August 13, 2019

After violent clashes broke out at the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday night, the airport authority announced on Wednesday it received a temporary injunction to prevent protesters from obstructing airport operations.

Demonstrators must also now stay in assigned areas, Reuters reports. Operations at the airport, one of the busiest in the world, came to a screeching halt on Monday, as protesters made their way through the airport, using luggage carts to block the entrances to customs checkpoints. On Tuesday night, protesters and riot police faced off, with law enforcement using pepper spray against the demonstrators. Police also said protesters "harassed and assaulted a visitor and a journalist," with the demonstrators saying they believed that one man was a Chinese spy and the other was a Chinese reporter.

As the airport resumed operations on Wednesday, employees were seen mopping up blood and trash from the floors, Reuters reports. The protests began 10 weeks ago, and since then, about 600 demonstrators have been arrested. They first began protesting against a proposed bill that would have made it so anyone arrested in Hong Kong could be extradited to China.

Hong Kong went back to Chinese rule in 1997, and while it is supposed to be governed under the "one country, two systems" policy, protesters say Beijing's influence is spreading. China has condemned the protests, saying they are "sprouts of terrorism," and the official People's Daily newspaper ran commentary that stated using "the sword of the law to stop violence and restore order is overwhelmingly the most important and urgent task for Hong Kong." Catherine Garcia

10:35 p.m.

During a closed-door lunch on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his fellow GOP senators an impeachment trial of President Trump could start as early as November.

McConnell explained what would take place during a Senate trial, held after the House voted on formal impeachment charges, and answered questions alongside Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). McConnell also shared that the pacing of the trial would depend on Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who would preside over it. "There's sort of a planned expectation that it would be sometime around Thanksgiving, so you'd have basically Thanksgiving to Christmas — which would be wonderful because there's no deadline in the world like the next break to motivate senators," Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told The Washington Post.

The House impeachment inquiry was launched on Sept. 24 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), sparked by a whistleblower's complaint about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Catherine Garcia

9:03 p.m.

The U.S. military conducted an airstrike on Wednesday against the base in Syria it used to train and equip Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State.

Col. Myles Caggins, spokesman for the coalition to defeat ISIS, announced that two planes bombed the base, destroying, among other things, facilities used to store ammunition. The goal was to "reduce the facility's military usefulness," he said, and the airstrike was "successful."

On Tuesday, Turkish-backed militia members started approaching the base, and the U.S. military used Apache helicopters and F-15 fighter jets to keep them from getting closer, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Kurds set fire to their part of the base and left, Caggins said, and the U.S. military then pulled its forces out of the facility. The "precision airstrike" was carried out before the Turkish-backed fighters could gain control of the base. Catherine Garcia

8:01 p.m.

On Thursday, California will make MyShake, a smartphone app that sends out early earthquake warning alerts, available to all residents.

This app is the first of its kind, the Los Angeles Times reports, and is being released on the 30th anniversary of the deadly Loma Prieta earthquake that hit San Francisco. The state will also begin issuing early warnings through the Wireless Emergency Alert system, sending text messages to people, whether or not they have the app.

Funded by the California Office of Emergency Services and developed at the University of California, Berkeley, MyShake uses sensors throughout the state to detect when an earthquake is beginning, then calculates the intensity and location. Alerts are then pushed out if the earthquake is expected to have a magnitude of 4.5 or greater. Catherine Garcia

7:02 p.m.

President Trump was on a roll Wednesday, slinging insults at everyone from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to former Defense Secretary James Mattis.

During a meeting between Trump and lawmakers on Wednesday, an attendee shared something that Mattis once said about the Islamic State, a Democrat familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press. Mattis warned that if the U.S. stops applying pressure on the terrorist group, there will be a resurgence in the Middle East, but Trump scoffed, saying Mattis is not "tough enough" and "the world's most overrated general."

Trump also said that since U.S. troops left Syria last week, 100 ISIS prisoners have escaped, but he downplayed the turn of events, saying they were the "least dangerous" ones. When asked by AP if this was true, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he did not know. Catherine Garcia

5:28 p.m.

Several members of the media were holding out for a while before reporting on a letter that President Trump supposedly sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because they weren't sure if it was a joke.

In the bizarre letter, which was dated Oct. 9 and first reported by Fox Business' Trish Regan on Wednesday, Trump tells Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool," and warns him against "slaughtering thousands of people" during Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in the region. He then promises to call Erdogan "later."

Despite reports that it's real, many observers are still not quite convinced of the letter's authenticity or if it was actually sent last week — either way, they're baffled by its content and style. Tim O'Donnell

5:01 p.m.

It sounds like President Trump has had a rough day.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Trump had a "meltdown" during a meeting with Democratic leaders about Syria on Wednesday. Pelosi added that Trump was "shaken" throughout the meeting because the House, including 129 Republicans, voted earlier to pass a resolution condemning the U.S. military withdrawal Trump authorized in northern Syria, which allowed for a Turkish incursion that has placed Washington's Kurdish allies at risk.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who was also in the meeting, said Trump was particularly insulting toward Pelosi, even calling her a "third-rate politician" to her face, ultimately causing the Democrats to walk out of the room.

Schumer said Trump went on a "nasty diatribe," in which the president also reportedly said that the Democrats might be happy with the fact some members of ISIS were communists. Or, well, something along those lines — everyone seemed a bit confused about what was actually being said during the meeting. Tim O'Donnell

4:16 p.m.

The House of Representatives has just delivered a rebuke to President Trump's Syria pullout.

The House easily passed a bipartisan resolution Wednesday to condemn Trump's decision to pull troops out of northern Syria ahead of a Turkish military offensive, with the resolution passing 354 to 60, Axios reports. Every Democrat voted in favor, and 129 Republicans also supported the resolution, The Hill reports.

This rebuke to Trump was delivered by the House as he defended his Syria decision Wednesday, saying in the Oval Office, "If Turkey goes into Syria, that's between Turkey and Syria. It's not between Turkey and the United States."

But he's continuing to face pushback from Democrats and Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said Wednesday Trump's Syria pullback is "the most screwed up decision I have seen since I have been in Congress." During a press conference later in the day, Trump railed against Graham, who is typically an ally on Capitol Hill, saying, "Lindsey Graham would like to stay in the Middle East for the next thousand years, with thousands of soldiers, and fighting other people's wars. I want to get out of the Middle East." Brendan Morrow

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