Wednesday morning news: October 9, 2019

Democrats plan subpoena after Trump admin blocks diplomat testimony » House Democrats are compelling a U.S. diplomat to appear on Capitol Hill after the Trump administration blocked him from testifying on Tuesday. 

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was slated to speak with lawmakers behind closed doors yesterday. But the State Department ordered him not to appear. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff called that unacceptable.

SCHIFF: It is hard to overstate the significance of not just Ambassador Sonland’s testimony and the documents, but the testimony of others as well. 

Hours later, Democrats subpoenaed Sondland to testify. They want to question him about the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York says the inquiry is a farce. He’s calling on Schiff to release a transcript of an interview last week with former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker.

ZELDIN: He won’t because it destroys his narrative. It undercuts it. It blows it up. 

He said that interview cleared the president of wrongdoing. 

Trump defends Syria troop pullout » President Trump is defending his decision to pull troops out of northern Syria.

Many Republicans have condemned the move. But speaking at the White House, the president pushed back.  

TRUMP: If you go by the other side that means we should never, ever come home. We should never ever come home. And you know, I have to sign letters often to parents of young soldiers that were killed. And it’s the hardest thing I have to do in this job, and I hate it. I hate it. 

The president said U.S. involvement in northern Syria was supposed to be a shortterm mission to defeat ISIS and he said that job is done. He also noted that he campaigned on bringing troops home and said he is fulfilling that promise. 

Critics say the president is abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria and sacrificing America’s credibility. The U.S. troop pullout opens a path for Turkey to attack the Kurds, who have fought alongside Americans for years. Trump said he will destroy Turkey’s economy if it goes too far.

But Turkey said Tuesday that it won’t bow to White House threats and will move forward with a military operation in northern Syria.

U.S.-China trade talks still on » China said Tuesday negotiators are still planning to travel to Washington to resume trade talks tomorrow despite the latest spike in tensions. 

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that the president wants a long-term deal, but the administration is open to ideas to achieve a ceasefire in the trade war. But a short-term pact has to address key issues like market access in China. Kudlow said he’s cautiously optimistic. 

KUDLOW: The statements coming out of Beijing have been a little more positive. Seems like the mood music has improved.  

China has demanded that the United States lift newly imposed sanctions on Chinese tech companies, but it’s not calling off talks because of them. 

The Trump administration blacklisted 28 Chinese companies that make surveillance technology. U.S. officials say China uses that technology to persecute religious minorities.

No word yet on whether Beijing will retaliate.

After apology to China, NBA insists league values free speech » NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is defending the league’s response to a pro-democracy tweet by a team executive.

Some U.S. lawmakers blasted the NBA after it apologized to China for Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s social media post. Morey posted an image that said “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” After China’s angry response, the league called the tweet “regrettable.”  

But on Tuesday, Silver said one of the NBA’s “long-held values” is “to support freedom of expression.” 

SILVER: I’m sympathetic to our interests here and to our partners who are upset. And I don’t think it’s inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them, and at the same time, stand by our principles. 

Amid the controversy, the Chinese government is blacking out TV coverage of NBA preseason games set to take place in China this week. 

China is a multi-billion dollar market for the NBA. 

Calif to allow sales of HIV medication without prescription » California will become the first state to allow people to buy HIV prevention medication without seeing a doctor. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Pharmacists in California will soon be able to dispense HIV prevention pills without a prescription. 

The medications covered under the bill include preexposure prophylaxis. That’s a daily pill for HIV-negative people, who think they might come in contact with the disease. The bill also covers postexposure prophylaxis, which people can take up to 72 hours after exposure to HIV. 

Under the new law, patients can take the medicine without a prescription for 60 days. After that, they have to see a doctor.  

Governor Gavin Newsom approved the change to state law this week. It will take effect on January 1st.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) President Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 4, 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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