Multiple whistleblowers come forward. The White House refuses to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry. Turkey invades Syria with Trump’s green light. The roundtable is here.
Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)
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Reuters: “Thousands flee, dozens reported killed as Turkey pushes Syria assault” — “Turkey pounded Kurdish militia in northeast Syria for a second day on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee and killing dozens, in a cross-border assault on U.S. allies that has turned the Washington establishment against Donald Trump.
“The Turkish offensive against the U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces, launched days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the way, opens one of the biggest new fronts in years in an eight-year-old civil war that has drawn in global powers.
“At least 23 fighters with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and six fighters with a Turkish-backed Syrian rebel group had been killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria’s eight-year-old war.
“The SDF said Turkish air strikes and shelling had also killed nine civilians. In an apparent attempt by Kurdish-led forces to retaliate, mortar fire from Syria killed three people including a child in the Turkish border town of Akcakale, hospital and security sources said.”
New York Times: “2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges” — “Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.
“The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted.
“Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.”
PBS NewsHour: “Protesters’ rage over ‘income and bread’ challenges Iraqi government” — “The streets of Baghdad were silent today, after a week of deadly protests that wracked the nation from the capital and beyond.
“Two hours south, in the Iraqi city of Najaf, grief-stricken families buried their loved ones.
“More than 100 people have been killed in the worst violence since the defeat of the Islamic State two years ago. But this wasn’t the result of insurgency or terrorism.
“What started as peaceful protests last week, demanding an end to rampant corruption, unemployment and lack of basic services, violently shifted into clashes with security forces and armed groups. In response, the Iraqi government pledged to add public sector jobs, and today approved a grant for employment development. But it may not be enough.
“Protesters pin the blame on corrupt leaders they say don’t represent them. Despite the country’s oil wealth, much of Iraq’s 40 million people live in dire conditions.”
NPR: “Huge Political Battle Escalates Over House Impeachment Inquiry” — “INSKEEP: What is the immediate effect of the White House saying no?
“LIASSON: Well, the White House says it can’t participate in this inquiry. The immediate effect means that the House will not get any more documents or witnesses from the administration. They already weren’t getting many. Gordon Sondland, the EU ambassador who was supposed to testify yesterday – at the last minute, the administration said he wouldn’t. The president said that’s because the inquiry is a kangaroo court. We now have this huge separation of powers clash. It also means this probably will go to the courts, which could drag it out all the way to the election – doesn’t mean that that will stop the Democrats from going forward with the impeachment inquiry or with impeachment itself because the House leadership has said very clearly that they consider the administration’s decision not to cooperate to be obstruction. And that could be yet another article of impeachment.
“INSKEEP: I think I’ve heard two ways the Democrats can respond. One is by going to court, and the other is by lengthening the indictment, so to speak, against the president.
“INSKEEP: Suppose the House were to meet all of the president’s demands, would he then cooperate?
“LIASSON: The senior administration officials who briefed reporters on background yesterday were asked this over and over again, and they said that’s a hypothetical. In other words, even if the House complied with all of the requests that the White House is making – to have a vote, to give the minority the right to question witnesses and call witnesses – that doesn’t mean that they would comply. So the White House has clearly made the political judgment that it’s worth the potential price of creating the impression that they’re hiding something, and – but that’s better than what might happen if they do turn over these documents and allow witnesses to testify.”
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.