Wednesday morning news: September 25, 2019

Speaker Pelosi announces official impeachment inquiry » The push to impeach President Trump is now officially in full swing in the House. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave committee leaders the green light on Tuesday.

PELOSI: I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella. 

Pelosi cited President Trump’s July phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the reason for the investigation. Trump seemed to confirm this week that he did speak with Zelensky about investigating the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden in Ukraine and the former vice president’s involvement. 

Democrats say that suggests Trump weaponized the power of his office to go after a political opponent. And Pelosi said that was a “betrayal of his oath of office.”

Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responded briefly at the Capitol. 

MCCARTHY: Speaker Pelosi happens to be the speaker of this House, but she does not speak for America when it comes to this issue. She cannot decide unilaterally what happens here. 

McCarthy’s statement lasted just over a minute. He did not address the president’s controversial phone call. 

But President Trump did address it once again on Tuesday. He said he has authorized the White House to release a transcript of that conversation today. 

He called the impeachment inquiry a “total witch hunt” and “presidential harassment.” 

UK Supreme Court rules suspension of Parliament unlawful » Britain’s highest court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the prime minister unlawfully suspended Parliament. 

The process Boris Johnson used is called prorogation. It is legal. But Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said he misused it to handcuff opponents of his Brexit plan.

HALE: It had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. 

Johnson is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. He said he disagreed with the decision.

JOHNSON: I don’t think this is the right decision. I think that the prerogative of prorogation has been used for centuries without this kind of challenge. 

The ruling nullified Johnson’s suspension of Parliament. The court said it never formally took effect. 

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow welcomed the decision. 

BERCOW: I have instructed the House authorities to prepare not for the recall—the prorogation was unlawful and is void—to prepare for the resumption of the business of the House of Commons. 

The judges were highly critical of the prime minister. But they made clear that they were chiding Johnson, not the queen, who as a constitutional monarch was required to approve his request.

Investigators: FAA inspectors working on Boeing Max jets were unqualified » More trouble for the Federal Aviation Administration in relation to the Boeing 737 Max jets involved in two deadly crashes. Federal investigators say the FAA put the flying public at risk with unqualified inspectors. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said many of the inspectors who worked on pilot-training standards for the now-grounded jetliners were unqualified and insufficiently trained. 

The office said Tuesday that it told President Trump and Congress about its findings, which started with a whistleblower complaint.

It also said the FAA gave Congress misleading answers when lawmakers asked about employee training. 

The disclosures are another setback for the agency, which is already under scrutiny for certifying the Max jets before the crashes. 

According to published reports, senior FAA officials did not understand a key flight-control system that was later implicated in two deadly crashes.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Boeing begins payments to families of 737 Max crash victims » Meantime, Boeing has opened a financial assistance fund for victims’ families. Each family has until the end of this year to file a claim to receive $144,000. 

They do not have to give up their right to pursue legal action against Boeing. And dozens of families are suing the company. Two Max jetliners crashed in October of last year and March of this year, killing nearly 350 people.

Three sailors from same Navy ship commit suicide » Federal investigators are looking into the deaths of several U.S. Navy sailors who committed suicide last week. All of them serve aboard the same ship. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen reports.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Three sailors who served aboard the USS George H.W. Bush took their own lives last week, though none died on the ship.

Two of the sailors killed themselves on the very same day. But Navy spokeswoman Commander Jennifer Cragg said “The sailors did not serve in the same departments, and there does not appear to be a connection between their deaths.”

A fourth sailor committed suicide in July. His death was the first involving a Bush crew member in two years. 

The ship’s commanding officer, Captain Sean Bailey said “Now is the time to come together” to grieve and support each other. He also asked for—in his words— ideas “for how we can work together to prevent another suicide.” He stressed that there is never a stigma for seeking help. 

The suicide rate in the Navy has been on the rise since 2016. This year, between January 1st and September 5th, 46 active duty service members took their own lives. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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