President Trump says that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State, has been killed. We have the latest, and look ahead to impeachment and Brexit developments.
Natasha Bertrand, national security correspondent for Politico. (@natashabertrand)
Michelle Kosinski, senior diplomatic correspondent for CNN. (@MichLKosinski)
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NPR: “Trump Says Islamic State Leader Was Killed In Special Operations Raid” — “President Trump says that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the Islamic State, has been killed after a U.S. special operations mission targeted him in northwest Syria. Trump declared that U.S. forces have brought ‘the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice.’
“In a dangerous and daring nighttime raid involving eight helicopters flying across Russian airspace, U.S forces located their target and blew a hole in a wall of Baghdadi’s compound, fearing the main entrance was booby-trapped.
“Trump said that with military dogs in pursuit, Baghdadi desperately fled to a dead-end tunnel of the compound, which was located in Idlib province in northwest Syria along the border with Turkey.”
Politico: “NSC official plans to testify in impeachment probe even if White House tries to block him” — “Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official who has been identified as a witness to one of the most explosive pieces of evidence unearthed by House impeachment investigators, plans to testify Thursday even if the White House attempts to block him.
“‘If subpoenaed, Mr. Morrison plans to appear for his deposition,’ his attorney, Barbara Van Gelder, said.
“A slew of high-profile witnesses have defied White House, State Department and Pentagon orders not to cooperate with the impeachment probe. In each case, lawmakers have issued a subpoena, which the officials have relied on to justify testifying over the administration’s objections.
“Morrison, however, would be the first currently serving White House official to testify. He’s also the first official believed to be on a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which Trump pressed his counterpart to investigate former vice president Joe Biden.”
BBC: “Brexit: European leaders agree extension to 31 January” — “EU leaders have agreed in principle to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020 – meaning the UK will not leave as planned on Thursday.
“EU Council President Donald Tusk said it was a ‘flextension’ – meaning the UK could leave before the deadline if a deal was approved by Parliament.
“It comes as MPs prepare to vote on proposals by Boris Johnson for an early general election on 12 December.
“The SNP and Lib Dems have also proposed an election on 9 December.
“The government has not ruled out getting behind that proposed date, if it fails to get its preferred date through the Commons later.”
New York Times: “Justice Dept. Is Said to Open Criminal Inquiry Into Its Own Russia Investigation” — “For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.
“Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to convene a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
“The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. Mr. Trump fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director under whose watch agents opened the Russia inquiry, and has long assailed other top former law enforcement and intelligence officials as partisans who sought to block his election.
“Mr. Trump has made clear that he sees the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. That view factors into the impeachment investigation against him, as does his long obsession with the origins of the Russia inquiry. House Democrats are examining in part whether his pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into theories about the 2016 election constituted an abuse of power.”
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.