World News
01/25/2020 Trump defends Sanders, stoking Democratic divisions

Trump defends Sanders, stoking Democratic divisionsAs tensions between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren rose earlier this month, Sanders found himself with an unusual ally: President Donald Trump. During a raucous campaign rally in which Trump critiqued some of his Democratic challengers, the president launched into an unprompted defense of Sanders. Warren had accused Sanders of telling her that a woman couldn’t win the White House in November, but Sanders insisted he would never say such a thing.


01/25/2020 Politics weigh heavily in Trump's Mideast peace plan

Politics weigh heavily in Trump's Mideast peace planA blueprint the White House is rolling out to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is as much about politics as it is about peace. President Donald Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan a little before he meets Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz. The Washington get-together offers political bonuses for Trump and the prime minister, but Trump's opponents are doubting the viability of any plan since there's been little-to-no input from the Palestinians, who have rejected it before its release.


01/25/2020 AP FACT CHECK: Trump's fusillade of misfires on fateful week

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's fusillade of misfires on fateful weekAbroad, at home and in Twitter's ether, President Donald Trump unleashed a fusillade of statements over the past week as the Senate impeachment trial unfolded and the Davos economic forum played out in Switzerland. On impeachment, the state of the country, abortion, pollution and more, Trump didn't tell the story straight. The Pentagon said Friday that 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injury in the attack and half were taken to Germany or back to the U.S. for further observation and treatment.


01/25/2020 Trump lawyer says Dems want to 'overturn' last election

Trump lawyer says Dems want to 'overturn' last electionPresident Donald Trump's lawyers opened their impeachment trial defense in a rare Saturday session by accusing Democrats of striving to overturn the results of the 2016 election, saying the Democrats' investigations into his dealings with Ukraine were not a fact-finding mission but a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House. “They're here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told senators. The Trump legal team's arguments were aimed at rebutting allegations that the president abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress as it tried to investigate.


01/25/2020 In Limelight Again, Key Impeachment Witnesses Still Experience a Divided Response

