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    It looked like Oklahoma had its game against Oregon State well in hand, but the Beavers were surprisingly resilient. Kristian Doolittle had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and the Sooners stretched their season-opening winning streak to three games with a 77-69 victory over the Beavers in the inaugural Phil Knight Invitational on Tuesday night. Down by as many as 20 points in the second half, the Beavers closed to within six points in the final minute. 'Both teams competed really hard,' Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. 'In the second half, we got a little bit of a margin and then of course Oregon State did a great job of fighting back and finishing the game out.' Tres Tinkle overcame a slow start to finish with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Beavers (2-1). After a close first half, Doolittle's 3-pointer gave the Sooners a 66-46 lead with 7:12 left. The Beavers showed some spark with a 7-0 run that closed the gap to 66-53. Austin Reaves sank a 3-pointer that gave Oklahoma a 71-57 lead with 3:49 left and it looked like the Beavers were out of it, but Ethan Thompson's 3-pointer pulled them within 73-67 with 35.8 seconds to go. Ultimately Oregon State couldn't overcome the deficit. 'Great effort to try to fight back at the end there,' said Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle, who said he gathered the team together with about eight minutes left to try and inspire a comeback. Reaves finished with 17 points for Oklahoma, while Thompson had 17 for the Beavers. It was Oklahoma's second-straight neutral site game. The Sooners were coming off a 71-62 win over Minnesota in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Saturday. Reaves, who sat out last season after transferring from Wichita State, went into Tuesday's game averaging 17 points. Doolittle, meanwhile, is the lone starting senior for the Sooners. The Beavers were coming off an 80-74 victory at home Saturday over Iowa State. Tinkle led the way with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Tinkle earned the season's first Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after averaging a double-double in the Beavers' first two games. The 6-foot-7 Tinkle was an all-Pac-12 selection last season and explored early entry into the NBA Draft, but ultimately decided to return for his senior year under his dad. The Sooners effectively shut him down, at least at the start, and he had just four points in the first half. 'Credit to them. Every team that we face is going to try to take me and Ethan out of the game,' the younger Tinkle said. Oregon State led by as many as five points in the first half after Thompson hit a pair of free throws to make it 19-14. But for the most part, the opening half was tight and Doolittle's jumper with a second left gave the Sooners a 33-32 edge going into the break. Reaves' 3-pointer stretched Oklahoma's lead to 42-38 early in the second half but Thompson answered with his own 3 for the Beavers. Reaves and Jamal Bieniemy made back-to-back 3s to put the Sooners up 50-41 with 13:07 left. Doolittle's 3-pointer stretched the lead to 55-43 with just under 10 minutes to play. Fourteenth-ranked Oregon defeated No. 13 Memphis 82-74 in the earlier game of the double-header at Portland's Moda Center. BIG PICTURE Oklahoma: The Sooners visited Oregon two years ago in the 16-team PK80 tournament at the Moda Center. The PK Invitational is a follow-up event that will run through 2021, honoring the Nike co-founder. ... Oklahoma has won six straight against Pac-12 opponents. ... Sooners freshman forward Jalen Hill returned after sitting out Saturday's game because of concussion protocol. Oregon State: Tinkle's streak of seven straight games with multiple 3-pointers ended when he went 0-for-4 from the perimeter. ... The Beavers are now 0-5 all-time against Oklahoma. The last meeting before Tuesday came in 2000. INSPIRED The Sooners were not happy with their lackluster first half. 'We just realized, you know, we have to step up to win the game. We had some mental lapses during the first half — not talking about switches — and just realizing that, if we want to be successful, we have to lock in, be sound defensively, and just let everything else handle itself,' Doolittle said. UP NEXT Oklahoma: The Sooners return home to face William & Mary on Monday. Oregon State: The Beavers head out on the road for the first time with a game at Wyoming on Saturday.
