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A fight Nancy Pelosi tried badly to avoid has arrived on her doorstep anyway.The House speaker’s decision to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump will reshape the contours of the 2020 race and may ultimately determine whether the U.S. president heads into re-election damaged or emboldened, Justin Sink and Billy House write. It’s also bound to exacerbate deeply entrenched divisions across the U.S.Mindful of the risk of public blowback, Pelosi had resisted calls from her base to pursue impeachment — until allegations surfaced last week that Trump pressured the government of Ukraine in a bid to influence the U.S. election, spurring a tipping point among House Democrats.Now she’s on course for a constitutional clash with Trump that’s unlikely to see him removed from office as long as Republicans control the Senate. He quickly assailed the proceedings as “Witch Hunt garbage,” echoing his criticism of the Mueller probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.Trump plans today to release an unredacted transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which he says will rebut claims he leaned on Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.He’s also scheduled to meet with Zelenskiy before holding a news conference that will no doubt showcase the megaphone he has to fight back. For unlike Pelosi, this is a battle Trump has been spoiling for.
U.K. crisis | After cutting short his trip to New York, Boris Johnson returns to his gravest political crisis after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled he broke the law by suspending Parliament in the run-up to Brexit. Lawmakers are due to resume work in Westminster today, and are weighing up how they will use the new opportunity to stop the prime minister carrying out his threat to leave the European Union without a deal on Oct. 31.Pork pile | Chinese companies are getting ready to buy more U.S. pork ahead of next month’s high-level trade talks in Washington. The government is worried that prices, which have surged more than 70% in China this year amid a deadly pig disease, could dampen Oct 1. celebrations for the anniversary of Communist rule. Goodwill remains in short supply though, as Trump used his speech at the UN to berate China over its trade practices.
Mining push | Brazil is driving ahead with a bill to allow mining on indigenous lands without giving local communities any veto power. While previous proposals to explore such resources have sparked domestic and international opposition, they’ve gained renewed momentum under President Jair Bolsonaro and a business-friendly legislature.
Tariff carousel | The U.S. is considering deploying a trade weapon designed to cause maximum damage to the EU. The World Trade Organization ruled this year that the U.S. can retaliate against the EU over illegal subsidies made to Airbus. As Jenny Leonard reports, the Trump administration may opt to rotate a list of products targeted for tariffs to hit as many industries as possible, stoking uncertainty.
Private war | Russia is continuing its strategy of fighting wars on the cheap, with a private army owned by “Putin’s chef” now deployed on the front lines in Libya, Samer Khalil al-Atrush and Stepan Kravchenko exclusively report. The strategy was successful in Syria; in Libya it may be aimed at boosting the negotiating position of eastern warlord Khalifa Haftar a few weeks before an international peace conference in Berlin.
What to Watch
World leaders and corporate executives gather at the Plaza Hotel in New York today to discuss key economic and social trends during a forum hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies. France and the U.K. urged Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in a bid to ease tensions in the Gulf. Violent protests in Indonesia against controversial laws seeking to outlaw pre-marital sex and quash dissent are threatening growth and stability in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has warned.
And finally … The immediate blow of travel operator Thomas Cook’s demise fell on stranded British and German tourists. But the hospitality industry in tourist hotspots in Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey is bracing for longer-term unpaid bills and job losses as a result. “An earthquake just happened,” said Michalis Vlatakis of the tourism association on Crete, where some 70% of the industry had links to Thomas Cook. “But what worries us most is the tsunami that will follow.”
–With assistance from Benjamin Harvey, Karen Leigh and Tim Ross.
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