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White House escalates impeachment fight, Turkey-Syria border tension and celebrating girl power: The Morning Rundown

The Turkish-Syrian border could "explode" at any moment, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces told NBC News.
Image: President Donald Trump listens during a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony for Edwin Meese in the Oval Office on Oct. 8, 2019.
Battle lines have been drawn between the White House and Congress over the impeachment inquiry. Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The White House has made one thing crystal clear: It will not be cooperating with the House impeachment inquiry.

Here's what we're watching today.

Pelosi warns Trump as White House refuses to cooperate with impeachment investigation

The White House refused Tuesday to turn over internal documents regarding Ukraine as the Trump administration dug in its heels against the impeachment inquiry.

In a defiant letter that echoed the president's recent impeachment messaging — accusing Democrats of violating the Constitution and civil liberties and attempting to overturn the results of the 2016 election — the White House said it would not comply with the request from House Democrats because they were conducting an invalid investigation.

The escalation came hours after the White House blocked a key witness in the probe, diplomat Gordan Sondland, from testifying before Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that Trump was not above the law and that continued efforts to hide Trump's abuse of power would be "regarded as further evidence of obstruction."

In related news, an NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll found that a majority of Americans say the allegations that Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate 2020 rival Joe Biden are serious and need to be fully investigated.

But the public is still divided — largely along partisan lines — over whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

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House Democrats subpoena E.U. ambassador after State Department blocks testimony

Hours after U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland failed to show up for a scheduled deposition before three House committees, Democrats subpoenaed him.

The subpoena seeks Sondland's testimony as well as documents related to Trump’s apparent efforts to have Ukrainian officials investigate Biden and his son.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Sondland actually spoke to Trump by phone on Sept. 9 before responding to acting Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor's text message that it would be “crazy” to link Ukraine assistance to help with a political campaign.

When Sondland responded several hours later, he told Taylor that Trump had been “crystal clear” that there had been "no quid pro quo" regarding the administration's pressure campaign on the country and urged the diplomat to stop texting about his concerns.

Meantime, the Department of Justice's argument against releasing special counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury material to Congress while it conducts its impeachment inquiry gave a federal judge pause.

"Wow, OK," the judge responded after a DOJ attorney suggested that a Watergate case granting Congress access to grand jury material was wrongly decided.

Turkish-Syrian border like 'volcano,' can 'explode' at any moment, says militia commander

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces issued a “public mobilization” call along the Syrian border with Turkey on Wednesday as tensions ratchet up in northeastern Syria in the face of an imminent Turkish invasion.

“We are and we have to be prepared for the worst,” Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesperson Mustafa Bali told NBC News. “The situation on the border is like a volcano and can explode at any moment.”

The call for mobilization came as pictures appeared to show Turkish tanks and military personnel amassing on the Syrian border awaiting a call to cross into Syrian territory.

Two arrested in death of witness in Amber Guyger trial

Two people have been arrested in connection to the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger, and a third suspect has been identified.

Officials said the three men traveled from Alexandria, Louisiana, to purchase drugs from Brown, 28, in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex.

Brown was murdered two days after Guyger was convicted of murder.

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THINK about it

The best thing about Judaism, according to a Jewish atheist on Yom Kippur.

Science + Tech = MACH

Move over, Jupiter. Here comes Saturn, the solar system's new "moon king."


Quote of the day

"When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way you do. I mean be kind to everyone."

Ellen DeGeneres defending her friendship with former President George W. Bush.

One fun thing

For International Day of the Girl this Friday, the "Today" Show is celebrating 18 girls under 18 who are breaking down barriers, changing the world and inspiring others, despite – and because of – their young age.

From Selah Schneiter, at 10 years old the youngest rock climber of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan, to 13-year-old disability activist Jordan Reeves, the young groundbreakers share their advice on how to live a fearless life.

"Never put a limit on your dreams," says tennis superstar Cori "Coco" Gauff, at 15 the youngest player to ever qualify for Wimbledon.

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Thanks, Petra