July 24, 2018

Paleontologists unearthed a massive fossil 20 years ago, but they never knew what dinosaur it belonged to until now.

The fossil, excavated in Wyoming, is the biggest dinosaur foot ever discovered. A study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ finally identified the colossal bones, determining that the foot belonged to a brachiosaur, a type of sauropod dinosaur that lived in the late Jurassic Period.

"This beast was clearly one of the biggest that ever walked in North America," study co-author Emanuel Tschopp told Phys.org. The foot is nearly a meter wide, leading researchers to fondly nickname the specimen "Bigfoot." It was nearly complete, made up of 13 bones, when University of Kansas researchers found the fossil in the Black Hills in 1998. After extensive 3-D scanning and measuring, scientists were able to learn more about the 80-foot dinosaur that left its foot behind 150 million years ago. "It very likely is a type of brachiosaur, the kind that got famous in Jurassic Park (and then got horribly murdered in Fallen Kingdom)," Femke Holwerda, a co-author and paleontologist, told Gizmodo.

But brachiosaurs primarily lived farther south, scientists thought, so finding "Bigfoot" all the way up in Wyoming raises some questions. Now, researchers are wondering whether the finding indicates that brachiosaurs were migratory, or whether the foot belonged to a different species of brachiosaur that lived in a different environment. While this specimen is the biggest foot ever unearthed, scientists say that there are plenty of larger dinosaurs that have yet to have their bones uncovered. "I think we are going to keep breaking the record for 'biggest' over and over for many years to come," said paleontologist Elizabeth Freedman Fowler. Read more at Gizmodo. Summer Meza

3:54 p.m.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) just publicly rebuked President Trump amid the Ukraine scandal, but that's not to say he's boarding the impeachment train.

Hurd, a moderate Republican who isn't running for re-election in 2020, during the latest impeachment hearing Thursday slammed Trump for his July phone call in which he pushed for Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, with the Texas Republican saying asking Ukraine for a "favor" and mentioning Biden was "inappropriate, misguided foreign policy" and "certainly not how the executive, current or in the future, should handle such a call."

Hurd went on to say the events that have been outlined during the impeachment hearings "have undermined our national security," adding that he disagrees with Trump's "bungling foreign policy" on Ukraine.

But if Democrats thought all this was leading up to Hurd dramatically announcing his support for impeachment, they were about to be disappointed, as he then turned around to note he's yet to be persuaded.

"An impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear, and unambiguous, and it's not something to be rushed or taken lightly," Hurd said. "I've not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion."

CNN's Jim Acosta noted this was a "key moment" in the hearing, as Hurd was a Republican that Democrats "had hoped to sway" in favor of impeaching Trump. As of Thursday, it appears it didn't work. Brendan Morrow

3:47 p.m.

Fiona Hill has been in tougher spots than this.

While a panel of congressmembers staring down at you in an impeachment hearing seems undeniably intimidating, Hill, a former National Security expert on Russia, seemed unmoved throughout her testimony Thursday. But her unflappable attitude didn't come out of nowhere. As The New York Times reports and Hill confirmed Thursday, she's been issuing nonchalant responses to risky situations since her grade school days.

Hill often tells the story of a time when she was 11 years old and taking a test in her classroom. While she worked, a boy in her class set one of her pigtails on fire. But Hill didn't overreact; instead, she used her hand to put out the flames and turned back to her work.

After the story started circulating Thursday, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) brought it up to Hill during her testimony. Hill confirmed it was true, and without a hint of a smile, said it was a story she "often tell[s] because it had some very unfortunate consequences." "Afterwards, my mother gave me a bowl haircut," Speier continued. "So for the school photograph later in that week, I looked like Richard the Third, or as if I'm going to be a permanent play." Kathryn Krawczyk

2:11 p.m.

Former Russia adviser Fiona Hill told Congress Thursday about her frustrations with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who got "involved in a domestic political errand."

Hill testified in the inquiry into President Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to conduct investigations that might benefit him politically. In her testimony, she described being angry that Sondland, who Trump put in charge of Ukraine relations, "wasn't coordinating" with other officials, noting that there's a "robust interagency process that deals with Ukraine."

She explained she was "upset with him that he wasn't fully telling us about all of the meetings that he was having," which she chalked up to the fact that "we weren't doing the same thing that he was doing."

