Tuesday morning news: December 10, 2019

Lawmakers, House lawyers clash on impeachment » Another rancorous impeachment hearing on Capitol Hill Monday, as lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee sparred with each other and with top House lawyers. 

GAETZ: The implication is that the person who wrote the report is the person that should come and present it. You weren’t elected by anybody, and you’re here giving this testimony in place of the chairman. I hope that clears up the implication.
NADLER: The gentleman does not have the time. The gentleman has been warned before. 

GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz clashing with a lawyer for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. Gatez argued that Intel Chairman Adam Schiff should have been at the hearing to defend his impeachment report. 

But lawyers from both sides argued the matter on Monday. Counsel for House Democrats, Barry Berke said the case against President Trump is airtight. 

BERKE: The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power by pressuring Ukraine and its new president to investigate a political opponent. 

But Republican Congressman Jim Jordan said Democrats clearly failed to establish any quid pro quo to support their claims that the president is guilty of bribery. 

JORDAN: They forget the fact that we have the call transcript and there was no quid pro quo. They forget the fact that two guys on the call, President Trump and President Zelensky have said repeatedly there was no pressure, no linkage, no pushing. They forget the fact that Ukraine didn’t even know aide was held at the time of the call. And they forget the fact, most important, they did nothing to get the aide released, no announcement of any type of investigation whatsoever. 

Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler once again said the House should move swiftly to impeach the president, adding, “The integrity of our next election is at stake.”

DOJ watchdog releases report on FBI handling of Russia probe » The Justice Department’s internal watchdog has released its long awaited report on the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe. 

And Democrats and the White House both say the report validates what they’ve been saying all along. 

The inspector general report found—quote—“serious performance failures” up the bureau’s chain of command. It also said the warrant application to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page had at least 17 “significant inaccuracies or omissions.”

President Trump said Monday…

TRUMP: They fabricated evidence, and they lied to the courts, and they did all sorts of things to have it go their way. The report actually—and especially when you look into it and the details of the report—are far worse than anything I even would have imagined. 

But, the report concluded the FBI was justified in launching its investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016. It also did not find that agents were acting out of political bias against Trump. 

Democrats say that disproves President Trump’s assertion that the Russia probe was a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Attorney General William Barr rejected the inspector general’s conclusion that there was enough evidence to open the investigation. He said the report “now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions.”

Supreme Court lets KY ultrasound law stand » The Supreme Court on Monday left standing a Kentucky ultrasound law. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The “display and describe” law requires abortionists to perform an ultrasound, describe the results and let a woman hear her baby’s heartbeat before having an abortion.

The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law, saying it violated the free speech rights of abortion providers.

But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law. It said “As a First Amendment matter, there is nothing suspect with a state’s requiring a doctor, before performing an abortion, to make truthful, non-misleading factual disclosures.”

Supreme Court justices did not comment on the decision not to review the appeals court ruling. 

Enforcement of the law had been on hold pending the legal challenge. But the state will soon begin enacting the new requirements. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Dozens feared dead after New Zealand volcano erupts » A volcano erupted on an island off the coast of New Zealand Monday, unleashing scalding steam on tourists exploring the moon-like surface. Dozens are missing and presumed dead. Officials have confirmed at least five deaths. 

Eighteen others escaped, though some had severe burns.

Deputy police commissioner John Tims said some of those caught in the eruption arrived aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. 

TIMS: Both New Zealanders and overseas tourists are believed to be involved. We believe a number of these tourists have come from the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. 

In a statement, the cruise line said “We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities. Please keep all those affected in your prayers.”

The eruption sent a plume of steam and ash about 12,000 feet into the air. Hours later, police said the site was still too dangerous for rescuers to search for the missing. But an aerial search found no signs of life.

Police said “based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island.”

Russia hit with 4-year ban over doping scandal » The World Anti-Doping Agency hit Russia with an unprecedented punishment Monday over the country’s doping scandal. 

The agency’s president, Craig Reedie told reporters… 

REEDIE: “The consequences include the banning of Russia from the Olympics, Paralympics, and World Championships run by all code signatories for four years.

He said the agency’s executive committee unanimously adopted the punishment recommended by an independent panel. 

Reedie added that—quote—“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order … but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

Russian athletes can still compete in major events, but only if they are not implicated in positive doping tests or if their data was not manipulated. And they cannot compete under the Russia flag. 

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks as the House Judiciary Committee hears investigative findings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

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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