The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador blames 'concerted campaign' for ouster | Sights and sounds from the Capitol | EU envoy to testify after subpoena | Trump loses appeal over subpoenaed financial records | Impeachment polls worry GOP | Trump distances himself from arrested Giuliani associates | Trump goes 'off-script' on Dems at rally, rails against Biden, Omar | Orange full moon on Sunday



*Record Scratch* *Freeze Frame*

Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up here:

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is on Capitol Hill this morning for closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

What Congress wants to hear from Yovanovitch: She is discussing her dismissal as ambassador in May and what she knows about President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE and his lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Nadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' READ: Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman testifies Barr 'repeatedly urged' him to resign MORE pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. 



Via The New York Times's Sharon LaFraniere and Nicholas Fandos, Yovanovitch told investigators this morning "that a top State Department official told her that President Trump had pushed for her removal for months even though the department believed she had 'done nothing wrong.'"

From her opening statement: "According to a copy of her opening statement obtained by The New York Times, the longtime diplomat said she was 'incredulous' that she was removed as ambassador 'based, as far as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.'"






Republican lawmakers walking down the staircase and into the hearing:

Yovanovitch walking into the Capitol:

And here is video of the chaos around Yovanovitch: Watch:

Yovanovitch going through the Capitol metal detector:

Another angle -- going through security: She is still wearing sunglasses.

Yovanovitch walking to the hearing -- oh hello, Capitol Police:

I don't think I have a photo of Yovanovitch walking through this hallway yet: She is no longer wearing sunglasses. I repeat: She is no longer wearing sunglasses.

Omg -- The key witness this morning: Here is Gordie the puppy waiting for Yovanovitch. Photo -- because I would never tease something like that without a photo:


For planning purposes:


Happy Friday! Finally. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel  and Facebook.

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The more I look at the word subpoena, the stranger it looks:

A federal appeals court rejected President Trump's attempt to keep his subpoenaed financial records from House Democrats.

Back story: "The Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee issued a subpoena in April to Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, seeking financial records on Trump and several of his business entities." 



Back away from the political liabilities. I repeat, back away from the liabilities:

President Trump has distanced himself from the two associates of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who were arrested on campaign finance charges.

Trump told reporters: "I don't know those gentleman. Now, it's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody ... I don't know them, I don't know about them, I don't know what they do. I don't know, maybe they were clients of Rudy's. You'd have to ask Rudy." 

By the way: Here's the photo of the two arrested businessmen posing with President Trump.




New report -- Rudy used an Oval Office meeting to vouch for his client:

Via CNN's Evan Perez and Kevin Liptak, President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani used a 2017 Oval Office meeting with Trump and then-Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHow the US could respond to Russia's support of the Taliban Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report McEnany: Trump likes to hire people with 'countervailing viewpoints' MORE to push for charges to be dropped against a client with ties to Turkey's government.

How Rex Tillerson reacted: "After the meeting Tillerson mentioned the discussion to then-chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, who was not in the meeting, noting that it was a deal he could not support."

Why this is important: "The episode is another reflection of Trump attempting to use his office to influence ongoing Justice Department proceedings. And news of it comes as his relationships to both Giuliani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan come under scrutiny."

Read the full report:



Via The Atlantic's Elaina Plott, "President Trump's personal lawyer told me he was planning to fly to Vienna roughly 24 hours after his business associates were arrested as they prepared to do the same." This is worth reading:


Tidbit -- Omg, you guys. I know we're all getting numb to the news this week, but we cannot let this one slide by:

Via The New York Times's Kenneth P. Vogel, President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas's company, Fraud Guarantee. Yes, that is the name of the company. 

Read the full New York Times report: 



President Trump went off-script and you know what that means?!

Fight! Fight! Fight!:

During a campaign rally in Minneapolis last night, President Trump railed on House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, accusing them of trying to "overthrow" the government with an "insane" impeachment inquiry.



On Democrats: "Now the do-nothing Democrat con artists and scammers are getting desperate. Thirteen months, they've got to move fast, because they're not beating us at the polls and they know it -- despite the phony polls. ... They know they can't win the 2020 election, so they're pursuing the insane impeachment witch hunt."

On Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (D-Minn.): "Congresswoman Omar is an America-hating socialist. She minimized the September 11th attack on our homeland, where far more than 3,000 people died, saying, 'some people did something.' How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota? She is a disgrace to our country. I'm very angry with you people right now." Watch Trump's full comments on Omar:

On going off-script -- it does give me more to write about!: "I gotta tell you. Isn't it much better when I go off script? Isn't that better? So much better."