In Limelight Again, Key Impeachment Witnesses Still Experience a Divided ResponseWASHINGTON -- Admirers still stop and thank them on the street and in airports, send fan mail and sometimes even offer to pay for their meals. But supporters of President Donald Trump still insult and threaten them online -- even the ones who work in the White House.The star witnesses of last November's House impeachment proceedings shook the Trump White House and turned a handful of previously obscure government officials into political household names.And just as their names and faces were beginning to fade from public memory, they were resurrected this week in the Senate by the House Democrats presenting their case for convicting the president. The House managers repeatedly played video clips of those witnesses, on large screens set up in the old Senate chamber, to buttress their case that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as discredited allegations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election.The effect has cut both ways for these accidental political stars. In some quarters, they are being cheered anew by admirers, while in others they are drawing a new round of insults and invective from supporters of Trump -- and even from the president himself.Some are in the awkward position of carrying on within the government. They include Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a National Security Council aide, who testified that, when he listened to the president's July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, he "couldn't believe" what he was hearing.Vindman continues to serve on the National Security Council, but that has not prevented Trump from attacking him. On Friday, Trump retweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who a day earlier had resurrected an October quote about Vindman from his former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Hickman: "Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform."In response, a lawyer for Vindman issued a statement denouncing Blackburn's "slander" and "cowardice," writing that while the senator "fires off defamatory tweets, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor."Also still working in the extended White House complex is Jennifer Williams, a career Foreign Service officer and national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who testified in November that Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy had been "unusual."Williams has not spoken publicly since Trump tweeted on the day of her testimony that "Jennifer Williams, whoever that is" should "meet with the other Never Trumpers" aligned against him and "work out a better presidential attack!" Other witnesses who have returned to their government posts, without public incident, include George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Laura Cooper, who holds an equivalent post at the Defense Department.Then there is the whistleblower whose original complaint about Trump's pressure campaign on Zelenskiy ignited the fuse that led to his impeachment.Each day, the whistleblower goes to his job at the CIA's headquarters and continues to work on intelligence related to Europe and, his expertise, Ukraine, according to people familiar with his work.Although his identity is known by many inside the CIA and other intelligence agencies, supervisors have reminded intelligence officers to respect his public anonymity. As a result, inside the CIA, intelligence officers make no mention of the impeachment proceedings to him. That, according to friends, has allowed the whistleblower to focus on his intelligence work, but it has contributed to a sense of isolation.While the whistleblower remains silent at work, he has discussed the stress of the events and the gravity of impeachment with friends and expressed frustration that his decision to remain anonymous has meant that right-wing attacks on his character and motivations go unanswered.By contrast, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, appears to be mounting a public rehabilitation campaign, smiling and schmoozing his way back to normalcy after public testimony that angered Trump.During the House appearance in which he contradicted Trump's prior insistence that the president never sought a "quid pro quo" from Zelenskiy, Sondland made clear his intention to carry on with his diplomatic job. Later, he was seen checking in for his flight at Dulles International Airport and saying that he was "going back to work."And he has. Sondland, a businessman whose main qualification for his job appeared to be a $1 million donation to Trump's inaugural fund, is again posting regularly on an official Twitter feed, smiling broadly alongside a series of foreign officials and working on issues like trade, the Balkans and Iran. He no longer mentions Ukraine, once a cherished part of his portfolio.Radislaw Sikorski, a Polish member of the European Parliament who met last week with Sondland in Strasbourg, France, suggested that the experience had changed him."I've talked with him a year ago, three months ago and last week," Sikorski said. "And he's learned." Before, Sikorski said, "he was borderline offensive, but now he's found a way to not to be so offensive.'"Several other witnesses who provided memorable, and often damning, testimony have left government. Among them is William B. Taylor Jr., who served as ambassador to Ukraine during the Bush administration and as de facto ambassador after Marie L. Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington last spring.Taylor left his post for good on Jan. 2, soon before his temporary appointment was set to expire.A Vietnam War veteran whose commanding voice drew comparisons to famed news anchor Walter Cronkite, Taylor officially remained a State Department employee until Jan. 10. During a visit to the building's cafeteria before his departure, Taylor was seen trying to buy a coffee and scone for breakfast when a well-wisher swooped in and insisted on paying.Taylor is expected to return next month to the federally funded United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he was working in mid-2019 when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo persuaded him to return to Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, on a temporary basis.Asked about his future plans during an interview with Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli a few days before his departure from Ukraine, Taylor said, "I am hoping that I will have a chance to keep working for the good of the U.S.-Ukrainian relations."Taylor's predecessor in Kyiv, Yovanovitch, is officially still employed by the State Department, which a Fox News reporter spotted her visiting this month. She is also teaching a class, one morning per week, at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and is scheduled to receive an award next week from the university's School of Foreign Service for "Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy."Yovanovitch has remained in the news thanks to texts released this month suggesting that associates of Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani were having her watched in Kyiv. And Friday, ABC News reported the existence of a recording of Trump, in the spring of 2018, saying "take her out," in an apparent reference to Yovanovitch."Get her out tomorrow. I don't care," Trump says, according to the report. "Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."Trump's former top National Security Council aide for Russia, Fiona Hill, had already left the White House months before she publicly testified about "fictions" involving Ukraine promoted by Trump and his allies. This past week, as the Senate impeachment trial was opening, she returned as a senior fellow to her previous employer of many years, the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.Hill has told friends she is declining speaking engagements, plowing through unopened mail and contemplating writing a book drawn from her past research on Russia.Kurt D. Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, who worked with Sondland and Giuliani, in what Taylor described as a "highly irregular channel" of diplomacy to Kyiv, resigned on Sept. 27.Volker also left the job he retained as executive director of the McCain Institute, but is again an adviser with the Washington lobbying firm GBR Group. He has also returned to the foreign policy circuit, appearing at conferences where he has been a regular over the years.Tim Morrison, who succeeded Hill as the National Security Council's director for Russia affairs, left the White House a day before he testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee at the end of October.Morrison has maintained a low profile since then, although on Jan. 15, he was a featured speaker at a dinner panel hosted by the George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs on the future of nuclear arms control. Maintaining his hard-edge position toward Russia, he derided it is as "a Mafia-run gas station with a lot of nuclear weapons."But Morrison avoided discussing National Security Council policymaking and rebuffed efforts to coax him into any conversation about impeachment. On Thursday, he became a nonresident fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


01/25/2020 Trump Impeachment: Making a Case Against a President, and Against Tuning Out

