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10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2019

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Harold Maass
Mike Pompeo in NYC
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1.

Pompeo, Democrats trade jabs over impeachment inquiry

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashed Tuesday with leaders of the House impeachment inquiry over their demands that State Department officials testify about whether President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. In a letter and tweets, Pompeo said the demand was "an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly" U.S. diplomats. The chairs of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform committees, which are leading the House impeachment inquiry, said Pompeo was the one who was "intimidating department witnesses in order to protect himself and the president." [The New York Times, CNN]

2.

North Korea launches missile hours after announcing U.S. talks

North Korea fired at least one unidentified projectile into the sea on Wednesday, hours after announcing that it would restart negotiations with the U.S. on Saturday. South Korea said the missile was fired from waters near the city of Wonsan, east of Pyongyang. It was not immediately clear whether it was launched from a submarine, a ship, or a platform in the sea. The launch, reported by the South Korean military and Japanese Coast Guard, was Pyongyang's ninth since President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met briefly in June. Formal negotiations on curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief have been stalled since the collapse of the second Trump-Kim summit in February. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]

3.

Former Dallas officer convicted in neighbor's killing

Amber Guyger, a white former Dallas police officer, was convicted on murder charges Tuesday for fatally shooting her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean, after she walked into his apartment, mistaking it for her own. The jury heard six days of testimony but took just a few hours to reach a guilty verdict, prompting cheers and chants of "black lives matter" from outside the courtroom. Members of Jean's family burst into tears, after testifying that they were "not the same" since Jean's death. Guyger could be sentenced to five to 99 years in prison. "We believe that Botham's life mattered and we want a sentence that reflects that," said Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jean's family. [The Associated Press, ABC News]

4.

Manufacturing slump worsens

A key gauge of U.S. factory activity slipped in September to its weakest reading in 10 years as slowing global economic growth and the U.S.-China trade war hurt exports, according to a monthly survey released Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management. The manufacturing purchasing managers' index registered 47.8 percent in September, its second straight month under the 50 percent threshold indicating a contraction. The new export orders index sank from 43.3 percent in August to 41 percent in September, its lowest since March 2009. "We have now tariffed our way into a manufacturing recession in the U.S. and globally," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. [CBS News, CNBC]

5.

Judge blocks Georgia abortion law from taking effect

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Georgia's highly restrictive new abortion law from taking effect. The legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, even though that occurs at six weeks, often before a woman knows she's pregnant. There are a few exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones wrote in the order that the Supreme Court has "repeatedly and unequivocally" upheld Roe v. Wade, establishing that a state may not ban abortion before about 24 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetus becomes viable. With his order, Georgia's current abortion laws, which prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, will remain in effect for now. [The Associated Press]

6.

Whistleblower warns of 'inappropriate' influence of Trump IRS audit

A new federal whistleblower complaint has emerged warning of "possible misconduct" and "inappropriate efforts to influence" the mandatory Internal Revenue Service audit of President Trump's and Vice President Mike Pence's tax returns. The unnamed civil servant sent the House Ways and Means Committee the information in July, according to a letter from Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the committee's chairman, to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Neal is suing Treasury and the IRS for access to six years of Trump's tax returns and those of his businesses. Trump and his supporters say there is no legislative purpose for giving the documents to the committee. [Business Insider]

7.

Judge rules Harvard doesn't discriminate against Asian-American applicants

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Harvard University can continue using its race-conscious undergraduate admissions process, saying it did not amount to intentional unconstitutional discrimination against Asian-American applicants. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said Harvard's system is "not perfect," but that "the court will not dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better." The 130-page ruling is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court. Students for Fair Admissions, the nonprofit group that filed the 2014 lawsuit, has accused the university of "racial balancing" through its admissions policies. [The Wall Street Journal, CNN]

8.

Student arrested for Finland knife attack that killed 1, injured 10

A Finnish student was arrested after a stabbing attack that left one person dead and 10 others wounded at a vocational college in the city of Kuopio, Finland, on Tuesday. The victims included students and staff members at Savo Vocational College, in a shopping center. Police said the attacker "had a sabre-like bladed weapon and a firearm in possession." A police statement said the suspect was "seriously injured" during the arrest and was being treated at a local hospital. Prime Minister Antti Rinne said the violence was "shocking and completely unacceptable." [The New York Times]

9.

Johnson & Johnson reaches $20.4 million opioid settlement

Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday it had reached a $20.4 million proposed settlement with two Ohio counties over its role in the opioid epidemic. The deal would allow Johnson & Johnson to avoid being involved in a trial later this month in an opioid-epidemic lawsuit against six remaining companies brought by more than 2,500 counties, cities, and Native American tribes. Johnson & Johnson would pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $10 million in cash, along with $5 million for legal fees and $5.4 million for local non-profit groups' opioid-related programs. The deal does not include an admission of liability. In August, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $572 million for aggressively marketing opioids and downplaying risks. The company denies wrongdoing and has appealed. [The Washington Post]

10.

Court upholds net neutrality repeal but says states can set broadband rules

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Federal Communication Commission's repeal of so-called net neutrality rules that have prohibited broadband internet providers from charging more for faster service. The mixed ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia also said the FCC had gone too far by barring state and local governments from imposing their own rules. Still, the decision marked a victory for the Trump administration, which has made deregulation of numerous industries a priority. FCC Chair Ajit Pai has said ending net neutrality would encourage innovation, while supporters of net neutrality say dismantling the regulation will make it harder for consumers to access online content. [The New York Times, The Hill]