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US Monthly Headline News October 2019 Page 13

House committee unveils impeachment resolution text
By Jeremy Herb, CNN
(CNN) - A key House committee on Tuesday set the stage for the next phase of impeachment by releasing the rules that will guide Democrats through impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The House Rules Committee released the text of the resolution Tuesday that the House will vote on later this week to formalize the impeachment proceedings. The full House is expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday. The resolution provides the procedural details for how the House will move its impeachment inquiry into its next phase, and it also represents the first time that the full chamber will take a vote related to impeaching the President. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has argued that the vote is not being taken to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry, as Republicans have demanded, but will help "to eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives." Republicans and the White House have criticized the resolution as a measure that's coming too late following weeks of closed-door depositions. But it's also a sign that public hearings are on the way, where Republicans will have to debate Democrats more on the substance of Trump's actions on Ukraine rather than the process of the impeachment inquiry. The text of the resolution lays out how the House Intelligence Committee will conduct public hearings and how the House Judiciary Committee "shall report to the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other recommendations as it deems proper." more...

'Extremely disturbing': Top Democrats alarmed over Vindman's testimony on Trump-Ukraine call
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, was set to testify he was on the July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader.
By Adam Edelman
WASHINGTON — Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House. Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing” as she left the deposition. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony. Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it. Vindman considered Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his political rivals so damaging to American national security that he reported it to a superior, according to his opening statement obtained by NBC News. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a member of the House Oversight Committee who was present for the deposition, told NBC News that Vindman was a “very credible” witness and said his testimony "corroborated the testimony of other witnesses" that "really drew a direct line to the President, and those around him and their interest in withholding foreign aid through Ukraine that was vital, as well as insisting on investigations into Biden." Vindman’s testimony, she said, has "actually filled in more of the puzzle pieces." Wasserman Schutlz said the Republicans present for the deposition were trying to get Vindman to reveal the identity of the whistleblower. "What the Republicans are trying to do very clearly in their questioning is try to front door or back door Lt. Col. Vindman into revealing who the whistleblower is, even though in his testimony he says he doesn't he didn't know," she said. "They've been unsuccessful," she added. more...

Top Republican Defends Vindman Testifying in Impeachment Probe Amid Flurry of Criticism From Trump Allies
By Ramsey Touchberry
Amid a sudden wave of criticism and questions about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman's loyalty to the United States, the No. 3 House Republican, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, came to the defense of the top Ukraine expert on President Donald Trump's National Security Council, who is testifying Tuesday before Congress. In the hours leading up to his closed-door testimony, Vindman faced a barrage of insinuations about his motives and loyalty from Trump allies, as well as friendly cable news hosts. It was revealed Monday night Vindman would testify that he believed Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart—a conversation that Vindman heard in real time—tried to undermine America's national security. Cheney, the House Republican conference chair, labeled the attacks against the Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient as "shameful" and said the questioning of his patriotism needed to immediately cease. "I think that we need to show we are better than that as a nation," Cheney told reporters at a press conference. "Their patriotism, their love of country—we're talking about dedicated veterans who have put their lives on the line, and it is shameful to question their patriotism, their love of this nation, and we should not be involved in that process." Vindman is a Ukrainian refugee who fled his country at a young age to come to the United States. Pundits, a former Republican congressman, and even a former Justice Department official have questioned whether Vindman's loyalties lie elsewhere than America. A White House official, Vindman is fluent in Ukrainian and Russian and has advised Ukrainian officials at times on how to handle Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. That point, based on a New York Times report, was highlighted by Fox News' Laura Ingraham on her Monday night show. Ingraham suggested Vindman's background and his talks with Ukraine were suspicious. In addition, one of her guests—John Yoo, a former Justice Department official and a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley—accused Vindman of "espionage." Fox & Friends' Brian Kilmeade said Tuesday morning that Vindman "tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine" because of his past. And former Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) went on CNN the same morning to question where the Army officer is "concerned about American policy." "We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from," said Duffy, a CNN commentator. "He has an affinity for the Ukraine." Trump also took direct aim at Vindman, characterizing him as a "Never Trumper witness" in a tweet. "Was he on the same call that I was? Can't be possible!" he wrote. "Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!" As part of his opening statement to impeachment investigators behind closed doors, Vindman said that he was so concerned with Trump asking a foreign leader to investigate a political foe that he raised the matter with a superior. more...