Trump Impeachment: Making a Case Against a President, and Against Tuning OutThey played video. They brought graphics. They cited Alexander Hamilton so many times, they may owe royalties to Lin-Manuel Miranda.The Democratic House impeachment managers, unfolding their case against President Donald Trump, were conducting a TV trial without many of the staples of legal drama, particularly witnesses on the stand. Instead, they relied on multimedia, impassioned speeches and repetition, repetition, repetition -- all in a presentation of 24 hours over three days.If the O.J. Simpson trial was a long-running daytime soap, this was democracy in binge mode.The trial of Trump, as the TV pundits reminded us before, during and after, was an unusual one, in that much of the jury was assumed to already have a verdict in mind. This meant a different dynamic from the usual televised trial, in which the prosecution is speaking to the jury first and the viewing audience second, if at all.Instead, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his team were effectively speaking to the court of public opinion -- home viewers who might bring pressure to bear on certain swing senators or turn against them at the ballot box -- although they had to do so by at least arguing as if the outcome were not a foregone conclusion.So there was the case, and then there was the case about the case. If the Republican majority was going to acquit the president, and if it was going to be voting against calling witnesses and subpoenaing documents that might weaken his defense, the Democrats would make sure that the viewing audience knew it.Their arguments often focused on what the audience wasn't seeing and hearing, because the White House refused it. Wednesday night, Schiff made a refrain of referencing evidence -- a diplomatic cable, a statement attributed to the former national security adviser, John Bolton -- and turning it into a question to the Senate. Wouldn't you like to read them? Wouldn't you like to hear them? "They're yours for the asking," he said.What the three days asked of viewers, largely, was patience. The constitutional stakes were as high as they come. But the dynamics were staid, thanks to Senate rules that limited TV coverage to two cemented-in-place camera vantages that gave the broadcast all the visual verve of a security-camera tape.The managers' most effective tool, both to break out of the visual monotony and substitute for live witnesses, was file video, which they used to string together the words of Trump and his staff into a kind of cinema-verite documentary of the often right-out-in-the-open scandal.There was Trump at a news conference with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland, dismissing his own intelligence agencies' findings on Russian hacking. There was his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, regaling Fox News hosts about his Ukraine exploits. There was Sen. John McCain, a frequent critic of Trump, summoned Friday as a posthumous witness.Certain greatest hits went into heavy rotation. The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, seemed to say "get over it" on-screen as often as his boss said "You're fired" on "The Apprentice."The senators were a captive audience, although some ducked out, unseen by the stationary cameras. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vanished before managers played a video of him, prosecuting the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, in which he contradicted arguments he's made to defend Trump. (Graham did make himself available to cameras between sessions, as did the Democratic presidential candidates kept off the trail in Iowa by Senate duty.)If any senators weren't keen on their duty, a good chunk of their constituents were willing to volunteer. Eleven million viewers watched the trial's first day -- hardly Super Bowl numbers but more than watched the Clinton trial, although the numbers declined the next day. And the three major broadcast networks aired more of the trial during the daytime than in 1999, although they left the evening portion to cable news.In a way, the Democrats programmed their presentation the way a cable news channel does. They recycled through their arguments and video clips during the daytime, for a home audience watching snippets here and there.Then in prime time, they brought out their centerpiece programming, delivered by Schiff. (This was around where Fox News usually cut away, preferring its own prime-time hosts.) At the end of Friday's session, he stepped back from the specifics of the abuse-and-obstruction cases to argue "moral courage" and putting country over party."Give America a fair trial," he concluded. "She deserves it."The tone wasn't entirely solemn. On Thursday evening, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told a story about a friend who'd just asked him if he'd heard about "the latest outrage." Jeffries assumed this referred to Trump. Actually, his friend said, "Someone voted against Derek Jeter on his Hall of Fame ballot."Jeffries moved on to connect the American pastime of baseball with the American tradition of the Constitution. But his anecdote made another point. The House managers were not just vying with an opposition party and a truculent defender. They were pitted against every other distraction in the mediasphere, every other shiny enticement and new outrage offering a reason to tune out.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


01/25/2020 GOP senators incensed by Schiff's 'head on a pike' remark

GOP senators incensed by Schiff's 'head on a pike' remarkSenate Republicans said lead impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff insulted them during the trial by repeating an anonymously sourced report that the White House had threatened to punish Republicans who voted against President Donald Trump. Schiff, who delivered closing arguments for the prosecution, was holding Republican senators rapt as he called for removing Trump from office for abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Doing anything else, he argued, would be to let the president bully Senate Republicans into ignoring his pressure on Ukraine for political help.


