ‘Topple’ Trump (9:16 a.m.)The committee’s top Republican, Devin Nunes, opened by accusing Democrats of mounting an “operation to topple a duly elected president.“Nunes just four years ago became the youngest-ever chairman of the Intelligence panel. He was a member of Trump’s transition team, and he’s also a fierce partisan. In the session of Congress, Nunes and other Republicans led a two-year effort alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice opened their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign in order to hurt Trump.Schiff Says Envoy Viewed as ‘Obstacle’ (9:13 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in his opening statement that Yovanovitch was recalled from her post because “she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the president’s personal and political agenda. For that she was smeared and cast aside.”Getting rid of her “helped set stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president, the 2016 conspiracy theory, and most important, an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, Joe Biden,” Schiff said.Schiff Opens Second House Public Hearing (9:08 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearing by describing Yovanovitch’s recall to Washington in April “because she did not have the confidence of the president.”The hearings have vaulted Schiff to the national stage, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked him over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to take the leading role. In Wednesday’s hearing, he and other Democrats got what they wanted from the testimony of two career, nonpartisan diplomats who helped frame the impeachment inquiry.House Committee Opens Second Public Hearing (9:06 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff gaveled in the panel’s second hearing, with Yovanovitch’s testimony to begin shortly.Yovanovitch to Testify About Her Ouster (6 a.m.)The public will hear for the first time from Yovanovitch about what she experienced as Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, maneuvered for her ouster.Yovanovitch testified in private on Oct. 11 that she was called back to Washington after a “concerted campaign” by Trump and his allies, including Giuliani, according to a transcript released later.Because she left Ukraine in May, she lacks direct knowledge of Trump’s effort during a July 25 phone call to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son.Yovanovitch testified that she felt threatened by the way Trump spoke about her on that call, which was documented by a White House memo later made public. Trump called her “bad news” and said “she’s going to go through some things.”Catch Up on Impeachment CoverageKey EventsTrump showed a group of Republican senators a transcript of his April 21 call congratulating Zelenskiy on his election as the president of Ukraine. Trump had said Wednesday he planned to release a summary of the call as soon as Thursday, though he hasn’t yet done so.The Gordon Sondland transcript is here and here; former special envoy Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here.Taylor’s opening statement is here; Kent’s statement is here. Yovanovitch’s opening statement is here.\--With assistance from Steven T. Dennis, Laura Litvan and Billy House.To contact the reporters on this story: Evan Sully in Washington at esully2@bloomberg.net;Daniel Flatley in Washington at dflatley1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:42:03 -0500
North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'North Korea launched a visceral diatribe against US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, calling the former vice-president a "rabid dog" -- while also borrowing the terminology of Donald Trump. Pyongyang is renowned for its vitriol, but the verbal deluge was unusually ferocious even by its own standards. Biden "had the temerity to dare slander the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK", the North's official KCNA news agency said late Thursday, referring to the country by its official name.
Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency opening
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:27:17 -0500
Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency openingThe Netherlands showed off the spoils of Brexit on Friday as it officially handed over the European Medicines Agency's new building in Amsterdam after the regulator was forced to move from London. The 300-million-euro ($330 million) building -- which boasts features including a 16-storey high wall of 54,000 plants and a rooftop bar -- was built in less than two years after Amsterdam won an EU-wide contest to host the agency. It will now be home to more than 700 staff who have had to make the "painful" move to the Netherlands from London along with their families, following Britain's shock vote to leave the European Union.