On Joe BidenJoe BidenDonald Trump Jr. to self-publish book 'Liberal Privilege' before GOP convention Tom Price: Here's how we can obtain more affordable care The Memo: Democrats feel rising tide in Florida MORE: "He was only a good vice president because he understood how to kiss Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHow Trump can get his mojo back Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Democrats see convention as chance to underscore COVID-19 message MORE's ass." Watch Trump's full comment on Biden:

On Hunter Biden: "Joe's son Hunter got thrown out of the Navy and then he became a genius on Wall Street in about two days. Whatever happened to Hunter? Where the hell is he? Where's Hunter? ...  Hey fellas, I have an idea for a new T-shirt. Let's do another T-shirt: 'Where's Hunter?'"



"I spent my night at the [Human Rights Campaign] forum talking about the fundamental respect every human being deserves. You spent yours showing how little respect for anyone else you have. America is so much stronger than your weakness, @realDonaldTrump."



"How do you think Joe Biden ... how do you think his son's feeling right now. Right after embezzling a lot of money, taking a lot of money, the crookedness. ... Maybe lock her up goes to lock him up. Lock him up." (Via C-SPAN'S Howard Mortman) Watch:


This was a wildly uncomfortable moment:

If I had to see this, then so do you, my friends.

Watch -- I feel dead inside:





Trump's EU ambassador *will* testify:

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry, will testify before Congress despite objection from the State Department.

Why: He will comply with a congressional subpoena. 

From Sondland's attorneys: "Notwithstanding the State Department's current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees' subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday." 

Back story: Sondland was set to testify earlier this week, but the Trump administration abruptly blocked his appearance. House Democrats then subpoenaed Sondland, and he agreed to comply. 




I believe this is the very definition of 'frenemy':

Via The Hill's Alexander Bolton, "Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRomney blasts Trump's Stone commutation: 'Historic corruption' Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-S.C.) has become one of President Trump's most vociferous critics on the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, even as he defends the White House just as loudly over the House Democratic impeachment inquiry."

Truuuuu: "Graham has flipped from Trump critic to friend throughout the president's rise to power and time in office, but never at a more dizzying pace than in the last few days." 



Here's a list of each of the key players in the wake of President Trump's call with the president of Ukraine and how they fit into the controversy:



Come for the foliage, stay for the presidential candidates:

Three months before the New Hampshire presidential primary, No Labels is hosting its Problem Solvers convention featuring presidential candidates, members of Congress and more than 1,500 voters.  

When and where: Nov. 3 at the Doubletree Hotel in Manchester, N.H.

Featuring: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads George Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline MORE (D-W.Va.); Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Gottheimer wins House primary New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE (D-N.J.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Max RoseMax RoseAlarm grows over Americans stranded in Yemen amid pandemic Moderate House Democrats introduce bill aimed at stopping China from exploiting coronavirus pandemic Republican Nicole Malliotakis wins New York primary to challenge Max Rose MORE (D-N.Y.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickKaren Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - States are pausing reopening Democrats release bilingual ads on police reform bill MORE (R-Pa.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewRepublican David Richter wins NJ primary in race to challenge Rep. Andy Kim New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Van Drew wins GOP primary in New Jersey MORE (D-N.J.), Steve WatkinsSteven (Steve) Charles WatkinsHispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses Topeka mayor for Congress The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Ex-Ukraine ambassador testifies Trump pushed for her ouster The Hill's Morning Report — The wall problem confronting Dems and the latest on Dorian MORE (R-Kan.); former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.); Frank Luntz; and select presidential candidates.

Details and how to RSVP:



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Oh mannn, I did not expect Warren to go in this direction with that question:

Make sure you watch the last 10 seconds. 




The House and Senate are out. 

President Trump is in Washington, D.C., and is heading to Lake Charles, La., later today. Vice President Pence has no public events on his schedule.

1:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the champions of the Little League Baseball World Series and the Little League Softball World Series.

2:45 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with the vice premier of China as the countries conduct a crucial round of trade talks.

4:10 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Lake Charles, La. 

Saturday, 12:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

October 23: Join The Hill is hosting an event, "Innovation Runway: The Cutting Edge of Aviation." Featured speakers: Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott Trump says he'll sign order with 'road to citizenship' for DACA recipients MORE (R-Texas), Rep. Rick LarsenRichard (Rick) Ray LarsenDemocrats fear US already lost COVID-19 battle Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump House GOP lawmaker breaks with party to back proxy voting MORE (D-Wash.) and FAA Deputy Administrator Daniel Elwell. Details and how to RSVP:



This morning: Democratic presidential candidate Steve BullockSteve BullockInternal poll shows tight battle in Montana House race The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE, the governor of Montana, spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & New England Council's "Politics & Eggs" breakfast. Livestream:

8 p.m. EDT: President Trump holds a campaign rally in Lake Charles, La., ahead of the state's gubernatorial election on Saturday. Livestream:



Today is National Sausage Pizza Day.


Make sure to look outside on Sunday night:

There will be a bright orange full moon on Sunday night. Details:


And to get your weekend off to the right start, here are two golden retrievers who are less than enthused about their Halloween costumes: