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World News

Paris yellow vest protests turn violent with police as movement turns 1

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omersukrugoksu/iStock(PARIS) — French police fired water cannons and tear gas in Paris on Saturday to drive back protesters marking the first anniversary of the anti-government yellow vest demonstrations. Demonstrators, many clad in black and hiding their faces, vandalized an HSBC bank at the Place d’Italie. They set trash cans on fire and hurled cobblestones and bottles at riot police while building barricades. Several cars were also set ablaze. Clashes broke out between demonstrators and police near the Porte de Champerret, close to the Arc de Triomphe, as protesters were preparing to march across the city towards Gare d’Austerlitz. Police also intervened to prevent a few hundred demonstrators from occupying the Paris ring road. “In the face of thugs who target them, firefighters and police intervene to contain the excesses, put an end to abuses and proceed to arrests,” French National Police said in a translated message. “Peaceful protesters, we guarantee the public peace to allow you to freely express your opinions. Help us: disassociate yourself from violent groups.” The yellow vest protests, named for the high-visibility jackets worn by demonstrators,

In closed-door testimony, US diplomat says he heard Trump question the EU ambassador on Ukraine 'investigation'

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narvikk/iStock(WASHINGTON) — A State Department official, who was subpoenaed to testify amid the House impeachment probe, told lawmakers that President Donald Trump asked EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in a phone call about the status of an investigation he requested from the Ukrainian president. David Holmes, the U.S. diplomat in Kiev, Ukraine, appeared for a closed-door deposition with House impeachment investigators on Friday. The hearing took place immediately following the House Intelligence Committee’s questioning of former Ukraine Amb. Marie Yovanovitch in the second public hearing amid the impeachment probe. Holmes, fielding questions from investigators behind closed doors for six hours, described the conversation between Sondland and Trump that he said he overheard from the ambassador’s cell phone at a restaurant in Kiev on July 26, just one day after the president’s second call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy — when Trump appeared to encourage Zelenskiy to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr on investigations into the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden’s family. “I then heard President Trump ask, ‘So he’s gonna do

House Dems release Morrison, Williams deposition transcripts

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Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) — House impeachment investigators on Saturday released transcripts from the closed-door depositions of Jennifer Williams, a special adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and Tim Morrison of the National Security Council, ahead of their public appearances before lawmakers next week. Williams and Morrison both listened in on President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy from the Situation Room. Democrats said their testimony indicated that Trump’s comments “immediately set off alarm bells throughout the White House,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, and acting House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney said in a statement. This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

White House officials were concerned by 'unusual' reference in Trump’s call to Ukraine’s president

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Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) — An adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, who listened to President Donald Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, found the president’s reference to investigations into a potential 2020 political opponent and the 2016 election “unusual and inappropriate.” “I certainly noted that the mention of those specific investigations seemed unusual as compared to other discussions with foreign leaders,” Jennifer Williams, the official in the vice president’s office, told impeachment investigators, according to a transcript of her deposition released by the three House committees leading the impeachment probe. “I guess for me,” Williams continued, “it shed some light on possible other motivations behind a security assistance hold.” Many Republicans have dismissed concerns over the call, citing comments from Zelenskiy that said it was proper. The first member of Pence’s office to cooperate with impeachment investigators, Williams will testify in a public hearing next week before the House Intelligence Committee, along with another witness, Timothy Morrison, a departing employee of the National Security Council. Williams said she never discussed the nature of the call with Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national

After North Korean defector and her son die, a spotlight on their hardships in freedom

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Juanmonino/iStock(NEW YORK) — Kim Eunju escaped North Korea in 2005, disillusioned with the communist regime. She still vividly remembers that night when uniformed officers raided her home in Chongjin, Hamgyeongbuk-do, searching for petroleum that she had been smuggling from China to sell in the local market. It was the family’s lifeline bringing just enough bread to the table to survive. The country had entered into a severe economic hardship and the communist party had begun to confiscate whatever household goods to support the state. Kim, then 25-years old, also worked as a train stewardess. “They taught us to sing our socialist nation is the happiest world. But how could we live when they even take away our empty kimchi pot (that is used as family refrigerator)?” Kim told ABC News. That’s when Kim decided it was time for a challenge. Early next morning, she called a broker to join a group of others crossing the border into China, hoping to find work. The escape was long and arduous. A border guard, bribed by the brokers, guided the group to cross

