10 things you need to know today: September 28, 2019

1.

Politico, CNN]” data-reactid=”12″>The House Committee on Foreign Affairs subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, demanding documents related to President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. The subpoena, a part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, also calls for depositions from other State Department officials, including former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, who reportedly coordinated with lawyer Rudy Giuliani to meet with Ukrainian officials. The House committee requested documents from Pompeo in early September, warning if he did not comply, a subpoena would come next. A newly-publicized whistleblower complaint alleges wrongdoing stemming from Trump’s phone calls with Zelensky; the House is now escalating oversight efforts as it pursues an impeachment inquiry related to the allegations. [Politico, CNN]

2.

NBC News, The New York Times]” data-reactid=”14″>Kurt Volker, the State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine, resigned Friday amid a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump and his communications with the Ukrainian government. Volker did not provide a public explanation for leaving his post, but a source familiar with his decision said Volker concluded he could not perform the job effectively as a result of the recent developments. The whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry alleges that Volker went to Kyiv to help guide Ukrainian officials on how to handle Trump’s alleged demands that the government investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. He also reportedly spoke with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in an attempt to “contain the damage” to U.S. national security. Giuliani has said Volker encouraged him to meet with Ukrainian officials regarding the Biden family. [NBC News, The New York Times]

3.

The Associated Press, CNN]” data-reactid=”16″>U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s proposal to alter rules for the detention of immigrant children, ruling that detaining undocumented families together indefinitely is inconsistent with longstanding precedent on the conditions of migrant custody. The Trump administration sought to override the Flores settlement, a ruling that requires the government to release immigrant minors in 20 days or less. While the Department of Homeland Security argued the settlement made immigration enforcement more difficult, Gee said officials “cannot simply ignore the dictates of the consent decree merely because they no longer agree with its approach as a matter of policy.” [The Associated Press, CNN]

4.

CNN, The Washington Post]” data-reactid=”18″>White House officials reportedly restricted access to President Trump’s phone calls with the Saudi royal family and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the case of Trump’s call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, some officials who normally would have been granted access to a rough transcript never saw one. A source told CNN that a transcript was never circulated at all. Access to at least one of Trump’s conversations with Putin was also reportedly tightly restricted. Additionally, White House officials reportedly limited access to remarks Trump made during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in 2017. The president reportedly said he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election. The revelations come as House Democrats are preparing an impeachment inquiry. [CNN, The Washington Post]

5.

BBC, Al Jazeera]” data-reactid=”20″>Polls closed Saturday in Afghanistan’s fourth presidential election since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Security was tight throughout the day with 70,000 forces deployed across the country. The process was difficult and even deadly — at least one person was killed and 27 wounded in bomb attacks at voting centers, and the security threats led to low turnout in some provinces. Meanwhile, there were delays and technical difficulties, as well. But many voters continued to cast their ballots. Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, who is expected to win the 14-candidate race, called the election a “moment of pride,” arguing that it is a sign of strengthening democracy in the country. Results are expected to be announced within three weeks. [BBC, Al Jazeera]

6.

Reuters, The South China Morning Post]” data-reactid=”22″>The 17th weekend of anti-government, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong turned violent Saturday after demonstrators reportedly threw rocks, broke windows, and blocked roads during a rally near the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Police reportedly retaliated with tear gas and water cannons. Earlier in the day, protesters spent their time rebuilding “Lennon Walls” a week after pro-Beijing activists tore down the structures and their anti-government graffiti. Tens of thousands people gathered Saturday evening for the fifth anniversary of the Occupy Movement, or Umbrella Revolution, which consisted of 79 days of pro-democracy sit-ins in 2014. A massive yellow banner with the words “We are back” was reportedly unfurled. [Reuters, The South China Morning Post]

7.

confirmed. He was 69. Wilson died at his home in New Mexico after a long diplomatic career throughout Africa. "He had the heart of a lion and the courage to match," Plame said of her ex-husband in a statement, adding that he died of organ failure. Wilson, who spent more than 20 years as a diplomat, went to Niger on White House orders in 2002 to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium to build a nuclear weapon. He later disputed former President George W. Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq on that premise, writing that the decision-making was unfounded. Wilson’s accusations eventually resulted in charges against then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby. [The Associated Press]” data-reactid=”26″>Former ambassador Joseph Wilson died Friday, his ex-wife Valerie Plame confirmed. He was 69. Wilson died at his home in New Mexico after a long diplomatic career throughout Africa. “He had the heart of a lion and the courage to match,” Plame said of her ex-husband in a statement, adding that he died of organ failure. Wilson, who spent more than 20 years as a diplomat, went to Niger on White House orders in 2002 to investigate whether Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium to build a nuclear weapon. He later disputed former President George W. Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq on that premise, writing that the decision-making was unfounded. Wilson’s accusations eventually resulted in charges against then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby. [The Associated Press]

8.

Fox News, The Nevada Independent]” data-reactid=”28″>Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) became the first House Republican to support an impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Amodei reportedly said he would not vote to impeach Trump at this juncture, but he is “a big fan of oversight, so let’s let the committees get to work and see where it goes.” He added that he was concerned by Trump’s phone call in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. “Using government agencies to, if it’s proven, to put your finger on the scale of an election, I don’t think that’s right,” Amodei said. “If it turns out it’s something along those lines, then there’s a problem.” [Fox News, The Nevada Independent]

9.

Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter]” data-reactid=”30″>Disney and Sony have reached a deal that will allow Spider-Man to remain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After negotiations between the two studios broke down in August, future Sony Spider-Man films were set to no longer be co-produced by Disney’s Marvel Studios. They would, therefore, not take place in the same series as Marvel’s other blockbusters like Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man could not return in future Avengers films. But under the new deal, Marvel Studios will co-produce a third MCU-set Spider-Man installment set for a July 2021 release, and Spider-Man will also appear in an additional Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige celebrated the news, saying, “I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue.” [Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter]

10.

MLB.com, ESPN]” data-reactid=”32″>The seeding for the MLB playoffs is still to be determined, but the 10-team field is set. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, and Milwaukee Brewers have all secured spots in the National League. Los Angeles has homefield advantage, and Atlanta will host a division series, but the Cardinals and Brewers continue to fight for the division crown in the Central. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins have all locked up their divisions in the American League, and the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays secured spots in the Wild Card game after the Cleveland Indians were eliminated from playoff contention Friday night despite winning 93 games so far this season. Only two regular season games remain barring any tiebreakers. [MLB.com, ESPN]