1/ The White House's former top Russia adviser told impeachment investigators that Rudy Giuliani ran a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit Trump. Fiona Hill, who served as the senior official for Russia and Europe on the National Security Council, testified for about nine hours before three House panels regarding a July 10th meeting she attended with senior Ukrainian officials, then-National Security Adviser John Bolton, and other U.S. officials in which the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who was working with Giuliani, raised the issue to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, Joe Biden, and his son. Hill said she confronted Sondland about Giuliani's actions, which were not coordinated with officials responsible for U.S. foreign policy. Hill resigned days before Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Associated Press / The Guardian / NBC News / Vox / NPR)

  • House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff indicated that the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment inquiry might not testify over concerns about their safety. Schiff, however, said the whistleblower's testimony might not be needed given that a rough transcript of the call with Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a "favor" is already public. (Politico)

  • House impeachment investigators questioned a senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine policy about his knowledge of the Ukraine scandal. George Kent was questioned behind closed doors despite being directed by the State Department not to do so. Earlier this year, Kent raised concerns to colleagues about the pressure being directed at Ukraine by Trump and Giuliani to pursue investigations into Trump’s political rivals. (New York Times)

  • A former State Department adviser who resigned last week is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the congressional committees leading the House impeachment investigation. Michael McKinley will meet with the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump. (CNN)

2/ John Bolton was so alarmed by Giuliani's politically motivated activities to get the Ukrainians to investigate Trump's political opponents that he called it a "drug deal." Hill testified that Bolton told her to report the situation to the top lawyer at the National Security Council, John Eisenberg, about the effort by Sondland, Giuliani, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to extract damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine on Trump's behalf. Hill testified that she met with Eisenberg briefly on July 10th, and that she had a longer meeting with Eisenberg on July 11th. Bolton referred to Giuliani as a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up." Trump fired Bolton in September. (New York Times / NBC News / Politico)

3/ The former U.S. ambassador to the European Union intends to tell Congress that Trump personally assured him that there was no quid pro quo relationship between military aid for Ukraine and Trump's request that the Ukrainians open investigations including into Joe Biden and his son. Sondland plans to tell lawmakers he doesn't know why U.S. military aid to Ukraine was held up, nor who ordered it, and that he has no knowledge of whether Trump was telling him the truth, and that he relied on Trump's assurances when he told a State Department colleague that there were "no quid pro quo's of any kind" linking U.S. security assistance to Ukrainian investigations. Sondland is scheduled to appear for a closed-door deposition today. He was originally supposed to testify October 8th, but the Trump administration initially blocked him from appearing. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Vox)

4/ Rudy Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges. Lev Parnas' company – Fraud Guarantee (!) – engaged Giuliani Partners around August 2018 to consult on technologies and provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Giuliani said the money came in two payments made within weeks of each other, but that he couldn't remember the dates. He also said most of the work he did for Fraud Guarantee was completed in 2018, but that he has been doing follow-up work for more than a year. Federal prosecutors have been "examining Giuliani's interactions" with Parnas and Igor Fruman, who was also indicted on campaign finance charges, since at least early 2019. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also investigating whether Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was recalled on Trump's orders in May. Giuliani also denied that he was planning to visit Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who is currently wanted on corruption charges in the U.S., during a trip to Vienna he planned last week. (Reuters / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / USA Today / NBC News / Axios / ABC News)

  • 📌 Day 995: Giuliani's business relationship with the two men accused of running an illegal campaign finance scheme is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. The investigation by federal authorities in New York became public after Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested while attempting to flee the U.S. yesterday and named as witnesses in the House's impeachment inquiry into Trump. Parnas has also been working for the legal team of Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch who's currently facing bribery charges in the U.S. Both Parnas and Fruman had worked in an unspecified capacity for Firtash before Parnas joined the Ukrainian’s legal team. (ABC News / New York Times / Vanity Fair / Reuters)

