Top diplomat's 'explosive' testimony, Russia-Turkey deal on Syria, and Nats take World Series lead: The Morning Rundown
The Trump administration's top envoy to Ukraine says there was a quid pro quo.
"Once I arrived in Kyiv, I discovered a weird combination of encouraging, confusing, and ultimately alarming circumstances," Ukraine envoy Bill Taylor said in his opening statement to lawmakers on Tuesday. J. Scott Applewhite / AP
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Taylor's testimony directly contradicts denials of a quid pro quo from Trump and his Republican allies.
"I found a confusing and unusual arrangement for making U.S. policy towards Ukraine. There appeared to be two channels of U.S. policy-making and implementation, one regular and one highly irregular," Taylor told lawmakers, according to a copy of his 15-page opening statement provided to NBC News.
Taylor, a West Point graduate who served as ambassador to Ukraine under former President George W. Bush, called out Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and said "that the official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the irregular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani."
Democrats emerging from the nine-hour deposition Tuesday, called it "explosive" and "disturbing." Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said that it drew a "direct line" between the president's demand for an investigation by the Ukrainians into his political rivals and U.S. military aid.
Here are some of the highlights from his testimony that could prove to be a watershed moment in the impeachment inquiry.
The deal came as the five-day pause in fighting brokered by the U.S. expired — but Turkey now says the deal means hostilities need not resume.
The Russia-Turkey 10-point plan was succinct but will have wide-reaching ramifications for the region as well as those embroiled in this latest Syrian drama.
Meantime, Trump has invited Erdogan to the White House for a visit in November. The last time the Turkish leader came to the U.S. his security officials viciously beat peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's home in Washington, D.C.
Murat Yasa bears the scars from that attack, but the Kurdish-American activist plans to return to the nation's capital to protest again.
"As long as I breathe, as long as I live, I am not going to give up to the dictators," Yasa told NBC News.
Trump has called the House impeachment inquiry a "coup," a "witch hunt" and a "fraud," but he introduced a new phrase to describe the process on Tuesday: "a lynching."
The president's use of the term, which evokes a time when black Americans were murdered by extrajudicial white mobs, was the subject of immediate blowback.
"You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING?" Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., tweeted. "What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you. Delete this tweet."
Out of the 21 states with manufacturing job losses so far this year, some of those experiencing the greatest percentage declines are states where Trump won by less than 5 percentage points.
In Pennsylvania, the manufacturing sector lost 8,100 jobs. In North Carolina, it was 7,700 from that sector; and Wisconsin lost 6,500 jobs.
The closure of Wood-Mode, a 77-year-old family-owned factory known for making the “Cadillac” of custom cabinets in rural Kreamer, Pennsylvania, is emblematic of problems facing the manufacturing sector.
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When former generals like Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis and retired Adm. William McRaven go against entrenched military traditions and criticize the president, something is really wrong, Col. Jake Jacobs, Medal of Honor recipient and NBC/MSNBC military analyst, writes in an opinion piece.
"Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay before signing the check."