Trump impeachment inquiry: a timeline of key events so far
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:11:36 -0500
Trump impeachment inquiry: a timeline of key events so farPelosi launched inquiry on 24 September over allegations that Trump sought the help of a foreign country to harm a political rival * How Trump’s hardball tactics put the constitution in perilMembers of the media wait at the stairs for former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on 11 October. Photograph: Carlos Jasso/ReutersThe House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump on 24 September. Since then, Congress has been investigating an alleged plot by Trump to use the power of his office to solicit interference from Ukraine in the 2020 election.Democrats say that amounts to an abuse of power impeachable under the US constitution. Republicans have said Trump’s conduct was concerning but not impeachable.A vote to impeach Trump on the House floor, which would be held at the conclusion of televised hearings, could play out by the end of the year. If Trump is impeached, the Senate would hold a trial in which a two-thirds majority vote would be required to remove him from office.Here’s a timeline of key events so far: April and MayThrough his personal emissary, Rudy Giuliani, Trump applies pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations tied to Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, meets with subordinates on 7 May to discuss how to stay out of it. 23 MayIn a White House meeting, Trump is unmoved by the enthusiasm of a delegation of officials freshly returned from Zelenskiy’s inauguration in Kiev. “He just kept saying: talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,” EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testified. “I don’t know what he meant. He kept repeating it, though: ‘They tried to take me down, they tried to take me down.’” 3 JulyLt Col Alexander Vindman, the top adviser on Ukraine on the National Security Council, is made aware of the suspension of military aid for Ukraine. In testimony, Vindman said: “But by 3 July, that’s when I was concretely made aware of the fact that there was a hold placed by [Office of Management and Budget].” 10 JulyAt a dramatic White House meeting, Trump emissaries ask top Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, shocking US national security officials. According to multiple accounts, after Sondland makes the Biden request, then national security adviser John Bolton abruptly terminates the meeting, later calling it a “drug deal”. Mid-JulyThe Office of Management and Budget informs the Pentagon and state department that Trump has suspended $391m in military aid for Ukraine. According to testimony by senior diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor: “In a regular, NSC secure video conference call on 18 July, I heard a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget say that there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine but could not say why.” 25 JulyTrump speaks on the phone with Zelenskiy, reminding him that “the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine” and then asking for a “favor”. Trump wants Ukraine to announce investigations designed to make Joe Biden look bad and to cast doubt on Russian tampering in the 2016 US election. Early AugustHigh-level Ukrainian officials are made aware of the suspension of US military aid designed to help in their fight against Russian forces, according to a New York Times report. 12 AugustA whistleblower complaint against Trump is secretly filed to the inspector general of the intelligence community. For six weeks, the Trump administration will block Congress from obtaining the complaint. 16 AugustA security council recommendation that aid for Ukraine be released is raised in a meeting with Trump, according to Vindman. But “the president didn’t act on the recommendation”. 27 AugustBolton visits Taylor in Kyiv. Taylor brings up his concerns about suspended military aid. Bolton is “very sympathetic”, Taylor later testifies, and tells him to send a cable directly to secretary of state Mike Pompeo raising his concerns. 1 SeptemberBilateral meetings in Warsaw. In a “supplement” to his original testimony, Sondland says: “I now recall speaking individually with [Zelenskiy aide Andriy] Yermak, where I said that resumption of US aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” 9 SeptemberTaylor texts Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” 11 SeptemberThe military aid is released. 24 SeptemberPelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry, accusing Trump of “a betrayal of his oath of office, a betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections”. 25 SeptemberThe White House releases a partial “transcript” of the 25 July call, hours before Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Zelenskiy at the United Nations. It’s awkward. 26 SeptemberThe whistleblower complaint is released. Citing “more than half a dozen US officials”, it presents an accurate version of the Trump-Zelenskiy call and alleges that the White House tried to cover up the call. 4 OctoberKurt Volker, Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine, testifies. Afterwards, investigators release WhatsApp messages showing US diplomats pursuing a “deliverable” for Trump in Ukraine in the form of the Biden and 2016 election-tampering “investigations”. 8 OctoberThe White House releases a letter refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and accusing Democrats of trying to reverse the result of the 2016 election. 11 OctoberMarie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testifies about her shock on learning about an ultimately successful campaign in Ukraine to destroy her ambassadorship, involving Giuliani. “The president did make a decision, but I think influenced by some who are not trustworthy,” she testified. When she sought advice on how to stop the attack, she said, she was told to tweet something nice about Trump. 