01/25/2020 Substitute teaching a challenge in Jimmy Carter's class

Substitute teaching a challenge in Jimmy Carter's classEvery now and then, Sunday school teacher Kim Fuller makes a point during class and the old man sitting on the front pew raises his eyebrows quizzically. Fuller is the eldest daughter of Carter’s late brother Billy Carter, and she has served as the regular replacement for the world’s best-known Sunday school teacher since Carter underwent brain surgery in November. Out of the hospital and back home in Plains, Georgia, the 95-year-old Carter has been in his regular, front-row seat at Maranatha Baptist Church, along with his wife Rosalynn, each Sunday since Dec. 29.


01/25/2020 Libya says oil shutdown caused over $255 million in losses

Libya says oil shutdown caused over $255 million in lossesThe closure of Libya’s major oil fields and production facilities has resulted in losses of more than $255 million in the six-day period ending Jan. 23, the country’s national oil company said Saturday. The closures came when powerful tribal groups loyal to military commander Khalifa Hifter earlier this month seized several large export terminals along the eastern coast as well as southern oil fields.


01/25/2020 Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did.

Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose known for being wary of the press, apparently did not enjoy his latest interview.Pompeo reportedly berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on Friday after she interviewed him about the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. During Friday's interview, which aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Pompeo said he has "defended every State Department official on his team," but did not provide Kelly with a specific example of him defending Yovanovitch. Pompeo complained that he was there to talk about Iran, but Kelly assured him she confirmed with his team that she would ask him about Ukraine, as well.Following the interview, Kelly said she was summoned by a Pompeo aide to a private room where Pompeo "shouted" at her, asking if she thought "Americans care about Ukraine" and challenging her to point to the country on an unmarked map, which the well-traveled, veteran reporter was able to do. Journalists like CNN's Jake Tapper defended Kelly's line questioning, while Democratic politicians blasted Pompeo's behavior. The State Department didn't have much to say on the matter, though.At the end of their encounter, Kelly said Pompeo told her "people will hear about this." They sure did - straight from Kelly. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek 14 dead, hundreds injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey Trump is winning the impeachment battle — but losing the war


World News
01/25/2020 Trump defends Sanders, stoking Democratic divisions

Trump defends Sanders, stoking Democratic divisionsAs tensions between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren rose earlier this month, Sanders found himself with an unusual ally: President Donald Trump. During a raucous campaign rally in which Trump critiqued some of his Democratic challengers, the president launched into an unprompted defense of Sanders. Warren had accused Sanders of telling her that a woman couldn’t win the White House in November, but Sanders insisted he would never say such a thing.


01/25/2020 Politics weigh heavily in Trump's Mideast peace plan

Politics weigh heavily in Trump's Mideast peace planA blueprint the White House is rolling out to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is as much about politics as it is about peace. President Donald Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan a little before he meets Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz. The Washington get-together offers political bonuses for Trump and the prime minister, but Trump's opponents are doubting the viability of any plan since there's been little-to-no input from the Palestinians, who have rejected it before its release.


01/25/2020 AP FACT CHECK: Trump's fusillade of misfires on fateful week

AP FACT CHECK: Trump's fusillade of misfires on fateful weekAbroad, at home and in Twitter's ether, President Donald Trump unleashed a fusillade of statements over the past week as the Senate impeachment trial unfolded and the Davos economic forum played out in Switzerland. On impeachment, the state of the country, abortion, pollution and more, Trump didn't tell the story straight. The Pentagon said Friday that 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injury in the attack and half were taken to Germany or back to the U.S. for further observation and treatment.


01/25/2020 Trump lawyer says Dems want to 'overturn' last election

Trump lawyer says Dems want to 'overturn' last electionPresident Donald Trump's lawyers opened their impeachment trial defense in a rare Saturday session by accusing Democrats of striving to overturn the results of the 2016 election, saying the Democrats' investigations into his dealings with Ukraine were not a fact-finding mission but a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House. “They're here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told senators. The Trump legal team's arguments were aimed at rebutting allegations that the president abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress as it tried to investigate.


