Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Major testimony: “Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told House impeachment investigators Friday that President Donald Trump had personally pressured the State Department to remove her, even though a top department official assured her that she had ‘done nothing wrong.’”
* A relevant angle: “In a closed-door deposition that could further fuel calls for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, Ms. Yovanovitch delivered a scathing indictment of his administration’s conduct of foreign policy. She warned that private influence and personal gain have usurped diplomats’ judgment, threatening to undermine the nation’s interests and drive talented professionals out of public service.”
* I’d recommend holding off on taking this seriously until there are additional details: “President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. and China had reached a ‘substantial phase one deal’ on trade that will eliminate a tariff hike that had been planned for next week.”
* On a related note, Trump told reporters today that Hong Kong “will take care of itself.”
* Key immigration ruling, Part I: “A federal judge ruled Friday that President Donald Trump violated federal law when he used his declaration of a national emergency to get millions for building a wall on the southern border.”
* Key immigration ruling, Part II: “Federal judges in New York and California on Friday ordered a nationwide block in cases challenging a Trump administration policy that would make it far easier for the government to deny legal status to immigrants who use or are deemed likely to use public assistance. The rule was set to go into effect next week.
* Isn’t Trump supposed to be eager to bring troops home from the Middle East? “The Trump administration said Friday it is sending 2,800 more troops, fighter jets and missile defense weaponry to Saudi Arabia to help bolster the kingdom’s defenses after a September attack on its oil facilities.”
* All is not well at the State Department: “A career diplomat who served as senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to step down, two State Department officials told NBC News on Thursday, just as foreign service officers find themselves caught in the middle of a confrontation between the White House and Democratic lawmakers leading an impeachment inquiry.”
* Good for her: “Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said on Thursday that she “will not be silenced” after a Republican congressman requested she be investigated for ethics violations for her public statements.”
* Is Trey Gowdy still planning to be on Trump’s legal team? This is what the president told reporters yesterday afternoon: “I think there’s a problem with he can’t start for another couple of months because of lobbying rules and regulations. So, you’ll have to ask about that. I just heard Trey Gowdy can’t start until sometime after January because of the lobbying rules and regulations. So, I don’t know. So, we’ll have to see.”
* A chilling quote from Roger Stone: “Try to impeach him, just try it. There will be a spasm of violence & insurrection in this country like you’ve never seen. Both sides are heavily armed. A politician who votes for it will be endangering their own life.”
Enjoy the weekend.