The Ukraine affair, a surprise September storm and 'SNL' is back: The Morning Rundown

A timeline: Where the Biden-Ukraine allegations and the 2020 campaign meet.
Image: Joe Biden
President Donald Trump's allies began publicly pushing allegations about Joe Biden and his family in Ukraine shortly before the former vice president jumped into the 2020 presidential campaign. William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

We're focused on the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, the whistleblower's safety and the latest on the Ukraine affair.

Here's where things stand this Monday morning.


Trump allies' Biden-Ukraine allegations coincided with 2020 campaign timeline

So when did the allegations about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's work in Ukraine first emerge?

The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Brad Parscale, his 2020 campaign manager, both blasted out links to articles on Twitter within days of each other as Biden prepared to launch his 2020 presidential bid last April.

Those first mentions, distributed to their combined millions of social media followers, coincided with a spring effort by the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to find damaging information on Biden.

NBC News' Monica Alba and Carol E. Lee take a closer look at how the unsubstantiated allegations against Biden and his family fit into the 2020 campaign timeline.


The White House is girding for battle

Top White House aides plan to present Trump with a wide-ranging response strategy to the growing threat of impeachment in the coming days, following a week of mixed messaging and growing anxiety within Trump’s circle of advisers.

"We're not going to get caught flat-footed, and we're not going to take it lying down," one source told NBC News.

Meantime on the Sunday political shows, Trump's top GOP allies said they saw no problems with the president's conduct regarding Ukraine.

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he has "zero problems" with the president's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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Whistleblower's lawyer says Trump is endangering his client

The attorney for the whistleblower whose complaint fueled a House inquiry into impeaching President Trump says he has "serious concerns" that Trump's comments have put his client in danger.

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The White House's personal attacks on the anonymous whistleblower began last week with Trump saying the people who the person worked with were "spies." On Sunday Trump tweeted that he deserved to meet his accuser.

And White House senior adviser Stephen Miller said on "Fox News Sunday" that the whistleblower amounted to a "deep state" operative whose "seven-page little Nancy Drew novel" of a complaint was a "partisan hit job."

Meantime, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on NBC News' "Meet the Press" that he expects the whistleblower to testify behind closed doors "very soon."


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Plus


THINK about it

Republicans who back impeachment can save the country — and the GOP, Sarah Longwell, executive director of Defending Democracy Together and Republicans for the Rule of Law, writes in an opinion piece.


Science + Tech = MACH

A 7,000-year-old monument dubbed "Spanish Stonehenge" was exposed for the first time in 50 years after severe drought in Spain last summer revealed the ancient standing stones.

Drought conditions in Europe in the summer of 2019 exposed a circle of more than 100 standing rocks that date back to 7,000 years ago.Pleonr / Wikimedia commons

Live BETTER

Here's how one couple paid off $130,000 in debt in four years — and bought a house.


One fun thing

ICYMI: "Saturday Night Live" returned to the airwaves this weekend to open its 45th season with its own inimitable take on Trump's impeachment inquiry woes and the 2020 Democrats crowded debate field.

The host for the evening, Woody Harrelson, played former Vice President Joe Biden. But ex-cast member Maya Rudolph nearly stole the show with her portrayal of Sen. Kamala Harris.

Harrelson's Biden gave his pitch to American voters for stability.

"Look, I’m like plastic straws," he said. "I’ve been around forever. I’ve always worked. But now you’re mad at me. Drink up, America!"

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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