‘A domestic political errand’
Investigators concluded a momentous three-day stretch of public impeachment hearings before the inquiry takes a weeklong break for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. There are no hearings scheduled beyond that — as of yet.
On Thursday, two witnesses described their intimate views of an attempted quid pro quo. Here’s a wrap-up from the day:
Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert at the White House, said President Trump’s demands for Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden amounted to a “domestic political errand” that diverged from American foreign policy goals.
Dr. Hill also criticized the “fictional narrative” that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 elections, denouncing a theory embraced by Mr. Trump. She argued that the story was planted by Russia and played into Moscow’s hands by sowing political divisions in the U.S.
David Holmes, a top aide in the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, added detail to a now-infamous call he overheard between Mr. Trump and Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Analysis: The House Intelligence Committee now moves forward without testimony by some of the key players in the drama, a calculated gamble that it has enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump on a party-line vote in the House.
Go deeper: Here’s what we learned from the testimony (including a schooling on America’s geopolitical relationship with Ukraine).
Israel’s Netanyahu is indicted
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges, throwing his political future into doubt.
While he is not legally required to step down, the criminal case against him could make it hard to retain power now that he has already failed twice to form a new government. A younger lawmaker already called for a primary contest for prime minister, and polls have shown that a formal indictment could sway voters against Mr. Netanyahu.
Details: The cases involve allegations of giving or offering lucrative official favors to several news media tycoons in exchange for favorable coverage or expensive gifts. Mr. Netanyahu has denied the allegations.
What’s next is complicated: Remain in power? Request immunity? A third election? Here are some possibilities of what could happen.
A Labour manifesto with ‘radical answers’
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition, unveiled the party’s most left-wing agenda in a generation, which includes a $100 billion tax increase on the wealthy to pay for a sweeping nationalization program and hikes in spending for education and health care.
The plan also puts Britain on track for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s.
Analysis: Mr. Corbyn is hedging his bets that anger at a decade of austerity, stagnating wages, unaffordable housing and the rising toll of climate change will motivate voters to sweep out the Conservative Party’s nine-year hold on power.
Electorate chill: The country’s 300,000 Jews are feeling politically homeless ahead of the pivotal election, torn between their opposition to Brexit and allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
If you have six minutes, this is worth it
100 years of royal scandals
The British monarchy has survived public crises before — religious schisms, revolutions, murderous kings — but this week the royal family scrambled to confront a relatively new opponent: the embarrassing televised interview.
The Duke of York’s struggle on the BBC to defend his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein was the latest incident, yet he was far from the first royal of his generation to come under fire. We looked back at a century of major headline-making royal gaffes and spectacles.
Here’s what else is happening
Hospital scandal: Dozens of babies died at hospitals in England because of problems that went unchecked for nearly 40 years. Experts said it could become the biggest maternity scandal in the history of Britain’s National Health Service.
Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a sweeping ban on vaping in public, threatening to use the police and military to arrest those who do not comply.
Iran: The authorities moved to project the appearance of normalcy after nearly a week of deadly protests over gas price increases. But there was evidence that a severe crackdown was underway, including reports of hospitals overflowing with people injured in the protests.
Snapshot: Above, what is believed to be the world’s first Christmas card, now on display in London. Dating to 1843, the card is addressed to “my very dear father and mother,” and signed, “from their loving son, Joe.”
Doping scandal: Seven people associated with Russia’s track and field team were suspended for obstructing an antidoping investigation, deepening a crisis for Russian sports ahead of next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
“Chill out”: That was former President Barack Obama’s message to Democrats about the crowded 2020 Democratic field. Instead, focus on building support for a candidate to take on President Trump.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge: The Emmy-winning actor, writer and producer behind “Fleabag” dishes on the time she got in trouble for reading a book, what she’d say to William Shakespeare if she had the chance, and more.
N’Golo Kanté: The Chelsea midfielder is soccer’s ultimate artisan — a player who does the running and the fetching and the retrieving so others can score the goals. Kanté and Chelsea face Manchester City on Saturday.
What we’re reading: This article in The Atlantic about the stutter that still shapes Joe Biden’s delivery. Our reporter Matt Flegenheimer says it’s “a fantastic, affecting, deeply revealing piece. Make the time.”
Now, a break from the news
Smarter Living: The holiday season is nearly upon us. Our guide can help you manage your time, plan for parties and gifts, and survive the seasonal blues.
And now for the Back Story on …
Spelling city names
This week, The Times adopted a new spelling for Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, the Romanization of the Ukrainian Київ.
The previous version, Kiev, is a transliteration from the Russian: Киев.
The Times is rarely an early adopter in altering place names, waiting until there is a sense that most readers would be familiar with the new word. For instance, the paper quit using Bombay only in 2004, almost a decade after Indian authorities officially recognized the city as Mumbai.
Craig Whitney, a former foreign correspondent who had become our standards editor, recalled that airline flight information had been listed as Mumbai for years. “Clearly,” he said, “we waited long enough to see if it was sticking.”
Most Americans were introduced to Ukraine’s capital during the Soviet era, so they’ve seen “Kiev” for decades. But the U.S. Board on Geographic Names switched to Kyiv in June of this year, and U.S. diplomats have been widely heard in the impeachment hearings in Washington using the Ukrainian pronunciation (or at least coming close with “Keev”).
Chicken kiev, however, will probably stay the same.
That’s it for this briefing. Have a delicious weekend.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Will Dudding and Rogene Jacquette, from the standards department, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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