  • The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the 'Mega Millions' game were: 19-30-44-56-65, Mega Ball: 24, Megaplier: 2 (nineteen, thirty, forty-four, fifty-six, sixty-five; Mega Ball: twenty-four; Megaplier: two) Estimated jackpot: $163 million
  • Brandon Rachal had a career-high 24 points as Tulsa beat Oral Roberts 74-67 on Tuesday night. The Golden Hurricane shot 53% from the field (27 of 53), including 4 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. Rachal shot 9 for 12 from the floor. Defensively, Tulsa held Oral Roberts to 32.8% (22 of 67). Lawson Korita had 13 points for Tulsa (2-1). Isaiah Hill added 12 points. Martins Igbanu had 11 points for the hosts. Kevin Obanor had 13 points for the Golden Eagles (1-2). Max Abmas added 12 points. Elijah Lufile had 10 points. Tulsa plays Austin Peay at home on Saturday. Oral Roberts takes on Iowa on the road on Friday. ___ For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25 ___ This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com
  • These Oklahoma lotteries were drawn Tuesday: 04-15-16-17-33 (four, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, thirty-three) 19-30-44-56-65, Mega Ball: 24, Megaplier: 2 (nineteen, thirty, forty-four, fifty-six, sixty-five; Mega Ball: twenty-four; Megaplier: two) Estimated jackpot: $163 million 9-3-8 (nine, three, eight) Estimated jackpot: $60 million
  • The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the Oklahoma Lottery's 'Pick 3' game were: 9-3-8 (nine, three, eight)
  • The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the Oklahoma Lottery's 'Cash 5' game were: 04-15-16-17-33 (four, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, thirty-three)
  • T.J. Warren was in attack mode to start the second half. Warren scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-85 Tuesday night. 'I just wanted to come out with a high sense of urgency out there,' he said. 'I know we had a good little lead and we just wanted to put them away in the third. I just wanted to be aggressive and attack.' Malcolm Brogdon had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the surging Pacers (7-4), who have won seven of eight, including four straight. It was Warren who provided the spark needed to put the game out of reach, shooting 5 for 5 from the field in the third quarter and 10 for 14 overall. As one of nine additions to Indiana's roster this season, Warren is beginning to find a groove. 'It's a new group,' Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. 'Part of it is figuring these guys out, where they like the ball, what they can do with the basketball. We're starting to personalize some of the sets in the offense, spotting where guys can be effective and productive.' The Pacers used a big third quarter — including 71.4 percent shooting — to take a 26-point lead and put the game away. Aaron Holiday hit two 3-pointers and Warren made another in a 15-2 run that ended with Doug McDermott's layup to put Indiana ahead 84-58 with 1:49 to go. McDermott hit a 3-pointer to make it 99-68 with 7:19 to play. Danilo Gallinari scored 14 points, Deonte Burton had 13 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 11 points and six rebounds for the Thunder (4-7), who have lost three of four and remained winless on the road. 'We definitely struggled on offense,' Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. 'It was 10 at the half and we talked about that coming out of the half. Warren really got going in that stretch and then their whole team kind of got going.' The Pacers first pulled away with a 12-2 run in the first quarter. TJ Leaf's layup gave Indiana a 28-18 lead, and the Pacers led by 15 after a jumper by Brogdon made it 52-37 with 1:58 remaining in the half. The Thunder scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer by Gilgeous-Alexander, to close out the first half. The Pacers led 52-42 at halftime. SUCCESS AT THE LINE The Pacers were 10 for 10 from the foul line through the first three quarters and finished 12 for 13 overall. The Thunder were 19 for 20 after three quarters, finishing 21 for 24 from the line. Gallinari shot a perfect 8 for 8 on free throws. OLADIPO PROGRESSING IN REHAB Victor Oladipo was assigned to Indiana's G League affiliate in Fort Wayne for a brief period Tuesday. The two-time All-Star was then recalled following a practice with the Mad Ants in Indianapolis, where Oladipo participated in full court drills for the first time, according to McMillan. Oladipo has been out all season as he rehabs a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee suffered in January. TIP-INS Thunder: G Chris Paul had seven points, five rebounds and eight assists. ... C Nerlens Noel was called twice for goaltending, but the second was overruled following a replay challenge. ... G Terrance Ferguson missed Tuesday's game for personal reasons. Pacers: Holiday scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half. ... C Myles Turner missed a seventh straight game with a sprained right ankle. ... G Jeremy Lamb was out for a fourth consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. ... C Goga Bitadze was out while going through concussion protocol. UP NEXT Thunder: Host Philadelphia on Friday with a 19-2 series lead during the Oklahoma City era, including one loss to the 76ers last season. Pacers: Travel to Houston on Friday. The Rockets have won four straight after a sweep of the regular season series the last two years. