November 21, 2019

The last day of this hectic week's public impeachment hearings is about to get underway.

Former White House official Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the diplomat who overheard President Trump asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland if Ukraine was "going to do the investigation" on a July phone call, are set to testify Thursday in the fifth day of public impeachment hearings.

Hill, according to her prepared opening statement, is set to call out the "fictional narrative" that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 presidential election, an idea Trump had in mind when he pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to conduct investigations into 2016 on his infamous July phone call.

"Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did," she will say, calling out congressional Republicans. "This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."

Hill will also tell Congress that "I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016."

Given this prepared pushback, and given the fact that she previously revealed that former National Security Adviser John Bolton called Rudy Giuliani "a hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up," Politico notes Hill may "prove to be a colorful witness." Brendan Morrow

1:40 p.m.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has some strong words for what's happening in the U.S. — but not necessarily for President Trump.

In a Tuesday press conference, a reporter acknowledged that Trudeau had been "reluctant" to discuss Trump in the past, but asked him to comment on Trump's call for "military action against protesters" and his use of tear gas to "make way for a presidential photo op." After a 22-second pause, Trudeau finally responded.

"We all watch in horror and consternation what's going on in the United States," Trudeau said, calling it a "time to listen" and "learn what injustices continue despite progress." And then, without even mentioning Trump's name, Trudeau pivoted toward discussing his own country's "challenges" and "systemic discrimination."

In September, multiple photos and videos were unearthed showing Trudeau in blackface and brownface. Trudeau apologized for the photos and videos from the 1990s and early 2000s, saying he "should have understood" the "racist history of blackface." Kathryn Krawczyk

12:48 p.m.

Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory on Tuesday released a blistering statement about a visit by President Trump to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, slamming the "reprehensible" misuse of Catholic facilities.

Trump on Tuesday was scheduled to pay a visit to the John Paul II shrine in Washington, D.C. after on Monday, he held up the Bible for a photo-op outside of St. John's Episcopal Church. Tear gas was used to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square before Trump did so.

"I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree," Gregory said ahead of Trump's visit to the shrine, per The Washington Post.

Gregory went on to write that Saint Pope John Paul II, "an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings," would "certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace."

Trump's Monday photo op previously drew criticism from Episcopal bishop Mariann Budde, who said she was "outraged" by it, as well as from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who said Tuesday he's "against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop." Brendan Morrow

12:34 p.m.

President Trump on Monday threatened to call in the United States military in an effort to curtail protests across the United States, and it turns out most Americans — even some of those who think the president Trump is doing a poor job of handling the demonstrations against police brutality — would support such an action, a new Morning Consult poll revealed Tuesday.

Among all registered voters surveyed, 58 percent said they would somewhat or strongly support having the military supplement city police forces compared to only 30 percent who said they somewhat or strongly oppose the measure.

There are some differences among demographics — younger people are a little more likely to oppose the move than older people, and Republicans were more far more likely to support it than Democrats. But there was still a plurality of 48 percent of Democrats who would back the decision, compared to 43 who wouldn't, though it's worth noting that when splitting the categories more specifically, "strongly opposed" became was the most frequent response among Democratic voters.

The Morning Consult poll was conducted online between May 31-June 1 among 1,624 registered voters. The margin of error is 2 percentage points. See the full results here. Tim O'Donnell

11:24 a.m.

Carole Baskin appears to have won the great tiger war, but Joe Exotic's camp is already preparing for a new battle.

Baskin, the antagonist of the Netflix documentary series Tiger King, was awarded the wild animal park once owned by Exotic on Monday. The GW Zoo, which Exotic owned before he was convicted of a murder-for-hire scheme against Baskin, will have to be vacated in 120 days and will enter under Baskin's control, an Oklahoma judge decided.

Tiger King centered around Exotic's perpetual fight with Baskin, who owns Big Cat Rescue in Florida and was constantly trying to get Exotic's zoo shut down. The lawsuit that was decided Monday started back in 2016, with Baskin suing Exotic's business, Greater Wynnewood Development Group, and Exotic's mother for control of the zoo, including its buildings and vehicles. The judge's order does call for "the removal of all zoo animals for the Zoo Land."

Still, Jeff Lowe, who bought the zoo from Exotic, wasn't surprised with Monday's outcome. "We anticipated Carole Baskin getting the title to the former park that once belonged to Joe Exotic, and we did not challenge her attempts to do so," Lowe's attorney told CNN. Lowe's "focus" is now on opening a new "Tiger King Park" elsewhere in Oklahoma, supposedly within the next 120 days. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:18 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke on the ongoing protests against police brutality in a Philadelphia address on Tuesday morning, blasting President Trump for his response and his Monday photo op in Washington.

Biden spoke from Philadelphia City Hall after another night of protests following George Floyd's death in police custody last week, with the presumptive Democratic nominee calling the death a "wake-up call" and saying Floyd's words of "I can't breathe" are "echoing all across this nation."

"It's time to listen to those words, to try to understand them, to respond to them, respond with action," Biden said. "The country is crying out for leadership."

On Monday, law enforcement used tear gas on protesters to clear out Lafayette Square so Trump could walk to St. John's Episcopal Church for a photo op in which he held up the Bible, and Biden said the stunt suggests he's "more interested in power than in principle."

"The president held up the Bible at St. John's church yesterday," Biden said. "I just wish he opened it once in a while instead of brandishing it. If he opened it, he could have learned something."

Biden also went after Trump for his tweet saying that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," calling him "part of the problem." Biden added, though, "I wish I could say that hate began with Donald Trump and will end with him. It didn't, and it won't." Brendan Morrow

11:06 a.m.

Wes Unseld, who starred for the NBA's Baltimore and Washington Bullets (now called the Wizards) between 1968 and 1981, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 74. The family's statement said Unseld died peacefully following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia.

Unseld, who played center despite standing 6-foot-7, wasn't a prolific scorer, but he's widely regarded as one of the best defenders and passers ever to play his position and was a dominant rebounder, as well. He won the league MVP in 1969 when he was just a rookie, and helped the Bullets win the franchise's first and only championship in 1978, alongside fellow all-time great Elvin Hayes.

Unseld, who also enjoyed a standout career at the University of Louisville before entering the NBA and both coached and served as the general manager for the Bullets/Wizards for several season after he retired, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. Tim O'Donnell

10:29 a.m.

Tensions between the United States and China continue to run high, and they likely won't simmer when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre Tuesday afternoon.

In 1989, student-led demonstrations aiming for democratic reforms in China were held in Beijing before the government forcibly suppressed the movement. Pompeo extending a hand to the surviving participants certainly seems like a shot at the Chinese Communist Party, especially as it cracks down on a contemporary pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Earlier Tuesday, Pompeo blasted pro-Beijing authorities in Hong Kong for denying permission to hold a vigil in remembrance of the massacre for the first time in 30 years.

But some critics of the Trump administration think the secretary's gesture is hypocritical, since just a day earlier federal police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a peaceful protest against police brutality at Lafayette Square across from the White House so President Trump could pose for a photo-op in front of the historic St. John's Church, and police have clashed violently with demonstrators across the country over the last several days. Tim O'Donnell

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