IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY RESUMES… The second week of public impeachment hearings got underway yesterday with four witnesses. The National Security Council’s top Ukraine specialist, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and Vice President Mike Pence’s aide, Jennifer Williams, testified in the morning session. Both expressed concern for the July 25 phone call they listened to between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with Vindman describing it as “improper” and unbecoming for a U.S. president. They said the call raised suspicions that Trump was holding the release of promised financial and military aid to Ukraine until Zelensky agreed to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The afternoon session was highlighted by former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker offering a significant revision to his first impeachment testimony. During his closed-door testimony, Volker denied being aware of any discussions about the Bidens in a July 10 meeting with a Ukrainian Defense Chief Alex Danylyuk but reversed that statement in yesterday’s testimony. He called allegations of corruption against the Bidens as “self-serving,” “not credible” and a “conspiracy.” Former National Security Council official Tim Morrison, who also heard the July 25 call, said he was not concerned by anything he heard but testified that he grew increasingly concerned about the delay in U.S. aid to Ukraine.
FEDS INVESTIGATING GIULIANI BUSINESS DEALINGS… Federal prosecutors investigating the business dealings of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are planning to interview an executive with Ukraine’s state-owned gas company. Andrew Favorov, the director of the integrated gas division at Ukraine’s state-owned gas provider Naftogaz, is scheduled to meet voluntarily with the U.S. Justice Department. Two Soviet-born Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested last month at an airport outside Washington while trying to board a flight to Europe with one-way tickets. They were later indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records.
SENATE PASSES HONG KONG PROTESTERS BILL… The Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill yesterday in support of Hong Kong protesters who have launched massive pro-democracy demonstrations. The passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 1992 sends a message of solidarity to those protesting, said Florida Republican Marco Rubio. The bill requires the State Department to assess Hong Kong’s level of autonomy from China annually to justify China’s special trade status under U.S. law.
‘CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE’ INVESTIGATED IN EPSTEIN’S DEATH… Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer said during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing yesterday that the FBI is investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in a Manhattan jail this year and is focusing on a possible “criminal enterprise” related to his death. Sawyer emphasized that she has not seen evidence to suggest Epstein’s death was not a suicide and indicated she is not allowed to speak openly about the federal investigation because it is ongoing. Meanwhile, two guards who were on duty the night before Epstein was found dead at a federal prison in Manhattan on August 10 were indicted yesterday on six counts related to falsifying prison records.
U.S. TOPS THE WORLD IN CHILD DETENTION… A United Nations human rights report released yesterday found that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of child detention, and its policy of separating children at the U.S.-Mexico border amounts to “inhumane treatment.” The High Commissioner for Human Rights’ “Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty” said the Trump administration’s child-separation policy in the handling of migrants is “absolutely prohibited” by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report estimates more than 100,000 migrant children are still being held in U.S. detention centers.
KEVIN HART TO RELEASE NETLIX DOCU-SERIES… Kevin Hart will release a new Netflix docu-series next month. The six-episode series follows the 40-year-old actor/comedian in his day-to-day life. “Don’t [Expletive] This Up” is scheduled to premiere on the streaming service on December 27.
DOOBIE BROTHERS PLANNING 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR… The Doobie Brothers are planning to launch a 50th anniversary tour in June 2020. The band, whose hits include “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “Listen To The Music” and “Black Water,” will feature Michael McDonald, Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee. It will mark the first time in 25 years that the lineup has played together.
Golden State 114 – MEMPHIS 95… The Warriors downed the Grizzlies to snap their seven-game losing streak. Alec Burks led the way with 29 points. Glen Robinson III added 20 points.
NEW ORLEANS 115 – Portland 104… Jrue Holiday scored 22 points and dished off 10 assists to lead the Pelicans past the Trail Blazers, Brandon Ingram added 21 points.
SACRAMENTO 120 – Phoenix 116… Bogdan Bogdanovic made seven 3-pointers on his way to 31 points and the Kings withstood a second-half rally to down the Suns. Richaun Holmes powered his way to 20 points and 15 rebounds.
