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Vox Sentences: When Trump knew

New information comes to light about when Trump learned of the whistleblower complaint; Palestinians hold a “day of rage” over the US’s settlement policy change.

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Trump reportedly knew about whistleblower before aid release

  • More is known about President Donald Trump freezing nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine thanks to the impeachment inquiry testimony of White House Office of Budget and Management (OMB) official Mark Sandy, which was released this week. [NPR / Elena Moore]
  • Sandy told lawmakers Trump voiced concerns about the aid in June, and that by mid-July, there was open discussion of the president’s desire to withhold the aid at OMB. The hold was announced on July 18, and formally put into place following Trump’s July 25 call with the president of Ukraine. [Wall Street Journal / Andrew Duehren and Dustin Volz]
  • According to Sandy, legal and process concerns over the hold led to at least two OMB officials resigning. [Washington Post / Erica Werner and Felicia Sonmez]
  • And of course, concern over Trump’s interactions with Ukraine led to a whistleblower complaint that helped launch the impeachment inquiry. The public learned of the complaint in September, but the New York Times reports Trump found out about it in August. [New York Times / Michael S. Schmidt, Julian E. Barnes and Maggie Haberman]
  • This means when Trump finally released the aid on September 11, he knew about the report. [Axios / Zachary Basu]
  • Democrats will likely argue this bolsters their claim Trump released the funds because he got “caught” attempting to improperly pressure Ukraine. But in early September, Trump also believed Ukraine would be opening the investigations he’d requested. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • At a rally Tuesday night, Trump called the impeachment proceedings “bullshit” and said: “They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people.” [Politico / Nancy Cook and Matthew Choi]
  • But Democrats are moving forward with the inquiry as planned: Lawmakers are preparing a report on what they’ve learned so far, and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler has announced his committee’s first impeachment hearing, to which he has invited the president. Trump has yet to RSVP. [BBC]

Palestinians protest US announcement

  • In protest of the change in US policy toward Israeli settlements, Palestinians protested across the West Bank Tuesday. [Al Jazeera]
  • Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the US will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to violate international law. [The Guardian / Julian Borger and Oliver Holmes]
  • Fatah, a Palestinian political party in the West Bank, organized a “day of rage” to protest the decision. [AP News / Matthew Lee]
  • Tuesday, more than 2,000 people gathered in Ramallah to burn photos of Trump as well as Israeli flags. [Middle East Eye / Shatha Hammad]
  • Mahmoud Aloul, a Fatah official, said protesters hoped to send this message: “The biased American policy toward Israel, and the American support of the Israeli settlements and the Israeli occupation, leaves us with only one option: To go back to resistance.” [Time / Mohammed Daraghmeh]
  • The US policy change doesn’t alter international legal standards, but it could severely hinder the US’s ability to mediate for peace in the region. [BBC]


  • Navigating Thanksgiving dinner with a variety of dietary restrictions among attendees isn’t easy. Here’s how to do it. [Vox / Julia Belluz]
  • Russian cows are getting a new treatment in the hopes of increased happiness and better-tasting milk: augmented reality goggles. [CNN / Leah Asmelash]
  • Winter threatens holiday travel as stormy weather looms nationwide. [Bloomberg / Vincent Del Giudice and Brian K Sullivan]
  • If you want to include your furry friends in your holiday meals, here is a list of pet-friendly Thanksgiving foods. [The Advocate]
  • In continuing with tradition, Butterball experts will be only a phone call away to answer your turkey crisis questions on the big day. [New York Times / Kim Severson]
  • At a rally on Tuesday, Trump claimed that Democrats want to change the name of Thanksgiving. [Vox / Emily Stewart]


“In the world of social media, some people are hard at work in sowing toxic doubts and disinformation to undermine trust.” [Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s response to China attacking him for failing to bring the province in line with the mainland]

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