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28 November 2019 18:43

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POLITICO Playbook: Happy Thanksgiving! As President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry continues, ambassador Gordon Sondland's recollection of a Sept. IMAGINE THAT … THE FT published a story about Ruslan Ryaboshapka, the new general prosecutor in Ukraine, and it included this: "Asked about a potential probe focusing on the Bidens and their connection with Ukrainian energy company Burisma, Mr Ryaboshapka said Mr Trump's attorney-general William Barr had made no contact to formally request a joint investigation. A broader audit into past and current cases, including those involving Burisma, were under way, he said." FT Giuliani waged a public campaign this year to unearth damaging information in Ukraine about President Trump's political rivals, he privately pursued hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from Ukrainian government officials, documents reviewed by The New York Times show. "Mr. Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, has repeatedly said he has no business in Ukraine, and none of the deals were finalized.

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POLITICO Playbook: Happy Thanksgiving!

But the documents indicate that while he was pushing Mr. Trump's agenda with Ukrainian officials eager for support from the United States, His discussions with Ukrainian officials, including the country's top prosecutor, who assisted him on the dirt-digging mission, proceeded far enough along that he signed at least one retainer agreement, on his company letterhead. He said that a Ukrainian official approached him this year seeking to hire him personally. Mr. Giuliani said he dismissed that suggestion, but spent about a month considering a separate deal with the Ukrainian government. HMM … WAPO: "Witness testimony and records raise questions about account of Trump's 'no quid pro quo' call," by Aaron Davis, Elise Viebeck and Josh Dawsey: "Sondland's recollection of a phone conversation that he said took place on Sept. 9 has emerged as a centerpiece of Trump's defense as House Democrats argue in an impeachment inquiry that he abused his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats. A message from PhRMA: FACT: The biopharmaceutical industry supports more than 4 million jobs across the United States. But Speaker Pelosi's drug pricing plan could lead to the permanent loss of roughly 1 million of these jobs. AHEAD OF THE NATO MEETING IN LONDON … CNN: "Trump administration to cut its financial contribution to NATO": "The Trump administration has moved to substantially cut its contribution to NATO's collective budget according to several US and NATO officials, a symbolic move that comes as many continue to question President Donald Trump's commitment to the transatlantic alliance as he prepares to attend a summit to mark its 70th anniversary in London next week. … US defense officials tell CNN that the Trump administration sought to reduce its contribution to about 16%, bringing it in line with Germany's, which provides 14.8% despite the US having a larger economy." DOUG PALMER: "Trump signs Hong Kong bill denounced by Beijing": "The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, S. 1838 (116), would require the secretary of State to certify at least once a year whether Hong Kong continues to have enough control/ over its own affairs to warrant maintaining its special trade status under U.S. law. It would also empower the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Hong Kong or Chinese officials who take actions that violate human rights." POLITICO … Beijing [email protected]_GT, a closely watched reporter for a state-controlled Chinese newspaper: "Based what I know, out of respect for President Trump, the US and its people, China is considering to put the drafters of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on the no-entry list, barring them from entering Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao." AP/BEIJING: "Furious, China summons US ambassador over Hong Kong bills": "China reacted furiously Thursday to President Donald Trump's signing two bills aimed at supporting human rights in Hong Kong, summoning the U.S. ambassador to protest and warning the move would undermine cooperation with Washington. "Le called it a 'nakedly hegemonic act.' He urged the U.S. not to implement the bills to prevent greater damage to U.S.-China relations, the ministry said. A message from PhRMA: Speaker Pelosi's drug pricing plan could lead to the permanent loss of roughly 1 million jobs. TOP TALKER … RICHARD SPENCER in the WAPO: "I was fired as Navy secretary. The next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called me and said the president would remain involved. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices." WaPo "A three-judge federal appeals court panel announced Wednesday it will hear oral arguments on that date over the Justice Department's quest to cloak former White House counsel Don McGahn with absolute immunity against having to testify in the ongoing inquiry into impeachment President Donald Trump. "The fast-track schedule creates a tag-team match of sorts for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, since another key impeachment-related court fight — an attempt to obtain grand jury secrets in special counsel Mueller's final report — was already scheduled to be heard on the same Friday just after the New Year." POLITICO FOILED BY THE COURTS … WSJ: "Judges Quietly Disrupt Trump Immigration Policy in San Diego," by Alicia Caldwell in San Diego: "Immigration judges in this city are presenting a challenge to the Trump administration's policy of sending asylum-seeking migrants back to Mexico, terminating such cases at a significantly higher rate than in any other court, according to federal data. "Between January and the end of September, immigration judges in San Diego terminated 33% of more than 12,600 Migrant Protection Protocols cases, also known as Remain in Mexico, according to data collected by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University." WSJ Some reject that notion," by Robert Samuels, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Chelsea Janes: "Oliver Davis, a black council member in South Bend, Ind., where Buttigieg is mayor, said that African Americans, unlike gay people, don't have the option of "coming out" at their chosen moment — as did Buttigieg, who disclosed his sexual orientation after he had been elected mayor. "'When you see me, you would know that I'm African American from day one,' said Davis, who has endorsed former vice president Joe Biden. THE PRESIDENT'S THANKSGIVING … At 3 p.m., the president will appear on a teleconference with members of the military. PHOTO DU JOUR: Anti-government protesters gather in Bogota, Colombia, on Wednesday, in a tide of unrest over everything from job losses to shark hunting. IT'S OFFICIAL: "PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff, POLITICO chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, PBS NewsHour senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, and PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor will co-moderate the sixth Democratic primary debate, set to take place next month." Dec. 19 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION--"DHS Couldn't Track How Many Immigrant Children It Separated From Families, Report Says," by WSJ's Michelle Hackman: "The Department of Homeland Security didn't have the necessary process in place to track how many immigrant children it separated from their families, and the number of children may be higher than previous government figures suggested, according to a new report from the department's internal watchdog. "As a result, the report said, it is possible that at least 1,200 additional children weren't properly tracked by the government—and it's impossible to know whether those children were ultimately reunited with their parents." WSJ … The report FOR YOUR RADAR--"Iraq Protesters Burn Down Iran Consulate in Night of Anger," by NYT's Alissa J. Rubin and Falih Hassan in Baghdad: "Iraqi protesters in the southern city of Najaf burned down the Iranian Consulate there on Wednesday night in an outburst of anger at Iran, witnesses said. "Thirty-five protesters and 32 members of the Iraqi security forces were injured, according to the police in Najaf." NYT--WAPO'S JOHN HUDSON: "Trump official who suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan now responsible for arms control issues" VALLEY TALK--Twitter CEO @jack Dorsey says he's moving to Africa next year for a few months: "Sad to be leaving the continent…for now. BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is 55. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!" Playbook Q&A Judd Deere, special assistant to the president and deputy press secretary, is 32 … Glen Johnson … Tim Skoczek … Jonathan Lemire, WH reporter for the AP and political analyst at MSNBC and NBC News, is 4-0...