Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.
The whistleblower report is released; US intelligence confirms Syrian government chemical weapons attack in May.
Plus: Our Netflix show, Explained, is back for its second season! Catch new episodes each Thursday.
A complaint and a committee
- The whistleblower’s complaint in the unfolding Trump-Ukraine scandal contains two main allegations: One, that during the phone call with Ukranian President Zelensky on July 25, President Trump attempted to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 election. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett, Carol D. Leonnig, and Matt Zapotosky]
- And two, that senior White House officials tried to cover up the phone call — moving the transcript of the conversation in question to a separate, classified storage system. [NYT / Eileen Sullivan]
- What we already about the conversation, according to the memo the White House released Wednesday, suggests the whistleblower’s account was correct. But the allegation about the coverup was new. [Vox / Andrew Prokop and Today, Explained]
- Meanwhile, Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where Democrats pushed him on concerns about the process of turning over the complaint. [FiveThirtyEight / Sarah Frostenson]
- Throughout the three-hour hearing, Maguire maintained that the Trump administration did not ask him to withhold the memo. [ABC News / Benjamin Siegal]
- The complaint is likely to add more fuel to the House’s quest to impeach Trump. A new poll suggests Democrats are increasingly on their side — and more Americans say they support impeachment than those who don’t. [HuffPost / Ariel Edwards-Levy]
Syria chemical attack confirmed by US intel
- The US intelligence community confirmed reports of a Syrian chemical weapon attack that occurred in May. [Wall Street Journal / Michael R. Gordon]
- This attack is thought to have wounded four and is the first direct breach of the ban on chemical weapons in Syria set by the Trump administration. [The Guardian]
- Reports of the attack, like those spoken to at the time by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, remained unconfirmed up until today due to lack of documentation of the attack. [Reuters / John Irish]
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the finding along with an additional pledge of $4.5 million to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for the investigation of other chemical weapon attack claims. [AP]
- Going to the moon again is expensive and difficult. But it might be worth the $30 billion price tag. [Vox / Byrd Pinkerton, Dylan Matthews, and Brian Resnick]
- Move over, crying babies. Window shades are the newest airline hot topic for debate. [Intelligencer / Josh Barro]
- Out with a doctor’s note: A German court has ruled hangovers are an illness. [NYT / Mike Ives]
- Becoming a state isn’t just as easy as adding a star to the flag. Here’s why the odds are stacked against DC. [Vox / Alan Greenblatt]
- California chicken owners are making headlines with designer chicken coops. The trend saw one owner shell out $14,000. [LA Times / Lisa Boone]
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” [President Trump remarking on the whistleblower complaint about his controversial conversation with Ukrainian President Zelensky]
Watch this: Cults, explained
How do cults lure people in and exert controls? Learn a cult’s telltale signs, and how loneliness and life online make indoctrination easier than ever. Stream Cults, Explained now on Netflix.