HEAR YE, HEAR YE
Yesterday marked the first public hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
How'd we get here again?
This is about a July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump seemed to urge Zelenskiy to investigate former VP Joe Biden and his son for corruption. The call happened while the admin was withholding military aid from Ukraine. And Democrats have launched an inquiry to figure out if this amounts to an abuse of power. For weeks, the House has been holding closed-door meetings with US officials. Yesterday, Dems opened it up to the public.
How'd it go?
Pretty much as you'd expect. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said the facts of this case aren't really in question. Schiff suggested Trump has abused his power – which he referred to as an impeachable offense. And said that if the president doesn't cooperate with the investigation, that could be an additional case to make for impeachment.
What about Republicans?
Ranking member Devin Nunes (R-CA) said that Dems and the media have been coming after Trump for years. And that since it didn't work out with the Russia investigation, this is the new train they've jumped on. He called this a "spectacle." And Republicans dismissed witness testimonies as hearsay.
So who testified?
US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and deputy assistant at the State Department George Kent.
Did they say anything groundbreaking?
Well...apparently there's another call. Taylor said that someone from his staff overheard a phone convo between Trump and US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland. On it, the president allegedly mentioned "the investigations" – the day after his July phone call with Zelenskiy – which could further implicate the president. Taylor also claimed that Sondland told the staffer the president "cares more about the investigations of Biden" than Ukraine itself.
Ok. Anything else?
Kent brought his bow tie. And accused Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, of carrying out a smear campaign that ousted US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Stay tuned for her testimony tomorrow.
The country is still divided on whether Trump should be impeached. But for the next few weeks, both Democrats and Republicans will be trying to persuade the American public that their side is the right side of history
Where there is historic flooding…
Venice. The Italian city is experiencing its second-worst flooding on record, with 85% of the city flooded and water reaching about six feet in some areas. At least one person died. And the damage to historic landmarks including the St. Mark's Basilica could be extensive. Venice's mayor estimates it'll cost hundreds of millions of euros to repair the city, and says that "Venice is on its knees." He seemed ready to call for a state of emergency and has asked the gov for help.
Calling it: It's not unusual for the city to experience flooding around this time of year. But the mayor explicitly blamed climate change for the historic flooding.
Hate crimes. An FBI report found a slight dip in the number of reported hate crimes last year. But the number of violent hate crimes went up, with the anti-Semitic Tree of Life Synagogue attack in large part responsible for driving up last year's death toll from hate crimes. Attacks against Latinos were also on the rise.
...Oh and another thing the gov's ringing the alarm about: superbugs. More than 2.8 million people in the US get sick from drug-resistant infections every year, and more than 35,000 people die from them.
Google. It's partnering with Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University to offer checking accounts as soon as next year. Add that to the list of tech companies (Apple, Amazon, Facebook) dipping its toes into finance. And to the list of ways Google gets to access your data.
$: What's your money got to do with it? Here's what Google's Cache project could mean for your wallet.
PS: GV (formerly Google Ventures) is a minority investor in theSkimm.