14 OctoberFiona Hill, senior director for Europe and Russia in the National Security Council, testifies. She describes a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine run by Giuliani, describes the 10 July White House meeting, which she attended, and says Bolton told her to take her concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 16 OctoberP Michael McKinley, a top Pompeo deputy, testifies. He says he resigned owing to the “emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes, combined with the failure I saw in the building to provide support for our professional cadre in a particularly trying time.” 17 OctoberSondland testifies. He says he took Trump at his word that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. He will later return to Capitol Hill to partially or fully reverse that testimony. 22 OctoberTaylor testifies. In a 15-page opening statement, he describes his concern to discover an “irregular, informal policy channel” by which the Trump administration was pursuing objectives in Ukraine “running contrary to the goals of longstanding US policy”. 29 OctoberVindman testifies. He describes his alarm at witnessing the White House subvert US foreign policy in favor of Trump’s domestic political agenda and says he took his concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 31 OctoberThe House votes on a resolution laying out a process to move impeachment from closed-door depositions to open hearings. Tim Morrison, senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council, testifies a day after announcing that he will resign his post in short order. 5 NovemberThe impeachment committees begin releasing testimony transcripts. The overlapping testimonies tell the same story, of demands by US officials of Ukraine steadily ratcheting up between May and September, from a demand to investigate corruption to a demand that “President Zelenskiy to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations’, ‘Biden’, and ‘Clinton’.” 13 NovemberPublic impeachment hearings begin. Ambassador Bill Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state George P Kent testify. Taylor quotes Trump as demanding “investigations” of Ukraine in a phone call overheard by an aide. 15 NovemberAmbassador Marie Yovanovitch testifies that she felt “shocked and devastated” by Trump’s personal attacks on her, and that she was “amazed” corrupt elements in Ukraine had found willing American partners to take her down.Taylor aide David Holmes is deposed behind closed doors. 19 NovemberPence aide Jennifer Williams, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, former envoy Kurt Volker and national security council senior director Tim Morrison to testify. 20 NovemberAmbassador Gordon Sondland, Pentagon official Laura Cooper and under secretary of state David Hale to testify. 21 NovemberFormer national security council senior director Fiona Hill to testify.
Biden Takes Pride in North Korea’s Insults: Campaign Update
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 16:48:43 -0500
Biden Takes Pride in North Korea’s Insults: Campaign Update(Bloomberg) -- Call it the Pyongyang primary.Former Vice President Joe Biden has found himself in a war of words with North Korea’s dictator after the country’s state news agency called Biden a “rabid dog” who “must be beaten to death with a stick, before it is too late.”“It seems that murderous dictator Kim Jong Un doesn’t like me,” Biden responded Friday in statement. “Add him to the list of autocrats who don’t want me to be president — right next to Vladimir Putin. I wear their insults as a badge of honor.”North Korea was apparently responding to a Biden statement from Oct. 31 criticizing President Donald Trump’s North Korea policy after another missile test. “His ‘love letters’ to murderous dictator Kim Jong Un have delivered little more than made-for-TV moments,” Biden said of Trump.The Korean Central News Agency’s statement, released Thursday Washington time, also recycled some of Trump’s insults for Biden — though with something lost in the translation. Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” epithet became “Biden not awakened from a sleep.”Bloomberg Plans $100 Million in Anti-Trump Ads (7:15 a.m.)Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will spend $100 million from his personal fortune for a digital advertising campaign against President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election, according to the New York Times.The ads will seek to attack and define Trump in battleground states likely to decide the presidential contest, beginning Friday in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the newspaper reported.Bloomberg has not yet announced whether he will run for president but has taken steps to appear on the Democratic primary ballots in states with early filing deadlines, including Alabama and Arkansas.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Elizabeth WassermanCOMING UPThe major Democratic candidates -- including Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg -- are scheduled to appear Sunday at the Nevada Democratic Party’s First in the West dinner, a major event that previously has drawn thousands to hear from presidential hopefuls.Ten candidates have qualified for the fifth Democratic debate, on Nov. 20 in Atlanta: Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Cory Booker and Tom Steyer.\--With assistance from Elizabeth Wasserman.To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Korte in Washington at gkorte@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max BerleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 15:09:16 -0500
France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflictRussian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9 for their first face-to-face encounter, seeking to end the half-decade conflict in Ukraine, the French presidency said Friday. The leaders will join French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the four-way summit aimed at resolving the conflict in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have declared breakaway regions, the Elysee Palace said. Macron, who has been spearheading a drive for peace in Ukraine, had hoped to host the summit in September but it was held up by numerous obstacles that highlighted the difficulty of resolving the conflict.
