This week, we’re producing episodes of “The Daily” from The New York Times’s Washington bureau.
The impeachment inquiry is entering a pivotal phase as Congress returns from recess. The White House’s strategy to block the investigation is beginning to crumble, with five administration officials set to testify before House investigators.
On Monday, those committees heard testimony about why the president removed the longtime ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, just two months before the call in which he asked the Ukrainian president for a favor. Today, we look at how Ms. Yovanovitch ended up at the center of the impeachment process.
Guests: Sharon LaFraniere, an investigative reporter based in Washington, and Rachel Quester and Clare Toeniskoetter, producers for “The Daily.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:Marie L. Yovanovitch told House investigators that she was removed from office on the basis of “false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.” The effort to pressure Ukraine so alarmed John Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers. “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” an aide quoted him as saying of President Trump’s personal lawyer.
Turkey has invaded Kurdish-controlled territory in Syria, upending a fragile peace in the region and inciting sectarian bloodshed. The Trump administration has ordered a full evacuation of the 1,000 American troops that remain in northeastern Syria, leaving Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi and his Kurdish forces to rely on Russia and Syria for military assistance.
Who are the Kurds? How is it that Kurdish fighters came to be seen as allies to the United States and terrorists to Turkey? And what would the fall of Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria mean for the region?
Background coverage:Turkey’s invasion upended a fragile peace and risks enabling the resurgence of the Islamic State.American troops who fought alongside Kurdish allies have expressed regret after the U.S. abandoned posts in northeastern Syria. “It’s a stain on the American conscience,” one Army officer said.
Today on “The Daily,” we present Episode 5, Part 2 of “1619,” a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can find more information about it at nytimes.com/1619podcast.
The Provosts, a family of sugar-cane farmers in Louisiana, had worked the same land for generations. When it became harder and harder to keep hold of that land, June Provost and his wife, Angie, didn’t know why — and then a phone call changed their understanding of everything. In the finale of “1619,” we hear the rest of June and Angie’s story, and its echoes in a past case that led to the largest civil rights settlement in American history.
Guests: June and Angie Provost; Adizah Eghan and Annie Brown, producers for “1619”; and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard University and the author of “The Condemnation of Blackness.”
Background reading:“The number of black sugar-cane farmers in Louisiana is most likely in the single digits,” Khalil Gibran Muhammad writes in his essay on the history of the American sugar industry. “They are the exceedingly rare exceptions to a system designed to codify black loss.”The “1619” audio series is part of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. Read more from the project here.
A seven-word tweet in support of Hong Kong’s antigovernment protests by Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, triggered a furor in both China and the United States. The ensuing controversy revealed the unspoken rules of doing business with Beijing. Guest: Jim Yardley, the Europe editor of The New York Times and author of “Brave Dragons: A Chinese Basketball Team, an American Coach, and Two Cultures Clashing.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:An exhibition game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets in Shanghai this week was nearly canceled because of China’s dispute with the league. At the game, even longtime fans said they would choose patriotism over the N.B.A.President Trump declined to criticize China’s handling of the controversy, instead opting to publicly condemn two basketball coaches who have spoken out against him in the past.
The White House response to the impeachment inquiry has been to dismiss the allegations, deflect the facts and discredit the Democrats. It’s the same approach that Republicans used in 2018 to push through the Supreme Court nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh.
The New York Times reporters Kate Kelly and Robin Pogrebin, the authors of “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh,” talk to the Republican strategist who wrote the political playbook used — then and now.
Guest: Kate Kelly, a reporter for The Times covering Wall Street and Robin Pogrebin, a reporter on The Times’s Culture Desk, spoke to Mike Davis, a Republican strategist. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:The White House’s declaration of war against the House impeachment inquiry this week has set the stage for a constitutional clash with far-reaching consequences.Mr. Davis crafted a “brass knuckles” approach to help confirm conservative Supreme Court justices.Here’s the latest on the impeachment inquiry.
