For all the hype surrounding the move by House Republicans to place Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on the Intelligence Committee so he can be part of the public impeachment hearings, the conservative firebrand is not likely to have much of a role to play based on the rules governing the hearings.
Leah Millis/ReutersUnder Mick Mulvaney’s leadership, the Office of Management and Budget temporarily put a hold on the delivery of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine in 2017 because of concerns their arrival would upset Russia, according to former White House official Catherine Croft. She described OMB’s objection as “highly unusual.”Croft’s testimony indicates that concerns about the U.S. relationship with Russia had a direct—though short-lived—impact on U.S./Ukraine policy in the first year of Trump’s presidency.Croft told congressional impeachment investigators that after the Trump administration greenlit the delivery of Javelin missiles to Ukraine in late 2017—the first delivery of lethal aid to the country since Russian separatists seized territory in its Eastern region in 2014—Mulvaney’s office held it up. “Did you understand why?” asked the congressional staffer questioning her. “I understood the reason to be a policy one,” she replied. “What was the policy one?” “In a briefing with Mick Mulvaney, the question centered around the Russian reaction,” she continued. “What was the concern about the Russian reaction?” asked the staffer. “That Russia would react negatively to the provision of Javelins to Ukraine,” she said. The Daily Beast first reported last month that OMB held up the 2017 shipment of Javelins to Ukraine. Croft said the hold lasted “about a week or two,” and that “all of the policy agencies” wanted the aid to go to Ukraine. She said OMB’s interest in the decision about whether to send Javelins to Ukraine was abnormal. Key Impeachment Witnesses Finger Mulvaney In the Quid Pro Quo“[It] was rather unusual to have OMB expressing concerns that were purely policy-based and not budget-oriented,” she said. “At the beginning of the Ukrainian Javelin process, I had been told that OMB was taking a policy interest,” she continued. “And OMB began sending working level officials to attend meetings... which was very unusual at the time.” She noted that OMB staff also started attending meetings regarding aid to countries besides Ukraine and that the increase in their involvement was “quite taxing on a very small organization.”Mulvaney and several other OMB officials have refused to participate in the congressional impeachment inquiry. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Monday that reports detailing the involvement of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House’s Ukraine policy were “deeply troubling.”“What I see right now troubles me. I see a state of conflict between the foreign policy professionals and someone who says he’s acting on behalf of the president but frankly I don’t know if that is the case,” Rice said at a conference in Abu Dhabi. “This is just not a good thing. The world shouldn’t get confusing messages from the United States of America.”Multiple witnesses have alleged in house testimony that Giuliani conducted his own investigative work without regard for the administration’s formal policy.William Taylor, the former top American diplomat in Ukraine, whose testimony was released last week, asserted that Giuliani was actively undermining U.S. foreign policy.“The irregular channel seemed to focus on specific issues, specific cases, rather than the regular channel’s focus on institution building,” Taylor said, according to the transcript. “So the irregular channel, I think under the influence of Mr. Giuliani, wanted to focus on one or two specific cases, irrespective of whether it helped solve the corruption problem, fight the corruption problem.”Earlier Monday, news broke that Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, will tell investigators that Giuliani attempted to leverage an official visit from Vice President Mike Pence to coax Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Joe Biden's son Hunter's business connections to Burisma.Rice also said she thought Trump’s mention of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, during the call was “out of bounds.”“The call is murky, it is really murky. I don’t like for the president of the United States to mention an American citizen for investigation to a foreign leader,” Rice said.
Pirates attacked an Italy-flagged offshore supply vessel in the southern Gulf of Mexico, injuring two crew members, the Mexican Navy said on Tuesday, in the latest outbreak of robbery and piracy to hit oil platforms and infrastructure in the area. Owned by Italian offshore contractor Micoperi, the boat is a supply vessel for Mexico's oil industry. Micoperi and the Italian embassy in Mexico did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At a base in eastern Syria, a senior U.S. coalition commander said Monday that American troops who remain in Syria are redeploying to bases, including in some new locations, and working with the Kurdish-led forces to keep up the pressure on the ISIS militants and prevent the extremists from resurging or breaking out of prisons.
A woman who confronted Jeffrey Epstein at a July bail hearing to tell a judge he touched her inappropriately when she was 16 sued his estate Tuesday, alleging he had subjected her to sex trafficking as part of his attacks on young women and girls. Lawyers for Annie Farmer filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, along with a lawsuit on behalf of her sister, Maria Farmer, and Teresa Helm, an Ohio woman. A lawyer for Epstein's estate did not return a message seeking comment.
Look up Sunday night, and you may see the Leonid meteor showers, which come from the constellation Leo the Lion.
Venezuela's former military intelligence chief has gone missing in Spain just days after a court approved a request for his extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, police said Wednesday. "They are currently looking for him," said a spokeswoman for Spain's national police, referring to General Hugo Armando Carvajal. Judicial sources said police had gone to his house in Madrid after Friday's court decision but could not find him.
Ocasio-Cortez recently apologized for blocking a critic on Twitter and settled a lawsuit he filed alleging she violated the First Amendment.
Hezbollah amassed great power even as its fighters died in Syria. But the bold uprising in Lebanon has brought quiet Shiite grumblings into the open.