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Diallo 1-4 0-0 2, Gallinari 3-8 8-8 14, Adams 5-8 0-0 10, Paul 2-7 3-4 7, Gilgeous-Alexander 3-11 4-4 11, Bazley 3-6 1-2 8, Nader 2-9 2-2 6, Noel 1-4 0-0 2, Muscala 0-1 1-2 1, Schroder 3-10 2-2 9, Hall 1-1 0-0 2, Burton 5-12 0-0 13. Totals 29-81 21-24 85. Warren 10-14 2-2 23, Sampson 2-3 0-0 5, Sabonis 9-19 0-0 18, A.Holiday 6-10 3-3 17, Brogdon 8-16 2-2 20, Bowen II 1-2 0-0 2, McDermott 4-11 0-0 9, J.Holiday 0-6 3-3 3, Leaf 2-3 1-2 5, Johnson 1-1 1-1 3, McConnell 3-8 0-0 6, Mitrou-Long 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 46-94 12-13 111. 3-Point Goals_Oklahoma City 6-25 (Burton 3-6, Bazley 1-2, Gilgeous-Alexander 1-3, Schroder 1-4, Diallo 0-1, Muscala 0-1, Paul 0-2, Gallinari 0-3, Nader 0-3), Indiana 7-23 (Brogdon 2-4, A.Holiday 2-5, Sampson 1-1, Warren 1-2, McDermott 1-6, Mitrou-Long 0-1, J.Holiday 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Oklahoma City 40 (Gilgeous-Alexander, Bazley 6), Indiana 49 (Sabonis 16). Assists_Oklahoma City 19 (Paul 8), Indiana 21 (Brogdon 5). Total Fouls_Oklahoma City 16, Indiana 20. A_15,838 (20,000).
  • Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson says there's no need for a judge who ordered the drugmaker to pay $572 million to help clean up Oklahoma's opioid crisis to let several of the state's Republican leaders intervene in the case. In a brief filed Tuesday, attorneys said the attempt by Gov. Kevin Stitt, House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat to intervene is 'unnecessary, redundant and unpersuasive.' The three politicians filed an amicus brief last month asking the judge to consider that additional payments from the company might be needed in the future to help abate the opioid crisis. District Judge Thad Balkman in August ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million to Oklahoma. The judge has not yet released his final order.
  • A maintenance man checking on a noise complaint at a Florida beachfront hotel Sunday night walked into the room where a small-town Oklahoma police detective killed his boss in a drunken brawl, authorities said. The noises coming from room 527 at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach on Sunday night were so loud that the couple staying next door asked to switch rooms, according to an arrest report released to The Associated Press on Tuesday. A separate guest told investigators he heard a 'roaring' sound followed by a voice saying, 'stop it Mike' over and over. He said the voice grew quieter each time the phrase was repeated. By the time the maintenance man arrived to check out the complaint, he found Mannford, Oklahoma, police Det. Michael Patrick Nealey, 49, sitting on top of police Chief Lucky Miller, 44. Miller was later pronounced dead. Nealey is charged with second-degree homicide and is being held in the Escambia County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Mannford's town officials said that Nealey and Miller were close, and went to Florida's Panhandle to attend a law enforcement conference at the Hilton. Mayor Tyler Buttram called the two men 'the best of friends.' Nealey and Miller were seen drinking together Sunday evening and witnesses described their behavior as loud, according to the arrest report. Back in room 527, the noise level ramped up as the evening went on. A man who had been staying with his wife in the room next door told investigators that they had been disturbed by the sound of laughter coming through the wall for several hours. He went to the front desk to request a room change. When the maintenance man arrived, he knocked on the door but no one answered. He could hear grunting noises, so he said he opened the door and saw Nealey on top of Miller. The report said the man yelled for Nealey to get up. When he didn't, the maintenance worker pulled him off, using such force that Nealey's nose and lip were injured. When deputies arrived, Nealey was 'just mumbling' unintelligible words, according to the arrest report. Paramedics found Miller unresponsive. His face had been beaten and his right eye was completely swollen, the report said. Neeley's right hand was swollen and red, the report said. Neely was first taken to a hospital. Miller had been police chief since 2007. He and his wife had three children. 'We are heartbroken by the news,' Buttram said in a statement, adding that the town was having a difficult time with the tragedy. 'Please keep both families in your prayers as we work to move forward.' Another officer has been appointed as interim police chief. Mannford is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Tulsa. It has a population of about 3,200 people. An attorney for Nealey isn't listed on court records. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5. The public safety training conference was scheduled to begin Monday. A woman answering the phone at the hotel on Tuesday said the conference was underway.