Trump throughout the inquiry has defended his interest in investigations involving former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election as coming from a desire to see Ukraine crack down on corruption. But Hill told Congress that what Sondland got involved in was "a domestic political errand," whereas other officials were "involved in national security foreign policy."

Hill also revealed that at the time, she warned Sondland, "I think this is all going to blow up." She added, "And here we are." Brendan Morrow

2:05 p.m.

President Trump apparently put a man he doesn't know in charge of relations with a particularly volatile foreign country.

When U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland amended his impeachment testimony in a way that suggested the existence of a quid pro quo, Trump gave his appointee the "I don't know him" treatment. But as former National Security Council adviser Fiona Hill testified Wednesday, Trump didn't just know Sondland. He put him "in charge of Ukraine," Hill said.

When Sondland, a donor to Trump's inauguration, first emerged as a major player in U.S. relations with Ukraine after the ouster of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Hill told the Republicans' counsel Thursday that she had "concerns." Hill later confronted Sondland about those concerns, asking him "what was his role here?" she said. Sondland apparently said "he was in charge of Ukraine," and when Hill asked "who put you in charge?," Sondland said "the president."

Trump was looking to get at least two investigations started in Ukraine around the time of this conversation — a pretty big ask of someone he doesn't even know. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:13 p.m.

CNN's Chris Cuomo passed the time during a break of Thursday's impeachment hearing with a MythBusters-style experiment. It did not go well.

Thursday's testimony featured a witness, diplomat David Holmes, reiterating to Congress that he overheard President Trump on a phone call with U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in July, with Trump speaking so loudly that he could be heard even while not on speakerphone. "I could hear the president's voice through the earpiece of the phone," he told Congress.

Trump in a tweet Thursday morning claimed this is impossible, which he would know because "I have been watching people making phone calls my entire life" and "my hearing is, and has been, great." Trump also wrote, "Try it live!"

So Cuomo decided to do just that by calling his mom live on the air to see if Dana Bash, who was sitting to his right, could hear her. But after a few seconds of awkward silence, Cuomo just put his mom on speakerphone, at which point she was audible. He then seemed to take her off speakerphone, and more awkward dead air set in as she couldn't be heard anymore.

Still, Cuomo declared victory and claimed Bash could, in fact, hear his mom while she was off speakerphone, though we'll just have to take his word on that, basically making the experiment a complete waste of time.

"She does constantly tell people I'm a mistake," Cuomo, for some reason, decided to add of his mom before the panel mercifully moved on. Brendan Morrow

12:35 p.m.

Israel's governmental unrest just got even more complicated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on charges of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, Israel's attorney general announced Thursday. The charges stem from multiple corruption cases into Netanyahu, and come just after Netanyahu's prime ministerial rival Benny Gantz failed to form a government, likely sending the country to a third election.

Netanyahu's charges come from years of investigations into allegations that Netanyahu performed political favors in exchange for media coverage or gifts from wealthy media owners. The charges will not force Netanyahu to step down but will likely increase calls for his resignation, The Associated Press writes. Netanyahu has denied the charges against him, borrowing a phrase to call them the result of a "witch hunt."

Earlier this year, Netanyahu was nearly voted out of office, and then failed to form a coalition government, launching Israel into a second election. After that one, Gantz failed to form a government as well. This leaves 21 days before a new presidential election must be called. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:16 p.m.

The fifth day of public impeachment hearings hasn't been going much better for Rudy Giuliani than the first four.

Former Russia adviser Fiona Hill and diplomat David Holmes testified in a public hearing Thursday amid the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Holmes during his testimony spoke about frustrations in the administration over Trump's personal attorney, who was pushing for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and discredited allegations about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 election, with some officials fretting over his many, many media appearances.

"It became apparent that Mr. Giuliani was having a direct influence on the foreign policy agenda that the three amigos were executing on the ground in Ukraine," Holmes testified, with the "three amigos" being U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker.

"In fact, at one point during a preliminary meeting of the inaugural delegation, someone wondered aloud why Mr. Giuliani was so active in the media with respect to Ukraine," Holmes went on to testify. "My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland stated, 'Dammit Rudy. Every time Rudy gets involved, he goes and f—s everything up.'"

Hill also reiterated her previous closed-door testimony that former National Security Adviser John Bolton warned that Giuliani was a "hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up." Asked Thursday if she understood what Bolton meant by that, Hill responded, "I did, actually."

"He was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would probably come back to haunt us," Hill said of Giuliani. "And, in fact, I think that that's where we are today." Brendan Morrow

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