The White House Motto: Watch Your Back
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 15:07:45 -0500
The White House Motto: Watch Your BackThere's no honor among thieves nor, apparently, among anxious political hacks who bound themselves to a president with a penchant for subordinating the national interest to his own.Once-eager presidential enablers have turned on one another with feral abandon as the facts of what Trump's flunkies were doing in Ukraine have become clear and the impeachment investigation moves into its public phase.John Bolton, the former national security adviser, appears to be spoiling for a fight. He has a deal worth around $2 million to write a book about his time in the administration, which he left on not-so-friendly terms in September. In a private speech last week, Bolton offered a harsh assessment of the president's foreign-policy chops and suggested that Trump's policy toward Turkey has been driven by personal and business interests, according to NBC News. Bolton's lawyer told impeachment investigators that Bolton has information about "many relevant meetings and conversations" concerning Ukraine that he might be willing to share if the courts give him the go-ahead.Bolton is awaiting the outcome of a lawsuit brought by his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, asking the courts to decide whether a congressional subpoena outweighs the president's order to ignore it.Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, tried to glom onto Kupperman's lawsuit, but Bolton was having none of it. On Monday, a lawyer who represents both him and Kupperman asked a judge to deny Mulvaney's request, citing, among other objections, that Mulvaney may have waived any immunity from testifying when he acknowledged in a news conference last month that Trump had sought a quid pro quo from Ukraine in exchange for military aid and that people needed to "get over it."Mulvaney, who subsequently insisted he hadn't said what he said, was a key player in the pressure campaign to have Ukraine announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, while Bolton reportedly said he wanted nothing to do with "the drug deal" Mulvaney was "cooking up" with Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union.Surprised by the blowback, Mulvaney dropped his court request and now says he will abide by the president's edict not to cooperate.Even so, he has been clashing with Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, over what each sees as the other's mishandling of the president's impeachment defense. Mulvaney also faces danger from House Republicans looking for someone to blame other than Trump for the Ukraine mess. He is among the most promising scapegoats, according to The Washington Post, along with the president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Sondland, two of the principal players. But Mulvaney has implied to people that he knows too much to be fired.Giuliani, now under criminal investigation over his Ukraine dealings, is facing newly revealed accusations from his "associate" Lev Parnas. Parnas says Giuliani directed him to help pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Trump's political rival.Giuliani is contemplating starting an impeachment-themed podcast, which should terrify everyone concerned.The president, meanwhile, is said to want to fire not only Mulvaney but also the inspector general of the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, who alerted Congress to the whistleblower complaint, kicking off the impeachment inquiry.More publicly, Trump has been berating Republican lawmakers for suggesting that his behavior toward Ukraine was anything other than "PERFECT" -- as he has taken to ranting on Twitter.While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn't under attack from his peers -- yet -- there are warning flags. Last month, his former senior adviser Michael McKinley told investigators that Pompeo ignored his pleas to protect Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, who became the target of a Giuliani smear campaign that contributed to her ouster from Kyiv -- pleas that the secretary claims never to have heard. Who knows where this could lead?Even White House players not directly tied to impeachment are getting in on the action. Peddling her new memoir, Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, has been accusing former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly of having sought her aid in undermining the president's policy aims during their time in the administration. For his part, Kelly says he warned the president before being pushed out that if he were replaced by a "yes man," Trump would end up being impeached. (Looking at you, Mick.)Then there's Anonymous, the senior administration official who published a September 2018 op-ed in The Times, who is out with a new tell-all book painting an unflattering picture of the president and charging, "The White House, quite simply, is broken."To be fair, with so many people having been pulled -- willingly or otherwise -- into Trump's Ukraine scheme, it can be hard for the lackeys to keep their stories straight and avoid incriminating even themselves. For instance, Sondland originally told impeachment investigators that he had no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving Ukraine. Less than three weeks later, he amended his testimony to say that he did recall telling Ukrainian officials that they were unlikely to receive their promised military aid until they publicly announced the investigations sought by Trump. This recovered memory brought Sondland's testimony more into line with that of other witnesses.All this should serve as a warning for the president's many apologists. As the impeachment inquiry grinds on, the circular firing squad is likely to grow still larger -- and potentially armed with higher-caliber ammunition.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company
