The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw the U.S. from the historic Paris climate agreement, starting a year-long process to leave the international pact to fight the climate crisis. The U.S. is the world’s largest historic greenhouse gas emitter. It will become the only country outside the agreement. The 2015 agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, a target that would prevent the worst effects of catastrophic climate change. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the historic agreement has sparked widespread international condemnation. This is the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson speaking Monday.
Geng Shuang: “China expresses regret about the U.S. officially starting the relevant process of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. We believe that climate change is a common challenge faced by all of humankind. All members of the international community should join hands to cooperate, each doing their best according to their ability to jointly deal with it. … We hope that the U.S. can take more responsibility and make more constructive contributions to the process of multilateral cooperation instead of adding negativity.”
We’ll have more on the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement after headlines.
In news from Washington, Democrats have begun to release transcripts of testimonies from the closed-door impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. One of the released transcripts shows the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, said she felt threatened by the president’s words after she read a transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. In another, a former ambassador and top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, testified he told Pompeo three times they should make a public statement in support of Yovanovitch, contradicting Pompeo’s claims in an ABC News interview last month that he had never heard from McKinley about his concerns. President Trump is continuing to demand to know the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry. Trump has previously compared the whistleblower to a treasonous spy who deserved the death penalty, raising concerns about the official’s safety. On Monday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also called on the media to expose the whistleblower while speaking at a rally in Lexington, standing next to President Trump, saying, “Do your job and print his name!”
Voters are heading to the polls today for statewide elections that will be seen as a measure of President Trump’s influence heading into the 2020 presidential elections.
In Kentucky’s governor race, Democratic challenger state Attorney General Andy Beshear is looking to oust Republican incumbent Matt Bevin. Trump held a rally in Kentucky Monday night to try to drum up last-minute support for Bevin. In Mississippi’s governor race, Democratic state Attorney General Jim Hood is facing off against Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. Democrats are hoping to flip both governorships.
In Virginia, Democrats are hoping to take control of the Legislature.
In New York City, voters will decide whether to move from electing candidates by a plurality of votes to ranked-choice voting, a system in which voters rank their favorite candidates in order and the person with the most top-ranked votes wins. Proponents of ranked-choice voting say it will help underrepresented voters and candidates of color.
In Tucson, voters will decide on a ballot initiative aimed at making Tucson Arizona’s first “sanctuary city.”
And in San Francisco, Chesa Boudin, a public defender and the child of Weather Underground activists Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, is running to be the next district attorney. This is Boudin speaking on Democracy Now!
Chesa Boudin: “I’m running because I’ve seen firsthand, personally, my whole life, how broken our criminal justice system is. My earliest memories are going through steel gates and metal detectors just to see my parents, just to give them a hug. And I learned, through years and now decades of prison visits, that our justice system is not doing nearly enough for victims of crime. It’s not rehabilitating people who have been convicted of crimes, and it’s a system of racist mass incarceration that’s actually costing taxpayers billions of dollars and making us less safe.”
We’ll have more on Election Day and ranked-choice voting later in the broadcast. We’ll also be speaking with the Colorado secretary of state. Colorado is a vote mail-in state.
Advice columnist and former television host E. Jean Carroll has sued President Trump for defamation, after he denied raping her in the 1990s. Carroll has accused Trump of forcibly kissing, then raping her in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York. Trump has claimed that he did not know and had never met Carroll, despite a photo showing the two of them together at a party in the 1980s. Carroll said she’s filing the defamation suit “on behalf of every woman who has ever been harassed, assaulted, silenced, or spoken up only to be shamed, fired, ridiculed and belittled. No person in this country should be above the law – including the president.” Over 20 women have accused Trump of rape, assault or sexual misconduct.
A federal appeals court has rejected President Trump’s efforts to fight a New York grand jury subpoena for his tax returns. New York prosecutors have subpoenaed for eight years of Trump’s tax records as part of an investigation into hush-money payments doled out by Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen ahead of the 2016 election. Cohen says Trump personally directed him to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 campaign. Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion, bank fraud and lying to Congress.