01/25/2020 In Limelight Again, Key Impeachment Witnesses Still Experience a Divided Response

In Limelight Again, Key Impeachment Witnesses Still Experience a Divided ResponseWASHINGTON -- Admirers still stop and thank them on the street and in airports, send fan mail and sometimes even offer to pay for their meals. But supporters of President Donald Trump still insult and threaten them online -- even the ones who work in the White House.The star witnesses of last November's House impeachment proceedings shook the Trump White House and turned a handful of previously obscure government officials into political household names.And just as their names and faces were beginning to fade from public memory, they were resurrected this week in the Senate by the House Democrats presenting their case for convicting the president. The House managers repeatedly played video clips of those witnesses, on large screens set up in the old Senate chamber, to buttress their case that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as discredited allegations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election.The effect has cut both ways for these accidental political stars. In some quarters, they are being cheered anew by admirers, while in others they are drawing a new round of insults and invective from supporters of Trump -- and even from the president himself.Some are in the awkward position of carrying on within the government. They include Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a National Security Council aide, who testified that, when he listened to the president's July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, he "couldn't believe" what he was hearing.Vindman continues to serve on the National Security Council, but that has not prevented Trump from attacking him. On Friday, Trump retweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who a day earlier had resurrected an October quote about Vindman from his former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Hickman: "Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform."In response, a lawyer for Vindman issued a statement denouncing Blackburn's "slander" and "cowardice," writing that while the senator "fires off defamatory tweets, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor."Also still working in the extended White House complex is Jennifer Williams, a career Foreign Service officer and national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who testified in November that Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy had been "unusual."Williams has not spoken publicly since Trump tweeted on the day of her testimony that "Jennifer Williams, whoever that is" should "meet with the other Never Trumpers" aligned against him and "work out a better presidential attack!" Other witnesses who have returned to their government posts, without public incident, include George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Laura Cooper, who holds an equivalent post at the Defense Department.Then there is the whistleblower whose original complaint about Trump's pressure campaign on Zelenskiy ignited the fuse that led to his impeachment.Each day, the whistleblower goes to his job at the CIA's headquarters and continues to work on intelligence related to Europe and, his expertise, Ukraine, according to people familiar with his work.Although his identity is known by many inside the CIA and other intelligence agencies, supervisors have reminded intelligence officers to respect his public anonymity. As a result, inside the CIA, intelligence officers make no mention of the impeachment proceedings to him. That, according to friends, has allowed the whistleblower to focus on his intelligence work, but it has contributed to a sense of isolation.While the whistleblower remains silent at work, he has discussed the stress of the events and the gravity of impeachment with friends and expressed frustration that his decision to remain anonymous has meant that right-wing attacks on his character and motivations go unanswered.By contrast, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, appears to be mounting a public rehabilitation campaign, smiling and schmoozing his way back to normalcy after public testimony that angered Trump.During the House appearance in which he contradicted Trump's prior insistence that the president never sought a "quid pro quo" from Zelenskiy, Sondland made clear his intention to carry on with his diplomatic job. Later, he was seen checking in for his flight at Dulles International Airport and saying that he was "going back to work."And he has. Sondland, a businessman whose main qualification for his job appeared to be a $1 million donation to Trump's inaugural fund, is again posting regularly on an official Twitter feed, smiling broadly alongside a series of foreign officials and working on issues like trade, the Balkans and Iran. He no longer mentions Ukraine, once a cherished part of his portfolio.Radislaw Sikorski, a Polish member of the European Parliament who met last week with Sondland in Strasbourg, France, suggested that the experience had changed him."I've talked with him a year ago, three months ago and last week," Sikorski said. "And he's learned." Before, Sikorski said, "he was borderline offensive, but now he's found a way to not to be so offensive.'"Several other witnesses who provided memorable, and often damning, testimony have left government. Among them is William B. Taylor Jr., who served as ambassador to Ukraine during the Bush administration and as de facto ambassador after Marie L. Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington last spring.Taylor left his post for good on Jan. 2, soon before his temporary appointment was set to expire.A Vietnam War veteran whose commanding voice drew comparisons to famed news anchor Walter Cronkite, Taylor officially remained a State Department employee until Jan. 10. During a visit to the building's cafeteria before his departure, Taylor was seen trying to buy a coffee and scone for breakfast when a well-wisher swooped in and insisted on paying.Taylor is expected to return next month to the federally funded United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he was working in mid-2019 when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo persuaded him to return to Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, on a temporary basis.Asked about his future plans during an interview with Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli a few days before his departure from Ukraine, Taylor said, "I am hoping that I will have a chance to keep working for the good of the U.S.-Ukrainian relations."Taylor's predecessor in Kyiv, Yovanovitch, is officially still employed by the State Department, which a Fox News reporter spotted her visiting this month. She is also teaching a class, one morning per week, at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and is scheduled to receive an award next week from the university's School of Foreign Service for "Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy."Yovanovitch has remained in the news thanks to texts released this month suggesting that associates of Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani were having her watched in Kyiv. And Friday, ABC News reported the existence of a recording of Trump, in the spring of 2018, saying "take her out," in an apparent reference to Yovanovitch."Get her out tomorrow. I don't care," Trump says, according to the report. "Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."Trump's former top National Security Council aide for Russia, Fiona Hill, had already left the White House months before she publicly testified about "fictions" involving Ukraine promoted by Trump and his allies. This past week, as the Senate impeachment trial was opening, she returned as a senior fellow to her previous employer of many years, the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.Hill has told friends she is declining speaking engagements, plowing through unopened mail and contemplating writing a book drawn from her past research on Russia.Kurt D. Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, who worked with Sondland and Giuliani, in what Taylor described as a "highly irregular channel" of diplomacy to Kyiv, resigned on Sept. 27.Volker also left the job he retained as executive director of the McCain Institute, but is again an adviser with the Washington lobbying firm GBR Group. He has also returned to the foreign policy circuit, appearing at conferences where he has been a regular over the years.Tim Morrison, who succeeded Hill as the National Security Council's director for Russia affairs, left the White House a day before he testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee at the end of October.Morrison has maintained a low profile since then, although on Jan. 15, he was a featured speaker at a dinner panel hosted by the George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs on the future of nuclear arms control. Maintaining his hard-edge position toward Russia, he derided it is as "a Mafia-run gas station with a lot of nuclear weapons."But Morrison avoided discussing National Security Council policymaking and rebuffed efforts to coax him into any conversation about impeachment. On Thursday, he became a nonresident fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