German Citizens Reportedly Detained by Police: Hong Kong Update
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:36:00 -0500
German Citizens Reportedly Detained by Police: Hong Kong Update(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s No. 2 official promised “more decisive measures” to halt protest violence, as the financial center faced another weekend of unrest after five straight days of road blocks, vandalism and spontaneous marches.Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung outlined the plans hours after city officials confirmed that Hong Kong was heading toward its first annual recession in a decade. Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping had said that bringing the violence to an end is Hong Kong’s “most urgent task,” while a scuffle involving the city’s justice secretary and the second protest-related death in a week heightened tensions.The protests, which have raged for more than five months, flared anew last week after the death of a student who fell near a police operation to clear a demonstration. A campaign to disrupt traffic has led to the shooting of a protester and citywide school cancellations, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government has denied reports of a plan to institute an unprecedented curfew in a bid to quell unrest.Key developments:City’s No. 2 promises measures to halt violenceClockenflap music festival canceledProtesters return to city’s streetsHong Kong justice minister hurt in LondonXi urges immediate end to disorderGovernment worker dies; 15-year-old still in hospitalSome trains services remain suspendedTwo German citizens reportedly detained by policeHere’s the latest (all times local):German Citizens Reportedly Detained by Police (2:31 a.m.)Two German citizens were detained by Hong Kong police amid the continuing protests, Deutsche Welle reported, citing an official at Germany’s foreign ministry. The two Germans are receiving assistance from the country’s consulate in Hong Kong, according to the report. Police in Hong Kong said two foreign men were detained during a demonstration in Tuen Mun, according to Reuters. Pompeo Urges China to Uphold Its Commitments (1:19 a.m.)U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo deflected a question about what the U.S. would do if China cracks down harder on protesters in Hong Kong. But he urged China to uphold its agreements with Hong Kong and said he’s pressed both Beijing and the protesters to engage in non-violent discourse.“Honor that commitment,” Pompeo said Friday at an event in Houston, Texas, referring to Beijing. “You promised there would be one country, two systems.”University heads call for all to ‘work together’ to bring peace (10:45 p.m.)Nine university presidents urged the government to take the lead in ending the political deadlock and restoring order as their campuses become “major political battlefields,” according to a joint statement.Demands that university disciplinary processes can fix the problem are “disconnected from reality” and the government’s response so far has not been effective, they said. “We call on all quarters of society to work together to bring peace and order back to Hong Kong.”Clockenflap music festival canceled (7:21 p.m.)Hong Kong’s most high-profile annual music and arts festival -- Clockenflap -- has been canceled. It was due to be held between Nov. 22-24 and was set to feature artists including Mumford & Sons, Lil Pump and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.“Until this week we were fully committed to delivering the festival. Unfortunately the situation has now made this impossible,” Clockenflap’s organizers said in a statement to attendees, promising a full refund.City’s No. 2 vows more measures (6:07 p.m.)Cheung, the city’s chief secretary, promised “more decisive measures” to halt protest violence, including suspending civil servants who are arrested during demonstrations. Cheung -- joined by Civil Service Secretary Joshua Law, Transport Secretary Frank Chan, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung and Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Patrick Nip -- said departments would step up coordination.Law said that civil servants should make it their their responsibility to suppress violence. While Cheung declined to rule out further invocations of the city’s powerful Emergency Regulations Ordinance, he reaffirmed that the city would hold District Council elections as planned Nov. 24.Protesters gather in Chater Garden (5 p.m.)Demonstrators began gathering again in Chater Garden in the city’s central financial district, after dispersing earlier following the arrival of riot cops. Police said they had arrested 58 people since Thursday. They fired 194 rounds of tear gas, 58 rubber bullets and 14 bean bag rounds.Overwhelming support for inquiry (4:45 p.m.)Some 80% of Hong Kong adults want the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to examine the use of force by police throughout Hong Kong’s recent unrest, according to a new survey by Hong Kong Public Opinion Program. That’s up from 77% earlier this month.An inquiry is one of the five demands that protesters have been chanting about in marches throughout the city for months, but the government has so far ruled out any further political concessions.Hong Kong expects recession (4:30 p.m.)Hong Kong revised down its estimate for economic growth this year, with the government now forecasting the first annual contraction since the global financial crisis a decade ago. Gross domestic product will contract 1.3% in 2019 from the previous year, the government said Friday as it released final output calculations for the third quarter.The government said ending the city’s violent unrest is key to an economic recovery.Police classify death as murder (1:31 p.m.)Police upgraded their probe into