President Trump threatened to cut off federal funding for the climate-fueled wildfires currently raging across California. On Twitter, Trump attacked California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, claiming he’s done a “terrible job of forest management” and implying he would pull funding. In response, Governor Newsom fired back at Trump: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.” Click here to see all our coverage on the climate-fueled wildfires in California.
In Chile, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Santiago again on Monday against rampant economic inequality. The protesters are demanding major reforms to the country’s current Constitution — which was written during Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal military regime. Over 4,000 academics around the world have signed a petition demanding the Chilean government stop the violent repression of anti-government protesters. At least 19 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been shot and wounded, since protests erupted on October 19 in response to a subway fare hike.
In Indonesia, journalists Maraden Sianipar and Martua Siregar were killed at an illegal palm oil plantation on the island of Sumatra. Both journalists had reported critically on the plantation. Indonesian authorities have ruled the company violated the law when it deforested the land to build the palm oil plantation. Deforestation for palm oil plantations is a major contributor to climate change.
In Spain, thousands of protesters took to the streets Monday after a Barcelona court decided to convict five men accused of gang-raping an unconscious 14-year-old girl of the lesser charge of sexual abuse and sentenced them to 10 to 12 years in prison. Thursday’s sentencing came after the judges ruled that because the adolescent girl was unconscious and under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, the men did not have to use physical violence or intimidation, which are requirements under Spanish law for a crime to be considered rape or sexual assault. This is one of the protesters, Elia.
Elia: “Well, it’s clear they have to change either the judges or the law, or both. I assume both, because if a 14-year-old girl is unconscious because she drank or for any other reason, it doesn’t matter, and she is raped by five people or four, because one is masturbating, to put it bluntly, and there are judges who say that that is abuse, I find that incredible.”
The United Nations Refugee Agency is warning that the migration land route across Africa is even more deadly than the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2014, over 19,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean en route to Europe. But a top official with the U.N. Refugee Agency told a German newspaper that the land journey to reach the sea is likely twice as deadly. The International Organization for Migration says dehydration, violence, starvation and illness are among the primary causes of death for migrants traveling across Africa.
Turkish officials say they have captured the sister of slain former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a raid in northwestern Syria. The woman, Rasmiya Awad, was captured amid Turkey’s ongoing offensive in northern Syria, which began after President Trump abruptly withdrew some U.S. troops from the region, clearing the way for the Turkish offensive. Turkey has been accused of committing war crimes against Syrian Kurdish fighters, including female fighters.
A Manhattan judge has dismissed Uber’s lawsuit challenging New York City’s new law capping the number of licenses for ride-hailing services. Last year, the New York City Council passed the nation’s first cap on the number of for-hire vehicles. The legislation also allows New York City to set a minimum wage for drivers with Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services.
New York’s insurance regulator is launching an investigation into UnitedHealth Group, after a study showed a UnitedHealth algorithm prioritized medical care for healthier white patients over sicker black patients. A study published in the journal Science found that the algorithm, called Impact Pro, steered black patients away from high-quality care and favored treating white patients with complex health procedures over black patients. It’s one of the latest examples of racial discrimination in algorithms or artificial intelligence technology, which also includes a Google-funded artificial intelligence tool that found tweets from African Americans were more likely to be considered “toxic” than tweets from white people. U.S. government facial recognition tools are also more likely to misidentify black people more often than white people.
In Colorado, the FBI has arrested a 27-year-old man who was allegedly planning to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo. Court documents say Richard Holzer talked about killing Jews in online forums and once wrote on Facebook, “I wish the Holocaust really did happen… they need to die.” He was arrested Friday after he examined fake pipe bombs that had been prepared by undercover agents, who had been tracking and interacting with Holzer since late September.
In Oklahoma, hundreds of prisoners walked free on Monday in the largest single-day commutation in U.S. history. The 462 prisoners were all convicted of low-level nonviolent crimes that the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board said Friday would no longer be considered felonies today. This is Lana Lemus, who was incarcerated for three years for simple drug possession. She reunited with her daughter outside Kate Barnard Correctional Center Monday.
Lana Lemus: “I’ve been out of her life for three years. But she’s my hope. She’s never given up on me. So, it’s a great opportunity for a lot of women out there, and all I have to say is thank you.”