Daily Brief 1

10 things you need to know today!

1. Trump says China should investigate the Bidens

Image result for Trump publicly asks China to probe Biden, even amid impeachment inquiry

President Trump on Thursday called for China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading potential Democratic rival in the 2020 presidential race. The request came as China prepares to enter high-level negotiations aiming to resolve the two countries’ trade war. It also amounted to an appeal for a foreign government to target a political rival that was similar to the request Trump made to Ukraine’s president in a July phone call.

That request, outlined in a federal whistleblower’s complaint suggesting Trump abused his power, prompted House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry targeting Trump. Biden’s campaign said Trump’s latest call “was this election’s equivalent of his infamous ‘Russia, if you’re listening’ moment from 2016,” when Trump called for Russia to “find” Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. [Reuters, Bloomberg, MHI]

2. U.S. diplomats’ text messages link Ukraine aid, Trump demands

House Democrats released text messages Thursday showing that President Trump’s top three government envoys to Ukraine believed Trump was withholding military aid until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly committed to investigating Trump political rival Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine — not Russia — meddled in the 2016 election.

The texts, provided by former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, indicated Zelensky knew about these conditions. The envoys — Volker, U.S. European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, and U.S. charges d’affaires Bill Taylor — first informed Zelensky he had to publicly commit to investigating the 2016 election, and also investigate a gas company that hired Hunter Biden, in order to get a meeting with Trump. When that fell through, they suggested aid was on the line. [The New York Times, The Washington Post, MHI]

3. Report: Trump’s former Ukraine envoy testifies to Congress

President Trump’s former Ukraine envoy, Kurt Volker, testified to Congress on Thursday about the whistleblower complaint describing a July phone call in which Trump pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

Volker, who resigned last week after being named in the whistleblower complaint, said that he had warned Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that he was receiving unreliable information from Ukrainian sources about Biden and his son’s business involvement in the country, according to people familiar with his testimony. Volker submitted to the interview voluntarily. House investigators also want to question current officials inside and outside the State Department. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]

4. Sanders campaign says he’ll return in time for debate

Senator Bernie Sanders’s wife said in a statement on Thursday that Mr. Sanders is “up and about,” after hospitalization on Wednesday for chest pain.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will be back on his feet in time for the next Democratic debate following a procedure to clear a blocked artery this week, his campaign said Thursday. Sanders’ campaign on Wednesday canceled campaign appearances and a TV ad buy in Iowa when he was hospitalized after experiencing chest discomfort. Doctors inserted two stents to clear a blocked artery and Sanders is recovering at a hospital in Las Vegas.

While the campaign said Sanders would make the next debate, it wasn’t immediately clear when he will resume his regularly-scheduled campaigning. The fourth Democratic debate, which will feature a record 12 candidates, is set for Oct. 15. [The New York Times, CNN]

5. 4 Paris police employees killed in knife attack

Hasil gambar untuk Four killed in knife attack at Paris police headquarters

An attacker with a knife killed four police employees at a police headquarters in Paris near Notre Dame Cathedral on Thursday. Another victim was rushed to a hospital for surgery. The suspect, also a member of police staff, was shot dead, and his wife was taken into custody, according to an official in the Paris prosecutor’s office.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the attacker was a 45-year-old man who had worked at the police station since 2003. President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and Castaner went to the police station to show their support for the staff, Elysee Palace said in a statement. [CNN/MHI]

6. Trump unveils plan countering Democrats’ ‘Medicare-for-all’

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to change the Medicare program to “protect” beneficiaries from Democrats’ Medicare-for-all proposals, which Trump said would undermine health-care coverage for the elderly. “They want to raid Medicare to fund a thing called socialism,” Trump told a cheering crowd in Florida.

The executive order was designed to boost Medicare Advantage, private Medicare insurance currently used by 22 million seniors, by expanding the range of services private plans can offer, administration officials told reporters. Trump suggested drug companies seeking to thwart his work bringing down prescription drug costs were backing up Democrats in their impeachment inquiry, which he dismissed as a hoax. [NPR, CNBC]

7. MGM Resorts agrees to $800 million settlement over Las Vegas massacre

Hasil gambar untuk MGM Agrees to Pay Las Vegas Shooting Victims Up to $800 Million

MGM Resorts International agreed to pay up to $800 million to settle victim lawsuits over a 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that left 58 people dead. Hundreds of others were injured when a gunman, Stephen Paddock, locked himself in his 32nd floor room at MGM’s Mandalay Bay hotel and opened fire on a crowded country music festival below in the deadliest such mass shooting in modern American history.

One lawyer for the plaintiffs, who accused MGM of negligence, said the settlement would go to as many as 4,500 people, from relatives of the dead to survivors with PTSD. Another, Craig Eiland, said: “While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families.” [The New York Times]

8. Hong Kong leader bans face masks in latest bid to contain protests

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday announced a ban on wearing masks as part of her government’s efforts to contain pro-democracy protests that have led to the former British colony’s biggest crisis since it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Lam invoked emergency powers under a colonial-era Emergency Ordinance to sidestep legislators and impose the face-mask ban, which takes effect Saturday and applies to police-approved protests as well as unauthorized gatherings. “We must stop the violence,” Lam said. “Now, it’s all over Hong Kong.” As Lam finished her announcement, thousands of protesters wearing masks marched in the city’s business district, chanting, “Wearing mask is not a crime.” [The Associated Press]

9. Reports: Rick Perry to resign as energy secretary

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on his department’s future budget request on May 9, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry will step down by the end of the year, The Washington Post and Politico reported Thursday night, citing at least four people briefed on his plans. Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who has sat in for Perry at Cabinet meetings recently, is expected to replace him, although it isn’t clear Trump will formally nominate Brouillette or anyone else before the 2020 election.

Perry, a former Texas governor and two-time Republican presidential candidate, has kept an unusually low profile and become one of the longest serving members of Trump’s Cabinet, which has had a historic turnover level due to scandals and Trump’s firing of several secretaries he viewed as ineffective or disloyal. Perry is expected to enter the private sector. [The Washington Post, Politico]

10. CDC: Vaping deaths rise to 18 as hundreds more sickened

GP: Vaping E-Cigarettes Health Threat 150128

The number of deadly vaping illness cases jumped to 18 confirmed deaths and more than 1,000 people sickened, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. The CDC registered 275 new cases in the last week alone, with several more deaths under investigation but not yet confirmed to have been caused by smoking e-cigarettes.

The precise cause of the illnesses remained to be identified, but the CDC said that in about 78 percent of the cases where doctors knew what vaping products patients were using, they had vaped the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principle deputy director. Seventeen percent reported only using nicotine. [CNBC]

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