L.A. LAKERS 112 – Oklahoma City 107… The Lakers fought off the Thunder on a historic night for LeBron James. He totaled 25 points, 11 boards and 12 assists to become the first NBA player to record a triple-double against every team in the league. Anthony Davis scored 34 points to lead all scorers.
TONIGHT’S NBA SCHEDULE…
San Antonio is at Washington…
Philadelphia hosts New York…
Orlando is at Toronto…
Atlanta hosts Milwaukee…
Cleveland is at Miami…
Brooklyn hosts Charlotte…
Golden State is at Dallas…
Chicago hosts Detroit…
Utah is at Minnesota…
Denver hosts Houston…
Boston is at the L.A. Clippers
Minnesota 4 – BUFFALO 1… Zach Parise scored a pair of goals for the Wild. Goalie Alex Stalock made 30 saves.
FLORIDA 5 – Philadelphia 2… Alexander Barkov and Brett Connolly each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers in their win over the Flyers.
Boston 5 – NEW JERSEY 1… David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk scored two goals apiece as the Bruins skated past the Devils. Brad Marchand assisted on three goals.
N.Y. Islanders 5 – PITTSBURGH 4 (OT)… The Islanders erased a pair of two-goal deficits to upend the Penguins and extend their unbeaten streak to 15 games. Brock Nielson netted his second goal of the game at 2:55 of overtime.
COLUMBUS 5 – Montreal 2… The Blue Jackets scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Canadiens. Pierre Luc-Dubois scored a pair of goals.
Ottawa 4 – DETROIT 3… The Senators scored three straight goals in the second period and hung on to edge the Red Wings. Anthony Duclair scored two goals and assisted on another. Anders Nillson stopped 35 shots at goal.
ST. LOUIS 3 – Tampa Bay 1… The Blues skated past the Lightning after spotting them an early lead. Oskar Sundqvist netted a tie-breaking goal.
Winnipeg 2 – NASHVILLE 1… The Jets got goals from Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers in holding off the Predators.
Carolina 4 – CHICAGO 2… The Hurricanes took a three-goal lead into the third period and turned away a late rally to top the Blackhawks. Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane assisted on two goals.
DALLAS 6 – Vancouver 1… Jamie Benn lit the lamp twice in leading the Stars past the Canucks. Miro Heiskanen and Justin Dowling each had a goal and an assist.
Colorado 3 – CALGARY 2… Andre Burakovsky scored two first-period goals and the Avalanche held off the Flames. Nathan MacKinnon had two assists.
VEGAS 4 – Toronto 2… Tomas Nosek netted a go-ahead goal in the third period and Mark Stone added an insurance goal 2:14 later as the Golden Knights doubled up on the Maple Leafs. Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves.
Edmonton 5 – SAN JOSE 2… Connor McDavid scored a goal and had two assists in leading the Oilers past the Sharks. Oscar Klefbom had two assists. Goalie Mikko Koskinen stopped 33 shots.
TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE…
Ottawa is at Montreal…
New York hosts Washington
TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE HOOPS SCORES…
#4 Kansas 75, East Tennessee State 63 in the Maui Invitational…
#6 MARYLAND 74, Fairfield 55…
#7 Virginia 61, Vermont 55 in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off
#8 Gonzaga 72, Texas-Arlington 66 in the Battle 4 Atlantis…
#25 WASHINGTON 72, Maine 53
AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS…
1. LSU (10-0)
2. Ohio State (10-0)
3. Clemson (11-0)
4. Georgia (9-1)
5. Alabama (9-1)
6. Oregon (9-1)
7. Utah (9-1)
8. Penn State (9-1)
9. Oklahoma (9-1)
10. Minnesota (9-1)
11. Florida (9-2)
12. Wisconsin (8-2)
13. Michigan (8-2)
14. Baylor (9-1)
15. Auburn (7-3)
16. Notre Dame (8-2)
17. Iowa (7-3)
18. Memphis (9-1)
19. Cincinnati (9-1)
20. Boise State (9-1)
21. Oklahoma State (7-3)
22. Iowa State (6-4)
23. Southern California (7-4)
24. Appalachian State (9-1)
25. SMU (9-1)