  • The first day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will feature two State Department witnesses who raised questions about actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer, with one alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine the former U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, and another who saw Giuliani leading an effort to press for investigations desired by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani was almost unmissable starting in mid-March,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified, saying Giuliani conducted a 'campaign of slander' against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. 'I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani,' said William Taylor, now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who said he was worried about entering a 'snake pit' involving Giuliani. Here is some of what we might expect from these two witnesses in the first day of impeachment hearings. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT - After working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Kent returned to the State Department in the second half of 2018, taking on a post where he was responsible for Ukraine and five other eastern European nations often targeted by Russia. It was in that position where Kent said he witnessed the media attack which unfolded, spurred by Giuliani and conservative news media organs. In his impeachment deposition, Kent said an article by conservative journalist John Solomon spurred a sudden attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in general, which was then amplified by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Kent said much of what was alleged, that Yovanovitch was bad mouthing President Trump, that she was working against Ukraine prosecutors, was simply false. 'It was, if not entirely made up in full cloth,' Kent testified, 'it was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.' Kent described how U.S. diplomats were blindsided by what was clearly a concerted campaign against the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, spread over four days in March of 2019. It started first with arrows aimed at Ambassador Yovanovitch, but then spread to accusations against former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, along with other charges mentioning conservative bogeyman George Soros - all of it given a push by President Trump, his son, conservative websites, and Fox News. The attacks on Yovanovitch came two weeks after she had been asked by the State Department to stay on in Ukraine until 2020 - but her extension would not survive the conservative media attacks against her. 'I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane,'' Yovanovitch told Congressional investigators. She will testify on Friday. + WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires IN UKRAINE. With the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, Taylor is the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - basically the acting Ambassador. Several months after Yovanovitch had been ousted, Taylor described how the work of Giuliani had seemingly led to a situation where U.S. military aid for Ukraine was being withheld - in an effort to gain a quid pro quo - where the government of Ukraine would launch investigations sought by President Trump. 'By mid-Ju1y, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,' Taylor said, referring to a focus on the Bidens, and the debunked theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - was behind the hacks of Democrats in 2016. Taylor said the impetus for the situation was obvious. 'It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,' Taylor said in his closed door deposition. Mr. Taylor said he had determined that link in 'mid-July' - it was on July 25 that President Trump spoke with the leader of Ukraine, and spelled out the need for Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens, and the Ukraine-2016 elections theory, which included the evidence-free allegation that the hacked computer server from the Democratic National Committee was being hidden in Ukraine. Some Republicans have mocked the choice of Taylor as an opening witness, saying he has no firsthand knowledge of why the President would want investigations conducted related to the Bidens or the 2016 elections. 'No, I've never talked to the President,' Taylor said in his deposition. Look for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to bring this up during the first day of questioning with Taylor. Three hearings have also been set for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with eight different witnesses.
