David Welna

One thing all parties in the impeachment saga can agree on: $391 million in security assistance earmarked for Ukraine was withheld this past summer by the Trump White House and released on Sept. 11.

There's far less consensus, though, about just when that hold began. It's a key question, since that date may prove crucial for establishing whether the aid freeze violated the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, or ICA.

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The question of exactly why the Trump administration held up close to $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine came up many times during the first two days of public hearings in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry.

Less discussed has been what motivated President Trump's abrupt decision on Sept. 11 to lift the hold on that aid.

After welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the opening day of public impeachment hearings for a second visit to the Oval Office, President Trump did something highly unusual for such encounters: He invited a select group of Republican senators to join the two leaders' meeting.

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The Constitution of the United States says an official may be impeached for a few things, quote, "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

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The world's two nuclear superpowers have never unleashed their atomic arsenals against one another, but two longstanding agreements that have helped keep the United States and Russia from doing so now appear to be on the verge of collapse.

Closing The Open Skies

Nov 3, 2019

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President Trump has executed a policy U-turn on Syria. He's now tasking U.S. forces that he'd promised to withdraw from there with a new mission: securing the oil fields of southeastern Syria.

And it's raising questions about just what he intends to do with that oil.

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Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Turkey is demanding that U.S. officials call off plans to meet with Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces which fought alongside American troops to dislodge Islamic State insurgents from northeastern Syria.

"Our allies' dialogue with a terrorist wanted with a red notice is unacceptable," Turkish foreign minister Mevut Cavusoglu told Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency Friday.

Another round of federal criminal charges has hit the plea deal holdouts in the Varsity Blues college admissions bribery scandal that broke earlier this year.

For all of you who've been waiting for a tell-all account of James Mattis' 710 days as President Trump's first Pentagon chief, that book has now been written.

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At a news conference in Kyiv on Friday, Ukraine's newly appointed top prosecutor announced a sweeping review of past corruption investigations that had been either shut down or split up. Fifteen of those cases, according to an official press release, involve the founder of the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma.

It was sometime in July when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith says he started hearing rumblings from some defense contractors. They were wondering whatever happened to the orders they'd expected after the Pentagon announced in mid-June plans to provide Ukraine with $250 million worth of weaponry.

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The U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is nearly empty these days, but President Trump is explicitly ruling out the possibility of sending thousands of captured Islamic State fighters there.

"The United States is not going to have thousands and thousands of people that we've captured stationed at Guantánamo Bay, held captive at Guantánamo Bay for the next 50 years and us spending billions and billions of dollars," Trump told reporters Friday during an appearance at the White House with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

American military and intelligence officials say they are accumulating a growing mound of evidence that Iran launched the airstrikes that idled about half of Saudi Arabia's oil production capacity over the weekend. But the Trump administration has been slow to respond to those attacks.

It's been eight months since President Donald Trump's first secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, handed in his resignation.

Now the retired four-star general has written his first book, co-authored by former Marine Bing West. Spoiler alert: Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead is not, as the title might suggest, a tell-all exposé of Mattis' tense tenure at the helm of the Pentagon with Trump as commander in chief.

"I'm old fashioned," Mattis writes. "I don't write about sitting presidents."

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The United States and China have been locked in this trade war for about a year now, and it looks like things could intensify.

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The moment that protesters in Puerto Rico had been demanding for weeks finally came late last night. Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced he would step down one week from tomorrow. Cheers erupted on the streets of San Juan.

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