Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 22, 2019

Harold Maass
Justin Trudeau in his victory speech
Cole Burston/Getty Images


Trudeau wins second term but loses legislative majority in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won a second term on Monday as his Liberal Party lost its parliamentary majority in elections but won enough seats in the House of Commons to form a new government, according to Canadian Broadcasting Company projections. Trudeau will need the support of two smaller left-leaning parties to pull together a ruling coalition. Trudeau faced a late setback after acknowledging wearing brown-face and black-face several times years ago. Trudeau also faced allegations of bullying his former attorney general, an indigenous woman. The vote was "a reflection of the fact that the shine has come off the Trudeau brand," said University of Toronto political science professor Andrew McDougall. In his victory speech, Trudeau said "it is always possible to do better." [The New York Times, CNBC]


Democrats block a GOP effort to censure Rep. Adam Schiff

The Democratic-controlled House on Monday rejected a GOP proposal to censure Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, for his handling of his committee's part in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. The censure measure specifically criticized Schiff's depiction, during a Sept. 26 hearing, of the phone call in which President Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in the 2020 election. House Democrats blocked a floor vote on the censure measure. Earlier in the day, Trump had called for his fellow Republicans to "get tougher and fight" the impeachment proceedings. [The Washington Post]


Netanyahu says he failed to form a new Israeli government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he had failed in his effort to form a governing coalition following a near tie in last month's elections. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said he would let Netanyahu's rival, former Army Chief of staff Benny Gantz, try to pull together a ruling coalition. Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, will have 28 days to see if he can succeed where Netanyahu, leader of the conservative Likud party, failed. "This broadens the political imagination to include the possibility that someone not named Netanyahu could be the prime minister of the state of Israel," said Mordechai Kreminitzer, senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. "But I think Gantz will also find it extremely difficult to shape a coalition." [The Washington Post]


Buttigieg surges into three-way battle with Warren, Biden in Iowa

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged into third place in the Democratic field in a new Iowa poll, close behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Calif.) in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Biden led the pack with the support of 18 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in the Suffolk University/USA Today poll, which was released Monday. Warren trailed just behind him with 17 percent, while Buttigieg received the backing of 13 percent of the respondents. He had just 6 percent in a similar poll in June. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) trailed with 9 percent. Billionaire Tom Steyer, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) picked up 3 percent support. Twenty-nine percent remained undecided. [Politico]


Boris Johnson pushes for Brexit vote after latest setback in Parliament

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for Parliament to approve his Brexit deal on Tuesday in what he has called a "do or die" moment ahead of Britain's scheduled Oct. 31 departure from the European Union. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow rejected his call for a Monday vote. Bercow said Johnson's Monday request was essentially the same as one Parliament rejected Saturday. "The house should not be continually bombarded with the requirement to consider the same matter over and over and over again," Bercow said. Lawmakers want more time to review the deal Johnson reached with the EU, which hasn't responded to a request for an extension Johnson was legally obliged to make after missing a deadline for winning Parliament's approval. [USA Today, The Washington Post]


Kurds vent anger at Americans withdrawing from northern Syria

Residents of a Kurdish-controlled city threw rocks and potatoes at a caravan of departing U.S. troops, shouting at the military vehicles as they passed on the way to crossing the border from Syria into Iraq. "Like rats, America is running away," one man shouted in a video distributed by the Kurdish news agency. More than 100 U.S. military vehicles left Syrian Kurdish territory as the U.S. withdrew most of the 1,000 U.S. personnel who fought alongside the Kurds against the Islamic State. President Trump decided to pull out the U.S. forces, clearing the way for Turkey to launch an offensive to take control of Kurdish-dominated areas along its border. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces terrorists. Trump reportedly is considering leaving 200 troops to guard oil fields. [The Associated Press, The New York Times]


Drug companies agree to pay $260 million in last-minute opioid settlement

Under a last-minute deal reached Monday, four drug companies will pay two Ohio counties over the firms' role in the opioid epidemic. Distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health settled for $215 million, while manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals will pay $20 million and provide $25 million of anti-addiction medication. The settlement averted what would have been the first federal opioid trial just before opening arguments had been scheduled to start. The counties accused the companies of fueling addictions to the powerful painkillers by failing to monitor and flag large, suspicious orders. Another defendant, pharmacy chain Walgreens, wasn't included in the settlement, and its case was postponed. The trial was expected to be a test case for more than 2,300 opioid lawsuits brought by state and local governments. [USA Today]


Northern Ireland laws change on abortion, same-sex marriage

Northern Ireland legalized abortion and same-sex marriage at midnight in a major shift for a traditionally conservative territory. The occasion was marked Monday with demonstrations for and against the changes. "Thousands of women from the North have abortions every year, outside the law in their bedrooms or in England," said Alliance for Choice spokeswoman Goretti Horgan. "They will now be able to access normal health care." Northern Ireland previously had some of the most restrictive abortion laws anywhere, with the procedure almost entirely banned except when a woman's life was threatened. Under the old laws, women could be arrested for getting or even seeking an abortion. [BBC News, The Washington Post]


New witnesses to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry

At least two witnesses are expected to testify this week as part of the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who in text messages with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said it's "crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," will testify Tuesday. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper is to testify Wednesday. Democrats are investigating whether Trump abused his power by delaying aid to Ukraine to secure investigations that might help him politically. During a Cabinet meeting Monday, Trump lashed out at "vicious" Democrats, while the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a new impeachment fact sheet saying Trump has "betrayed his oath of office." [CNN, Politico]


Trump administration proposes collecting detained migrants' DNA

The Trump administration on Monday proposed a rule that would allow it to take DNA samples from migrants detained by immigration authorities. The data would be kept in an FBI database. The proposed rule is due to be officially published Tuesday. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the proposed rule change would "help to save lives and bring criminals to justice" by restoring authority to collect the data that was suspended by the Obama administration. Civil liberties groups say the move is motivated by xenophobia, and threatens migrants' rights and privacy. "It seeks to miscast these individuals, many of whom are seeking a better life or safety, as threats to the country's security," said Naureen Shah, the ACLU's senior advocacy and policy counsel. [Reuters, NBC News]