The New Paper
November 14, 2019
“I am not here to take one side or the other, or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings.” —Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee
1. Bill Taylor and George Kent testified publicly yesterday as part of the ongoing House impeachment inquiry. The two senior State Department officials largely reaffirmed previous closed-door testimony (including a “clear understanding” that President Trump conditioned the release of $391M in withheld military aid on Ukraine committing to investigations related to Joe Biden and the 2016 election), while Republican lawmakers highlighted that the testimonies were not based on first-hand interactions with President Trump. Here’s a recap.
Extra: Bill Taylor newly revealed that a member of his staff overheard a phone call between President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland directly related to “the investigations.” Sondland is scheduled to testify publicly next Wednesday.
More context: The hearing was the first in a series of scheduled public testimonies, including ousted Ukranian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch tomorrow. Here’s the full schedule.
2. Israel and Islamic Jihad (a Palestinian militant group) reached an Egypt-negotiated cease-fire earlier this morning, halting two days of cross-border fighting that left at least 34 Palestinians dead (and 111 people injured). The violence was sparked by a targeted Israeli airstrike that killed a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander (Baha Abu al-Ata) on Tuesday.
3. Deval Patrick announced a late 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination today. The former Massachusetts governor joins an already-crowded race with less than three months before the Iowa caucuses and early state primary voting begins. Eighteen candidates (source) are still competing for the Democratic nomination.
Extra: Here is Patrick’s announcement video (~2min).
4. Hong Kong closed schools city-wide today (until next week) as civil unrest escalates for a fourth day in the semi-autonomous, Chinese-ruled territory – including police-protester clashes on university campuses (previously considered off-bounds), mass transit disruptions, and protester-constructed roadblocks.
More context: Six months of pro-democracy demonstrations have shifted from primarily peaceful mass rallies to “blossom everywhere” campaigns leading to increasingly violent clashes between smaller groups of protesters and Hong Kong police.
- Secretary of State Pompeo recognized Jeanine Anez as interim president of Bolivia (via tweet) after the opposition senator assumed the role on Tuesday; meanwhile, ongoing civil unrest continues as supporters of former President Morales contest Anez’s interim rule.
- Nike will no longer sell products on Amazon, ending a 2017 pilot program with the retail platform amid a shift in the sport retailers marketing and retail strategy towards “more direct, personal relationships.”
- A gunman injured at least 3 people in a Southern California school shooting this morning in Santa Clarita (~30 miles outside of downtown LA). A search for the suspect is underway.
Hours of daylight around the world... visualized over a year.
P.S. Tomorrow's Friday 🙌.