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December 8, 2019

Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand's most active cone volcano, erupted on Monday, injuring as many as 20 people, authorities said.

The volcano is in the Bay of Plenty, and the island is a popular tourist attraction. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it is believed that "100 people were on or around the island" when the volcano erupted, and some are unaccounted for. The government does not yet know if there have been any deaths.

Radio New Zealand said there are five helicopters, an ambulance crew, and a mobile triage unit on the way to the island, which is about 30 miles off the northeast coast of New Zealand. Catherine Garcia

November 25, 2019

A federal judge ruled on Monday that former White House Counsel Don McGahn must testify before congressional impeachment investigators.

The Trump administration has blocked top presidential advisers from responding to subpoenas, arguing that they have absolute immunity, but U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson called this claim "baseless, and as such, cannot be sustained." McGahn spoke to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller for 30 hours while he was investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and House Democrats have been wanting to ask him about possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

The House Judiciary Committee has been trying to enforce its subpoena for McGahn since August, before the panel launched its impeachment inquiry against Trump. Democrats are now deciding whether articles of impeachment should include obstruction of justice allegations that were included in Mueller's report, The Washington Post reports, and McGahn could be an important witness.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said the administration plans on appealing the ruling. McGahn's attorney, William Burck, said his client will comply with the order, unless there is a court-ordered stay. Catherine Garcia

November 14, 2019

After two days of fighting, the Islamic Jihad militant group announced early Thursday that it has reached a ceasefire deal with Israel.

The deal was brokered by Egypt and went into effect at 5:30 a.m., Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Berim said. The fighting began Tuesday after an Israeli airstrike targeted the Gaza home of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata, killing him and his wife. Israel accused Abu al-Ata of being behind several rocket attacks. In the wake of his death, Islamic Jihad fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, and in turn, Israel conducted more airstrikes in Gaza.

At least 34 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, including a 7-year-old boy. Catherine Garcia

November 7, 2019

The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday night, ordering him to testify in front of impeachment investigators on Friday.

One official working on the inquiry told The Associated Press that Mulvaney "could shed additional light on the president's abuse of power of his office for his personal gain." The White House has told officials not to cooperate with investigators, and Mulvaney is not expected to appear.

The House is investigating Trump's dealings with Ukraine, and last month, Mulvaney told reporters that Trump's decision to hold military aid to the country was connected to his desire for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails. Mulvaney later tried to take back his remarks. Catherine Garcia

October 27, 2019

Freshman Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) announced on Sunday that she is resigning from Congress, days after revealing that in 2018, she had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer.

In a statement, Hill said she had a "broken heart" and this was the "hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country." On Wednesday, Hill admitted she had a relationship with a staffer last year, but denied new allegations that she had a sexual relationship with her legislative director. That same day, the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the new accusation.

Hill is going through an acrimonious divorce, and earlier this month, a conservative website posted nude photos of her. She is linking that and the newest allegation to her husband, and said she needed to resign "so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation." Catherine Garcia

October 17, 2019

Not long after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney publicly admitted President Trump's decision to hold up aid to Ukraine was partly linked to his wish for Ukraine to launch an investigation based on a baseless conspiracy theory about the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack, Mulvaney walked back his comments.

The theory pins the hack on Ukraine, not Russia. Mulvaney made his initial remarks on Thursday in front of reporters, during a televised press conference. It was a surprising acknowledgement, as Trump has repeatedly denied engaging in any quid pro quo. Mulvaney said this was something "we do all the time," and anyone with a problem should "get over it." Almost immediately, Trump's legal team distanced the president from Mulvaney, with Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow saying the president's "legal counsel was not involved" in the press conference.

In his follow-up statement, Mulvaney said "there was never any condition on the flow of aid related to the matter of the DNC server," and tried to shift the blame for his words onto the media, claiming they were misconstrued to "advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump." Catherine Garcia

September 23, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been discussing with Democratic lawmakers whether now is the time to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, several congressional aides and House Democrats told The Washington Post on Monday.

Pelosi has for months said that impeachment is too divisive an issue and there needs to be more public support for it, but since reports came out that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Pelosi has been sounding out her caucus.

The conversation between Trump and Ukraine's leader reportedly prompted an intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint in August, and under the law, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was supposed to pass the complaint along to Congress. He so far has refused, and Pelosi has been fielding calls from Democratic lawmakers who want to know how he can be forced to turn it over, the Post report. Pelosi has given Maguire until Thursday to give lawmakers the complaint.

As of Monday night, 145 House Democrats support impeachment, including several moderates who made their stance known earlier in the day. Seven freshmen Democrats with military and intelligence backgrounds also published an op-ed in the Post Monday night, saying in order to uphold and defend the Constitution, "Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election." If he did, they added, "we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense." Catherine Garcia

September 23, 2019

At least a week before his July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump told acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney to hold back nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, three senior administration officials told The Washington Post on Monday.

Trump reportedly used the phone call to pressure Zelensky into investigating Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump admitted to making the phone call and discussing Hunter Biden, but claimed there was nothing inappropriate about the conversation.

Trump's order was passed along to the State Department and Pentagon during a meeting in mid-July, the Post reports, with White House officials telling them it was due to "concerns" Trump had about whether the money really needed to be spent. Administration officials were then told to tell lawmakers this was part of the normal "interagency process," the Post reports. The money was released by the White House almost two months later on Sept. 11, and the next day, Republicans on the Senate Appropriation Committee said the administration had been trying to determine whether Zelensky was pro-Russia. One senior White House official told the Post that Trump decided to hold back the money in June because there is "a lot of corruption in Ukraine" and it "had nothing to do with quid pro quo."

A whistleblower complaint was filed in August by a member of the intelligence community, who was said to have been concerned over Trump's communication with a foreign leader. The Post's report adds fuel to the fire that Trump tried to leverage the aid, which had been approved by Congress, in order to hurt his political rival. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) on Monday said he met with Zelensky earlier this month while in Ukraine, and he "directly" shared his concerns that the aid was "being cut off to Ukraine by the president" as a "consequence" of his failure to open an investigation into the Bidens. Read the entire report at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

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