the injury of a 70-year-old government worker to a murder investigation after the man died overnight. The man was struck in the head by an object during a scuffle Wednesday between protesters who had set up road blocks and others who were attempting to clear them.The man appeared to be filming in the direction of a group of black-clad protesters when one of them “deliberately threw” an object at him, Chan Tin-chu, senior superintendent for criminal investigations in New Territories North, told reporters at a briefing Friday. The victim didn’t participate in the argument or the attempt to clear the road blocks, Chan said.Protesters start lunchtime rallies (12:40 p.m.)Groups of protesters begin gathering in the financial district for a lunchtime rally, one of several planned across the city. Many wore masks and carried umbrellas.Protesters also began assembling in the bustling Causeway Bay shopping district and in Tai Koo, on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island.Chinese officials condemn attack (12:15 p.m.)The Chinese government raised strong objections to the U.K. consulate in Hong Kong regarding the attack on the city’s justice secretary in London on Thursday. The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong also urged the U.K. government and police to punish those responsible for the attack on Teresa Cheng, according to a statement.Hurt 15-year-old still in hospital (8:56 a.m.)A 15-year-old boy who suffered a head injury from what local media said may have been a tear gas canister was still in Tuen Mun Hospital, the Hospital Authority said. The agency said the boy’s family asked that details of his condition -- which was originally listed as critical -- not be disclosed.Six people, ages 17 to 62, had been admitted to various hospitals for treatment for protest-related injuries overnight and this morning as of 7:30 a.m. All are in stable condition. The man shot by police in Sai Wan Ho on Monday is now in stable condition in Eastern Hospital. A man set on fire during an argument with protesters on the same day was still in critical condition at Prince of Wales Hospital.Group blames government for death (7:32 a.m.)A group of anonymous protesters that has occasionally spoken for the leaderless movement expressed “deepest condolences” for the death of a 70-year-old government worker Thursday, but blamed the incident on “police brutality” and government intransigence. “The HKSAR Government must concede to the Five Demands, and return to the table of politics to solve conflicts by political means,” the so-called Citizens’ Press Conference said in a statement Friday.Meanwhile, another protester group at the Chinese University of Hong Kong offered to remove barricades from the Tolo Highway in exchange for a government pledge to follow through with plans for District Council elections on Nov. 24, according to Radio Television Hong Kong. Students had already reopened one lane in each direction, the South China Morning Post said.Justice secretary ‘attacked’ (3:47 a.m.)Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng condemned what her office said was an attack by a “violent mob” that caused her “serious bodily harm” Thursday while she was on an official visit to London. Cheng fell and hurt her arm after being surrounded by a group of about 30 protesters, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.“The secretary denounces all forms of violence and radicalism depriving others’ legitimate rights in the pretext of pursuing their political ideals, which would never be in the interest of Hong Kong and any civilized society,” Cheng’s office said in a statement.Agency ‘saddened’ by death (2:21 a.m.)Hong Kong’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department confirmed that one of its contract workers had died Thursday from a head injury, expressing “profound sadness” over his death. The elderly worker “was suspected to be hit in his head by hard objects hurled by rioters during his lunch break,” the agency said in a statement, adding that it would provide assistance to the victim’s family.The government vowed to “make every effort to investigate the case to bring offenders to justice.”U.S. Senate advances bill (12:41 a.m.)The U.S. Senate is preparing for quick passage of legislation that would support pro-democracy protesters by placing Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S. under annual review. The Senate will run the “hotline” on the bill, which is an expedited process to check for last-minute opposition to bringing legislation immediately to a vote, according to Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican.The Senate legislation is different than a version passed earlier by the House of Representatives. That means the two bills would have to be reconciled and passed by both chambers before going to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.\--With assistance from Daniel Flatley, Colin Keatinge and Dandan Li.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Natalie Lung in Hong Kong at flung6@bloomberg.net;Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at dlau92@bloomberg.net;Erin Roman in London at eroman16@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Chris Kay, Bill FariesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
UN renews C.Africa peacekeeping mission
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:35:31 -0500
UN renews C.Africa peacekeeping missionThe United Nations Security Council extended the UN's peacekeeping mission in the violence-plagued Central African Republic for another year on Friday. It is the first renewal since 14 militias signed up to an eighth attempted peace agreement with the Central African government early this year. One of the world's poorest and most unstable nations, CAR has suffered several violent crises since 2003 when former president Francois Bozize seized power in a coup.
