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10 things you need to know today: October 15, 2019

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Harold Maass
Rudy Giuliani in DC
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1.

Trump's former Russia adviser: Giuliani pushed separate Ukraine policy

The White House's former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, told House impeachment investigators in private testimony Monday that President Trump's private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, sidestepped diplomats and pushed a separate foreign policy in Ukraine to benefit Trump. Hill, who stepped down over the summer, also said she was angered by the Trump administration's recall of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch testified last week that she believed that Trump associates, including Giuliani, had lobbied for her removal because she was an obstacle to their push to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said after Hill's deposition that Yovanovitch was targeted in "a political hit job." [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

2.

Trump imposes Turkey sanctions over Syria offensive

President Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkish government leaders over Turkey's offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish forces who once fought alongside U.S. troops against the Islamic State. "I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey's economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path," Trump said, calling for an immediate ceasefire. Trump also raised steel tariffs on Turkey to 50 percent from 25 percent. The administration has faced a bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill since Trump announced that he would move U.S. troops out of northern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey's advance. High-ranking Republicans objected to abandoning the Kurds, saying it would help ISIS regroup. [CNBC, The Washington Post]

3.

Fort Worth officer who shot woman inside her home charged with murder

Aaron Dean, the Fort Worth, Texas, police officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home, was arrested on murder charges on Monday, hours after he resigned. Jefferson's family had held a news conference earlier Monday to demand criminal charges against Dean. Her brother, Adarius Carr, said Dean's arrest was a good first step toward justice. "He did get what I wanted him to get, and this is only the start," Carr said. "There's no way this is enough." Dean, who is white, and another officer went to the house Saturday after a neighbor called police requesting a welfare check because a door was open late at night. The officers went around the side of the house, and Dean shot Jefferson, who was black, through a bedroom window. She had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who was in the room. [CNN, The Dallas Morning News]

4.

Prosecutors reportedly investigating Giuliani's Ukraine business dealings

Federal investigators in Manhattan are examining Rudy Giuliani's business dealings in Ukraine, as well as his bank records, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. They want to know about meetings he held and specific work he did in the country. Investigators have been questioning witnesses since at least August regarding Giuliani's relationship with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, business associates who were arrested last week and accused of campaign finance violations. The scope of the inquiry is unknown. Giuliani, who is President Trump's personal lawyer, told the Journal on Monday he has done nothing wrong, and "they can look at my Ukraine business all they want." [The Wall Street Journal]

5.

Warren leads Biden in poll released on eve of Tuesday Democratic debate

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leads former Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the 2020 Democratic presidential field, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday on the eve of Tuesday's Democratic debate. Warren received the support of 30 percent of the Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents surveyed by Quinnipiac. Biden was close behind with 27 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) followed in third place with 11 percent. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was next with 8 percent, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with 4 percent. The rest of the candidates had no more than 2 percent. Biden still had the edge on electability, with 48 percent saying he had the best chance to beat President Trump. Twenty-one percent said Warren was the one to beat Trump, up from 9 percent in August. [Politico, Quinnipiac]

6.

Hong Kong protesters demand support from U.S. lawmakers

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Hong Kong on Monday and called for American lawmakers to pass a bill supporting pro-democracy activists in the former British colony, now ruled by China. The legislation, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, would require an annual review of Hong Kong's special treatment by the U.S., and permit sanctions against anyone "suppressing basic freedoms" in the Asian financial hub. The bill has broad bipartisan support in Washington and is being fast-tracked through the House. The demonstration was the first approved by Hong Kong's government since the city's leader, Carrie Lam, invoked a colonial-era law to impose a ban on wearing masks at public gatherings. [The Washington Post]

7.

Syrian army regains control of towns along Turkish border

Syrian forces regained control of several towns along the Turkish border on Monday, returning quickly for the first time in years after U.S. forces pulled out of northern Syria ahead of a Turkish military offensive in the area. The Syrian military's advance to an area it left in 2012 came right after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government reached a deal to help Syrian Kurds, formally allied with U.S. forces battling ISIS, fight off an invasion by Turkey. That agreement followed President Trump's decision to withdraw America's 1,000 troops from the area. The return of Syrian forces was considered likely to give Assad and his Russian backers a boost. Kurdish leaders insisted that the alliance was only military, and that Syrian Kurds would not forfeit the autonomy they acquired during Syria's eight-year civil war. [The Associated Press]

8.

Barcelona protesters clash with police after Catalan separatists convicted

Protests erupted in Barcelona on Monday after Spain's Supreme Court convicted 12 Catalan separatist leaders on charges ranging from sedition to disobedience for illegally promoting independence for the wealthy region. Four also were charged with misusing public funds. Nine leaders convicted of sedition were sentenced to prison for nine to 13 years. The others were fined. All of the defendants were found not guilty of the more serious charge of rebellion. Protesters clashed with police outside Barcelona's airport and in the city's center immediately after the verdicts were announced in Madrid. Officers fired foam bullets at protesters near the airport. Demonstrators threw objects, broke windows, and sprayed fire extinguishers. [The Associated Press]

9.

Harley halts electric-motorcycle production over glitch

Harley-Davidson has halted production and deliveries of its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, the company said Monday. The decision came after the iconic motorcycle maker found a "non-standard condition" with the LiveWire just weeks after the company started shipping the bikes to dealers. Harley-Davidson said in a statement that it made the discovery in "a final quality check" and had started "additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well." Harley is hoping the $29,799 LiveWire will attract young and environmentally conscious buyers, and lift sinking sales. Still, since pre-orders began in January, most LiveWire buyers have been existing customers and old riders, dealers told Reuters. [Reuters, TechCrunch]

10.

Atwood, Evaristo share Booker Prize

Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo are the joint winners of the 2019 Booker Prize, it was announced Monday. "We were told quite firmly that the rules state that you can only have one winner," Peter Florence, the chair of the judges, said. However, "the consensus was to flout the rules and divide this year's prize to celebrate two winners." Atwood won for The Testaments, the sequel to 1985's The Handmaid's Tale; she also received the literary award in 2000 for The Blind Assassin. Evaristo won for Girl, Woman, Other, becoming the first black woman to win the Booker Prize. "I hope that honor doesn't last too long," she said. [The New York Times]