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When William Barr's name surfaced as a possible replacement for Jeff Sessions as attorney general, Republicans and Democrats alike greeted the news with a measure of relief.

If Barr took over he'd replace a frequent target of the president's ire in private, on Twitter and in television interviews.

As a prominent Republican lawyer who had served as attorney general before, Barr was viewed as an establishment figure who could restore stability to a Justice Department caught in the middle of Washington's bitter political fight over the Russia investigation.

There was lots more detail in the transcripts released by congressional investigators this week that help color in the picture of what went down in the pressure campaign from the Trump administration to Ukraine.

Some had been known already, based on reporting and previously released opening statements. But far more depth was given after seeing the questions and answers from what were hours-long depositions.

And a lot of it will be aired publicly, beginning Wednesday with the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump can be difficult to follow. There are so many witnesses who testified, transcripts and witnesses who were called to testify but did not show up that it can seem impossible to figure out where things stand and where it's all going.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam vows it's "a new day and a new landscape" in Virginia. He says when Democrats take over the state legislature for the first time in a generation at the start of the new year, passing gun violence prevention laws will be a top priority.

He adds guns "shouldn't be a partisan issue," even though he says he's prepared to pass new "common sense" gun laws without Republican support.

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About half of all the electric cars in the country are owned in California, and they're at the center of what's becoming a statewide struggle for electric power. Thousands of customers are being cut off the grid on a regular basis, and it's even worse during the state's wildfire season. But as NPR's Vanessa Romo reports, some electric car owners are finding new ways to power up.

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The News Roundup - International

Nov 8, 2019

The News Roundup - Domestic

Nov 8, 2019

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces a bid for his old Senate seat, much to the reported ire of President Donald Trump.

Public impeachment hearings on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine are set to begin next week.

Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

White House officials filed the record of President Trump's now-famous call with his Ukrainian counterpart on a "different, more secure system" from the one they normally used, a key witness told House impeachment investigators.

House investigators have released the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a top specialist on Ukraine on the National Security Council.

Vindman is an Army foreign area officer and is believed to have listened in to the July 25 call in which President Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart for the "favor" that would have involved investigations that could help Trump in the 2020 election.

That makes Vindman a key witness in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

House investigators have released the deposition of Fiona Hill, who until earlier this year served as the top Russia policy specialist on the National Security Council.

Hill was said to have told investigators that she registered concerns about President Trump's policy to pressure the government of Ukraine in exchange for commitments to launch investigations that might help him in the 2020 election.

Vice President Pence traveled to New Hampshire on Thursday to officially add Donald Trump's name to the first-in-the-nation primary ballot.

His visit comes as President Trump's GOP challengers see the primary as a place where they'll make a stand against Trump, especially as other states have canceled primaries and changed Republican National Committee convention delegate rules to prevent any sort of insurgent candidate from emerging.

What's In 'A Warning'

Nov 8, 2019

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President Trump says there is no agreement with China to ease U.S. tariffs.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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The transcripts keep on coming. More testimony from the closed-door impeachment inquiry is now public.

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The field of 2020 presidential candidates with health care overhaul plans is crowded, and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., is drawing lines of distinction between his proposal and his competitors' plans.

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is running for his old Senate seat from Alabama, with a message in which he addressed head-on his rocky relationship with President Trump.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Alabama GOP Sen. Richard Shelby is stepping into the middle of political hotbed: He's saying his longtime friend of 20 years, Republican Jeff Sessions, could win a his newly announced bid to recapture his old Senate seat, and he's prepared to help him.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is weighing a late entrance into the Democratic presidential primary, reversing course from this spring, when he said publicly that he would not run.

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Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

A top State Department aide questioned the legality of a U.S. president asking for an investigation into a political rival in his hours-long, closed-door deposition before congressional impeachment investigators.

"Politically related prosecutions are not the way of promoting the rule of law. They undermine the rule of law," said George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

New Zealand lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that commits the country to being carbon neutral by the year 2050. The measure, which passed 119 votes to 1, demonstrates the cross-party support that climate protection has in the Pacific island nation.

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