Day 1016: Sensitive.
1/ A senior White House lawyer instructed the national security official who heard Trump’s July 25 conversation with the Ukraine president to keep his concerns secret. Following the call, in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” to investigate the Bidens, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman went to John Eisenberg to register his concerns about the call, who recorded Vindman’s complaints in notes on a yellow legal pad. Eisenberg also restricted access to the rough transcript of the call by moving it into the NSC’s top-secret codeword system. Eisenberg then directed Vindman to not discuss his concerns with anyone after the White House learned on July 29 that a CIA employee had anonymously filed a whistleblower complaint about the call. Vindman also testified that he conferred with his deputy Michael Ellis at the time about how to handle the conversation because it was clearly “sensitive.” (Washington Post / Politico)
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she expects the impeachment inquiry to begin public hearings this month. (Bloomberg)
2/ Trump wants to host a live “fireside chat” and read the White House’s version of the transcript from his July 25 call with Zelensky. Trump said he would broadcast the reading on television in order to prove that he did nothing wrong and that the substance of the call was not cause for alarm. “At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television,” Trump said in an interview, “and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.” (Washington Examiner / The Hill / Fox News / Reuters)
3/ Democratic leaders directing the impeachment investigation see the Trump administration’s stonewalling as obstruction of Congress. Trump and the administration have tried to stop subpoenaed witnesses from testifying, blocked the executive branch from turning over documents, attacked witnesses as “Never Trumpers,” badgered the anonymous whistleblower, and have tried to publicly discredit the investigation as a “scam” overseen by “a totally compromised kangaroo court.” Democrats argue that the efforts infringed on the separation of powers and undermines congressional oversight duties as laid out in the Constitution. (Washington Post)
4/ A judge is expected to reconsider whether an associate of Rudy Giuliani should remain on house arrest while awaiting trial for charges of illegally funneling money into a pro-Trump election committee and to other politicians. Igor Fruman’s attorney is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan to argue that Fruman should not be subject to house arrest or electronic GPS monitoring as conditions of his bail, calling the restrictions “onerous.” Fruman was arrested at the airport while attempting to leave the country with his alleged co-conspirator, Lev Parnas, but Fruman’s attorney argues that Fruman does not pose a flight risk because he has already paid his $1 million bond and agreed to have his travel restricted. (Reuters)
5/ Trump declined to defend acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. When asked if he is happy with the job Mulvaney is doing, Trump replied: “Happy? I don’t want to comment on it.” (Washington Examiner)
- 📌 Day 1001: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney confirmed that Trump blocked military aid to Ukraine to force Kiev to investigate his political rivals. Mulvaney called the quid pro quo exchange “absolutely appropriate” and that “we do that all the time with foreign policy.” Mulvaney added: “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” Mulvaney also told reporters the funds were withheld in part because of a request to have Ukraine investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election. Trump has repeatedly denied that there was a quid pro quo arrangement linking his demand for an investigation that could politically benefit him to the release of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine. (Washington Post / New York Times / Politico / CNBC)
6/ Trump nominated Chad Wolf to be the acting Homeland Security Secretary. Wolf served as the chief of staff to former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Kevin McAleenan, who most recently served as acting secretary, submitted his resignation letter to in early October and said he would leave by the end of the month. (Wall Street Journal)
7/ Trump’s personal pastor joined the Trump administration in an official capacity. Paula White is a Florida-based televangelist and a controversial figure even among evangelical Christians, but she will now be in charge of overseeing a White House division that conducts outreach to key parts of the president’s base. White’s work in the Public Liaison Office will include advising the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which Trump established last year to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs involving religious liberty and fighting poverty. (New York Times)
8/ The White House is discussing a second round of tax cuts to announce during the 2020 presidential campaign. Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic aide, said the plan will be released next year to help Republicans run on the message of a strong economy and contrast their Democratic rivals, who are proposing tax increases to pay for expanded government services. (Bloomberg)
9/ The number of non-farm jobs rose by 128,000 in October, despite the loss of 42,000 motor vehicle and parts industry jobs. The growth of new jobs last month exceeded the 75,000 estimate by Dow Jones economists. The lost of 42,000 jobs was also less than the 50,000 or more that many economists had anticipated. The unemployment rate rose to 3.6%, but is still at its lowest rate in 50 years. (CNBC / New York Times)
10/ Trump changed his state of residence from New York to Florida, declaring that Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach was his permanent residence. Melania Trump also changed her residence to Palm Beach. Trump confirmed the decision on Twitter, saying “I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state,” and that moving to Florida would be “best for all concerned.” (New York Times / Washington Post)
poll/ 49% of Americans agree that Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 47% disagree. 82% of Democrats support removing Trump from office, while 13% are opposed. 18% of Republicans think he should be removed, while 82% say he should not be. (Washington Post-ABC News)
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