Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 6:56 PM

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters that President Trump blocked military aid to Ukraine in an effort to force the Ukrainian government to investigate the Biden family, reports the Washington Post. Mulvaney defended Trump’s action as “absolutely appropriate.”

Gordon Sondland testified on Wednesday before the three House Committees leading the impeachment inquiry. The New York Times reports that Sondland confirmed that President Trump had delegated U.S. foreign policy on Ukraine to Rudy Giuliani, a directive Sondland claims he followed despite his personal objections.

Vice President Mike Pence declared that Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in Syria provided that the Syrian Kurds and Syrian Democratic Forces withdraw all troops and fortifications from the area near the Turkish border, according to CNN.

Elijah Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland and chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, died this morning following ongoing health problems, reports the Washington Post.

President Trump announced that the 2020 G-7 summit of world leaders would be held at his Trump Doral golf resort outside Miami, reports the Post.

Three U.S. diplomats were forced off a train heading to a restricted-access area access near the site of a recent deadly nuclear explosion in Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal. The State Department defended the diplomats in an email, stating that “the American diplomats were on official travel and had properly notified Russian authorities of their travel.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders have agreed on a Brexit deal, reports the BBC. Johnson still faces a major challenge getting the deal approved in Parliament on Saturday.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared this week’s episode of Rational Security, featuring discussion of Rudy Giuliani, the White House non-cooperation with the impeachment inquiry and Turkish operations in Syria.

Vishnu Kannan compiled all the national security-related exchanges from the fourth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 campaign.

Jacques Singer-Emery and Jack Goldsmith discussed Office of Management and Budget rules and the conditions required for Trump to be able to withhold aid from Ukraine.

Gordon Ahl posted video coverage of a House Foreign Affairs hearing on Syria.

Ahl also live streamed coverage of a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on consumer protection on the Internet.

Ahl also posted new guidance from the United Nations for law enforcement’s use of “less-lethal weapons.”

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