Days after moderate House Democrats announced they would support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, a recess began and they returned home to their swing districts. Now they would face their constituents. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin of Michigan went to three town halls last week. We went with her. Guest: Representative Elissa Slotkin, Democrat of Michigan. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:Democrats face a tricky balancing act in battleground districts: protecting political gains from 2018 while selling voters on an inquiry into the president.
President Trump vowed to withdraw United States troops from the Syrian border with Turkey. But such a move could harm one of America’s most loyal partners in the Middle East, the Kurds, who have been crucial to fighting the Islamic State. Guest: Eric Schmitt, who covers terrorism and national security for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:President Trump’s announcement raised fears that he was giving Turkey the go-ahead to move against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.The American pullback could create a void in the region that could benefit Iran, Russia and the Islamic State.American troops have “operated between two allies: Turkey and the Kurds,” our colleagues write in a news analysis. “The problem for Washington has been that the two hate each other.”
The House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry of President Trump called their first witness: Kurt Volker, a top American diplomat involved in the negotiations with Ukraine. We look at what Mr. Volker’s testimony — and the text messages he turned over to Congress — revealed about the inquiry’s direction. Guest: Julian E. Barnes, who covers national security for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:A text exchange appears to show a dispute among American diplomats over whether President Trump was seeking a quid pro quo from Ukraine.A second whistle-blower, said to have firsthand knowledge about the president’s dealings with Ukraine, has come forward.
Today on “The Daily,” we present Episode 5, Part 1 of “1619,” a New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones. You can find more information about it at nytimes.com/1619podcast.
More than a century and a half after the promise of 40 acres and a mule, the story of black land ownership in America remains one of loss and dispossession. June and Angie Provost, who trace their family line to the enslaved workers on Louisiana’s sugar-cane plantations, know this story well. Guests: The Provosts, who spoke with Adizah Eghan and Annie Brown, producers for “1619.”
Background reading:The story of the Provosts contains “echoes of the policies and practices that have been used since Reconstruction to maintain the racial caste system that sugar slavery helped create,” Khalil Gibran Muhammad writes in his essay on the history of sugar in the United States.The “1619” audio series is part of The 1619 Project, a major initiative from The Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. Read more from the project here.
The investigation of Harvey Weinstein that helped give rise to the #MeToo movement had seemed, for a moment, to unite the country in redefining the rules around sex and power. But as a backlash emerged, the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh became a kind of national trial of the movement.
On the one-year anniversary of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, we look at new reporting on the story of the woman at the center of it — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — and the journey that led to her searing testimony in Washington. Guests: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, investigative reporters for The New York Times and the authors of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.”
For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background coverage:Last month, several Democratic presidential candidates called for the impeachment of Justice Kavanaugh after The Times published new information about allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
In 2018, President Trump hired Rudolph W. Giuliani, his longtime friend and the former New York City mayor, to In 2018, President Trump hired Rudolph W. Giuliani, his longtime friend and the former mayor of New York City, to defend him against the special counsel’s Russia investigation. So how is it that Mr. Giuliani helped get the president entangled in another investigation, this time involving Ukraine?
Our colleague investigated the remarkable behind-the-scenes campaign, encouraged by Mr. Trump and executed by Mr. Giuliani, to gather and disseminate political dirt from a foreign country. Guest: Kenneth P. Vogel, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:The story of a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine unfolded against the backdrop of three elections — this year’s vote in Ukraine and the 2016 and 2020 presidential races in the United States.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed he listened in on the phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry.Follow our live updates from the investigation in Washington.
As China celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule, scenes of pageantry, pride and unity in Beijing contrasted with the firebombs, rubber bullets and mass protests in Hong Kong. We look at what this day of contradictions tells us about the simmering unrest in the territory. Guests: Javier C. Hernández, a China correspondent for The New York Times reporting from Hong Kong, spoke with Natalie Kitroeff, a business reporter for The Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:The violent confrontations in Hong Kong have presented a challenge to the image of unshakable control that President Xi Jinping of China has sought to project.As an American journalist in Beijing, our colleague was accustomed to a watchful Chinese government. But never before had the police insisted on occupying his home.A timeline of the summer of protests in Hong Kong: how they started, why they grew and how the government has responded.