  • Hongjin Tan pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to committing theft of trade secrets from his employer.  Investigators say Tan used a thumb drive to copy hundreds of files.  His job at the company was to develop next generation battery technologies for stationary energy storage.  Tan’s LinkedIn profile lists his employer as Phillips 66 in Bartlesville.  Prosecutors say the defendant stole information on a development downstream energy market product worth more than $1 billion.  “Industrial spies like Hongjin Tan engage in espionage to steal American trade secrets and intellectual property born out of the innovation that is innate in our free market system,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores for the Northern District of Oklahoma.  'Trade secret theft is a serious crime which hurts American businesses and taxpayers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold of the Oklahoma City Field Office. Sentencing is set for Feb. 12, 2020.
  • While President Donald Trump will welcome the Turkish leader to the White House on Wednesday, the last visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May of 2017 still echoes in Washington, D.C., when security guards for the Turkish President openly attacked protesters in an unprecedented act of violence less than two miles from the White House. With video that showed Erdoğan watching the pitched battle along what's known as 'Embassy Row' in the middle of Washington, D.C. - the Turkish leader's planned return drew sharp comments from Capitol Hill in recent days, as none of his guards were ever held accountable for the violence. 'This behavior is sadly routine for President Erdoğan on Turkish soil,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a letter this week to 'immediately' expel any of the guards involved in that 2017 violence if they are on this week's trip to Washington. 'The Erdoğan regime's use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,' Cheney wrote. This was what the scene looked like on May 16, 2017, as Turkish security forces broke through police lines, and openly attacked protesters on the streets of the nation's capital. Some of the most graphic video was shot by the Voice of America's Turkish Service. At least nine people were injured in the attacks, which took place several hours after the Turkish leader met with President Trump. An in-depth review of multiple videos of the May 16, 2017, violence left no doubt as to the actions of the Erdoğan security detail, with descriptions of guards who 'punched a protestor' or 'kicked man on ground,' and 'knocked over woman, kicked man,' or 'choked, slammed woman.' You can see the New York Times video analysis of the violence at this link. In court documents revealed in recent days, U.S. security officials said the Turkish bodyguards also attacked American Secret Service agents during the incident, but were quickly spirited out of the country, and thus avoided any legal charges. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted 15 Turkish security guards, but most of the charges were ultimately dropped. Several months after the incident, the Turkish leader said in an interview that President Trump had apologized for the incident - the White House denied that had occurred.
  • Voters who braved the cold for an off-year bond election overwhelmingly passed three propositions extending the Improve Our Tulsa package Tuesday.  The three bonds approved include one which addresses streets and transportation systems, a second which will fund improvements to parks and replace old city vehicles, and a third which directs new money into the city's “rainy day” fund. The list of projects is extensive; about 70% of the money, however, is earmarked for roads and transportation, a priority clearly established by voters during a series of town hall meetings held by the mayor and city council before - and after - they drafted the proposal. The majority of the funds will come from bond sales, funded by property taxes; the rest from the extension of existing sales taxes. The city's sales tax rate will remain the same, however the .05 cent (one-twentieth of a penny) sales tax which will fund the “rainy day” account becomes permanent. The Improve Our Tulsa package has a timetable of about six and a half years, at a cost of an estimated $639 million. 

