Pictured: Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (far left) at the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
by Ellen Yandel
The top National Security Council expert on Ukraine, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, testified Tuesday that he listened to the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Vindman claimed that corrections he suggested to the released transcript based on the actual conversation were not made. These changes included Mr. Trump noting that there were recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a specific mention of “Burisma”—the name of the company Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter, worked for in Ukraine.
Several prominent conservatives have questioned Vindman’s loyalty since the testimony, citing his status as a Ukrainian-American immigrant working in direct contact with Ukraine. Vindman, who moved to the U.S. when he was three, stated in his testimony that he is “a patriot.”
by Ellen Yandel
Relatedly, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve a set of rules for public hearings in the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. The vote is a response to Republican complaints that the inquiry is unfair to Mr. Trump, claiming that without a vote, the inquiry was illegitimate—though Republicans uniformly opposed the proposal. The resolution also moves the investigation towards a more formal and public stage.
by Nicholas Chen
Another member, now former, of the National Security Council who listened to the July 25 phone call testified Thursday. He confirmed previous testimony from the top diplomat to Ukraine who claimed that the Trump administration communicated to Ukraine that financial military aid was conditioned on a public investigation into Burisma. The former member of the NSC, Tim Morrison, said that he did not think anything illegal was discussed in the call, but did reaffirm the concerns of the diplomat, William Taylor, about a Sept.1 conversation the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had with an aide to the Ukranian president. Discussing it in his opening statement, Morrison made two corrections to Taylor’s otherwise “accurate” testimony—the correction concerning Sondland’s conversation being that it was the prosecutor general, and not the president as Taylor’s account stated, that needed to pursue an investigation in order for the security assistance funds to arrive.
Pictured: President Trump in the White House Situation watching US Special Operations forces' raid on the compound of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
by Kathryn Melim
Last Sunday, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi was declared dead in a surprise commando raid in Syria. Trump announced the news in a nationally televised address to the nation on Sunday morning. While some believe that this event will ultimately end ISIS, others are not so hopeful. Both Democratic and Republican critics believe that the raid highlights the need for more American military force in the region. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., said that the strike was only possible “because we had forces in the region...we must keep ISIS from returning,” referencing recent American troop withdrawals from northern Syria. ISIS later announced that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi was named their new leader, although experts don’t know much about him besides that he is considered to be a religious “scholar,” much like how al-Baghadi was thought to be.
Chicago teachers Strike
by Nicholas Chen
After 11 days and many hours of negotiation, the Chicago Teachers Union strike that included almost 25,000 teachers ended on Thursday. A tentative agreement addressing many of the union’s main concerns—mainly caps on class sizes, hiring more nurses and social workers and raising salaries—led to classes resuming on Friday. The contract is estimated to cost $1.5 billion, and was approved by elected CPS delegates but is waiting for approval by the entire union. In related news, some of the CPS student-athletes who were sidelined from Illinois High School Association postseason competition were allowed to compete at Saturday’s various regional meets, when a judge overruled a decision from the IHSA regarding CPS cross-country runners being barred from competition because of the ongoing strike. Besides multiple CPS football teams that were also allowed to compete, there is little word regarding other sports being similarly waived.
by Adam Oppenheim
The Cubs, on Wednesday of last week, hired David Ross—a former catcher for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016— as their new manager. This comes after their former manager, Joe Maddon, was fired on Sept. 29. Maddon led the Cubs to third place in the NL Central division with an 84-78 record, and the team failed to make the playoffs this past season. There were other options reportedly considered such as former Yankees manager Joe Giradi and current Astros bench coach Joe Espada. The Phillies hired Girardi as their manager on Oct 24; Espada is still looking for a job as a manager. There are doubts if Ross is suited for the job considering he has no managerial experience.