Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Gordon Ahl
Thursday, November 14, 2019, 1:37 PM

During Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, Bill Taylor testified about a previously undisclosed July 26 phone call between President Trump and Amb. Gordon Sondland, in which Trump asked about “the investigations” he had sought in Ukraine, reports the Washington Post.

The Democrats announced plans for two additional closed-door depositions as part of the impeachment inquiry, according to The Hill. The requests went to Mark Sandy, an official at the OMB, and David Holmes, the staffer at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv who reportedly overheard the Trump-Sondland call on July 26 that Amb. Taylor revealed yesterday.

The House Intelligence Committee also voted along party lines after the hearing to defeat a motion to subpoena testimony from the whistleblower, reports Reuters.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday let stand an earlier ruling that President Trump’s accounting firm Mazars must turn over eight years of financial records to Congress, reports the New York Times. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the president, said Trump would appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited with President Trump and a small group of Republican senators at the White House. CNN reports that Erdogan showed a video casting the Kurds in a negative light during the meeting.

During the meeting with Erdogan, President Trump also declared that “we left troops behind only for the oil” when discussing the continued U.S. mission in Syria, according to Politico. This contradicts past messages from the Pentagon that asserted the primary mission was to defeat the Islamic State.

In Hong Kong, protesters armed with firebombs and bows and arrows have occupied several university campuses, according to the Times. At least four universities already canceled on-campus lectures for the remainder of the semester over safety concerns.

A cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Islamic Jihad forces appeared to be effective Thursday morning, reports the Associated Press. After two days of fighting, at least 34 Palestinians were killed in the wake of an IDF operation that targeted and killed an Islamic Jihad commander.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Elena Kagan shared a “No Bull” episode of The Lawfare Podcast, featuring substantive exchanges from yesterday’s impeachment hearing with George Kent and Bill Taylor.

Quinta Jurecic and Scott R. Anderson explored the major takeaways from the first day of public impeachment hearings.

Gordon Ahl shared a video of the impeachment inquiry hearing.

Ahl also posted the opening statements from the hearing of Chairman Adam Schiff, Rep. Devin Nunes, George Kent and Bill Taylor.

Jeffrey Feltman suggested that pulling U.S. security assistance to Lebanon in the midst of ongoing protests might provide more power to Syria and Iran.

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of The Lawfare Podcast, in which Jack Goldsmith speaks with New York Times journalist Charlie Savage and Justin Florence of Protect Democracy about Savage’s executive power survey and the responses from the 2020 presidential candidates.

Robert Chesney and Steve Vladeck shared this week’s episode of The National Security Law Podcast, which covers Tuesday’s SCOTUS arguments in a cross-border shooting case among other topics.

Ahl also shared a video of a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35 program.

Ahl also posted a district court ruling that certain searches of electronic devices at the border require reasonable suspicion.

Mikhaila Fogel posted a D.C. Circuit Court ruling that denied President Trump’s petition for a rehearing in the Mazars case.

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