The House Intelligence Committee has released its report on the impeachment inquiry, concluding President Trump tried to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election. The scathing report says the president “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.” The report went on to say, “The Founding Fathers prescribed a remedy for a chief executive who places his personal interests above those of the country: impeachment.” House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff spoke on Tuesday.
Rep. Adam Schiff: “If the Congress allows a president to so fully and blanketly obstruct the work of Congress, even involving an impeachment investigation into the president’s own misconduct, then we are begging for more of the same. We are signaling to any future president they can engage in whatever corruption, malfeasance or negligence, and they are beyond accountability.”
The report centers on how President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in order to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rivals, the Bidens. The report also chronicles how top administration officials knew about Trump’s efforts or helped him carry them out. These top official include Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first televised hearing featuring testimony from four law experts on the constitutional nature of impeachment. Democracy Now! will be broadcasting today’s impeachment hearing live, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern time, at our website democracynow.org.
The European Union Environmental Agency is warning wide swaths of Europe could face annual extreme heat waves unless urgent action is taken to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. This is Hans Bruyninckx of the European Union Environmental Agency, which released its new report this week amid the U.N. climate change summit in Madrid, Spain.
Hans Bruyninckx: “Things are indeed urgent. We need to bend the trends in the next decade. It’s a critical decade. We already see irreversible damage. Climate change is happening. Biodiversity is lost. Species are disappearing. Our oceans are changing fundamentally.”
Democracy Now! will be broadcasting from COP25 in Madrid, Spain, beginning on Friday and all next week.
California Senator Kamala Harris says she’s ending her 2020 presidential campaign. Harris began the race as one of the front-running candidates, but she now says she doesn’t have enough money to continue her run. There has been a significant racial wealth gap among the 2020 presidential candidates. In November, the leading four white candidates — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden — had nearly four times as much cash on hand as the race’s five candidates of color — Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard and Julián Castro. This is Julián Castro responding to news about Kamala Harris’s departure from the race.
Julián Castro: “What we have, what we’re staring at, is a DNC debate stage, in a few days, with no people of color on it. That does not reflect the diversity of our party or our country. And we need to do better than that.”
After Kamala Harris announced her departure from the race, Trump sarcastically tweeted at Harris, writing, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” In response, Harris, California’s former top prosecutor, responded, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”
An explosive new ProPublica investigation reveals how the consulting giant McKinsey & Company helped the Trump administration speed up its mass deportation program. McKinsey proposed cuts to spending on food, medical care and supervision of people in immigration jails — measures that were considered too harsh by some Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The McKinsey team also looked for ways to accelerate deportations, which raised concerns among some ICE officials about due process protections for immigrants appealing their removal from the United States. McKinsey now has a new $2 million contract with Customs and Border Protection.
In Louisiana, asylum seekers detained at an immigrant jail in the rural town of Winnfield are refusing to move into their cells as part of an ongoing protest against their prolonged detention. Family members of people detained at the Winn Correctional Center say some asylum seekers are sleeping outside the facility and have inscribed towels and bed sheets with the word “libertad,” or “freedom” in Spanish. Winn detains about 1,500 men and is one of eight jails in Louisiana that began imprisoning asylum seekers last year.
The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted for legislation that requires President Trump to impose sanctions against senior Chinese officials involved in the mass detention camps of Muslim Uyghurs in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. The Chinese government responded angrily to the legislation’s passage. This is the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
Hua Chunying: “No person should underestimate the Chinese government’s resolution and ability to defend our national sovereignty, national security and developmental interests. Anyone who wants to use Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues to interfere and restrain China’s development must be delusional.”
The House’s passage of the Uyghur Act of 2019 comes as The New York Times reports Chinese officials in Xinjiang are collecting blood samples en masse in efforts to build a system capable of creating an image of a person’s face using DNA. The United States is also separately seeking to develop this technology, which raises vast concerns about privacy and state surveillance.
The International Criminal Court is beginning a three-day hearing today about torture in Afghanistan — including by U.S. forces. The hearing will probe allegations that members of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies tortured, raped and sexually abused Afghan prisoners between 2003 and 2004. Prosecutors and torture survivors are hoping to overturn a previous ruling that blocked an investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. This ruling, issued in April, came only a month after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo banned visas for International Criminal Court staff seeking to investigate the allegations of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and beyond.
In New York City, four Rikers Island correctional officers have been suspended after video showed the officers stood by for seven minutes while a teenager attempted to hang himself. Video shows one officer even walked up to the holding pen where the teenager was hanging, opened the door, then closed the door and walked away without intervening. Eighteen-year-old Nicholas Feliciano had been jailed in Rikers since November 19, when he was arrested on a parole violation. He is now hospitalized in a medically induced coma after the suicide attempt.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed by police in the raid. Authorities initially claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons. But evidence later emerged that told a very different story: The FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago police had conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton. This is Fred Hampton, in his own words, speaking before his death about the repression against his fellow Black Panther Party members.
Fred Hampton: “Bobby Seale is going through all types of physical and mental torture. But that’s all right, because we said even before this happened, and we’re going to say it after this and after I’m locked up and after everybody’s locked up, that you can jail revolutionaries, but you can’t jail the revolution. You might run a liberator like Eldridge Cleaver out the country, but you can’t run liberation out the country. You might murder a freedom fighter like Bobby Hutton, but you can’t murder freedom fighting.”
That was Fred Hampton speaking in the 1969 documentary “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” produced by the Chicago Film Group. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated by the FBI and Chicago police 50 years ago today.