Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 2:53 PM

Two State Department foreign service officers with experience in Ukraine, Catherine M. Croft and Christopher J. Anderson, are testifying Wednesday before the House committees running the impeachment inquiry, reports the New York Times. According to Croft’s opening statement, Robert Livingston, a former Republican congressman and lobbyist, called her multiple times to describe former Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch as an “Obama holdover” who should be removed.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, reportedly explained during his testimony that he attempted but failed to add crucial words and phrases to the rough transcript of the July call between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine, according to the Times.

The House Rules Committee released the text of a resolution laying out the rules and procedures moving forward with the impeachment inquiry. CNN reports that the full House is expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan is appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday for the confirmation hearing of his appointment to be ambassador to Russia, reports the Washington Post. Reports indicate that Senate Democrats started by questioning Sullivan about the recalling of Yovanovitch as the ambassador to Ukraine.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from Syria’s northern border region had been completed, reports the Wall Street Journal. The withdrawal clears the way for Russia and Turkey to jointly secure the area as a “safe zone.”

The punishment for Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who last year faced the prospect of life in prison for war crimes, was drastically reduced, according to the Times. After President Trump’s public criticism of the court-martial against Gallagher, the Navy’s top admiral merely demoted Gallagher by a single rank on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the U.K. House of Commons approved legislation for a December 12 general election, reports the BBC.

The Times reports that U.S. immigration authorities apprehended 76,020 unaccompanied minors in the fiscal year that ended in September, which surpassed record levels from the Obama administration.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared the latest episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which David Priess sat down with Philip Mudd to discuss his new book, career at the CIA and the agency’s interrogation program after 9/11.

David Kris commented on elements of the third edition of his treatise “National Security Investigations and Prosecutions” that are relevant to the Mueller probe.

Patrick McDonnell, Jacques Singer-Emery and Nathaniel Sobel discussed the viewpoints of various legal scholars on the impeachment power.

Aditi Shah explored the impact of a recent Supreme Court ruling on whether detained immigrants can use a Rule 23(b)(2) class action to assert due process rights in court.

William Ford described the takeaways from four hearings that Congress has held on U.S. policy toward Syria and Turkey in recent weeks.

Gordon Ahl posted the House resolution laying out rules and procedures for the impeachment inquiry.

Ahl also livestreamed a House Foreign Affairs hearing on Middle East policy.

Jacob Schulz posted a judge’s dismissal of a military commissions defendant’s eighth amendment claim about unsatisfactory medical care at Guantanamo Bay.

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