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Vox Sentences: Sitting out impeachment

US ambassador faces congressional subpoena; France’s proposed IVF bill garners conservative criticism.

Sondland smiles, pointing, in front of the US flag and State Department seal. Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

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The White House tries to stonewall impeachment

  • The Trump administration is refusing to cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry: “Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen,” the White House counsel wrote. [Washington Post / Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Colby Itkowitz]
  • Democrats see an upside here: They get to add obstruction of justice to their articles of impeachment. [Vox / Ella Nilsen and Alex Ward]
  • There were hints of this earlier Tuesday, when Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, declined to testify in Congress. [Politico / Kyle Cheney]
  • House committees sought Sondland’s testimony because of his potential insight into dealings between the Trump administration and the Ukrainian government. [Vox / Sean Collins]
  • Sondland said the Department of State told him not to testify, but a tweet from Trump indicated that the order might have come from the White House. [Axios / Jacob Knutson]
  • Trump said that he did not want Sondland testifying in “a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away.” [NYT / Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt]
  • House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff denounced the move as “further acts of obstruction of a coequal branch of government.” [Reuters / Richard Cowan and David Morgan]

French conservatives protest IVF bill

  • Opposition to a government-proposed bill granting single women and lesbian couples access to fertility treatments is bringing protesters into the streets of Paris. [France24 / Louise Nordstrom]
  • The bill provisions that in vitro fertilization would be free and accessible to all women under 43 without limitations based on sexual orientation or marital status, and would allow IVF children to seek their donor parent’s identity when they turn 18. [BBC]
  • Over 65 percent of French respondents supported single and lesbian women receiving IVF treatment paid for by France’s state-sponsored health care, according to an IFOP poll. [The Guardian / Angelique Chrisafis]
  • French police reported around 42,000 people gathering to protest against the bill, including the conservative group “Manif Pour Tous,” which previously marched against the 2013 gay marriage legalization, rebranding themselves as “Marchons enfants” for this protest. [Euronews]
  • Public division over issues like medically assisted reproduction and LGBTQ rights reflect the dichotomy in France between their traditional Catholic roots and egalitarian secularism. [The Atlantic / Rachel Donadio]



“I think everyone who chooses to stay out of politics (which is your right) should make a mental note of where they would draw the line and feel it necessary to get involved. Then ask yourself, is it possible that point already happened, but it happened too slowly to notice.” [Actor Chris Evans’s thoughts Monday on Twitter, where he has often shared his political views]

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