  • 📌 Day 994: Two men who worked with Giuliani to find damaging information about Biden and his son have been charged with conspiring to violate campaign finance laws that prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to U.S. campaigns. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are two key subjects in the House's impeachment inquiry. They were indicted and accused of making "secret agreements" to hide the fact that they were laundering foreign money into U.S. campaigns through a range of corporate identities by using "straw donors" to make the contributions. The indictment alleges that on one occasion, they lobbied a then-sitting member of Congress at the request of "one or more Ukrainian officials." (BuzzFeed News / Washington Post / ABC News / New York Times / Reuters / Associated Press / NBC News)

5/ Giuliani won't comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to the impeachment investigation. He called the impeachment inquiry an "abomination" and dared House Democrats to take him to court, saying "if they enforce it, then we will see what happens." Giuliani's lawyer, Jon Sale, sent a letter to Congress, saying Giuliani wouldn't comply with the subpoena because it was "overbroad, unduly burdensome and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry." Sale, however, is no longer representing Giuliani, because, according to Giuliani, it would be "silly to have a lawyer when I don't need one." (ABC News / Wall Street Journal / New York Daily News)

  • Trump told reporters that he doesn't know if Giuliani is still his attorney. Trump, however, praised Giuliani, saying: "He's a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney." (Washington Post)

6/ Pence said he would not comply with a request from House impeachment investigators for documents related to Trump's July 25th call with Zelensky. Pence's lawyer accused the committees of requesting material that is "clearly not vice-presidential records." The House investigators had asked for documents to be produced by October 15th. (New York Times / NBC News)

  • The Office of Management and Budget won't comply with a congressional subpoena over documents about withholding military aid to Ukraine. The House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees asked the budget office on October 7th to provide the documents by Tuesday. The official also indicated that acting budget director Russell Vought won’t comply with the committees' request to testify on October 25th. (CNN / Bloomberg)

7/ Trump authorized "powerful" sanctions against Turkey for its invasion into northeast Syria and called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to implement an immediate ceasefire. The executive order also stated that the Commerce Department would suspend negotiations on an unknown trade deal worth $100 billion. (Politico / Axios / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 991: Trump announced that he plans to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and allow the Turkish military to launch an attack against Kurdish militias in the area. Trump made the decision Sunday evening during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Early Monday morning, the 50–100 special forces troops currently operating in northeastern Syria received an urgent, unexpected alert ordering them to pull back from their posts in preparation for "departing the field." The move surprised not just U.S. Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS in northeastern Syria, but also senior officials at the Pentagon, State Department, and White House, as well as U.S. lawmakers from both parties. U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe were also unaware of Trump's decision until after he agreed to pull the troops out during his call with Erdogan. On Twitter, Trump warned Turkey not to do "anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits," during any military incursion against the Kurds or he will "totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)." (New York Times / NBC News / USA Today / Associated Press / NPR / CBS News / The Independent)

8/ Trump faces bipartisan criticism for his decision to order a withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria. Lawmakers in both chambers plan to put forward a joint resolution urging Trump to undo his decision and "to do everything he can to protect the Kurds, to do everything that we must do to prevent ISIS terrorists from escaping, and make sure that Turkey respects existing agreements related to Syria and with the United States." (Washington Post)

  • Trump defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying he'd rather "let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land." Trump added: "I hope they all do great." Officials said Trump was "doubling down" and "undeterred" despite pushback from congressional Republicans. (Washington Post / Axios)

  • More:

  • Behind the scenes of the Trump bluff that kicked off Turkey's invasion. (Axios

  • U.S. Forces Leave ‘High Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria (New York Times)

  • Syrian troops enter towns in northeast as Erdogan warns of wider offensive. (Washington Post)

  • Military leader of Syrian Kurds tells US 'you are leaving us to be slaughtered' (CNN)

  • Pullback Leaves Green Berets Feeling ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurdish Allies Describing ‘Betrayal’ (New York Times)