Washington Insider

  • The first day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will feature two State Department witnesses who raised questions about actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer, with one alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine the former U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, and another who saw Giuliani leading an effort to press for investigations desired by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani was almost unmissable starting in mid-March,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified, saying Giuliani conducted a 'campaign of slander' against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. 'I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani,' said William Taylor, now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who said he was worried about entering a 'snake pit' involving Giuliani. Here is some of what we might expect from these two witnesses in the first day of impeachment hearings. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT - After working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Kent returned to the State Department in the second half of 2018, taking on a post where he was responsible for Ukraine and five other eastern European nations often targeted by Russia. It was in that position where Kent said he witnessed the media attack which unfolded, spurred by Giuliani and conservative news media organs. In his impeachment deposition, Kent said an article by conservative journalist John Solomon spurred a sudden attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in general, which was then amplified by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Kent said much of what was alleged, that Yovanovitch was bad mouthing President Trump, that she was working against Ukraine prosecutors, was simply false. 'It was, if not entirely made up in full cloth,' Kent testified, 'it was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.' Kent described how U.S. diplomats were blindsided by what was clearly a concerted campaign against the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, spread over four days in March of 2019. It started first with arrows aimed at Ambassador Yovanovitch, but then spread to accusations against former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, along with other charges mentioning conservative bogeyman George Soros - all of it given a push by President Trump, his son, conservative websites, and Fox News. The attacks on Yovanovitch came two weeks after she had been asked by the State Department to stay on in Ukraine until 2020 - but her extension would not survive the conservative media attacks against her. 'I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane,'' Yovanovitch told Congressional investigators. She will testify on Friday. + WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires IN UKRAINE. With the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, Taylor is the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - basically the acting Ambassador. Several months after Yovanovitch had been ousted, Taylor described how the work of Giuliani had seemingly led to a situation where U.S. military aid for Ukraine was being withheld - in an effort to gain a quid pro quo - where the government of Ukraine would launch investigations sought by President Trump. 'By mid-Ju1y, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,' Taylor said, referring to a focus on the Bidens, and the debunked theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - was behind the hacks of Democrats in 2016. Taylor said the impetus for the situation was obvious. 'It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,' Taylor said in his closed door deposition. Mr. Taylor said he had determined that link in 'mid-July' - it was on July 25 that President Trump spoke with the leader of Ukraine, and spelled out the need for Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens, and the Ukraine-2016 elections theory, which included the evidence-free allegation that the hacked computer server from the Democratic National Committee was being hidden in Ukraine. Some Republicans have mocked the choice of Taylor as an opening witness, saying he has no firsthand knowledge of why the President would want investigations conducted related to the Bidens or the 2016 elections. 'No, I've never talked to the President,' Taylor said in his deposition. Look for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to bring this up during the first day of questioning with Taylor. Three hearings have also been set for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with eight different witnesses.
  • While President Donald Trump will welcome the Turkish leader to the White House on Wednesday, the last visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May of 2017 still echoes in Washington, D.C., when security guards for the Turkish President openly attacked protesters in an unprecedented act of violence less than two miles from the White House. With video that showed Erdoğan watching the pitched battle along what's known as 'Embassy Row' in the middle of Washington, D.C. - the Turkish leader's planned return drew sharp comments from Capitol Hill in recent days, as none of his guards were ever held accountable for the violence. 'This behavior is sadly routine for President Erdoğan on Turkish soil,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a letter this week to 'immediately' expel any of the guards involved in that 2017 violence if they are on this week's trip to Washington. 'The Erdoğan regime's use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,' Cheney wrote. This was what the scene looked like on May 16, 2017, as Turkish security forces broke through police lines, and openly attacked protesters on the streets of the nation's capital. Some of the most graphic video was shot by the Voice of America's Turkish Service. At least nine people were injured in the attacks, which took place several hours after the Turkish leader met with President Trump. An in-depth review of multiple videos of the May 16, 2017, violence left no doubt as to the actions of the Erdoğan security detail, with descriptions of guards who 'punched a protestor' or 'kicked man on ground,' and 'knocked over woman, kicked man,' or 'choked, slammed woman.' You can see the New York Times video analysis of the violence at this link. In court documents revealed in recent days, U.S. security officials said the Turkish bodyguards also attacked American Secret Service agents during the incident, but were quickly spirited out of the country, and thus avoided any legal charges. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted 15 Turkish security guards, but most of the charges were ultimately dropped. Several months after the incident, the Turkish leader said in an interview that President Trump had apologized for the incident - the White House denied that had occurred.
