The top U.S. envoy to Ukraine testified that a senior diplomat told him in early September that President Donald Trump made U.S. security aid to Ukraine entirely dependent on a public promise to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election. Greg Sullivan reports on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Australia."
The top US diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, appeared on Capitol Hill to testify in the House impeachment probe on Tuesday. Lawmakers want to know more about Taylor’s text messages that showed in real time his concern that President Donald Trump may have been withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden. Namely, was Taylor trying to create a paper trail when in September he wrote to EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” To which Sondland replied “Call me.” A week later, Taylor writes, “as I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Hours later, after Sondland reportedly spoke to Trump, he writes "the president has been crystal clear: no quid pro quo's of any kind." As Democrats amass testimony from a slate of concerned diplomats, House Republicans are condemning the impeachment process.
President Donald Trump says Turkey has informed the U.S. it will make "permanent" a five-day cease-fire in Syria. In response, he says he's directing the lifting of economic sanctions on Turkey. Claiming success at the U.S.-brokered effort, Trump said Wednesday, "this was an outcome created by us." The cease-fire required Kurdish forces formerly allied with the U.S. against the Islamic State group to move out of a roughly 20-mile (32-kilometer) zone on the Turkish border. Trump says, "We've saved the lives of many, many Kurds." Trump says nearly all U.S. troops will be leaving Syria but some will remain to safeguard oil fields in Syria. Russian forces have since begun joint patrols with Kurdish forces along the Turkish-Syrian border. Trump says if Turkey breaches the cease-fire the sanctions could be reimposed.
The Brexit ball is back in the EU's court. It's now up to the 27 member states whether they want to grant Britain's request for a delay, with officials expecting a three-month postponement. That could be cut short if Britain manages to pass legislation sooner. But France may not agree - over doubts an additional delay to the Brexit process is justified. European Council president Donald Tusk recommended EU leaders to allow an extension, but it must be agreed unanimously. They have already agreed twice to postpone Brexit from the original deadline of March 29 this year. Both times, the French complained but eventually relented. As it stands, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bill has been paused, after lawmakers initially signaled support for it on Tuesday (October 22), but then rejected his timetable to rush legislation through in just three days.
Republicans disrupted a closed-door deposition with a Defense Department official who was scheduled to answer questions as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Laura Cooper, a senior official who oversees Ukraine policy, arrived Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill to appear before the House panels conducting the investigation. Shortly afterward, more than two dozen Republican House members held a news conference outside the secure room in the Capitol where the deposition was taking place. The Republicans decried that the deposition was happening behind closed doors and said Americans should be able to read the transcripts of any interviews being conducted as part of impeachment. Republicans then walked into the meeting unannounced, and the deposition was put on hold. Cooper's testimony comes a day after a top U.S. diplomat testified that he was told Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine until the country's president went public with a promise to investigate Democrats.
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