House Democratic lawmakers are expected to unveil articles of impeachment today charging President Trump with abuse of power and conduct they say presents a “clear and present danger” to national security and the upcoming 2020 election. The New York Times reports the articles are expected to center on two charges: that Trump violated his oath of office by elevating his personal political concerns over the national interest and that Trump stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate his actions. The ongoing impeachment inquiry centers on how Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Times reports the House Judiciary Committee was working overnight to prepare the articles of impeachment. This all comes after the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Monday in which two lawyers argued evidence for and against impeachment. This is Republican lawyer Stephen Castor speaking about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Stephen Castor: “The call summary reflects absolutely no pressure or conditionality. President Zelensky vocalized no concerns with the subject matters discussed. And there is no indication of bribery, extortion or other illegal conduct on the call.”
And this is Daniel Goldman, the House Intelligence Committee lawyer who led the Ukraine inquiry, testifying to the evidence for impeachment.
Daniel Goldman: “President Trump directed a months-long campaign to solicit foreign help in his 2020 re-election efforts, withholding official acts from the government of Ukraine in order to coerce and secure political assistance and interference in our domestic affairs. As part of this scheme, President Trump applied increasing pressure on the president of Ukraine to publicly announce two investigations helpful to his personal re-election efforts. He applied this pressure himself and through his agents working within and outside of the U.S. government.”
All this comes as the Justice Department’s independent inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released a long-awaited report that concludes the FBI acted without political bias when it opened the investigation into links between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. The report debunks Trump’s often repeated claims that he was targeted by a politicized conspiracy. But the report did find serious and systematic problems with the FBI’s wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The American Civil Liberties Union said, “The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.”
“The modern-day Pentagon Papers.” That’s how people are describing a confidential trove of documents obtained by The Washington Post revealing how senior U.S. officials have lied throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. The first installation of the explosive report, published Monday, is titled “At war with the truth.” It documents how U.S. officials repeatedly lied about the war’s progress while hiding evidence the war had become unwinnable. It also shows how three successive presidencies — President George W. Bush, President Obama and President Trump — have bungled the war in Afghanistan, despite deploying 775,000 U.S. troops since 2001. More than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and 20,000 have been wounded. The papers also reveal how U.S. officials tried to hide the truth about the war from the American public. In one interview revealed in the papers, Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan War czar during both the Bush and Obama administrations, said, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing. … If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction.” The 2,000 pages of secret documents contain 400 interviews with generals, diplomats, aid workers, Afghan officials and others who played a direct role in the war. The Washington Post won access to the documents after a three-year legal battle.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky met in Paris Monday and agreed to a “full and comprehensive” ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by the end of this year. The ceasefire aims to end five-and-a-half years of fighting that has killed at least 13,000 people. Russia and Ukraine agreed to release all “conflict related detainees” by the end of the year and to resolve a dispute about Russian gas exports via pipelines that cross Ukraine. The two countries still disagree on the withdrawal of Russian-backed troops and elections in areas of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed rebels.
In India, protests have erupted across parts of the country, as the lower house of Parliament passed legislation that represents a major step in the official marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims. The Citizenship Amendment Bill would establish a religious test for people who wish to become citizens, and provide a path to citizenship for all of South Asia’s major religions — except Islam. The legislation now heads to the upper house of Parliament, where it’s expected to pass. The bill is part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda.
Protests continue here in Madrid, Spain, as part of COP25. This morning, indigenous women protested outside the U.S. Embassy to demand action to address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls across North America. Madrid police shut down the protest within minutes. This is Moñeka De Oro from Guam.
Moñeka De Oro: “I see that my struggle to protect my land and waters from militarization and from the expansion of U.S. imperialism in my waters and in the whole region of Micronesia is very much connected to the violence and the assaults on the women across North and South America.”
On Monday, indigenous climate leaders also gathered outside the Canadian Embassy in Madrid to protest the Canadian government’s support of the Alberta tar sands extraction and mine and pipeline infrastructure. This is Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla’amin First Nation.
Ta’Kaiya Blaney: “We’re here to stand against destruction, because it directly impacts us. Violence against the land is violence against indigenous people, and violence against the land is violence against future generations. So we’re here to bring visibility to not just that desecration but also bring visibility to, like, indigenous climate defenders.”