  • On the eve of convening historic impeachment hearings aimed at President Donald Trump, House Democrats publicly set out guidelines for conduct by lawmakers in the proceedings, seemingly anticipating the possibility of procedural tussles with GOP lawmakers when the hearings begin on Wednesday. In a six page memo released by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff directly warned Republicans not to try to use the hearings to veer into certain areas of interest for the GOP. Schiff wrote, 'it is important to underscore that the House’s impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference.' In his memo, Schiff said the questions should stick to three main areas of inquiry: The Schiff memo also indicated Democrats are still reviewing the requests of GOP lawmakers to call certain witnesses in the hearings. Republicans asked for a series of witnesses on Saturday, headlined by the son of Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden, and the Intelligence Community whistleblower whose complaint kicked off the Ukraine investigation earlier this fall. As for the whistleblower, the Schiff memo warned GOP lawmakers not to make any efforts to use the public hearings to reveal the name of the whistleblower, raising the specter that it could lead to ethics charges. You can read the full memo from Rep. Schiff at this link.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considers a politically explosive trio of cases on the future of an estimated 700,000 illegal immigrant 'Dreamers' in the United States, and whether the Trump Administration has properly exercised its legal authority to take away the protection those people have had since 2012 to avoid being deported from the United States. Legal experts say the Trump Administration certainly has the right to terminate the DACA program - because it is a discretionary use of authority by the Executive Branch.  But experts also argue that the Trump Administration bungled that simple move, resulting in several years of court challenges, culminating in these arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. 'This is a program put in place by a government agency - it is not something the Congress put in place - which is important, because now the agency says it can get rid of the program,' said Nicole Saharsky, a lawyer who worked on one of the three DACA cases before the Justices. 'It seemed to me the government had such an easy argument,' Saharsky said at a Georgetown University symposium earlier this fall. 'This is discretionary - we're going to exercise our discretion and not have it anymore.' But Saharsky and other legal experts say the way the Trump Administration went about ending the program undermined its authority to easily make a change. For example, it took the Trump Administration months to produce policy points from the Secretary of Homeland Security - used in a later court case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals - to support the reason why the DACA program should be changed. 'Part of the debate is about whether those additional policy reasons are properly before the court or not,' said Irv Gornstein, the Executive Director of the Supreme Court Institute and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. That 'after-the-fact-justification' - as Gornstein labeled it during a Supreme Court preview this fall - is one of a series of administrative matters the Justices must consider, in what otherwise would seem to be a legal slam dunk for the Trump Administration. When lower courts first blocked the feds from changing DACA, law professor Josh Blackman called it 'ludicrous,' denouncing a decision from a federal judge in San Francisco as an 'amateur act of punditry.' But as the issue has wound its way through the courts, Blackman has joined others in acknowledging the Trump Administration fell short in offering the proper rationale for the change. 'Offer other reasons that are legitimate, and the policy can be rescinded,' Blackman argued in a lengthy argument on Twitter earlier this year. The outcome of this case could also find roots in the Supreme Court rebuke of the Trump Administration over the Census, where Chief Justice John Roberts clearly laid out a path for the feds to take without violating the Administrative Procedures Act - which could apply as well to the DACA situation. All of that will play out in 80 minutes of arguments - covering three different cases before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
  • Just days before impeachment hearings are set to begin the U.S. House, President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress continued to be on different pathways when it comes to defending the President's conduct, as Mr. Trump on Sunday again maintained that he did nothing wrong in his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. 'The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT,' Mr. Trump tweeted from Trump Tower in New York. 'Read the Transcript!' But Democrats said the transcript showed behavior which was not acceptable - and there were some GOP lawmakers agreeing in part. 'I believe it was inappropriate,' Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said of the President's request in a July phone call for the government of Ukraine to launch investigations which would have benefited Mr. Trump politically.  'I do not believe it was impeachable,' Thornberry said on ABC's 'This Week.' Mr. Trump argued specifically against that. 'Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable,' he tweeted. The White House document detailing the call - which is not a full, word for word transcript - shows the President clearly asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate the son of Vice President Biden, along with probing the assertion that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats in the 2016 elections. While the White House and Republicans tried to sort out their impeachment arguments, Democrats were blasting the GOP. 'Witness testimony shows that everybody involved in the President’s pressure campaign knew what he wanted,' said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-I), 'political investigations to undermine our free and fair elections.' 'Republicans cried for weeks for open & public impeachment inquiry hearings,' said Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA). 'Now that public hearings begin this week, Trump & GOP don’t want them.