1/ Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to "do us a favor" and "look into" potential corruption by Joe Biden's son, according to the White House readout of the July 25th call. Trump told Zelensky he'd have Attorney General William Barr and Rudy Guiliani contact him and help Ukraine "figure it out" and "get to the bottom of it." Trump, before asking Ukraine to investigate Biden's son, reminded Zelensky that the U.S. sends security aid to Ukraine. Trump also asked Zelensky to investigate Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election as it related to Ukraine, as well as to investigate whether he could locate a hacked Democratic National Committee computer server that contained some of Hillary Clinton's emails. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / NBC News / Politico / NPR / CNN / ABC News / CNBC / HuffPost)

  1. The director of national intelligence and the inspector general for the intelligence community each referred the complaint for a possible criminal investigation into Trump's actions after the whistleblower complaint raising concerns about Trump's call with Zelensky.

  2. The intelligence community's inspector general told the Director of National Intelligence that Trump's comments could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of federal campaign finance laws despite there being no explicit reference to the $391 million in foreign aid that Trump directed Mick Mulvaney to block days before the call took place.

  3. The Justice Department, however, concluded that it "could not make out a criminal campaign finance violation" based on the summary of the call. Officials, however, didn't take into consideration that Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine at the time.

  4. The document, which the White House and Trump refer to as a transcript, isn't verbatim – it's a "memorandum of telephone conversation" based off the "notes and recollections" of Situation Room and National Security Council officials.

  5. Trump, meanwhile, accused Democrats and reporters of pursuing a "hoax" against him. Trump insisted that "we want transparency" while calling the impeachment inquiry "a joke." (New York Times)

  • Read the "transcript" of Trump's call with Zelensky. (PDF)

  • Five key takeaways from the transcript. (BuzzFeed News)

  • What we know and don't know about Trump and Ukraine. (New York Times)

  • Trump said the transcript released today was from the second call he had with Zelensky and that he would release the first phone call. Trump said Pence also has had "one or two" conversations related to the matter, and that his administration should release information about those calls, too. "They were perfect," Trump said. "They were all perfect." (CNN / Washington Post)

2/ The White House released the whistleblower complaint against Trump to the House and the Senate intelligence committees, according to Richard Burr and Devin Nunes. The acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, until now had blocked Congress from seeing the complaint. Separately, White House officials are working with intelligence officials on a deal to allow the whistleblower to speak with congressional investigators. (CNN / Business Insider / New York Times / CBS News / Politico / NBC News)

3/ The acting Director of National Intelligence threatened to resign if he was not allowed to testify freely before Congress on Thursday about the whistleblower complaint regarding Trump's conduct according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter. Joseph Maguire warned the White House that he was not willing to withhold information from Congress, forcing the White House to make a legal decision on whether it was going to assert executive privilege over the whistleblower complaint. McGuire later denied reports that he threatened to resign, saying that "at no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019." The White House also disputed the account. (Washington Post / CNBC)

4/ The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee called on Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from overseeing any Justice Department's involvement from any Ukraine-related investigations. "The President dragged the Attorney General into this mess," Jerry Nadler tweeted. "At a minimum, AG Barr must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter." (The Hill / Reuters / The Week)

5/ The House passed a resolution formally condemning Trump for initially refusing to share the whistleblower complaint. The nonbinding resolution criticizes the "unprecedented and highly inappropriate efforts" to question the whistleblower's credibility. The vote was 421 to 0 with two lawmakers voting present. More than 200 members of the Democratic caucus — nearly enough to form a majority of the House — had embraced impeachment proceedings. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

6/ Trump called Nancy Pelosi shortly after she announced the start of a formal impeachment proceeding to see if they could "figure this out." Pelosi replied: "Tell your people to obey the law." Trump also told Pelosi that he wasn't responsible for the whistleblower complaint being withheld from Congress. (Business Insider / Mediate / Washington Examiner / The Week / Newsweek)

  • How impeachment works: Congress can remove presidents before their term is up if lawmakers vote that they committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The House Judiciary Committee – or a special panel – investigates and determines whether to recommended articles of impeachment to the full House. The House then votes on articles of impeachment and if a majority vote to impeach, the president is then impeached – the equivalent of being indicted. The Senate will then hold a trial, which is overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Lawmakers from the House are prosecutors, the president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury. If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president. There is no appeal. (New York Times)

7/ The White House accidentally emailed House Democrats a list of proposed talking points intended for Trump allies about how to spin Trump's July phone call with Zelensky. The White House then emailed Democrats a follow-up email recalling the message. (CNN / Washington Post)

8/ Trump met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the U.N. General Assembly today in New York. The pre-planned meeting with Zelensky comes less than 24 hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would begin a formal impeachment inquiry. Senior White House officials said Trump is planning to congratulate Zelensky on his latest election win and his "energy and success" so far when it comes to fighting corruption in Ukraine. Trump is also expected to bring up "his concerns about what he sees as some predatory Chinese economic activity in Ukraine." (Axios / Washington Post / The Guardian / USA Today / CNBC)

poll/ Support for impeachment is at 36% – down one percentage point from last week. 49% of respondents say Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, also down a point from last week. (Politico)


🚨 Dept. of We're all F*cked.

