Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Your Wednesday Briefing

Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019 | View in browser
Good morning.
We’re covering today’s impeachment hearing, the withdrawal of Kamala Harris from the Democratic presidential race, and an alarming report about climate change.
By Chris Stanford

Impeachment inquiry begins its next phase

The House Judiciary Committee is set to hear from four legal scholars today as it considers whether to approve articles of impeachment against President Trump.
Testimony is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern and last into the afternoon. The Times will stream the hearing live, and our journalists will provide real-time context. Here are the latest updates.
The hearing comes a day after the House Intelligence Committee released its impeachment report, which said that by pressuring Ukraine to help him in next year’s election, Mr. Trump had “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States.” Read the report and five takeaways.
Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, called the panel’s findings the conclusion of a “one-sided sham process.”
Closer look: The report, which incorporates more than two months of testimony from diplomats and administration officials, offered few new details. But it did itemize more than a dozen phone calls this spring between government officials and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was working to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
The Daily: Today’s episode is about the start of today’s Judiciary Committee hearings.
Another angle: A federal appeals court said Tuesday that Deutsche Bank must turn over detailed documents about Mr. Trump’s finances to two congressional committees. The ruling will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court.
President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Trump in London on Tuesday.  Al Drago for The New York Times

A role reversal for President Trump and Europe

Mr. Trump found himself on the defensive on Tuesday at a meeting of NATO leaders in London, after a tense exchange on trade and terrorism with President Emmanuel Macron of France.
Mr. Trump was also unusually tight-lipped about British politics, saying of next week’s election, “I don’t want to complicate it.”
“For a president who prides himself on being the Great Disrupter, it was a startling turnabout,” our London bureau chief writes in a news analysis.
Mr. Trump is set to meet today with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany as part of the gathering, which celebrates NATO’s 70th anniversary. Here are the latest updates.
Related: A brief video showed the leaders of Canada, France and Britain at a reception at Buckingham Palace, where they appeared to commiserate over Mr. Trump’s extended comments to reporters on Tuesday.
Another angle: Mr. Trump said a trade deal with China might not be finalized until after the 2020 election, rattling the markets.
Senator Kamala Harris vowed to continue working to defeat President Trump.  Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times

What’s next for Kamala Harris?

Her withdrawal from the Democratic presidential campaign sets off a race between the other candidates to secure her roster of endorsements and staff members.
The senator from California is also likely to become a top-tier option for the party’s vice-presidential nomination.
“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Ms. Harris wrote in an email to supporters on Tuesday. “But I want to be clear with you: I am still very much in this fight.”
Perspective: In an opinion piece for The Times, a historian from California considers what Ms. Harris’s doomed campaign says about the state’s politics.
Another angle: Joe Biden has struggled to generate enthusiasm in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state. His “No Malarkey” bus tour is an attempt to win over rural voters.
Scientists say disasters like the recent wildfires in Australia are made worse by climate change.  Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Climate change is accelerating

“Things are getting worse,” said Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, which on Tuesday issued its annual report on the state of the global climate.
Seas are warming and rising faster, putting more cities at risk of flooding, and glaciers are melting at a pace that many researchers didn’t expect for decades.
The report, released at the United Nations’ annual climate conference in Madrid, said that this past decade will almost certainly be the warmest on record. (Read the report here.)
Related: Global coal consumption declined this year, but a surge in the use of oil and natural gas pushed greenhouse gas emissions to a new high.
For you: Our Climate Fwd: email newsletter offers weekly recommendations for a greener life.

If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it

Title IX athletes pay it forward

Jessica Hill for The New York Times
As the 50th anniversary of the 1972 federal gender-equity law approaches, some of the female athletes who first benefited from it have donated millions to their alma maters to build facilities and endow scholarships and coaching positions.
Above, the Carol Roberts Field House at Yale has amenities that its namesake could hardly have dreamed of when she was an athlete at the university in the 1970s.
Conversation is Key
When it comes to planning for retirement, a little today can go a long way tomorrow. Are you saving enough? Our tools and resources can help you start a conversation with your loved ones about planning for a confident future.
Explore Resources

Here’s what else is happening

McKinsey and deportations: Newly uncovered documents show how the international consulting firm helped find “detention savings opportunities,” including some suggestions that U.S. authorities viewed as too harsh.
Curbing abortion: After a wave of state-led campaigns in the spring to restrict abortions, another round is expected in early 2020 as legislators in Republican-dominated states begin lawmaking sessions.
End of an era at Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded the company as graduate students, said they were stepping down from executive roles at Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, will lead Alphabet.
Rick Friedman for The New York Times
Snapshot: Above, sledding on Boston Common on Tuesday. An unusually long-lasting storm that came ashore from the Pacific a week ago dropped at least four inches of snow in 30 states.
52 Places traveler: In his latest dispatch, our columnist eats his way across Danang, Vietnam.
Late-night comedy: After President Trump suggested sending Islamic State fighters from Syria to France, Trevor Noah quipped: “It’s pretty dark that Trump would offer to send ISIS fighters to Macron as a gift, but I guess, on the other hand, we have found the one gift that’s worse than a Peloton.”
What we’re reading: This New Yorker article. “Did you know there was an Airbnb for campers?” writes Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor. “There is — and it has its own complications.”

Now, a break from the news

Cons Poulos for The New York Times. Food Styling: Simon Andrews.
Cook: For a dazzling appetizer, try crispy feta with lemon over toast.
Watch: Theater productions offered a stark choice this year: Escape an angry world, or face up to its travails. Here’s our critics’ pick of the best shows of 2019.
Read: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison” presents the writer in all his candor, seriousness, outrage and wit.
Eat: Nami Nori, in Greenwich Village, specializes in temaki, sushi rolls that are shaped and eaten by hand. Read our critic’s review.

And now for the Back Story on …

The real James Bond

His name is Bond. James Bond. But as the trailer for the latest Bond movie comes out today, we wondered about the name’s origins.
The writer behind the super spy, Ian Fleming, was also an avid bird watcher. On a trip to Jamaica after World War II, he spotted a book, “Birds of the West Indies,” by an ornithologist from Philadelphia, who happened to be named James Bond.
Daniel Craig as James Bond in "Skyfall." He says the coming "No Time to Die" will be his final Bond film.  Francois Duhamel/Columbia Pictures and Metro Goldwyn Mayer
“It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed,” Mr. Fleming once wrote in a letter to the ornithologist’s wife.
But as in any good spy story, there’s a twist: Last year, the BBC reported that newly released records showed that an intelligence officer named James Bond had served under Fleming in a secret elite unit that led a guerrilla war against Hitler.
That Bond, a metal worker from Wales, had taken his spy past to the grave, his family said — and they suspected that Fleming had used the bird-watching Bond as a “classic red herring” to keep his identity a secret.
The Morning Briefing will return. See you next time.
— Chris
Thank you
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Tom Wright-Piersanti wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the impeachment investigation.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Gross!” (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Pamela Paul, the editor of our Book Review, discussed how her staff decides the 10 best books of the year.
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