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Week In The News: Trump In Afghanistan, Ukraine Aid Latest, Navy Secretary Out, 2020 Field Grows46:46

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. (Alex Brandon/AP)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during a surprise Thanksgiving Day visit, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. (Alex Brandon/AP)

White House budget officials resigned in part over Ukraine aid concerns. Bloomberg enters the 2020 fray. Navy Secretary is pushed out. A federal judge says "presidents are not kings" and orders ex-White House counsel to testify.

The roundtable is here.


Janet Hook, national political reporter for the Los Angeles Times. (@hookjan)

Kimberly Atkins, senior news correspondent for WBUR. (@KimberlyEAtkins)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine" — "President Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter.

"Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said.

"The revelation could shed light on Mr. Trump’s thinking at two critical points under scrutiny by impeachment investigators: his decision in early September to release $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine and his denial to a key ambassador around the same time that there was a 'quid pro quo' with Kyiv. Mr. Trump used the phrase before it had entered the public lexicon in the Ukraine affair.

"Mr. Trump faced bipartisan pressure from Congress when he released the aid. But the new timing detail shows that he was also aware at the time that the whistle-blower had accused him of wrongdoing in withholding the aid and in his broader campaign to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to conduct investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump’s re-election chances."

Washington Post: "Two OMB officials resigned in part over concerns about Ukraine aid hold, official testifies" — "Two officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget recently resigned in part over concerns about the holdup on Ukraine aid, a career employee of the agency told impeachment investigators, according to a transcript of his testimony released Tuesday.

"Mark Sandy, the only OMB official to testify in the impeachment inquiry, did not name the employees in question. He said one worked in the OMB legal division and described that person as having a 'dissenting opinion' about how the security assistance to Ukraine could be held up in light of the Impoundment Control Act, which limits the ability of the executive branch to change spending decisions made by Congress.

"Sandy, the agency’s deputy associate director for national security programs, testified on Nov. 16, and his remarks revealed some of the White House’s internal maneuverings relating to blocking the aid. Other White House officials, including Sandy’s superiors at the budget office who are political appointees, have defied congressional subpoenas to participate in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry."

Los Angeles Times: "Would impeachment inquiry hurt a Pompeo run for Senate?" — "When he toured German sites earlier this month that symbolize the fall of the Berlin Wall, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said he was taking a trip down memory lane.

"With a State Department videographer trailing, Pompeo told American soldiers and German anti-Communist resistance fighters about his days as a young U.S. Army captain patrolling the area in 1989.

"Despite his fond memories, Pompeo chose not to stay in Berlin for the big event: the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall. He headed back to Washington the day before the ceremonies, but with plenty of patriotic footage of himself in action."

This program aired on November 29, 2019.


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