A United Nations report warned that ocean warming is accelerating and sea levels are rising "more than twice as fast" than in the 20th century – and faster than previously estimated. While sea levels rose by about a half-inch in total during the 20th century, they are now rising about 0.14 inches per year, driven by the rapid melting of ice in Greenland, Antarctica, and the world's smaller glaciers. The report predicts that sea levels will "continue to rise" – possibly reaching around 1-2 feet by 2100 – even if countries curb emissions and limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, which was the Paris Agreement's goal. Temperatures are already 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels However, "if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly," then the world could see 3.6 feet in total sea level rise by 2100. The report concludes that the world's oceans and ice sheets are under such severe stress that hotter ocean temperatures, combined with rising sea levels, threaten to create more destructive tropical cyclones and floods. (NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 931: Climate change is putting pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself, according to a new United Nations report that was prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and, unanimously approved. The report warns that the world's land and water resources are being exploited at "unprecedented rates" and "the cycle is accelerating." Climate change has already degraded lands, caused deserts to expand, permafrost to thaw, and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. "The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases," the report said. The report offered several proposals for addressing food supplies, including reducing red meat consumption, adopting plant-based diets, and eating more fruits, vegetables and seeds. As a result, the world could reduce carbon pollution up to 15% of current emissions levels by 2050. It would also make people healthier. (New York Times / Associated Press / Nature)

  • 📌Day 627: A U.N. report on the effects of climate change predicts a strong risk of an environmental crisis much sooner than expected. The report finds that the atmosphere could warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, which would cause sea levels to rise, intensify droughts, wildfires, and poverty, and cause a mass die-off of coral reefs. To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and fully eliminated by 2050. The use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40% today to between 1% and 7% by 2050. Renewable energy would have to increase to about 67%. Trump has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, vowing to increase the burning of coal, and he intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement. The world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark and "there is no documented historic precedent" for the scale of changes required, the report said. (New York Times / Washington Post)

  • 📌Day 676: The National Climate Assessment concludes that global warming is already "transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us." The findings from the landmark scientific report, issued by 13 federal agencies, are at odds with the Trump administration's environmental deregulation agenda, which Trump claims will lead to economic growth, and its plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. The report predicts that the effects of global warming could eliminate as much as 10% of the U.S. economy by the end of the century, and warns that humans must act aggressively now "to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades." The first report, released in November 2017, concluded that there is "no convincing alternative explanation" for the changing climate other than "human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases." Trump recently questioned the science of climate change, saying that "I don't know that it's man-made" and that the warming trend "could very well go back." (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 685: Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record. Global emissions grew 1.6% in 2017 with 2018 expected to increase 2.7%. The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon emissions, but that hasn't stopped the Trump administration from moving to roll back regulations designed to limit those emissions from vehicle tailpipes and power-plant smokestacks. As United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual U.N. climate conference: "We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change." (Washington Post / New York Times)


Notables.

  1. The Senate voted – again – to block Trump's national emergency declaration to divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects to build his proposed border wall. The Senate voted 54-41 – short of the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the Trump's likely veto. (Bloomberg / CNBC)

  2. The Trump administration signed a deal with Honduras to force immigrants to first seek asylum there before coming to America, regardless of whether they're seeking help from the U.S. under international torture agreements or the asylum system. The agreement is similar to the one made with El Salvador and Guatemala. (Vox)

  3. A Trump administration proposal could end free school lunches for about 500,000 children. The change would limit the number of people who qualify for food stamps, cutting an estimated 3 million people from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. (Washington Post)

  4. Trump's Turnberry resort is the only hotel named by Glasgow Prestwick Airport in promotional material distributed to U.S. military aircrews. The Scottish Government-owned airport handed out the document at "closed" meetings with U.S. Armed Forces personnel, emphasizing the "five star" status of Trump's property, noting how it has been "newly refurbished." (The Scotsman)


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