1/ Two career diplomats testified before House impeachment investigators behind closed doors that Trump and Rudy Giuliani's view of Ukraine were out of step with other White House and State Department officials. Catherine Croft told lawmakers, who worked as an adviser to Kurt Volker, explained that "throughout" her time in the Trump administration she heard Trump "describe Ukraine as a corrupt country," both "directly and indirectly." Christopher Anderson, who served as assistant to Volker, told lawmakers that in a June 13th meeting, John Bolton had supported "increased senior White House engagement" with Ukraine, but was concerned that Giuliani "was a key voice with the president on Ukraine." Anderson also testified that his attempts as a Foreign Service officer to show support for Ukraine were quashed by the White House. (Washington Post / CNN / Politico / ABC News / New York Times)

  • ๐Ÿ“ READ: Christopher Anderson's written testimony. (NPR)

  • ๐Ÿ“ READ: Ukraine Specialist Catherine Croft's written testimony. (NPR)

2/ House impeachment investigators asked former National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify on Nov. 7th after Anderson and Croft testified that Bolton was concerned about America's stance toward Ukraine. Fiona Hill testified earlier this month that Bolton was so disturbed by efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Trump's political opponents that he called it a "drug deal," and that Bolton had told her to report the situation to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer for the National Security Council. Eisenberg and Michael Ellis, another lawyer for the NSC, are scheduled testify next Monday. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg)

3/ The National Security Council's top Ukraine expert testified that a Devin Nunes associate "misrepresented" himself to Trump as the NSC's Ukraine expert. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman told lawmakers that Kashyap Patel circumvented NSC process to provide Trump with disinformation that Ukraine was corrupt and had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Democrats. Vindman was also told not to attend a meeting following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration, because Trump's advisers worried his perspective might confuse Trump. Patel is a longtime Nunes staffer who joined the White House in February. He has no Ukraine experience or expertise. (Politico)

  • ๐Ÿ“Œ Day 1007: House impeachment investigators are scrutinizing a National Security Council aide suspected of operating a second Ukraine backchannel. Fiona Hill, the National Security Council's former senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, testified last week that she believed Kashyap Patel was improperly getting involved in Ukraine policy by sending information about Ukraine to Trump that could warp American policy. Senior White House officials reportedly grew concerned when Patel became so involved in the issue that at one point Trump wanted to discuss the documents with him, referring to Patel as one of his top Ukraine policy specialists. Patel is assigned to work on counterterrorism issues, not Ukraine policy, and was part of the Republican effort to undermine the Russia investigation. (New York Times / Politico)

  • ๐Ÿ“Œ Day 923: A former congressional staffer who tried to discredit Robert Mueller's investigation has been promoted on the National Security Council staff. Kash Patel spearheaded the efforts with Devin Nunes to call the court-approved surveillance of former Trump adviser Carter Page into question. Now, Patel has been promoted to a leadership position focused on counterterrorism at the NSC's Directorate of International Organizations and Alliances. (Daily Beast)

4/ A former Republican congressman turned lobbyist repeatedly attempted to get the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine fired for her association with Democrats. Robert Livingston told Croft on multiple occasions that Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador to Ukraine, was an "Obama holdover" "associated with George Soros" who "should be fired." Croft testified that she "documented" multiple appeals by Livingston to oust Yovanovitch while she was working at the National Security Council from mid-2017 to mid-2018. Croft also said she informed Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia on the council, and George Kent, a Ukraine expert at the State Department, about the efforts at the time. (New York Times / Bloomberg)

5/ Trump's pick for ambassador to Russia told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it would not be "in accord with our values" for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also agreed that Yovanovitch had "served capably and admirably" and that he believed Rudy Giuliani was "seeking to smear" Yovanovitch. Sullivan said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told him "the president had lost confidence with [Yovanovitch]" and that he was the one who informed Yovanovitch that she was being recalled early from her post as the ambassador to Ukraine. (Politico / Washington Post)

6/ Attorneys for the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry have received multiple death threats. At least one of the death threats led to an investigation by law enforcement. None of the threats, however, have been deemed credible. (Wall Street Journal)

7/ Bill Taylor is willing to return to Capitol Hill to testify publicly in the impeachment probe. Taylor documented how he believed the White House had linked Ukraine announcing an investigation that could help Trump to the U.S. releasing security aide and setting up a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Zelensky. (CNN)

  • ๐Ÿ“Œ Day 1006: The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine told House impeachment investigators that Trump held up security aid and refused a White House meeting with Ukraine's president until he agreed to investigate Tump's political rivals. Bill Taylor said he was told that "everything" Ukraine wanted โ€” a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and nearly $400 million in security aid โ€” was dependent on publicly announcing an investigation into Burisma, the company that hired Joe Biden's son Hunter, and Ukraine's alleged involvement in the 2016 election. Taylor provided an "excruciatingly detailed" opening statement that described "how pervasive the [quid pro quo] efforts were" by Trump and his allies, which they have denied. People in the closed-door deposition described Taylor's testimony as a "very direct line" between American foreign policy and Trump's own political goals. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Wall Street Journal)

  • ๐Ÿ“Œ Day 1008: Trump's top envoy to Ukraine testified that the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. not only knew of a quid pro quo, but had also communicated the threat to Ukraine. William Taylor said he understood that on Sept. 1st, Gordon Sondland warned Andrey Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's aide, that security assistance "would not come" unless Zelensky committed to pursuing the investigation into Burisma, the energy company where Joe Biden's son held a board seat. On Sept. 9th, Sondland texted Taylor to say there was "no quid pro quos" of any kind authorized by Trump. Sondland's attorney added that his client "does not recall" such a conversation. By Taylor's account, however, Sondland already knew the terms of the quid pro quo and had relayed them to Zelensky's aide a week earlier. (Washington Post / Politico)


Notables.

  1. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney didn't know about the raid to assassinate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi until after the raid was already underway. The White House chief of staff is typically central to any major action by a president, taking charge of coordinating logistics, public statements, and notifying congressional leaders and allies. Rather than sitting alongside Trump in the Situation Room as the raid unfolded, Mulvaney was at home in South Carolina when Trump tweeted that "Something very big has just happened!" Mulvaney was briefed on the raid later that night. (NBC News)

  2. Trump tweeted that "American troops" have "terminated" ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's "likely" replacement. The White House and the national security council did not say whether it is accurate that "American troops" were responsible for the death of Abu Hasan al-Muhajir. (CNN)

  3. The Senate rejected an effort to roll back a Trump administration rule that allowed states to ignore parts of the Affordable Care Act. The resolution would have overturned a Trump administration rule that made it easier for states to opt-out of certain ACA requirements and prioritize cheaper "junk plans" than ones offered under the ACA. (The Hill)

  4. Georgia will cancel about 315,000 voter registrations ahead of the 2020 presidential and the state's Senate election, where both Senate seats are up for grabs. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office will send notices to inactive voters who and give them 30 days to return the notice if they don't want their voter registrations canceled. The number of potential cancellations constitutes roughly 4% of Georgians on the voter rolls. (NBC News)

  5. Russian groups spent more than $87,000 on Facebook ads to test new disinformation tactics in parts of Africa. The three Russian-backed influence networks were linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch was indicted by the United States and accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. Facebook said it removed the networks. (New York Times)

  6. Twitter banned all political advertisements. The new policy will go into place in November and applies worldwide. (Politico / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

  7. The Federal Reserve reduced interest rates by a quarter-percentage point โ€“ the third time this year โ€“ but signaled that it will weigh incoming data before adjusting rates again. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)

  8. Trump made 96 false claims last week โ€“ including 53 last Monday alone. (CNN)


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