  • Russia patrolling between Turkish and Syrian forces after U.S. troops withdraw. (Washington Post)

poll/ 46% of voters say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 48% say he should not be impeached and removed. 51% call the impeachment inquiry a legitimate investigation, while 43% call it a political witch hunt. 59% disapprove of the way Trump is responding to the inquiry, while 32% approve of the way he's responding. (Quinnipiac)

poll/ The majority of likely Democratic primary voters in early voting states believe that Trump should be impeached and put in jail. 53% of respondents in Iowa, 50% in New Hampshire, and 54% in South Carolina agreed with the statement: "Some members of Congress have stated that President Trump should not only be impeached, but also imprisoned." (Axios)


Notables.

  1. Trump – again – repeated his assertion that because he is president, he cannot be investigated by any prosecutor. Trump's personal attorneys made the argument in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York, seeking to overturn a lower court's dismissal of a suit Trump filed in an effort to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. from obtaining his tax returns. (Washington Post

  2. Trump wanted to release his taxes in 2013 as part of a presidential bid to show how smart he was for paying so little in taxes. Trump, however, changed his mind after an adviser convinced him not to release his taxes. Since then, Trump has spent years claiming he can't release them because he's under audit by the IRS. (CNN)

  3. Deutsche Bank told a federal appeals court that it does not have Trump's personal tax returns. Trump sued the bank to block it from complying with congressional committees subpoenas for his financial records, his companies, and his family. For nearly two decades, the German bank was the only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to lend to Trump. (New York Times)

  4. Attorney General William Barr privately met with Rupert Murdoch days before Shepard Smith abruptly left Fox News. Smith's departure followed attacks by Trump on Twitter in recent weeks and months. (New York Times / Politico)

  5. China wants to continue negotiating the details of Trump's "phase one" trade deal before Xi Jinping will agree to sign it. China also wants Trump to cancel a planned tariff hike in December, as well as a scheduled hike for this week. (Bloomberg)

  6. A fake video depicting Trump shooting, stabbing, and assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was played at a conference for his supporters at Trump National Doral Miami. The organizer of the event said that the video was part of a "meme exhibit." (New York Times)

  7. The acting secretary of homeland security resigned. Kevin McAleenan – who spent his six-month tenure after Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April trying to curb asylum seekers at the southwestern border – is the fourth person to serve in that post since the Trump presidency began. Trump said McAleenan resigned so he can "spend more time with his family and go to the private sector." McAleenan complained last week about the "tone, the message, the public face and approach" of Trump's immigration policy. Trump said he plans to name a new acting DHS secretary this week. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post / Bloomberg / NBC News / PBS)

  1. The Trump administration proposed allowing logging on more than half of the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America. Trump instructed federal officials to reverse long-standing limits on tree cutting in Alaska's 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest on the grounds that it would boost the local economy. About 40% of wild salmon along the West Coast spawn in the Tongass. (Washington Post)

  2. Manufacturing output in the U.S. shrank over two consecutive quarters, slipping into a recession. Numbers from the Federal Reserve match up with a separate index drawn from purchasing managers, which shows September's contraction in manufacturing was the steepest since June 2009, with production, inventories, and new orders all falling. Manufacturing employment has also stalled after adding nearly half a million jobs during the previous two years. Layoff announcements have also surged this year, especially in battleground states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, and Friday's jobs report showed a slight drop in total factory jobs. (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Ronan Farrow claims in his forthcoming book that American Media, Inc. and the National Enquirer shredded sensitive Trump-related documents held in a top-secret safe right before Trump was elected in 2016. The book claims then-Editor-in-Chief of the National Enquirer Dylan Howard ordered a staff member to "get everything out of the safe" and said "we need to get a shredder down there." The order came the same day a reporter from the Wall Street Journal asked for a comment for a story about how AMI paid $150,000 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to keep her story about having an affair with Trump quiet before the election. (Politico)

  4. Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims over 993 days. Check the WTFJHT archive for all of them. (Washington Post)


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