Also on Monday, Chilean activists gathered outside the COP25 venue to protest the right-wing government of President Sebastián Piñera and to denounce the summit being relocated to Madrid amid massive anti-austerity protests in Chile. The COP is being run by Chile even though the Chilean government canceled it in Santiago amid massive anti-austerity protests there and the U.N. then moved it to Madrid. This is Chilean feminist activist Christine Engelbreit.
Christine Engelbreit: “Spain cannot welcome a murderous government, because the government of Sebastián Piñera is murdering, is wounding and is purposely mutilating our people with the armed forces and the police. It’s a deliberate attack. They perfectly know what they are doing. They are violating protocols. It has been confirmed by the Human Rights Watch that there are human rights violations and that the state is denying it. It’s a state that negates what is happening. Protocols are not being followed, and human rights are being violated in Chile.”
And in yet another protest on Monday, protesters walked out of a forum on carbon markets promoted by oil companies including BP, Chevron and Shell. The activists covered their ears and walked out as Shell vice president Duncan van Bergen began speaking. They later confronted him as he left the forum.
Protester: “Are you willing to do what they’re asking you to do?”
Duncan van Bergen: “Nobody’s asked me anything. But what’s clear is that there is a need for urgent climate action.”
Protester: “OK. A complete withdrawal from fossil fuels?”
Duncan van Bergen: “I — I think the dialogue is much more complex than that. But I would agree with everybody who says there is a need for absolute and urgent climate action.”
Denmark has passed historic, legally binding climate legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030. The Climate Act also commits current and future climate ministers to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.
In Australia, at least six people have been killed and over 5 million acres have been scorched amid Australia’s worst fire season on record. At least 100 different fires are burning across the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. They are expected to worsen today as the temperature soars above 100 degrees, prompting some residents to flee their homes amid the climate-fueled wildfires.
In Iraq, the Committee to Protect Journalists is calling for the release of freelance journalist Zaid Mohammed al-Khafaji, who was abducted from his home in Baghdad on December 6 after covering anti-government protests in Tahrir Square. His abduction came the same day an unidentified gunman shot and killed photographer Ahmed Muhana al-Lami while he was covering protests in Baghdad. Security forces and militias have killed over 400 demonstrators since the massive anti-government protests broke out across Iraq on October 1.
Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is arriving at the International Court of Justice at The Hague today, where she will try to defend Burma against accusations the Burmese military has committed genocide against minority Rohingya Muslims. Gambia brought the genocide case to the international court, accusing Burma of trying to “destroy the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, by the use of mass murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence.” International aid groups say thousands of Rohingya have been murdered and a quarter of a million have been forced to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. This is Rohingya refugee Jamalida Begum, speaking from Bangladesh.
Jamalida Begum: “Three military personnel raped me. They detained hundreds of our Rohingya women and raped them in front of their children and husbands. We have been demanding justice for all of this. Now we demand the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi in front of the world community.”
Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent years fighting against the Burmese military, which she is now defending at The Hague.
The Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to a Kentucky law that requires doctors perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before they can perform abortions. The refusal to hear the American Civil Liberties Union’s appeal on behalf of Kentucky’s only abortion clinic means the anti-abortion law remains in place. Pro-choice advocates argue the law has no medical basis whatsoever and that its only aim is to coerce women into not having an abortion.
In Houston, Texas, Police Chief Art Acevedo slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz for not reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, after a Houston police sergeant was killed while responding to a domestic violence call.
Art Acevedo: “We all know in law enforcement that one of the biggest reasons that the Senate and Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and others are not getting into a room and having a conference committee with the House and getting the Violence Against Women Act is because the NRA doesn’t like the fact that we want to take firearms out of the hands of boyfriends that abuse their girlfriends. And who killed our sergeant? A boyfriend abusing his girlfriend.”
In Spain, peace activists gathered at the Sagunto Port in the region of Valencia early Tuesday morning to protest against the docking of a Saudi vessel that may be carrying weapons to be used in Yemen. The vessel arrived to the port early this morning as a group of seven activists rallied with signs that read “Stop the war” and “The war begins here.” The war in Yemen has killed over 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.