Democrats fourth debate, Erdogan rejects ceasefire call, and Prince Harry chokes up: The Morning Rundown

The candidates piled on new front-runner Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the stage in Ohio.
Image: Democratic Presidential Candidates Participate In Fourth Debate In Ohio
The candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination stand together at the start of the Democratic Presidential Debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Democratic moderates and progressives clashed at their fourth debate. A top State Department official says he was told to "lay low" when he raised concerns about Rudy Giuliani's Ukraine efforts. And Washingtonians may get a holiday from partisan politics and finally have something they can all cheer about: The Nationals' first trip to the World Series.

Here's what we're watching today.


Democrats' divide takes center stage as Warren fends off attacks

Sen. Elizabeth Warren entered Tuesday night's Democratic presidential primary debate with a bull’s eye on her back as the new front-runner in the 2020 race.

With health care policy once again in the spotlight, Warren took repeated shots from the other candidates, who accused her of being deceitful by not acknowledging her Medicare for All plan would raise taxes on the middle class.

  • How did the rest of the crew stack up? From billionaire activist Tom Steyer's debut to former Vice President Joe Biden's response to the scrutiny over his son's business dealings, we take a look at the night's winners and losers.
  • Analysis: So much for Minnesota Nice. Klobuchar's performance showed she could be the Warren-stopper for Democrats looking for a more moderate option, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes.
  • Fact check: Once again, lots of claims were made last night. What was true and what was false?
  • "I don't need lessons from you on courage — political or personal," Mayor Pete Buttigieg told Beto O'Rourke. Watch that heated exchange on gun control.
  • ICYMI: Unlikely friendships got a shout out. Check out our live blog from last night for analysis of the debate as it happened.

State Department official was told to 'lay low' after raising Giuliani Ukraine concerns

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent told lawmakers in a closed-door deposition Tuesday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney pushed aside seasoned State Department diplomats to place a trio of Trump appointees, who called themselves "the three amigos," in charge of the administration's Ukraine policy.

Kent also testified that he was told to "lay low" by a superior when he raised concerns about about efforts by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Meantime, signaling that Democrats won't cave to GOP demands, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the House will not hold a formal floor vote on impeachment "at this time."

Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Giuliani made it clear that they will not cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

Pence's office said Tuesday it will not comply with a request from the House to turn over documents related to Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Likewise, Giuliani said he won't comply with a congressional subpoena that is part of what his lawyer called an "unconstitutional" impeachment inquiry.


Erdogan rejects Syrian ceasefire call ahead of Pence meeting

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected U.S. calls for a ceasefire in the escalating Syria conflict ahead of a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, who is due to travel to Turkey on Wednesday to persuade him to stop his offensive into the region.

"They say 'declare a ceasefire.' We will never declare a ceasefire," Erdogan told reporters after a visit to Azerbaijan.

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"They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions," he added.

As the U.S. withdraws, analysts say it's clear that Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin are emerging as the winners of the geopolitical puzzle, and the Kurds and the U.S. as the losers.


Nationals sweep Cardinals to earn first trip to World Series

America's pastime has a long, lyrical history of failure in the nation's capital; but not anymore.

The Washington Nationals defeated the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, 7-4, on Tuesday night to complete a four-game sweep of the NL Championship Series and bring the nation's capital its first pennant since 1933.

The Nationals are now headed to the World Series and will play the American League champions, either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros, for the national title starting next week.

The Washington Nationals celebrate winning game four of the National League Championship Series — and securing their first trip to the World Series. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

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Plus

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse amongst the first snow at Mouth Paektu on Wednesday.KCNA / AFP - Getty Images

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One emotional thing

We all watched him grow up, and now he's a dad.

Prince Harry teared up during an emotional speech about fatherhood during an annual awards ceremony for children with severe illnesses, their families and caregivers.

Harry, 35, who first attended the WellChild Awards more than a decade ago, recounted how his feelings about the event changed while attending the last year's ceremony knowing his wife Meghan was pregnant.

"I remember squeezing Meghan's hand so tight during the award and both of us thinking, 'what it would be like to be parents one day' and more so 'what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over the time'," he said after being overcome with emotion and earning applause from the crowd.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra