Wednesday morning news: October 30, 2019

House Democrats unveil impeachment inquiry resolution » House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled an updated roadmap for possibly impeaching President Trump. 

The eight-page resolution calls for open hearings. It also requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations. The Judiciary Committee would make the final recommendation on impeachment. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the move to formalize the inquiry is designed to counter Republican complaints that the process is unfair. But House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said it changes nothing. 

SCALISE: Speaker Pelosi’s resolution confirms that it’s an impeachment inquiry, yet every other impeachment inquiry we’ve had in the history of our country, all three, have allowed both sides to call witnesses, have allowed the White House to participate. That’s not happening right now. 

The resolution would allow Republicans to request subpoenas, but such requests have to win a vote by the full committee, which Democrats control.

Lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday from an Army officer serving with President Trump’s National Security Council. Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman served in Iraq and later as a diplomat. He told House investigators behind closed doors that he listened to Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president. He said he twice raised concerns over the president’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.

Boeing CEO faces tough questions over Max jets » Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced more tough questions Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers on a Senate panel grilled him about two crashes involving the company’s 737 Max jets.

The hearing took place exactly one year after a Max jet flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia. Muilenburg said the company is “deeply and truly sorry.”

MUILENBURG: We can and must do better. We’ve been challenged and changed by these accidents. 

But lawmakers were unmoved by the apology. Texas Senator Ted Cruz pointed to a text exchange between senior technical officials at Boeing back in 2016. During that exchange, they discussed problems with Boeing’s MCAS flight system believed to be at the heart of the Max jet crashes.

Boeing successfully lobbied regulators to keep any explanation of the MCAS system from pilot manuals and training. 

The Max jets remain grounded. Boeing hopes to win federal approval by year end to return the planes to the air.

Trump admin extends TPS for El Salvador citizens » More than 200,000 citizens from El Salvador living in the United States will not be deported for at least a year. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Trump administration announced Monday that it will extend temporary protected status—or TPS—for Salvadorans. 

TPS offers temporary refuge to foreign nationals from countries facing war or severe natural disasters. The United States granted the status to Salvadorans after a major earthquake struck the country in 2001—killing more than a thousand people and leaving more than a million homeless.

In 2018, the Trump administration announced the end of TPS for people from El Salvador and several other countries. But a federal court blocked the move. The administration is still fighting in court to end TPS, but it has agreed to extend it for Salvadorans at least until January of 2021 and for one year after the court case is resolved.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Another round of blackouts begins in California amid wildfires » Frustration and anger mounted across Northern California as the state’s biggest utility began another round of blackouts. The shut-offs are aimed at keeping windblown electrical equipment from sparking wildfires.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp said its latest blackout—beginning yesterday—would affect roughly 1.5 million people. The announcement came even before the end of the last blackout, which saw two-and-a-half million people lose power over the weekend.

Meantime, fire crews are still racing to contain two major blazes on opposite ends of the state. The Kincade fire in northern Sonoma County has consumed more than 75,000 acres.

And the Getty fire in Southern California has driven thousands from their homes—including Los Angeles resident Marilyn Levin.

LEVIN: I could smell smoke in the living room. And I looked outside and ashes are falling on my car and I got nervous. And I looked around and finally I saw flames at the top of the hill, so I put a few things in the car and I left. 

The fires have forced some 200,000 Californians to evacuate. 

U.K. to hold early election in push to break Brexit deadlock » The UK will hold an early general election on December 12th. 

The House of Commons on Tuesday backed an early national vote that could break the country’s political deadlock over Brexit. 

AUDIO: The ayes to the right, 438; the nos to the left, 20.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed for the vote in hopes that electing a new core of lawmakers will give him the numbers he needs in Parliament to push Brexit across the finish line. Johnson is gambling on recent political polls that suggest his Conservative Party can win a majority in December.

(AP Photo/Noah Berger) Sodhi Singh, closes up his Chevron station shortly after losing power in Healdsburg, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 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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