The Deep South’s only Democratic governor attempts reelection

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chokkicx/iStock(NEW ORLEANS) — In the Deep South, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards seeks to fend off a challenge from his GOP rival, who is backed by President Donald Trump, as voters head to the polls on Saturday. The runoff election comes amid a looming impeachment investigation, that has seeped into the state’s off-year contest — nationalizing the last gubernatorial election of 2019. Trump has made stops in the state at least three times for back-to-back rallies in a little over a month, as he tests the bounds of his strength to sway an election outcome in Republicans’ favor — as the party grapples with concerns over ceding more ground in a ruby red state. GOP candidate Eddie Rispone, an entrepreneur and native of northern Baton Rouge, is counting on the president’s popularity to offset his struggles as a political outsider — who began his bid with little state-wide name recognition up against the incumbent — and carry him over the finish line Saturday as Trump often claims he does in competitive races. The president has injected himself into the race,

White House official arrives to give closed-door testimony, against orders

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bboserup/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The first Office of Management and Budget official to break ranks amid the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump arrived Saturday for his closed-door testimony. Mark Sandy, a career White House official and former OMB director, is testifying under subpoena — against White House orders. Acting White House budget chief Russ Vought, along with Michael Duffey, an official with oversight over national security spending, have both refused to comply with congressional subpoenas to testify in the impeachment inquiry. And the agency has spurned repeated demands and subpoenas from House Democrats seeking documents and records relevant to their probe into whether the Trump administration inappropriately withheld foreign aid to Ukraine to pressure the country to launch investigations that could benefit the president’s reelection bid. Investigators, who have questioned senior Pentagon and State Department officials in their inquiry, hope Sandy will be able to shed new light the circumstances surrounding the withholding of military aid to Ukraine over the summer, and how the aid was eventually released on Sept. 11. Amb. William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine

Takeaways from Marie Yovanovitch testimony

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Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, a longtime career diplomat, was serving as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine last spring when she was abruptly ordered home and told that she had lost the confidence of the president. President Donald Trump in a subsequent phone call to Ukraine’s president called her “bad news” and said “she’s going to go through some things.” On Friday, she got the chance to tell her side of the story as part of the ongoing House impeachment proceedings. Here are five key takeaways: Yovanovitch directly disputed conspiracy theories embraced by Trump Yovanovitch repeatedly knocked down suggestions by Republicans that Ukrainian politicians were part of a coordinated, state-sponsored effort to undermine Trump. While true that some prominent politicians in Ukraine had criticized the president, she described those critiques as “isolated incidents” that are common when it comes to public service. “That does not mean that someone is or a government is undermining either a campaign or interfering in elections,” she said. Yovanovitch also pointed to U.S. intelligence that found Russian operatives — at the behest of their government

The attorneys asking questions at the public impeachment hearings

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Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The first week of public hearings of the House impeachment inquiry featured many faces familiar to viewers who have been paying close attention and the faces of two attorneys, who may have been unfamiliar. Under the rules set for these hearings, Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., are given 45 minutes each to establish the hearing’s narrative. However, they are allowed to yield that time to counsel — but not to other members of the committee. They both yielded large chunks of their time Wednesday and Friday to attorneys. On behalf of the Democrats, there’s Daniel Goldman, the director of investigations for the House Intelligence Committee. For the Republicans, there’s Steve Castor, the chief investigative counsel for House Oversight Committee Republicans. The hearings are largely about a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, amid the impeachment inquiry, where a whistleblower and House Democrats argue Trump allegedly pressured the foreign leader to conduct an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and son, Hunter. During Friday’s public

Trump issues pardons for service members accused of war crimes

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Maher Legal Services PC(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump has intervened in the cases of three American service members convicted or accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq by issuing two pardons and maintaining the rank of one of the service members who’d been demoted. A White House statement issued Friday night announced Trump’s actions in the cases of Army Lt. Clint Lorance, Army Green Beret Maj. Matt Golsteyn and Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Lorance is serving 19 years in prison, convicted on two counts of second-degree murder for ordering a soldier to fire on unarmed Afghan motorcyclists in 2012. Golsteyn is charged with the murder of an alleged Afghan bomb-maker in 2010. And Gallagher, while acquitted of killing a wounded Islamic State captive earlier this year, was sentenced to four months of time served and a reduction in rank for posing with a corpse during a 2017 deployment to Iraq. “Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major