01/25/2020 Trump Impeachment: Making a Case Against a President, and Against Tuning Out

Trump Impeachment: Making a Case Against a President, and Against Tuning OutThey played video. They brought graphics. They cited Alexander Hamilton so many times, they may owe royalties to Lin-Manuel Miranda.The Democratic House impeachment managers, unfolding their case against President Donald Trump, were conducting a TV trial without many of the staples of legal drama, particularly witnesses on the stand. Instead, they relied on multimedia, impassioned speeches and repetition, repetition, repetition -- all in a presentation of 24 hours over three days.If the O.J. Simpson trial was a long-running daytime soap, this was democracy in binge mode.The trial of Trump, as the TV pundits reminded us before, during and after, was an unusual one, in that much of the jury was assumed to already have a verdict in mind. This meant a different dynamic from the usual televised trial, in which the prosecution is speaking to the jury first and the viewing audience second, if at all.Instead, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his team were effectively speaking to the court of public opinion -- home viewers who might bring pressure to bear on certain swing senators or turn against them at the ballot box -- although they had to do so by at least arguing as if the outcome were not a foregone conclusion.So there was the case, and then there was the case about the case. If the Republican majority was going to acquit the president, and if it was going to be voting against calling witnesses and subpoenaing documents that might weaken his defense, the Democrats would make sure that the viewing audience knew it.Their arguments often focused on what the audience wasn't seeing and hearing, because the White House refused it. Wednesday night, Schiff made a refrain of referencing evidence -- a diplomatic cable, a statement attributed to the former national security adviser, John Bolton -- and turning it into a question to the Senate. Wouldn't you like to read them? Wouldn't you like to hear them? "They're yours for the asking," he said.What the three days asked of viewers, largely, was patience. The constitutional stakes were as high as they come. But the dynamics were staid, thanks to Senate rules that limited TV coverage to two cemented-in-place camera vantages that gave the broadcast all the visual verve of a security-camera tape.The managers' most effective tool, both to break out of the visual monotony and substitute for live witnesses, was file video, which they used to string together the words of Trump and his staff into a kind of cinema-verite documentary of the often right-out-in-the-open scandal.There was Trump at a news conference with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland, dismissing his own intelligence agencies' findings on Russian hacking. There was his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, regaling Fox News hosts about his Ukraine exploits. There was Sen. John McCain, a frequent critic of Trump, summoned Friday as a posthumous witness.Certain greatest hits went into heavy rotation. The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, seemed to say "get over it" on-screen as often as his boss said "You're fired" on "The Apprentice."The senators were a captive audience, although some ducked out, unseen by the stationary cameras. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vanished before managers played a video of him, prosecuting the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, in which he contradicted arguments he's made to defend Trump. (Graham did make himself available to cameras between sessions, as did the Democratic presidential candidates kept off the trail in Iowa by Senate duty.)If any senators weren't keen on their duty, a good chunk of their constituents were willing to volunteer. Eleven million viewers watched the trial's first day -- hardly Super Bowl numbers but more than watched the Clinton trial, although the numbers declined the next day. And the three major broadcast networks aired more of the trial during the daytime than in 1999, although they left the evening portion to cable news.In a way, the Democrats programmed their presentation the way a cable news channel does. They recycled through their arguments and video clips during the daytime, for a home audience watching snippets here and there.Then in prime time, they brought out their centerpiece programming, delivered by Schiff. (This was around where Fox News usually cut away, preferring its own prime-time hosts.) At the end of Friday's session, he stepped back from the specifics of the abuse-and-obstruction cases to argue "moral courage" and putting country over party."Give America a fair trial," he concluded. "She deserves it."The tone wasn't entirely solemn. On Thursday evening, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told a story about a friend who'd just asked him if he'd heard about "the latest outrage." Jeffries assumed this referred to Trump. Actually, his friend said, "Someone voted against Derek Jeter on his Hall of Fame ballot."Jeffries moved on to connect the American pastime of baseball with the American tradition of the Constitution. But his anecdote made another point. The House managers were not just vying with an opposition party and a truculent defender. They were pitted against every other distraction in the mediasphere, every other shiny enticement and new outrage offering a reason to tune out.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


