The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — Trump lifting Turkey sanctions after claiming 'permanent' ceasefire

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The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — Trump lifting sanctions on Turkey | Defends decision on Syria in televised address | McConnell urges GOP to challenge Dems' impeachment process | Graham to offer resolution condemning impeachment inquiry | Defense official testifying today | Dems claim impeachment game changer | Zuckerberg back before Congress | Clinton 2020 whisper campaign | Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosThe new American center Kickstarter union seen as breakthrough for tech activism Hillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative MORE surprises DC high school | Update on Popeyes' chicken sandwich



Wave goodbye to sanctions on Turkey:

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE just announced he is lifting all sanctions imposed on Turkey after the country agreed to a permanent ceasefire in northern Syria.

Watch Trump’s remarks: Here’s the livestream:



Trump’s announcement: “Early this morning, the government of Turkey informed my administration that they would be stopping combat and their offensive in Syria and making the ceasefire permanent. And it will, indeed, be permanent ... So the sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with.” 

A key line from Trump: “Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand.” 

On Americans in the Middle East: “How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts? After all of the precious blood and treasure America has poured into the deserts of the Middle East, I am committed to pursuing a different course. One that leads to victory for America.” 



“Trump weeks ago announced the removal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, a decision that precipitated a Turkish military incursion against Kurdish forces in the region that had been U.S. allies in the fight against ISIS. The decision was heavily criticized by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, and led to a House resolution passed with bipartisan support that rebuked Trump.  Lawmakers have also called for sanctions on Turkey for its offensive against the Kurds.”


It's Wednesday. 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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Democrats think they found their 'aha!' moment:

William Taylor, the head of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, gave explosive testimony yesterday that Democrats called a game changer in the impeachment inquiry.

What William Taylor told lawmakers: Taylor said "he was told nearly $400 million in military aid was contingent on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders defends Castro comments in wake of backlash from some Democrats Klobuchar releases medical report that says she's in 'very good health' Candidates face pressure to exit presidential race MORE, his son Hunter Biden, the Burisma energy company and 2016 election interference." 

He also told investigators: "[T]he push to make President Zelensky publicly commit to investigations of Burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election showed how the official foreign policy of the United States was undercut by the regular efforts led by Mr. Giuliani." 





Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Photo of her arriving:

Why Democrats want to hear from Laura Cooper: Cooper has worked in the federal government for almost two decades. "Some Democrats have said witnesses like Cooper are helpful for building a deeper understanding of how things work behind the scenes with the administration's Ukraine policy."


'Rebuking the rebuke' is the mantra for 2019:

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Five things to know about emerging US, Taliban peace deal MORE (R-S.C.) is introducing a resolution to rebuke the impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.

Graham told Fox News's Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityO'Reilly weighs in on Warren-Bloomberg exchange on nondisclosure agreements The Hill's review of John Solomon's columns on Ukraine Carville fires back at Sanders for 'hack' slam: 'At least I'm not a communist' MORE: "This resolution puts the Senate on record condemning the House. ... Here's the point of the resolution: Any impeachment vote based on this process, to me, is illegitimate, is unconstitutional, and should be dismissed in the Senate without a trial." 

Graham's reasoning: "We cannot allow future presidents and this president to be impeached based on an inquiry in the House that's never been voted upon, that does not allow the president to confront the witnesses against him, to call witnesses on his behalf, and cross-examine people who are accusing him of misdeeds." 


MEANWHILE FROM Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Bottom Line The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge MORE -- DON'T FORGET WHO THE REAL ENEMY IS: 

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging Republicans to focus on Democrats and their tactics in seeking to mount an effective defense of President Trump on impeachment."


Do it, do it, do it

*pause to breathe*

Do it, do it, do it, do it:

Via The Hill's Jonathan Easley, "Current and former administration officials are urging the White House to hire a new chief strategist as President Trump's allies grow frustrated with the administration's response to the House impeachment inquiry."

Who is the point person now: Acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE

When was the last time Trump had a chief strategist??: Trump has not had a chief strategist since Stephen Bannon was forced out more than two years ago. 

Why Trump does not want an impeachment "war room": A source close to Trump says he believes it would make him look politically weak.



Well hello there, Zuck:

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate On The Money: GAO to investigate Trump aid for farmers | Bloomberg calls for bolstering Dodd-Frank | Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Soros: Zuckerberg, Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook MORE is on Capitol Hill today testifying on his company's plans to create a digital currency called Libra. But lawmakers will also use the opportunity to press him on a number of controversies involving Facebook. 

Livestream of the hearing:

Live blog of updates:



On why he wants to start Libra: "I actually don't know if Libra is going to work. But I believe that it's important to try new things. ... That's what has made America successful and it's why our tech industry has led the world." Watch:

Zuckerberg understands the optics: "I get that I'm not the ideal messenger for this right now," Zuckerberg told lawmakers. "I'm sure there are a lot of people who wish it were anyone but Facebook who were helping to propose this." Watch his full reasoning:



The perfect shot of his empty seat: Here's a look at photographers getting shots of Zuckerberg's seat and name plate. Photo:

Video of Zuckerberg entering the room:



The House Homeland Security Committee voted to advance a bill to combat extremist content online.

Keep in mind: This is one of the first legislative efforts to combat extremism online after recent mass shooters had ties to online white supremacism.

Opposition to the bill?: Yes, Republicans on the committee and civil liberties groups oppose the measure.




Bezos showed up at a D.C. high school: 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was the surprise guest at Dunbar High School on Monday to announce its Future Engineer Program.


OK, now watch the kid in the black hoodie sweatshirt: Hahahahha, his reaction.

That boy then spoke to Bezos. Watch:



Lol, I love this lede sentence:

Via The Hill's Amie Parnes, "Republicans just can't quit Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBloomberg called Warren 'scary,' knocked Obama's first term in leaked audio Trump trails Democratic challengers among Catholic voters: poll Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime MORE."

How so: "In recent weeks, as Clinton has made the rounds to promote a new book, the rumors have come fast and furious from the GOP: She's running for president again. ... The whisper campaign, potentially setting up a rematch between Trump and Clinton, has been going strong ever since." 



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Wait… good point. WHY?:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is heading to Pittsburgh for the afternoon. Vice President Pence is in Michigan.

1 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leaves Washington, D.C., for Waukegan, Ill.

1:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump leaves for Pittsburgh.

1:30 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

2:45 p.m. EDT: The Senate votes. The Senate's full schedule today:

5:30 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

6:30 p.m. EDT: President Trump gets back to the White House.

7:20 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gets back to Washington, D.C.



10 a.m. EDT: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill. Livestream:

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump delivered remarks on Syria. Livestream:

2 p.m. EDT: The House holds a hearing on President Trump's Syria policy. Livestream:

3:40 p.m. EDT: President Trump speaks at the Ninth Annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh. Livestream:

4 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence gives a speech on trade at the Uline Headquarters. Livestream:

8:07 p.m. EDT: Game 2 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. Game 2 preview from



Today is National Boston Cream Pie Day.


Don't get too excited, but the Popeyes chicken sandwich may be back soon!:

Thrillist's Kat Thompson did some digging about when the viral Popeyes chicken sandwich will return and it sounds like it will be soon. Details -- and photo of the beloved sandwich:


And because you made it this far, meet Elsa the baby koala: