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The whistleblower report is released; US intelligence confirms Syrian government chemical weapons attack in May.
Plus: Our Netflix show, Explained, is back for its second season! Catch new episodes each Thursday.
A complaint and a committee
- The whistleblower’s complaint in the unfolding Trump-Ukraine scandal contains two main allegations: One, that during the phone call with Ukranian President Zelensky on July 25, President Trump attempted to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, and Matt Zapotosky]
- And two, that senior White House officials tried to cover up the phone call — moving the transcript of the conversation in question to a separate, classified storage system. [NYT / Eileen Sullivan]
- What we already about the conversation, according to the memo the White House released Wednesday, suggests the whistleblower’s account was correct. But the allegation about the coverup was new. [Vox / Andrew Prokop and Today, Explained]
- Meanwhile, Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where Democrats pushed him on concerns about the process of turning over the complaint. [FiveThirtyEight / Sarah Frostenson]
- Throughout the three-hour hearing, Maguire maintained that the Trump administration did not ask him to withhold the memo. [ABC News / Benjamin Siegal]
- The complaint is likely to add more fuel to the House’s quest to impeach Trump. A new poll suggests Democrats are increasingly on their side — and more Americans say they support impeachment than those who don’t. [HuffPost / Ariel Edwards-Levy]
Syria chemical attack confirmed by US intel
- The US intelligence community confirmed reports of a Syrian chemical weapon attack that occurred in May. [Wall Street Journal / Michael R. Gordon]
- This attack is thought to have wounded four and is the first direct breach of the ban on chemical weapons in Syria set by the Trump administration. [The Guardian]
- Reports of the attack, like those spoken to at the time by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, remained unconfirmed up until today due to lack of documentation of the attack. [Reuters / John Irish]
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the finding along with an additional pledge of $4.5 million to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the investigation of other chemical weapon attack claims. [AP]
- Going to the moon again is expensive and difficult. But it might be worth the $30 billion price tag. [Vox / Byrd Pinkerton, Dylan Matthews, and Brian Resnick]
- Move over, crying babies. Window shades are the newest airline hot topic for debate. [Intelligencer / Josh Barro]
- Out with a doctor’s note: A German court has ruled hangovers are an illness. [NYT / Mike Ives]
- Becoming a state isn’t just as easy as adding a star to the flag. Here’s why the odds are stacked against DC. [Vox / Alan Greenblatt]
- California chicken owners are making headlines with designer chicken coops. The trend saw one owner shell out $14,000. [LA Times / Lisa Boone]
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” [President Trump remarking on the whistleblower complaint about his controversial conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky]
Watch this: Cults, explained
How do cults lure people in and exert controls? Learn a cult’s telltale signs, and how loneliness and life online make indoctrination easier than ever. Stream Cults, Explained now on Netflix.
Author: Hannah Brown