The House of Representatives is launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, who becomes just the fourth U.S. president to face impeachment. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of betraying his oath of office, the country’s national security and the integrity of the country’s election system.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I’m announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. The president must be held accountable. No one is above the law.”
For months, Speaker Pelosi had resisted calls by progressive Democrats to back impeachment, but that changed after President Trump publicly admitted he urged the president of Ukraine to open a probe into the dealings of his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies. Trump has also admitted to withholding $391 million in aid to Ukraine. On Tuesday, President Trump dismissed the impeachment inquiry.
President Donald Trump: “Look, it’s just a continuation of the witch hunt. It’s the worst witch hunt in political history.”
The Ukraine scandal came to light after a whistleblower in the intelligence community wrote an internal complaint about Trump’s actions. On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution calling on the Trump administration to release the whistleblower’s complaint. Meanwhile, the actions of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine are facing new scrutiny. The Washington Post reports he pursued a shadow agenda on Ukraine pushing aside key foreign policy officials. We’ll have more on the impeachment inquiry after headlines.
The U.N.-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning the world must quickly cut greenhouse gas emissions or face catastrophic sea level rise that could threaten hundreds of millions of people. Earlier today, the IPCC released a landmark study on how the climate crisis is impacting the world’s oceans, from rising sea levels to collapsing marine life. Ko Barrett is the vice chair of the IPCC and head of research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Ko Barrett: “The consequences for nature and humanity are sweeping and severe. This report highlights also the urgency of timely, ambitious, coordinated and enduring action. What is at stake is the health of ecosystems, wildlife and, importantly, the world we leave for our children.”
In news from the United Nations General Assembly, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing widespread condemnation after using his U.N. address to defend the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, attack indigenous leaders and accuse the international media of lying about the recent devastating fires in the Amazon.
President Jair Bolsonaro: “It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception, as confirmed by scientists, to say, that our Amazonian forests are the lungs of the world. The Amazon is not being devastated, nor is it being consumed by fire, as the media misleadlingly says.”
Amazon Watch decried Bolsonaro’s address, stating, “Today the Amazon continues to burn and may soon reach an unrecoverable tipping point due to Bolsonaro’s complicity with environmental crime.” The president of Brazil also used his address at the United Nations to personally attack the Brazilian indigenous leader Chief Raoni. Click here to see the chief’s conversation yesterday as he attempted to get into the Climate Action Summit.
President Trump used his U.N. General Assembly address to denounce Iran and to call on nations to reject globalism and embrace nationalism.
President Donald Trump: “Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first. The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots.”
At the United Nations, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan called on world leaders Tuesday to address the crisis in Kashmir, warning India’s illegal annexation of the occupied territory could lead to a war between the two nuclear-armed states.
Prime Minister Imran Khan: “This is unprecedented. Eight million people in an open jail is unprecedented in this day and age. And then this nonsense that this is a part of India so the world should stay out. Just to remind the world, that there are 11 Security Council, U.N. Security Council, resolutions that recognize Kashmir as a disputed territory.”
Meanwhile, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Tuesday. At least 25 people died, and more than 300 have been injured.
The British Parliament reconvened today after the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling declaring that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had unlawfully suspended Parliament in order to push through Brexit with or without a deal. Johnson made the unprecedented move late last month, asking the queen to prorogue Parliament in order to limit debate on leaving the European Union, which the U.K. is scheduled to do by October 31. On Tuesday, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Johnson to resign.
Jeremy Corbyn: “Boris Johnson has been found to have misled the country. This unelected prime minister should now resign.”
The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled in favor of exhuming the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco, who was buried in a state mausoleum in 1975. The ruling was a victory for victims of Franco’s regime who have long argued he should not be recognized in any public site. Pablo Mayoral, who was imprisoned for two years during Franco’s regime, welcomed the court’s decision.
Pablo Mayoral: “A fascist, Nazi dictator like Franco can’t be publicly recognized in the Valley of the Fallen or in the Almudena Cathedral or in any public site. The remains should be given to the family to be kept in the family site.”
A Nigerian court granted bail on Tuesday to the journalist and activist Omoyele Sowore, but he remains in state custody. He has been jailed since August 3, shortly after he called for peaceful nationwide protests against the government. Sowore has been charged with treason and other offenses. Sowore is a former presidential candidate and the founder of the New York-based news outlet Sahara Reporters. He is also a past guest on Democracy Now!
In business news, German prosecutors have indicted three top executives at Volkswagen — including the company’s CEO — for market manipulation. The executives are accused of not informing investors soon enough about the company’s diesel emissions scandal. The indictments come four years after the automaker admitted to installing devices on millions of cars to circumvent emissions tests.
In presidential campaign news, Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed a new wealth tax on billionaires, saying it is needed to tackle what he called the “outrageous and grotesque and immoral” levels of inequality in the United States. On Tuesday, Sanders tweeted, “There should be no billionaires. We are going to tax their extreme wealth and invest in working people.” Sanders estimates the tax would raise over $4 trillion in revenue over 10 years.
A U.S. judge has sided with the Trump administration and thrown out a lawsuit filed by an American journalist who believes he was placed on the U.S. kill list. The journalist, Bilal Abdul Kareem, filed the lawsuit after claiming he was nearly killed in five U.S. drone and missile strikes in Syria. The judge allowed the Trump administration to invoke its state secrets privilege to block the release of information about its kill list. Abdul Kareem’s attorney Tara Plochocki said, “For the first time ever, a United States federal court ruled that the government may kill one of its citizens without providing him the information necessary to prove that he is being wrongly targeted and does not deserve to die.”
In health news, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has declared a public health emergency and ordered a four-month ban on vaping products. Meanwhile, the CEO of the embattled e-cigarette company Juul, Kevin Burns, has just announced his resignation.
The winners of this year’s Right Livelihood Awards have been announced. The prize is widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” The head of the Right Livelihood Foundation, Ole von Uexküll, announced the laureates earlier today in Stockholm.
Ole von Uexküll: “Greta Thunberg receives the Right Livelihood Award for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts. Aminatou Haidar receives the 2019 Right Livelihood Award for her steadfast nonviolent action, despite torture and imprisonment, in pursuit of justice and self-determination for the people of Western Sahara. Guo Jianmei receives the Right Livelihood Award for her pioneering and persistent work in securing women’s rights in China. Davi Kopenawa and the Yanomami Hutukara Association receive the Right Livelihood Award for their courageous determination to protect the forests and biodiversity of the Amazon, and the lands and culture of its indigenous peoples.”