Former Ambassador Says Trump Repeating ISIS Talking Point With 'Talk About Taking Oil From Other Nations'
By Jason Lemon
Former U.S. Ambassador Nancy Soderberg criticized President Donald Trump for publicly arguing in favor of keeping Middle Eastern oil in Syria and Iraq, saying that the president was playing into the narrative of the extremist militant group the Islamic State (ISIS). "The last thing we want to do is talk about taking oil from other nations. That's the talking point of ISIS, that we're there to take their natural resources," Soderberg, who served as a diplomat under former President Bill Clinton, said during a segment of MSNBC Live on Monday. The former ambassador explained, however, that she didn't believe the U.S. would end up keeping the Syrian oil. "We have taken it and secured it," Trump said on Sunday, during a press conference in which he confirmed that the U.S. had carried out a successful operation that had led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the day before. The president also lamented to reporters that the U.S. had not kept Iraq's oil following the 2003 invasion of the country and subsequent overthrow of the government of Saddam Hussein. "I said keep the oil," Trump recounted he had said at the time. "If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did." Soderberg cautioned that people should pay "less" attention to Trump's words and see what actions will actually be taken moving forward in Syria. "We don't know exactly how many troops are gonna stay there, we don't know what's gonna be the relationship with us and the Turks and the Russians, the Iranians are increasing influence there," she explained. Other prominent Americans have criticized Trump's decision to deploy U.S. military forces to take control of Syrian oil fields as well. more...

Classified Name Revealed of Special Ops Hero Dog Wounded in Syria Raid that Killed ISIS Leader Baghdadi
By James LaPorta
When U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers with the secretive Joint Special Operations Command flew into Syria's northwestern Idlib province to capture or kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a female Belgian Malinois was along for the ride in the historic military operation. His name is Conan, Newsweek has learned. On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted out a picture of the military dog assigned to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, known as Delta Force, a unit that falls under the secretive Joint Special Operations Command. "We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Trump tweeted from his official account. Multiple Defense Department sources confirmed to Newsweek on Monday that the dog's name is Conan. During a Sunday morning press conference to announce the death of Baghdadi, Trump said the dog was injured when the Islamic State leader detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children. Trump declassified the photograph on Monday after a Pentagon press briefing between Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Monday that the dog was "slightly wounded and fully recovering," and said the Pentagon would not be disclosing the dog's identity as the animal was instrumental in the top secret raid which resulted in the death of the Islamic State leader. The dog has since returned to duty. Working dogs have been a part of military culture dating back to World War I. Dogs typically are ranked as noncommissioned officers, a higher rank than the dog's handler, and are routinely involved in high-level, special operation missions or assigned to conventional forces to find improvised explosives devices. more...

Exclusive: Steve Bannon’s $1 million deal linked to a Chinese billionaire
By Jonathan Swan, Erica Pandey - Axios
The mystery of who's funding Steve Bannon's work has been at least partly solved: Guo Media, a company linked to a controversial Chinese billionaire, has contracted Bannon for at least $1 million for “strategic consulting services,” according to contracts obtained by Axios. Why it matters: The billionaire fugitive — a man named Guo Wengui, also known as Miles Kwok — is embroiled in the U.S.-China conflict. He’s a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party and is reportedly a member at Mar-a-Lago. He’s on China’s most-wanted list for alleged bribery, fraud and money laundering, per the New York Times (he strongly denies the allegations). Guo has been living in New York while he awaits a decision on his U.S. asylum application. And the Chinese government has asked the Trump administration to extradite him. Bannon declined to comment. The first contract, signed between Bannon and Guo Media, gives Bannon $1 million for one year of consulting services beginning in August 2018. Bannon is specifically contracted to introduce Guo Media to “media personalities,” and advise the company on “industry standards.” Bannon has made China one of his top issues since leaving the White House in the summer of 2017. The second contract, which was set to begin in August 2019 and is unsigned, offered Bannon $1 million for consulting and set more specific expectations. more...

The math to the madness of Trump merchandise
President Trump’s official merchandise is bringing in more than just big money – there is a math to the madness. Stephanie Ruhle is joined by Axios Media Reporter Sara Fischer and former Congressman Steve Israel to break down how this is all part of the Trump campaign’s digital strategy and why this could be bad news for Democrats. more...

'Extremely disturbing': Top Democrats alarmed over Vindman's testimony on Trump-Ukraine call
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, was set to testify he was on the July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader.
By Adam Edelman
WASHINGTON — Top Democrats at the deposition of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, said his testimony Tuesday was “extremely disturbing” and praised him for appearing despite attacks from the White House. Acting House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, told NBC News she found Vindman’s remarks “extremely, extremely, extremely disturbing” as she left the deposition. Maloney refused to answer any other questions about Vindman’s testimony. Vindman, appearing voluntarily under congressional subpoena, was set to tell members of Congress conducting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader in which Trump asked for an investigation into the Bidens — and that he raised concerns about it. Vindman considered Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his political rivals so damaging to American national security that he reported it to a superior, according to his opening statement obtained by NBC News. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a member of the House Oversight Committee who was present for the deposition, told NBC News that Vindman was a “very credible” witness and said his testimony "corroborated the testimony of other witnesses" that "really drew a direct line to the President, and those around him and their interest in withholding foreign aid through Ukraine that was vital, as well as insisting on investigations into Biden." Vindman’s testimony, she said, has "actually filled in more of the puzzle pieces." Wasserman Schutlz said the Republicans present for the deposition were trying to get Vindman to reveal the identity of the whistleblower. "What the Republicans are trying to do very clearly in their questioning is try to front door or back door Lt. Col. Vindman into revealing who the whistleblower is, even though in his testimony he says he doesn't he didn't know," she said. "They've been unsuccessful," she added. more...


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