Inside Trump - November 14th, 2019

Inside Trump (Nov 14th, 2019)

Impeachment bombshells / Trump loses tax battle (again) / Trump's Pennsylvania woes

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1. A second U.S. embassy official testified that he overheard President Trump's conversation with EU ambassador Gordon Sondland in which the president reportedly asked about Ukrainian investigations. In an impeachment hearing on Wednesday, Bill Taylor said he learned from one of his staffers, David Holmes, about a previously undisclosed phone call in which President Trump directly inquired about "investigations" into the Biden family. On Thursday, the Associated Press reported foreign service officer Suriya Jayanti had also been present and overheard Trump and Sondland's conversation, which occurred a day after Trump's controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. -- ASSOCIATED PRESS

2. President Trump lost another round in court trying to shield his tax returns from Congress. In a blow to the president, a DC Circuit Court of Appeals voted, 8-3, against hearing the case. The House Oversight and Reform Committee had subpoenaed eight years of the president's tax returns — a case that will likely be decided by the Supreme Court in the months ahead. Should SCOTUS rule against the president's appeal, House Democrats will have access to substantial amounts of information on Trump's personal financial transactions. -- NPR

3. More than 50 percent of Pennsylvanians do not believe President Trump deserves a second term, a new survey found. The Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll, released on Thursday, found Trump losing hypothetical head-to-head matchups against his top three contenders running in the Democratic primary, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Pennsylvania, which Trump won narrowly in 2016, is considered to be a critical battleground for Trump's path to reelection. -- THE MORNING CALL 

4. Then-candidate Donald Trump spoke with Roger Stone whenever hacked WikiLeaks information went public during the 2016 campaign, new details have revealed. Prosecutors in Roger Stone's case presented visual aids showing spikes in phone call frequency between the two men when WikiLeaks would dump critical revelations. Former campaign strategist Steve Bannon and former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates testified that campaign officials would eagerly await the dumps from WikiLeaks, characterizing each development as "a gift" to Trump's candidacy. -- CNN    

5. President Trump called President Erdogan a "dear friend" and said he's a "big fan" of the Turkish leader in a joint news conference at the White House on Wednesday. Erdogan visited Washington just weeks after Turkey's military invaded northern Syria in a move that garnered bipartisan condemnation in Congress. Following Trump's decision to remove U.S. forces from the region in October, the House voted overwhelming, 354 to 60, to condemn Trump's decision. -- NEW YORK TIMES

6. An investor brochure for Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. touts money to be made from government dealings, suggesting President Trump is personally profiting off foreign influence. The pamphlet boasted that "tremendous upside potential exists for a new owner to fully capitalize on government-related business upon rebranding of the asset." The selling point bolsters critics' claim that Trump is in violation of the Emoluments Clause — a constitutional provision that prohibits federal officeholders from taking foreign cash. Trump is reportedly looking to sell the D.C. property for $500 million.  -- CNN

7. Vox advises against trusting any state-level polling on President Trump that doesn't weigh the education of respondents. The outlet argued that polls failing to consider educational attainment will likely show Trump underperforming. Many surveys from the 2016 election didn't accurately reflect the president's strength among white voters without college degrees, which is in part why Trump's victories in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania surprised most pundits. -- VOX

8. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters the first public impeachment hearings yesterday confirmed President Trump has committed "bribery." "The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That's bribery," Pelosi noted. The speaker's use of the word reflects a shift in language being used by House Democrats to describe Trump's alleged misconduct; "bribery," some have argued, is a more easily understood concept for the American public than the Latin phrase "quid pro quo." -- AXIOS

9. President Trump said Walmart has gone unscathed by Chinese tariffs, but the retail giant has said otherwise. "Walmart announced great numbers. No impact from Tariffs (which are contributing $Billions to our Treasury)," the president tweeted on Thursday. But in May, Walmart spoke out against Trump's trade war, claiming the tariffs would "lead to increased prices." Walmart, which is the largest retailer and employer in the U.S., relies heavily on goods manufactured in China. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

10. Congressional Democrats are calling on Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser to President Trump, to resign after alarming emails exposed his affinity for white supremacy. In a joint letter written by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, leaders painted Miller's "hateful beliefs" as "appalling" and "indefensible." The email exchanges between Miller and media outlet Breitbart showed the adviser's determination to promote white nationalist, xenophobic, and far-right policy goals from within the administration. -- POLITICO

Robbie Couch is a writer and reporter whose work has been published on HuffPost, GOOD magazine, Upworthy, and more. In previous roles, Robbie has written about politics, pop culture news, and social issues.

Editor: Kim Lyons, Inside Managing Editor and Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist.

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