Politics

Adam Schiff says whistleblower may not testify in impeachment probe

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff indicated Sunday that the whistleblower at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump may not testify over concerns about that person’s safety. Schiff’s remarks come after Trump has dramatically escalated his attacks on the whistleblower and repeatedly called for the official to be unmasked. Trump’s unrelenting barrage has spurred worries from Democrats that congressional Republicans may try to reveal that person’s identity — conceivably endangering his or her safety — at the behest of the president. Schiff (D-Calif.) said the whistleblower’s testimony might not be needed given that a rough transcript of the call with Trump asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” — the centerpiece of the whis...

POLITICO Playbook: The mess in Syria

SNEAK PEEK … THE PRESIDENT’S WEEK AHEAD … Tuesday: THE PRESIDENT will have lunch with VP Mike Pence and will meet with the St. Louis Blues, which won the Stanley Cup. The president will also meet with Defense Secretary MARK ESPER. Wednesday: PRESIDENT TRUMP will host the president of Italy, and the two will hold a news conference. He will also have lunch with Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO. TRUMP will speak at an “Italian-American reception.” Thursday: THE PRESIDENT will travel to Texas. He will participate in a roundtable and speak at a luncheon in Fort Worth. He will visit and cut an opening ribbon at the Louis Vuitton-Rochambeau Workshop in Johnson County, Texas. And he’ll hold a rally in Dallas. DRIVING THE WEEK … WAPO’S AARON DAVIS and JOHN HUDSON: “Trump’s envoy to testify that ‘no q...

Hunter Biden to step down from board of Chinese company

Hunter Biden is stepping down from the board of a company in China, his lawyer said Sunday. Attorney George Mesires made the announcement in a statement that described Biden’s dealings with Burisma, a business in Ukraine, and BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a business in China. “Hunter intends to resign from the BHR board of directors on or by October 31, 2019,” Mesires said. He noted that Biden had already left the board of Burisma. The son of former Vice President Joe Biden has been the focus of accusations of corruption by President Donald Trump and many of his allies. “There are people out in the media saying it’s been debunked, it’s not true,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” The Biden campaign disputers the acc...

U.S. withdrawing last troops from northern Syria

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the last U.S. troops in Syria will be evacuated. “I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria,” Esper told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” About 1,000 U.S. troops remain in harm’s way. Esper said: “It’ll be a deliberate withdrawal and we want to conduct it as safely and quickly as possible.” Esper’s statement came as denunciations continued from both sides of the aisle in Washington over President Donald Trump’s decision to clear out of the way for a Turkish invasion of northern Syria, as well as indications that the opening stages of the invasion have allowed ISIS fighters to escape. Turkey inv...

What Teaching Ethics in Appalachia Taught Me About Bridging America’s Partisan Divide

BOONE, N.C.—On the first day of my “Justice in America” seminar at Appalachian State University, I offer a deal to a student named Forrest Myers. I explain that I’m a tough grader and that the class average will be around a B-minus. “I’ll give you an A,” I say. “All you have to do is designate someone to get an F.” The other students laugh nervously while Forrest considers the deal. I’ve asked this question at the beginning of every semester for over 20 years, mostly to liberal northeasterners at Harvard and the City University of New York. It’s a good starting point because it tends to show commonality. The beginning of ethical thinking is to accept that other people’s interests matter. In all my years of teaching, I’ve never had anyone take me up on my offer. But I’ve come here seeking d...

Polo ponies and private planes: Trump impeachment fight deepens a rift among ambassadors

Some have private planes. Others brag about their polo ponies. Then there are the ones with a direct line to the White House and a willingness to operate outside their mandates — with enough money on hand to cover the legal fees from a congressional investigation. President Donald Trump’s politically appointed ambassadors have long drawn skepticism, even resentment, from career U.S. diplomats. Now, as an impeachment inquiry exposes some of their more questionable activities and threatens the career of a traditional envoy, the anger toward them is rising. Current and former career U.S. diplomats say Trump has handed far too many ambassadorial posts to unqualified candidates, many of whom were political donors with thin diplomatic resumes and little respect for the U.S. Foreign Service. Some...

Democrats invited Chao to Gateway. She came. They’re still not happy.

Here’s one sign of how toxic the politics have become surrounding a $30 billion bridge-and-tunnel rail project that has pit New York and New Jersey against the Trump administration: When Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao visited the project site, she didn’t tell the four Democratic senators who had begged her to tour it with them. A year and a half later, the lawmakers had no idea Chao had even been there until POLITICO told them. The secretary rode through the North River Tunnels underneath the Hudson River on April 13, 2018, with officials from Amtrak and the Department of Transportation, as part of a broader tour of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, the department and Amtrak told POLITICO in response to questions. Neither the DOT nor Amtrak issued any announcements of the tour...

Dems scramble to counter Trump with grassroots impeachment campaign

More than 100 Democrats gathered on a Wednesday call to get the party organized on an existential question: How to sell the public on impeaching Donald Trump. For several years now, the impeachment push has been defined by activists beating the drum on Trump — and powerful Democrats in Washington ignoring their calls. But in the two weeks since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry, this organizational hub has sprouted in D.C., commissioning polling, sponsoring ads and trying to guide the energy in the party toward a message and result the public will support, while counteracting a blistering, expensive anti-impeachment campaign from Trump and the Republican National Committee. At the center of the emerging movement are several progressive groups that boast big member...

Giuliani bungling gives Biden a new punchline

‘America’s mayor’ is now a punchline, fundraising tool and political shield for Joe Biden. With Rudy Giuliani emerging as the face of Donald Trump’s star-crossed operation to dig up dirt on Biden in Ukraine, the former vice president is using the former New York City mayor-turned-presidential-fixer in a different capacity — as a foil in his own effort to fight back against Trump’s relentless attacks. The Ukraine scheme has backfired so badly that the president now faces impeachment and two Giuliani associates were federally indicted this week in an illegal campaign finance scheme connected to the plan. Biden this week decided to begin framing Giuliani — and, by proxy, the president — as a corrupt, bungling leader of a gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Then came the arrests which reinforce...

Democrat Edwards will face runoff in Louisiana governor’s race

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, fell short of the majority of the vote needed to clinch reelection in Saturday’s all-party primary and will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in a one-on-one general election next month. Edwards was unable to pass the 50 percent threshold; he received 47 percent of the votes cast, according to the AP, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Rispone, meanwhile, held off a fellow Republican, Rep. Ralph Abraham, 27 percent to 24 percent, to capture second place and earn a head-to-head shot against Edwards on Nov. 16. The outcome of the primary sets up a potentially very competitive general election. While pre-primary polls showed Edwards with significant leads over both Republicans in possible runoffs, GOP candidates combined for more than ...