Subscribe to The Bullet to get a quick shot of daily news to your inbox.
✨ Good morning! Today is Wednesday, October 23, 2019, and pardon our potty mouth, but we do some of our best thinking from here.
• The Background
BULLETIN: TAILOR-MADE TESTIMONY
The ongoing Ukraine scandal and subsequent impeachment inquiry just got uglier for President Trump. The United States’ top diplomat in Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., spilled the beans behind Trump’s contentious conversation with Ukraine’s leader. Taylor said the president held up vital security aid until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to investigate Trump’s political rivals and the election interference in 2016. According to those in attendance, Taylor recited his testimony with great detail, clearly alluding to the obvious quid pro quo measure that Trump has repeatedly denied. His testimony served as a stark juxtaposition from Trump and his allies’ assertions that there was never any bribery or trade-off involved in the conversation with Ukraine, particularly in regards to Joe Biden and his son. New York Times
• What Else You Need to Know
Taylor also indicated that Trump told President Zelensky he would not be invited to the White House for an important meeting unless he made a public announcement that his country was investigating Hunter Biden’s involvement in Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that he sat on the board of. One lawmaker who was present for Taylor’s testimony said Trump evidently drew a “very direct line” between U.S. foreign policy and his personal and political objectives.
• What’s Next?
Speaking of scandal, the anonymous senior White House official who wrote the infamous 2018 New York Times op-ed about the internal resistance to the president’s agenda is publishing a book titled, A Warning. It will be released Nov. 19. (We’re…A Waiting.)
• Suspicious Deaths
Police in Britain are investigating after 39 bodies (38 adults and one teenager) were found in the back of a truck in Waterglade Industrial Park in Essex. The driver of the vehicle, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, has been arrested on the suspicion of murder. According to officials, he travelled to England from Bulgaria, and entered the country on Saturday. BBC News
• World: Shaking Hands
Just as Syria’s five-day “ceasefire” draws to a close, Turkey and Russia are united in what they called a “historic” agreement over military action against Kurds in northern Syria. The two powers agreed on the parameters of a proposed “safe zone” which would exclude Kurdish forces and their weapons, superseding the deal reached between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan less than a week ago. Meanwhile, the UN says more than 7,100 refugees have fled to Iraq from Syria within the last week, following Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region. ABC News
• World: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
The U.K.’s three-year Brexit struggle doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a critical vote in Parliament yesterday, just 15 minutes after his first victory. MPs initially backed the Withdrawal Agreement he struck with the European Union last week, but in a critical follow-up vote, lawmakers refused to fast-track the process that would have allowed Johnson to make his hard Oct. 31 deadline. MPs argue they need more than three days to review the deal. Following the vote, EU Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, he would recommend the EU leaders accept the U.K. request for an extension. Meanwhile, a source told BBC News a delay may trigger an election. Either way, this is far from over. BBC News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“This makes my heart so happy!”
– Kim Kardashian West, announcing that her husband Kanye West donated a casual $1 million to Kim’s favourite criminal justice reform charities in honour of her 39th birthday. CNN
• New News
From shipping packages to starting a streaming service, Amazon is widening its scope even further to include a news aggregation app for Fire TV and tablets. The app allows users to customize their news experience from a variety of different outlets. Users will choose which sources they prefer to get their content from, and by simply saying “play the news” Alexa will read a personalized newscast using the selected outlets. The app is currently being rolled out to Fire TV users in the U.S., but it’s expected to expand outside the country in the near future. (That’s good news.) TechCrunch
• Basketball: Nothing But Net
The 2019 NBA Champions hosted their first at-home game of the season last night, taking on the New Orleans Pelicans, sans Kawhi Leonard. It was a close game through four quarters, but the Raptors pulled it out in OT, winning 130 to 122. Off the court, the team also got some great news yesterday. It was confirmed that Raptors president Masai Ujiri won’t face criminal charges for an on-court incident that happened after Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, CA, on June 13. Ujiri was accused of shoving and hitting a sheriff’s deputy as he tried to get on the court after the win. The DA’s office released a statement on Tuesday saying Ujiri met with their office and that they were focused on resolutions that “were better handled in a setting outside the courtroom.” (Score.)
• This is Marvellous
Your favourite maker of superhero stories is now stepping into the podcast scene. Marvel Entertainment and SiriusXM announced a multi-year partnership in which Marvel will produce a number of exclusive podcasts for SiriusXM and Pandora. The podcasts will feature both scripted and unscripted series, and themed live events. Upcoming programming includes four new scripted series based on Wolverine, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Star-Lord. The podcasts will debut in 2020. Variety
• A Real Bird(en)
Plane that can survive a nuclear attack: Check. Plane that can fly in the sky with birds: Uhh…a “Doomsday Plane” built by the U.S. Navy to be strong enough to survive a nuclear attack came crashing down thanks to a single bird. The aircraft was brought down during a “touch and go” manoeuvre, when a bird was sucked into one of the plane’s four engines (talk about the end times for that bird). The incident resulted in millions of dollars in damage to the E-6B Mercury. No one was injured (other than the bird, of course). And hey, at least this plane didn’t have to land in the Hudson River. Global News
• Oh Baby, Baby
Believe it or not, it’s been 20 years since Britney Spears released her iconic hit, “… Baby One More Time.”
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• SoftBank is taking control of WeWork, hopefully putting an end (or a pause) to the company’s ongoing struggles. Though the terms of the deal are not yet known, it’s likely that the company’s founder, Adam Neumann, will get a massive payout.
• Facebook announced its plans to address California’s housing crisis, pledging $1 billion in a package of grants, loans and land for 20,000 housing units for middle- and lower-income households.
• If you’re like us, you use Slack as your central work hub. Well, you’ll be glad to know that the company announced it’s integrating more functional and interactive third-party apps.
• Dress Code
Did we just turn back time?