Yovanovitch delivers powerful riposte to Trump as he smears her – again
Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:32:08 -0500
Yovanovitch delivers powerful riposte to Trump as he smears her – againThe ex-ambassador captured gnawing anxiety about the ways in which the president is undermining trust while Trump attacked her in real time Marie Yovanovitch at the end her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee Friday on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/APShe sat ramrod straight with hands folded, soft-voiced yet resolute, vulnerable yet steely. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, he was irate, impulsive and menacing as always. Only one of them was unimpeachable.Marie Yovanovitch, an immigrant and a career diplomat, delivered on Friday the profound riposte to Donald Trump that many in America had been hoping for from an impeachment inquiry that could lead to his removal from office.The former US ambassador to Ukraine captured in one morning much of the gnawing anxiety of foreign service professionals about the ways in which the president is undermining trust in America and fracturing the world.But even as Yovanovitch testified about being smeared and ousted, the president went and smeared her again, live, via Twitter. It was not the first time Donald Trump had tried to demean and disparage a woman and prompted Democrats to warn against “witness intimidation”.It was the second public hearing of the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump sought to bribe Ukraine to boost his chance of re-election by investigating a political rival, former vice-president Joe Biden. Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled in May after coming under attack from Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at a time when he was trying to persuade Ukraine to carry out the investigation.In a committee room as chilly as a winter’s day in Kyiv, the bespectacled Yovanovitch, wearing black jacket and black trousers, sat at a long, curving desk with cans of Coca-Cola and ginger ale, bottles of water and disposable coffee cups. From her seat, she could see Democrats and Republicans at ornately carved oak desks against a backdrop of blue velvet curtains with gold trim, framed by classical columns, decorative alcoves, clocks with roman numerals and sculpted eagles. Above her was a huge chandelier with two dozen lights. Behind her sat journalists at laptops and members of the public.Marie Yovanovitch, right, sits next to her attorney, Larry Robbins, before testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Friday. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe power of televised impeachment hearings – so evident during Watergate in the 1970s – was realized again as Yovanovitch, far from speaking like a dry bureaucrat like previous witnesses, told a deeply personal story about the country she loves.She delivered a 13-page opening statement, laying out her 33 years of government service under Democratic and Republican presidents, including 13 moves and spells in seven countries, five of them hardship posts, starting with Mogadishu in Somalia. She championed efforts against corruption in Ukraine – making her a target for some there who, astonishingly, found American accomplices.In a cool, clear tone that was a useful antidote to the rage and hysteria of the social media age, Yovanovitch described a “smear campaign” involving Giuliani, reinforced by cable news hosts and the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. Eventually, she recalled, she was told in April 2019 to come back to Washington on the next plane because she no longer had the confidence of the president.Yovanovitch described how professional public servants serve US interests regardless of who occupies the White House. She cited the diplomats killed in the 2012 Benghazi attacks in Libya, tortured in captivity in Iran and injured in mysterious attacks in Cuba.“We honor these individuals,” she told the hearing. “They represent each one of you here and every American. These courageous individuals were attacked because they symbolized America.”Under questioning from Democrats, Yovanovitch said she was “shocked and devastated” when a rough transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, revealed the American president was bad-mouthing her to a foreign leader behind her back. “It was a terrible moment. A person who saw me reading the transcript said the color drained from my face.”She added in a low voice: “Even now words fail me.”In that now infamous phone call, Trump had ominously said of Yovanovitch that “she was going to go through some things”.Yovanovitch said: “It didn’t sound good. It sounded like a threat.”The effect of Trump’s comments, she said, “is very intimidating” and both for her and others who might be inclined to publicly attack corruption.There was a surprise to come on a similar theme. As Yovanovitch was still testifying, Trump reached for his retaliatory weapon of choice, Twitter.“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he tweeted, pointing to the time she spent in Somalia and in Ukraine, where Trump said “the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavourably about her”.Adam Schiff on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on Friday. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesAdam Schiff, the committee chairman, seized his moment. He told the former ambassador: “The president is attacking you in real time.” He read the tweet aloud and asked Yovanovitch for her reaction. Maintaining her dignity throughout, she paused and said: “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”Schiff replied: “Well, I want to let you know, ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”And everyone in the room knew that, not only had Trump once again dug a hole for Republicans, but quite possibly just written a new article of impeachment against himself. It was also a sign of the times.Susan Glasser, a writer at the New Yorker, tweeted: “For those who wondered what an impeachment in the Twitter era will look like, the answer is here: the President attacking a witness and impugning her in real time, as she is testifying. Imagine Nixon hate-tweeting John Dean live.”
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