Democrats say whistleblower complaint reveals White House coverup » Top Democrats said Thursday that after reading a whistleblower complaint against President Trump, they’re even more convinced that Congress should impeach him.
The unnamed whistleblower said the White House tried to “lock down” records of Trump’s controversial call with the president of Ukraine. The White House reportedly stored them in a separate system used to handle sensitive information.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called that deeply troubling.
PELOSI: The complaint reports a quote repeated abuse of an electronic records system designed to store classified, sensitive national security information, which the White House used to hide information of a political nature. This is a coverup. This is a coverup.
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it makes sense for the White House to do all it can to shield its communications.
MCCARTHY: Could I see why you would want to put it on a more secure server knowing that earlier in his administration a conversation with another leader from Australia was put forward? Or I watched a New York Times anonymous editorial working within the White House wanting to do anything to undercut him?
The person who filed the complaint said he or she believed Trump was trying to “solicit interference from a foreign country” in the upcoming presidential election.
The whistleblower did not hear the president’s call, but instead learned about it second hand from White House officials.
Also on Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee got a chance to grill Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Asked why he did not immediately turn over the complaint to Congress, Maguire responded…
MAGUIRE: We consulted with the White House counsel’s office and were advised that much of the information in the complaint was in fact subject to executive privilege, a privilege that I do not have the authority to waive.
Maguire strongly pushed back against claims by Democrats that he violated the law in his handling of the complaint.
He also said he believed the whistleblower was acting in good faith and that he is committed to protecting that person and his or her anonymity.
U.S. officials say Syria again used chemical weapons » The Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack in May.
That according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He spoke Thursday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Pompeo said U.S. officials determined that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government used chlorine in the attack on opposition forces on May 19.
POMPEO: Assad has used chemical weapons every year since Syria’s succession to the chemical weapons convention in 2013. The United States will not allow these attacks to go unchallenged, nor will we tolerate those who choose to conceal these atrocities.
He said the Department of Treasury Thursday is sanctioning numerous Russian entities for—quote—“supporting Assad’s brutal war machine.”
He added that the U.S. government will provide nearly $5 million to fund investigations into other suspected uses of chemical weapons in Syria.
Earthquake kills at least 20 in Indonesia » Rescuers are still digging through rubble this morning in Indonesia, hoping to find more survivors after a powerful earthquake struck Thursday, killing at least 20 people. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The magnitude 6.5 quake was centered about 20 miles northeast of Ambon Island.
It badly damaged or destroyed many buildings. At an area hospital, workers had to evacuate all patients to tents outside the building.
The earthquake did not strike in deep water and there was no risk of a tsunami. But thousands along coastal areas ran to higher ground fearing massive waves could be on the way.
Thursday’s earthquake came two days ahead of the first anniversary of a devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake on Sulawesi island. That quake did trigger a tsunami and landslides and killed more than 4,000 people.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Trump admin proposes record low refugee limit » The Trump administration wants to cap the number of refugees allowed into the United States at the lowest number since the resettlement program was created in 1980.
A State Department proposal released Thursday would set a ceiling of 18,000 refugees for the fiscal year that starts October 1st. Last year, the administration placed the cap at 30,000. At the time, that was a record low.
The limit has drawn protests from human rights groups as well as government officials.
But the president must consult with Congress on the matter and lawmakers could push for a higher total.
The White House also issued a separate order that requires added consultation with state and local governments about settlement of refugees in specific areas.
New South Wales lifts protection for unborn » Australia’s most populous state has overturned a 119-year-old law protecting the unborn. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: The state legislature in New South Wales voted on Thursday to allow abortion up to 22 weeks into a pregnancy—longer if two physicians agree. The previous law safeguarded babies unless the pregnancy posed a serious risk to the mother’s health.
The state is home to the country’s largest city, Sydney, and it was the only remaining state or territory with protections for the unborn.
Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher said Thursday, “Today is a very dark day for New South Wales.” He called the new abortion law “a defeat for humanity.”
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
Former French President Jacques Chirac dies » Former French President Jacques Chirac died on Thursday. He was 86.
Chirac took office in 1995 and served as president for 12 years. He’s heard here in Washington sharing a laugh with then-President Bill Clinton in 1996.
He was the first leader of France to admit to the country’s role in persecuting Jews during the Holocaust. And he’s remembered as a fierce opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Chirac was also a two-term prime minister and three times the mayor of Paris.
In a historic 2011 trial, he became the first former president convicted of corruption. The trial stemmed from embezzlement charges during his time as mayor. But he remained a popular figure in France.