Tuesday morning news: December 3, 2019

White House will not take part in first Judiciary impeachment hearing » House Democrats are pressing on with their impeachment inquiry this week as the scene shifts to the Judiciary Committee. The panel will hold its first hearing tomorrow. 

The Trump administration on Monday blasted Democrats for holding the hearing as President Trump heads to a NATO summit in London. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it an attempt to distract from the president’s mission overseas. 

POMPEO: I mean, these are some of our most important allies and partners in keeping our country safe and secure. I regret that they’ve chosen to hold these hearings at the same time. 

And the White House has informed the Judiciary panel that it will not participate in tomorrow’s hearing. In a letter to committee chairman Jarrold Nadler, White House counsel said in part, “We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings.” 

Pelosi defends Paris Agreement at U.N. climate conference » Meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday led her own overseas mission—heading a congressional delegation at a UN climate change conference in Madrid.

While President Trump has said the United States is pulling out of the Paris climate accord, Pelosi offered a different message. 

PELOSI: We’re here to say to all of you, on behalf of the Congress of the United States, we’re still in it. 

She said climate change is a threat to public health, the economy, and national security and that the Paris Agreement is vital to combating that change.

The congressional group is separate from the official U.S. State Department delegation at the conference.

The United States technically remains a member of the Paris Agreement until November 4th of next year—one day after the presidential election. 

Small Mexican town reeling from cartel attack » A small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday—gripped by fear after a deadly weekend gun battle between drug cartels and security forces. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: On Saturday, armed men in a convoy of dozens of vehicles arrived in Villa Union and began shooting up city hall. Many of the vehicles were emblazoned with the cartel’s initials—CDN, for Cartel del Noreste, or Northeast Cartel.

Security forces arrived within an hour and surrounded the town, about 35 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas. Officials say 16 gunmen died, along with four state police officers and two civilians.

On Monday morning, the town of about 6,000 people was littered with burned-out vehicles. And homes, churches, and government offices were riddled with bullet holes.

The motive for the military-style attack is unclear. 

Just days before the shootout, President Trump announced plans to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations. He hopes to launch operations against cartels inside Mexico. But the Mexican government says it cannot accept intervention from—quote—“armed foreigners.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 

China retaliates over U.S. support of Hong Kong protesters » China is retaliating over U.S. support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced Monday that China will suspend U.S. Navy stops in Hong Kong. 

CHUNYING: [Mandarin]

The suspension will ban U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting the territory.

Last week, President Trump signed two laws sanctioning Hong Kong and Chinese officials for cracking down on pro-democracy protesters. Hua warned of “further necessary actions” if the United States doesn’t change course.

She also said China will sanction several U.S.-based rights groups that—quote—“performed badly” in the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong—including Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. 

At least 14 dead in Burkina Faso church attack » Another church attack in Burkina Faso killed more than a dozen worshippers on Sunday. World Radio’s Kristen Flavin has that story. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Worshipers gathered at a Protestant church in the town of Hantoukoura when gunmen opened fire. The attackers killed at least 14 people and wounded many more. A source told AFP news that victims include the church’s pastor and multiple children. 

The president of the West African nation, Roch Marc Christian Kabore said Sunday that he condemned “the barbaric attack.” And he offered condolences to the victims and their families. 

Violence against Christians is on the rise in Burkina Faso. Suspected 

extremists have killed more than 500 people since last year and displaced nearly 500,000 others. Last month, at least 37 people died in an attack on a convoy carrying employees of a Canadian mining company. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Bullock ends presidential campaign » Montana Governor Steve Bullock is dropping out of the presidential race. 

Bullock said Monday that it was clear he would not be able to crack the top tier of Democratic candidates. 

He touted crossover appeal to some center-right voters, arguing that he was the best bet to defeat President Trump. He was the only Democratic candidate to win in a state that Trump won in 20-16. But his campaign never really gained traction. 

The two-term governor did not participate in any of the last three presidential debates, after failing to reach the polling and fundraising numbers needed to qualify. 

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, as lawmakers return from the Thanksgiving recess. 

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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