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Top Pentagon Ukraine official's impeachment evidence delayed by GOP protest: Read the Morning Rundown

The impeachment inquiry, why a rule change at a DNA database is bad news for police and the latest on California's blackouts and wildfires.

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The impeachment inquiry took a dramatic turn yesterday as Republicans tried to storm a hearing. Plus why a change to a DNA database is bad news for police detectives, and the latest on California's blackouts and wildfires.

Here's what we're watching today.

Impeachment evidence from Pentagon’s top Ukraine official delayed by GOP protest

Image: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Cooper arrives to testify at deposition as part of Trump impeachment inquiry on Capitol Hill in Washington
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official in charge of Ukraine and Russia policy, arrives to testify at a closed-door deposition on Capitol Hill on Oct. 23, 2019.Carlos Jasso / Reuters

The Pentagon's top official responsible for U.S. policy in Ukraine gave evidence before a closed hearing Wednesday — but only after a long delay caused by House Republicans who burst into the meeting to protest the impeachment process.

In dramatic scenes, Laura Cooper had to wait for hours while GOP members stormed the secure room, known as SCIF, in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center.

A House intelligence official said more than two dozen Republicans took part. In what the official called a "major security breach," the Republicans brought their cellphones into the SCIF, which is not permitted.

Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif. said allies of President Donald Trump were moved to act after the testimony a day earlier of Bill Taylor, the most senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine.

And meanwhile lawyers for Trump argued that the president cannot be charged with a crime while in office, even if he shot someone.

Video: GOP lawmakers storm secure room, delaying impeachment inquiry testimony

Change to DNA database privacy policy leaves police without vital resource

Illustration of police offer peering through binoculars made of DNA strips.
Julien Posture / for NBC News

It's helped solve some 50 rape and homicide cold cases in 29 states, but changes to a DNA database earlier this year mean police are now without crucial evidence.

GEDmatch, a free website where people share their DNA profiles in hopes of finding relatives, had been used extensively by detectives, but a new privacy policy means law enforcement only have access to a much-restricted list of entries.

“There are cases that won’t get solved or will take longer to solve,” said Lori Napolitano, the chief of forensic services at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Californians told to expect even more blackouts as wildfires continue

Image: California wildfire
Firefighters confer while battling the Kincade Fire near Geyserville, Calif., on Oct. 24, 2019.Noah Berger / AP

If you've been told to expect a blackout in northern California in the next two days, the news is not good: An even bigger blackout could be needed as soon as this weekend.

The state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Corp., began shutting off electricity to nearly a half-million people Wednesday afternoon, the second massive blackout in two weeks. It said hot, dry winds and low humidity were creating a high risk of sparks and "rapid wildfire spread" from its long-neglected power lines.

That news came as a wildfire began to spread across thousands of acres in Sonoma County on Wednesday evening and into Thursday, prompting evacuations.

Zuckerberg clashes with AOC over misleading ads in committee hearing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced some tough questions from a House committee Wednesday, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. grilling him over the company's controversial policy on political ads.

Facebook has faced criticism for its policy of allowing politicians to run ads on its platforms that contain false or misleading information.

Ocasio-Cortez asked whether she could run ads claiming Republicans supported her Green New Deal (which they do not).

But Zuckerberg said he wasn't sure.

"I don't know the answer to the off the top of my head," Zuckerberg said. "I think probably."

Yang opens up on how to fix America — and the New York Knicks

Image: Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks on-stage during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco
Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew US entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks on-stage during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco on Aug. 23, 2019.Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images file

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang tells NBC in a new interview about his views on job automation, the climate crisis and — of course — what should be done about the New York Knicks.

He says fans’ loss of faith with the team “is an emblem of what Americans feel about various institutions in different walks of life.”

Andrew Yang speaks at the Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston, Texas (Heidi Gutman / ABC via Getty Images)

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  • Rep. Katie Hill is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee over allegations she had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

THINK about it

When it emerged that Sen. Mitt Romney had been running a Twitter account under the exotic name Pierre Delecto, many characterized this as cowardly or duplicitous behavior.

But, as Cole Stryker writes, the use of pseudonyms has a long history and isn't necessarily dishonest.

"Don’t even senators deserve an outlet to vent their bland takes without having to justify their every ephemeral reaction?," he asks.


It's pumpkin season — so why not try out these delicious muffins, ready in 30 minutes and full of vitamin C.

These muffins have quintessential fall flavors: pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.

Pro tip: Don’t over mix the batter.

Quote of the day

"The unfortunate reality is that we are years late to the game on climate change. Automation is transforming our economy beneath our feet. And the Knicks are going to be terrible this year. You just have to tell it like it is."

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang to NBC News

One fun thing

Image: Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee on the set of "Enter the Dragon" in 1973.Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images

The studio of martial arts legend Bruce Lee in Los Angeles’ Chinatown has been resurrected nearly 50 years after it shut its doors.

Martial artist Eric Carr reopened the place this week where Lee originally taught his students his personal style of Jeet Kune Do (JKD), which translates as “way of intercepting fist.”

“JKD is the life's work of Bruce Lee, and I want to offer an authentic experience and will stick to the essence of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce's methods and his philosophy, and personal training mindset and spirit,” he said.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

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Thanks, Patrick Smith