Three past American presidents have confronted the possibility that members of their own party would support their impeachment. Only one, Richard M. Nixon, left office because of it, when Republicans eventually abandoned him. But what can we expect this time, in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump?
Guests: Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times and an author of “Impeachment: An American History,” in conversation with Natalie Kitroeff, a business reporter for The Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:The impeachment inquiry was prompted by a July call between President Trump and the Ukrainian leader. Details of a second call have now emerged, in which Mr. Trump pressed the Australian prime minister to help investigate the Mueller inquiry’s origins.In a news analysis, Peter Baker explains how preventing foreign influence is one of the oldest issues in America’s democratic experiment.
It took just days for a whistle-blower complaint to prompt an impeachment inquiry of President Trump. But it took weeks for the concerns detailed in the complaint to come to light — and they nearly never did. Guest: Julian E. Barnes, who covers national security for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:The Trump administration’s handling of the accusations is certain to be scrutinized by lawmakers.President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory was “completely debunked.”
Nine-year-old Ella was terrified of tornadoes and getting sick. So she did something that was even scarier than her fears: confront them. Guests: Ella Maners and her mother, Katie Maners, and Julia Longoria, a producer for “The Daily.” For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:Ella spent a week at Fear Facers Summer Camp, a day camp in Florida that helps children learn to deal with obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders.
The whistle-blower complaint at the center of the impeachment inquiry was released on Thursday as the Trump administration official who had declined to turn it over — Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence — testified before Congress. Here’s the latest from Capitol Hill. Guest: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, the congressional editor for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:The complaint accused President Trump of pressuring Ukraine’s leader to investigate a political rival and alleged that the White House tried to “lock down” the transcript of the call.Here’s what we’ve learned about the whistle-blower.Read a declassified version of the complaint, with annotations, and eight takeaways from the document.
The White House released a reconstructed transcript of President Trump’s phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the leader of Ukraine. In it, Mr. Trump asks for an investigation into Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential 2020 rival. We consider what that request means for the impeachment inquiry now underway. Guest: Michael S. Schmidt, who covers national security and federal investigations for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:Different interpretations of the phone call are shaping a debate over whether the president committed high crimes and misdemeanors.Read the full declassified record of the call, with annotations.Here’s what we know so far about the whistle-blower complaint that set off this controversy.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun a formal impeachment investigation of President Trump, saying he “must be held accountable.” We spoke to our colleague who was at the announcement and to one of the lawmakers who helped convince Ms. Pelosi that it was time. Guests: Nicholas Fandos, who covers Congress for The New York Times, and Representative Mikie Sherrill, Democrat of New Jersey. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:Though the outcome is uncertain, the inquiry raises the possibility that Mr. Trump could become only the fourth president in American history to face impeachment.After months of caution from House Democrats, why is this happening now? “They believe the new accusations against Mr. Trump are simple and serious enough to be grasped,” our colleague Carl Hulse writes in a news analysis.Here’s how the impeachment process works.
President Trump vowed to crack down on undocumented immigration and empower the Border Patrol. Three years later, the agency is the target of outrage, protest and investigation into its mission and conduct, and many of the agents who have supported Mr. Trump say that morale is low. We spoke with one of them. Guest: Art Del Cueto, a Border Patrol agent in Arizona and vice president of the National Border Patrol Council. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:Overwhelmed by desperate migrants and criticized for mistreating those in their care, many agents, whose work has long been viewed as a ticket to the middle class, have grown frustrated and bitter.
Over the weekend, reports of a secret whistle-blower complaint against President Trump turned into allegations that the president had courted foreign interference from Ukraine to hurt a leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Trump called the allegations a “witch hunt” and accused Mr. Biden of corruption.
Guest: Michael S. Schmidt, who covers national security and federal investigations for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
Background reading:President Trump acknowledged that he discussed Mr. Biden during a phone call with Ukraine’s president, but he did not directly confirm news reports that he had pressured the foreign leader for an investigation.Here’s what we know about the role of Mr. Biden and his son Hunter in the controversy.