RUSSIA FILLS U.S. VACUUM IN SYRIA… Russia has moved into territory left undefended after President Trump ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from northern Syria. The U.S. had maintained two military bases in the region until Monday. Russia and Turkey will soon be the only international armies in the area after an international alliance of counterterrorism forces announced yesterday that they would also leave following the American withdrawal.
DEFENSE SECRETARY CRITICIZES TURKEY INVASION… Secretary of Defense Mark Esper yesterday called Turkey’s military offensive in Syria an “unacceptable incursion” that has undermined coalition efforts to defeat terrorism in the nation. The criticism comes as the Trump administration has been widely blamed for the invasion to start in the first place. Esper plans to travel to Belgium next week and hopes to coordinate diplomatic and economic responses among NATO allies.
GIULIANI ADMITS WORKING FOR INDICTED UKRAINIAN… Reuters reported yesterday that Rudy Giuliani was paid $500,000 for work he performed for a company co-founded by a Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign-finance charges. Lev Parnas was one of two Giuliani associates arrested at Washington’s Dulles Airport last week on charges that they funneled foreign money to unnamed U.S. politicians. Giuliani, who has been serving as President Trump’s personal attorney, has admitted that he offered business and legal advice to Parnas’ company, Fraud Guarantee, in August 2018.
FORMER CONGRESSMAN SUBPOENAED… Former Republican Congressman Pete Sessions has been subpoenaed by a grand jury for materials related to his dealings with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Sessions’ subpoena is part of an investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors into Giuliani’s Ukrainian business dealings. The subpoena reportedly requests documents related to Giuliani’s business in the country and his efforts to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
DIPLOMAT GEORGE KENT TESTIFIES IN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY… George Kent, a career diplomat who has spent much of his career fighting corruption in Ukraine and other countries, testified yesterday as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry against President Trump. The investigation is centered on a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate unsubstantiated allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The younger Biden has denied doing anything improper in past work for a Ukrainian energy company but says he regrets that his association with the energy company gave “some very unethical people” an opening to “to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father.”
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES INDUCTEES… The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has announced 16 nominees for induction in 2020. The list includes The Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, the Dave Matthews Band, Motörhead, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and Judas Priest. Pat Benatar, Soundgarden, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, the Doobie Brothers, and MC5 also made the list. The ceremony will take place in Cleveland, Ohio on May 2.
FELICITY HUFFMAN REPORTS TO PRISON… Felicity Huffman reported to federal prison in Dublin, California, yesterday to begin serving a 14-day sentence for her admitted role in the wide-ranging college admissions scandal. She was accused of paying $15,000 to inflate her daughter’s SAT score. The Emmy Award-winning actress was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, complete 250 hours of community service and remain on supervised release for one year.
NL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE…
WASHINGTON 7 – St. Louis 4… The Nationals scored all seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and coasted past the Cardinals to complete a sweep of the NL Championship Series and bring the World Series to the nation’s capital since 1933.
Yan Gomes and Trea Turner delivered two-run singles. The World Series opens next Tuesday in the American League city.
AL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCORE…
Houston 4 – N.Y. YANKEES 1… The Astros cruised past the Yankees to take a 2-1 lead in the AL Championship Series. Gerrit Cole pitched four-hit ball over seven shutout innings. Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick smacked solo homers. The series remains in New York for tonight’s Game 4. First pitch is set for 8:08 p.m. Eastern and the game airs on FS1. Neither team has announced a starter.
TORONTO 4 – Minnesota 2… The Maple Leafs scored all four goals in the second period on their way past the Wild. Mitch Marner scored a goal and had two assists. Morgan Rielly assisted on all four goals.
Tampa Bay 3 – MONTREAL 1… The Lightning got goals from Braydon Coburn, Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson in downing the Canadiens. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves.
Arizona 4 – WINNIPEG 2… Christian Dvorak found the net twice in leading the Coyotes past the Jets. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and two assists.
CALGARY 3 – Philadelphia 1… Michael Frolik, Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm scored for the Flames.
VANCOUVER 5 – Detroit 1… J.T. Miller netted two goals for the Canucks in their defeat of the Red Wings. Alexander Edler had a goal and two assists. Brock Boeser assisted on three goals.
Nashville 5 – VEGAS 2… The Predators closed with four unanswered goals to top the Golden Knights. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist.
Carolina 2 – LOS ANGELES 0… Martin Necas scored early in the second period and Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-netter as the Hurricanes clipped the Kings. Goalie Petr Mrazek stopped all 35 shots in the shutout.
TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE…
Colorado is at Pittsburgh…
Washington hosts Toronto…
Dallas is at Columbus…
Edmonton hosts Philadelphia…
Buffalo is at Anaheim…
San Jose hosts Carolina