It’s Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Impeachment report
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have released their impeachment report, accusing President Donald Trump of a “scheme” involving pressuring Ukraine for his own personal and political gain, and obstructing Congress by instructing the White House to stonewall the inquiry.
On today’s “Start Here,” ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran talks about the case laid out by Committee Chairman Adam Schiff in releasing the report, “This was his moment, it felt like, to try his best to communicate what he believes is the very tremendous gravity of the charges against the president and the impact it would have on the rule of law and our democracy going forward if the president was allowed to just walk away from the conduct that Schiff believes the evidence shows he engaged in.”
In a separate report, Republicans on the committee argue there’s no evidence that the president acted to help his own re-election. Trump, overseas in London for the NATO summit, blasted Schiff and Democrats, insisting, “I did nothing wrong.”
The impeachment inquiry enters a new phase today with the House Judiciary Committee holding its first public hearing. The White House has rejected Democrats’ offer to participate.
2. Harris suspends campaign
In a major shake-up in the 2020 race, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., has suspended her presidential run amid reports that her campaign was in turmoil.
There are now 15 candidates in the running for the Democratic nomination, and now with Harris dropping out of the race, the remaining six hopefuls who have qualified for this month’s debate are all white, FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver notes on the podcast.
“I think you’re going to start seeing a round of stories about how is this process working,” he says. “Is the process going well when candidates like Kamala Harris drop out two months before Iowa votes, and then you have [Mike] Bloomberg and [Tom] Steyer kind of crashing, so to speak, the party.”
3. Trade tensions
There are new trade tensions between the U.S. and France as the Trump administration threatens tariffs on $2.4 billion in French imports in retaliation for France’s taxes on U.S. tech companies.
In a photo op on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, Trump downplayed the dispute and predicted, “I think we’ll probably be able to work it out.”
But Wall Street slumped as investors reacted to the president’s comments about waiting until after the 2020 election to make a trade deal with China, according to ABC News White House Correspondent Karen Travers in London.
“[Trump] says he’s more than willing to wait this out and not settle for something, but the Chinese say well we’re the ones that don’t have a re-election next year, so the pressure is more on President Trump,” she tells the podcast.
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘Strange incident’: A dog in the United Kingdom inadvertently started a kitchen fire when it somehow managed to turn on a microwave in its owner’s home.
‘Time to leave the roost’: Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin — who built the tech giant 20 years ago with servers in a garage — announced on Tuesday that they are stepping down as CEO and president, respectively, from the company.
‘Of the highest order’: A New York federal appeals court ruled Tuesday morning that Deutsche Bank must turn over copies of President Donald Trump’s financial records subpoenaed by the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, marking the latest blow to the president’s effort to keep his financial records private.
‘New interest in the case’: Decades after a teenage girl was stabbed to death at her grandparents’ home, DNA and genetic genealogy have been used to identify her suspected killer — a man dead for years.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
‘Why Kamala Harris’s campaign failed’: Kamala Harris dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday, and she’s probably the most significant candidate to do so to date. The senator from California was polling about as well as any candidate outside of the four leading contenders (Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren). She was one of only seven candidates who have qualified for the December debate. And in a field that has become dominated by white and male candidates, she was one of the few female and nonwhite contenders.
Doff your cap:
A “perfectly healthy” rescue puppy with a surprising physical feature that makes him extra special has now been adopted by the founder of the organization who made him famous.
Narwhal, the 10-week-old furball who has a small tail-like growth on his forehead, was adopted by Rochelle Steffen, the founder of Mac’s Mission — a nonprofit dog rescue that predominately helps pups with special needs.
“He had x-rays and a vet visit … and is a perfectly healthy puppy, with an extra tail on his face,” Steffen said. “There is no medical need to remove it currently and it is a third the size of his actual tail.”
“We really love our little Narwhal and the others he is helping here with the attention,” said Steffen.