Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
Remember: in the midst of all the craziness, there are still some really good things happening in our country right now…
🦅 U.S. NEWS
Call of Rudy
Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, delivered testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday in the latest round of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry. Most outlets across the political spectrum covered how Mr. Sondland directly implicated members of the Trump administration in a pressure campaign on Ukraine to launch investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals. This includes Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Here’s how the coverage differed:
- On the left, The New York Times and CNN said Mr. Sondland’s direct implication also included President Trump himself, calling the testimony a “bombshell”, seizing on the quote in which Sondland said he was working with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the “express direction of the President of the United States.”
- On the right, outlets like The Blaze and Fox News didn’t deny that Sondland directly said that there was a quid pro quo in his opening statement, but they shifted most of the blame on to Giuliani. Both outlets highlighted the fact that the President never told Sondland personally about any pre-conditions for anything.
The Takeaway: multiple witnesses at this point have testified that they were forced to coordinate Ukraine policy with Giuliani despite him having no official role in government. So will Rudy answer the call and testify? Potentially falling on his sword for President Trump? Not without a direct subpoena and potential legal showdown first. That being said, Rudy Giuliani says he believes President Donald Trump will remain loyal to him but has joked that he has “very, very good insurance” should the president decide, as a reporter says, to “throw him under a bus.”
Google to Restrict Political Ad Targeting on Its Platforms
Google said Wednesday it plans to stop allowing highly targeted political ads on its platform, a move that comes as tech giants are drawing scrutiny for their rules on ads that relate to electoral outcomes or mention federal or state political parties. Google will roll out the ban within a week in the U.K., in advance of a Dec. 12 general election. The ban will take effect in the EU by the end of the year and in the rest of the world on Jan. 6. What to watch: Google followed Twitter, Facebook might be next. – WSJ (subscription)
U.S. taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 conflicts
American taxpayers so far spent $6.4 trillion on costs related to and caused by post-9/11 wars and conflicts in more than 80 countries, according to a new report called out by Axios. By the numbers: Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the longest war in U.S. history — has cost around $978 billion. Conflicts in Iraq and Syria have totaled about $880 billion. Others in the U.S., Europe, Africa and elsewhere, averaged more than $100 billion each year. The takeaway: even if the U.S. withdraws from major war zones by the end of fiscal year 2020 the conflicts have been largely paid for with deficit spending. This means their total cost will continue to rise from loan interest. – Axios / Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Prince Andrew Steps Back From Public Duties Over Ties To Jeffrey Epstein
Battling criticism over his association with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Britain’s Prince Andrew said Wednesday that he is stepping away from his public duties “for the foreseeable future.” The takeaway: if you haven’t seen it already, Andrew gave an hourlong interview with the BBC after which he was called “entitled, obtuse and shameful” over a perceived lack of sympathy for Epstein’s victims. Watch the interview highlights. – BBC / The Guardian
Israel moves closer to third election in 12 months after coalition government fails to form
Israel has missed a Wednesday deadline to form a new coalition government, pushing the country toward a possible third election in less than a year and prolonging the political paralysis that has gripped the nation for the past year. Why it matters: The failure by military chief, Benny Gantz, provided a new lifeline for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is eager to remain in office as he prepares for an expected indictment on corruption charges. – Fox News
Bolivia Releases Audio It Says Proves Morales Has Incited Food Blockades
Bolivia’s interim government released audio Wednesday in which exiled former President Evo Morales appears to be personally coordinating efforts to deprive cities of food and plotting his return to the crisis-racked Andean nation. Details: The audio was released a day after a bloody confrontation between the military and supporters of Mr. Morales who were blocking fuel from reaching the capital. At least eight people were killed. The Long Read: Bolivia’s Evo Morales Wants to Stay in the Game. – WSJ / New Yorker
GM accuses rival Fiat Chrysler of bribe scheme in lawsuit
General Motors sued Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Wednesday, accusing its rival automaker of corrupting labor negotiations with a long-running union bribery scheme. Quick summary: GM says they’ve suffered “massive monetary damage in the form of higher costs” because of Fiat’s bribes to top United Auto Workers officials. GM filed the suit less than a month after the end of a 40-day strike by the company’s 47,000 UAW workers that cost the firm about $2 billion. Why it matters: Fiat is currently attempting to merge with the French automaker PSA, home to the Peugeot and Citroën brands, and is also negotiating with the UAW. Fiat thinks the suit is intended to disrupt this merger. – NY Post
Maple Leafs fire coach Mike Babcock
The struggling Toronto Maple Leafs have fired head coach Mike Babcock. Leafs president Brendan Shanahan announced Wednesday that Babcock had been relieved of his duties, and that AHL Toronto Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe has been named the club’s new head coach. Big picture: Toronto has been one of the NHL’s biggest disappointments this season. The Leafs have just one regulation victory since Oct. 26, and are in the midst of a six-game winless streak. – ESPN
DoorDash hit with lawsuit alleging it misled customers over driver tips
Yesterday the attorney general of Washington, DC filed a lawsuit against food delivery startup, Door Dash, saying it used “deceptive” practices. The suit alleges DoorDash misled customers, making them believe their tips were going to delivery workers when the money actually went into the company’s pockets. Why it matters: this isn’t a new issue for DoorDash or the industry. DoorDash faced intense backlash over its tipping practices earlier this year, and in late August the company said it would change the model. Instacart also faced similar pressure and changed its practices. – CNET / Crunchbase
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1877: Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph
The American inventor announces his invention of the phonograph, a way to record and play back sound.
Today I Learned that there is a secret apartment at the top of the Eiffel Tower built by original designer Gustave Eiffel. It’s located on the third level. He used it for quiet reflection, experiments, and also for some entertaining prestigious guests like Thomas Edison.
🇺🇸 TOP TAGS
Did you know that Lancaster County, Pennsylvania was capital for a day? It’s true – Lancaster, America’s oldest inland city, was the nation’s capital when the Continental Congress met downtown for one day in 1777.
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