01/25/2020 GOP senators incensed by Schiff's 'head on a pike' remark

GOP senators incensed by Schiff's 'head on a pike' remarkSenate Republicans said lead impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff insulted them during the trial by repeating an anonymously sourced report that the White House had threatened to punish Republicans who voted against President Donald Trump. Schiff, who delivered closing arguments for the prosecution, was holding Republican senators rapt as he called for removing Trump from office for abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Doing anything else, he argued, would be to let the president bully Senate Republicans into ignoring his pressure on Ukraine for political help.


01/25/2020 Substitute teaching a challenge in Jimmy Carter's class

Substitute teaching a challenge in Jimmy Carter's classEvery now and then, Sunday school teacher Kim Fuller makes a point during class and the old man sitting on the front pew raises his eyebrows quizzically. Fuller is the eldest daughter of Carter’s late brother Billy Carter, and she has served as the regular replacement for the world’s best-known Sunday school teacher since Carter underwent brain surgery in November. Out of the hospital and back home in Plains, Georgia, the 95-year-old Carter has been in his regular, front-row seat at Maranatha Baptist Church, along with his wife Rosalynn, each Sunday since Dec. 29.


01/25/2020 Libya says oil shutdown caused over $255 million in losses

Libya says oil shutdown caused over $255 million in lossesThe closure of Libya’s major oil fields and production facilities has resulted in losses of more than $255 million in the six-day period ending Jan. 23, the country’s national oil company said Saturday. The closures came when powerful tribal groups loyal to military commander Khalifa Hifter earlier this month seized several large export terminals along the eastern coast as well as southern oil fields.


01/25/2020 Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did.

Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose known for being wary of the press, apparently did not enjoy his latest interview.Pompeo reportedly berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on Friday after she interviewed him about the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. During Friday's interview, which aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Pompeo said he has "defended every State Department official on his team," but did not provide Kelly with a specific example of him defending Yovanovitch. Pompeo complained that he was there to talk about Iran, but Kelly assured him she confirmed with his team that she would ask him about Ukraine, as well.Following the interview, Kelly said she was summoned by a Pompeo aide to a private room where Pompeo "shouted" at her, asking if she thought "Americans care about Ukraine" and challenging her to point to the country on an unmarked map, which the well-traveled, veteran reporter was able to do. Journalists like CNN's Jake Tapper defended Kelly's line questioning, while Democratic politicians blasted Pompeo's behavior. The State Department didn't have much to say on the matter, though.At the end of their encounter, Kelly said Pompeo told her "people will hear about this." They sure did - straight from Kelly. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek 14 dead, hundreds injured after 6.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey Trump is winning the impeachment battle — but losing the war