Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I’m Rebecca Kheel, and here’s your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.

 

THE TOPLINE: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House is on.

Despite reports that Erdogan was rethinking the trip in protest of congressional votes Turkey opposed, he and President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden allies see boost in Tuesday’s election results Sanders vows to end Trump’s policies as he unveils immigration proposal Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump MORE shored up plans for the trip in a phone call Wednesday.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he looked forward to welcoming Erdoğan to the White House on Nov. 13.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump also said the two discussed the situation in Syria, “the ending of hostilities with the Kurds” and the Turkish capture of ISIS fighters.

Background: The House — infuriated by Turkey’s offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, which was enabled by Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria — last week passed a bill to sanction Turkish officials and a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide.

Both measures infuriated Turkey, which does not recognize the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of 1.5 million Armenians as a genocide.

Flashback: Erdoğan’s last trip to the U.S. to meet with Trump was marred by violence when members of the president’s security team attacked a group of protesters outside the Turkish Embassy. The beatings were filmed by bystanders, and members of Erdoğan’s entourage were later charged.

Senators push sanctions: Later Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators released a letter pushing Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring To fight Mexican drug cartels, we must designate them Foreign Terrorist Organizations Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire MORE on reports of Turkish violations of the ceasefire in northern Syria. They urged the administration to respond with “tough economic sanctions.”

“On several occasions, President Trump has threatened to ‘destroy Turkey’s economy’ should Turkey violate its obligations,” the senators wrote in a letter to Pompeo on Wednesday. “In keeping with this position, we ask that the Administration take swift measures to enforce the October 17 agreement with tough economic sanctions. In the meantime, we will continue to work in Congress on the passage of a bipartisan sanctions bill to protect our allies and uphold the credibility of the United States.”

The letter was organized by Sens. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire MORE (D-Md.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham Senators push for deal on impeachment trial rules to avoid political brawl Republicans warn election results are ‘wake-up call’ for Trump Graham: Schiff comment on inquiry findings ‘full of crap’ MORE (R-S.C.) and was co-signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Senators urge ‘tough economic sanctions’ if Turkey violated ceasefire MORE (R-Tenn.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOn The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of ‘opportunity zones’ | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring MORE (D-N.H.).

 

Click Here: Geelong Cats Guernsey

IMPEACHMENT LATEST: Wednesday marked the third day of House Democrats publicly releasing transcripts from the closed-door impeachment depositions.

Wednesday’s release was the transcript of William Taylor, who serves as the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine.

Taylor is viewed as a key witness who previously testified in meticulous detail about what he considered an effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

The contours of that Oct. 22 deposition have been known for weeks, since Taylor’s opening statement was widely disseminated at the time. But the 324-page blow-by-blow transcript provides new layers of detail about Trump’s efforts to find dirt on political rivals — and the extent to which it alarmed veterans in the State Department.

“By mid-July, it was becoming clear to me that the [White House] meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,” Taylor testified.

Public hearings scheduled: Taylor is also scheduled to be the first witness in public impeachment hearings, which were announced Wednesday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump rails against House Democrats, impeachment inquiry during campaign rally: ‘It’s all a hoax’ Graham: Schiff comment on inquiry findings ‘full of crap’ Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings MORE (D-Calif.) said lawmakers initially plan to call in three witnesses as Democrats begin making their case to the public that Trump pressured a foreign power to investigate political opponents.

Schiff said Taylor and George Kent, a top State Department official, will testify next Wednesday. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is then expected to testify next Friday.

White House defense: The White House is doubling down on its insistence that there was no quid pro quo in Trump’s interactions with Ukraine in the face of a growing body of evidence that military aid to Kiev was contingent on the foreign making public statements about launching investigations sought by the president and his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiTrump rails against House Democrats, impeachment inquiry during campaign rally: ‘It’s all a hoax’ Graham: Schiff comment on inquiry findings ‘full of crap’ Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings MORE.

White House aides have seized on select portions of testimony from officials they see as bolstering their claims, while questioning the credibility of those who have described in closed-door depositions with House investigators an alleged quid pro quo related to Ukraine.

“The transcripts that were released … show exactly what the president has been saying all along, and that is that he did nothing wrong and there was no quid pro quo,” press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring White House to add two aides to lead impeachment messaging White House doubles down on ‘no quid pro quo’ MORE said Tuesday night on Fox Business Network.

“These transcripts are actually … good for the president,” she added.

The White House is also expected to add a pair of aides tasked with leading its impeachment communications team as the House prepares to go public with its inquiry into Trump.

Two officials confirmed to The Hill that former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh will join the White House communications staff “to work on proactive impeachment messaging and other special projects as they arise.”

Their roles will be temporary and they will be designated as special government employees, according to a senior administration official.

 

TOP DEFENSE APPROPS DEM RETIRING: Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection next year.

Visclosky, who has served in the House since 1985, currently chairs the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing defense spending.

“For those who wish to serve our next generation of citizens I would encourage each to apprise us of your vision for our area and the priorities you will dedicate your attention to at the national level,” Visclosky said in a statement. “Be for something and not against someone. Strive to overcome the intolerance that grips our nation and recognize that only through mutual respect, rational discourse, cooperation and fair play can we build a good and strong community and country.”

The politics: Visclosky’s 1st Congressional District, in northwestern Indiana, is expected to remain under Democratic control.

Visclosky handily won reelection last year by about 30 points over his GOP challenger.

While Trump carried Indiana by 19 points in 2016, Visclosky’s district went for Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders vows to end Trump’s policies as he unveils immigration proposal Trump rails against House Democrats, impeachment inquiry during campaign rally: ‘It’s all a hoax’ Overnight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring MORE by nearly 13 points.

Visclosky is the eighth House Democrat to date to announce they won’t seek reelection in 2020.

 

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

Defense One will hold the “Outlook 2020” conference at 8 a.m. at the Conrad Hotel. Speakers include Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the ‘whistleblower’ step forward Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (D-Conn.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). https://bit.ly/2Q0a65s

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a closed-door briefing on Afghanistan with special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at 11 a.m. https://bit.ly/2rkG6qV

 

ICYMI

— The Hill: Iran temporarily detained nuclear inspector: report

— The Hill: Pentagon chief to ask Trump not to intervene in war crimes cases: report

— The Hill: Opinion: The difference between the Cold War and today’s hot peace

— The Hill: Opinion: The US must support the Chinese people against the Chinese communists

— ProPublica: How Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOvernight Defense: Trump, Erdogan confirm White House meeting | Public impeachment hearings set for next week | Top defense appropriator retiring Senate Republicans can acquit Trump — but they cannot defend his conduct Republican wins Mississippi governor race MORE‘s office meddled in foreign aid to reroute money to favored Christian groups

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *