Inside Trump - November 19th, 2019

Inside Trump (Nov 19th, 2019)

Impeachment kicks off critical week / White House releases Trump's doctor's note / President gets 'relief' in fight over taxes

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1. Democrats hope to establish that President Trump abused his power as three days of critical impeachment testimonies kick off Tuesday morning. The key witness of the week, U.S. ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, is expected to testify on Wednesday about a July 26 phone call with the president in which Trump specifically asked about politically motivated investigations into the Biden family. Witnesses to the phone call — including David Holmes, a career diplomat based in Kyiv who will testify on Thursday — overheard the conversation. -- CNN

2. The White House released a doctor's statement Monday evening hoping to clear the air on President Trump's unannounced visit to Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend. Physician Sean Conley wrote that, "despite speculation," Trump's appointment on Saturday had been part of the president's routine preventative care — not the result of an urgent medical issue. The statement may not satisfy some skeptics, however, who point out the peculiar nature of the visit, the fact Trump hasn't been seen in public in several days, and the president's history of dictating the health outcomes of his own check-ups. -- MARKETWATCH

3. The House is investigating if President Trump lied to former special counsel Robert Mueller about communications with WikiLeaks. Mueller, charged with investigating Russia's influence on the 2016 election and coordination between the Kremlin and Trump campaign, had accepted written testimony from the president instead of an in-person interview. Evidence from Trump adviser Roger Stone's recent trial suggests the president may not have been truthful about what he did and did not know about the WikiLeaks information dumps that aimed to hurt Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee preceding the election. -- WASHINGTON POST 

4. A federal judge granted President Trump "very limited relief" in his aim to halt House Democrats from seizing his state tax returns. Judge Carl Nichols ordered the House to give advance notice to the court and president's team, should they request the financial documents. Nichols decided the president would then have 14 days after such a request for a court to examine the lawfulness of the request. "This relief ensures Mr. Trump has an opportunity to press his claims before they become moot while treading as lightly as possible on the Congressional Defendants' interests," the judge wrote in his decision. -- THE HILL  

5. North Korea won't have another summit with President Trump just to give him "something he can brag about," according to North Korean Foreign Ministry Adviser Kim Kye Gwan. "We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us," the official declared on Monday. Trump had mentioned on Sunday the possibility of another summit with the isolated East Asian country in hopes that continued talks will end their nuclear weapons program. -- WASHINGTON POST

6. The Trump administration will no longer view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as "inconsistent with international law," upending longstanding foreign policy. The swift development, announced on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, negates a 1978 State Department legal opinion — one recognized by all administrations since — that deemed the settlements unlawful. The new decision further aligns U.S. and Israeli interests, pushing a peaceful, two-state solution further from reach. -- BUSINESS INSIDER 

7. On Monday, President Trump met with Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell for the first time since calling Powell and his colleagues "boneheads" in September. The meeting, which Trump tweeted was "very good & cordial," covered interest rates, dollar strength, and inflation, among other topics, according to the president. In a statement released after the meeting, the Fed stressed its independence from the political process, noting "the path of policy will depend entirely on incoming information that bears on the outlook for the economy." -- USA TODAY

8. President Trump called Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday to congratulate him on his reelection victory. Trump told Edwards — the only Democratic governor in the Deep South — that he had run "a hell of a campaign," according to a spokesperson for Edwards. Trump visited Louisiana earlier this month to rally support for Edwards' opponent, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone. Edwards defeated Rispone, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent, on Saturday. -- THE ADVOCATE 

9. President Trump's reelection campaign may purchase a Super Bowl ad, according to the Sports Business Journal. The 30-second placement — which would cost the Trump campaign approximately $5.6 million — would air the day before the Democratic Iowa caucuses kick off on Feb. 3. The president's well-financed reelection effort has had its eye on popular televised sporting events, purchasing a seven-figure ad during the World Series last month. -- SPORTING NEWS

10. Fox News host Neil Cavuto defended his colleague Chris Wallace on Monday after President Trump slammed Wallace as "nasty & obnoxious." The president's criticism came after Wallace had pressed ardent Trump ally Republican Rep. Steve Scalise with tough questions on the impeachment inquiry. "What makes something 'fake news?'" Cavuto asked in his Monday broadcast, before noting the president often dismisses reporting he doesn't like as being false. "We're obligated to question you and always be fair to you." -- DAILY BEAST

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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