The Rundown for November 21, 2019

IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY… U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland delivered explosive testimony in yesterday’s fourth day of the impeachment hearings centered on President Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government. Sondland testified that he worked with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani at the “express direction” of Trump to pressure Ukraine into launching an investigation of Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter. Sondland also implicated Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson in an alleged quid pro quo involving the withholding of aid to Ukraine. Testifying in the afternoon session, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian, and Eurasian affairs Laura Cooper said she was informed of the scheme by diplomat Kurt Volker, who testified on Tuesday. She said that at an August meeting, Volker told her he was attempting to lift the hold on the aid by asking Ukrainian government officials to announce publicly that they would launch the investigations Trump wanted. She also said Ukrainians were aware of the aid hold up in July, which was earlier than previously acknowledged.

DEMS DEBATE… Pete Buttigieg sparred with his more liberal rivals last night at the fifth Democratic primary debate in Atlanta. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, joined former Vice President Joe Biden in criticizing the “Medicare-for-all” plan pushed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Senators Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar also rebuked the plan. California Senator Kamala Harris continued to push her defiance of President Trump and her vow to defeat him. The next Democratic debate is scheduled for November 20.

HOUSE PANEL APPROVES MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZING BILL… The House Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019, or MORE Act, passed by a 24-10 vote after more than two hours of debate and is heading to the full House. The bill would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, allow states to set their own marijuana policy and require federal courts to expunge prior convictions for marijuana offenses. It would also impose a five percent tax on marijuana products to establish a trust fund for programs designed to help people disproportionately impacted by the “war on drugs.”

GENERAL MOTORS SUES FIAT... General Motors has filed suit against Fiat Chrysler for allegedly bribing officials of the United Auto Workers union. The suit alleges that Fiat Chrysler paid millions in bribes to get concessions and gain advantages in three labor agreements with the union. The bribes were paid in the 2009, 2011 and 2015 union contracts, according to the lawsuit.

FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR INDICTED… Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was indicted yesterday on 11 federal counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy related to the sales of a self-published children’s book series. The charges stem from Pugh selling 100,000 Healthy Holly books to the University of Maryland Medical System while she was on a state Senate committee that partly funded the private hospital network in 2011. She also sat on the hospital network’s board and was paid $500,000, which prosecutors say represents a conflict of interest. The 69-year-old Pugh has since returned $100,000 for a shipment of books she said wasn’t completed.

LIZZO GETS 8 GRAMMY NODS… Lizzo received eight nominations to lead the field at the 62nd Grammy Awards. The singer-rapper’s nods include Album of the Year with “Cuz I Love You,” Song and Record of the Year with “Truth Hurts,” as well as Best New Artist. Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X were close picked up six nominations each. The 2020 Grammys are scheduled for January 26 in Los Angeles.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT FILES COUNTERSUIT… Jussie Smollett has filed a countersuit against the city of Chicago for malicious prosecution stemming from his discredited claim that he was attacked by assailants in January. A 16-count indictment against Smollett was later reduced to $10,000 and community service. The lawsuit claims the city prosecuted Smollett in bad faith and filed criminal charges against him “without probable cause.” Last month, a federal judge ruled that Chicago could proceed with a lawsuit it filed against Smollett to reclaim the $130,160 in expenses.

WASHINGTON 138 – San Antonio 132… Bradley Beal made all nine field-goal attempts during a 21-point third quarter and finished with 33 points in the Wizards’ win over the Spurs. Davis Bertans and Ish Smith both scored 21 points off the bench.

PHILADELPHIA 109 – New York 104… Joel Embiid scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in leading the 76ers past the Knicks. Ben Simmons had 18 points and 13 assists.

TORONTO 113 – Orlando 97… Fred VanVleet scored 24 points to lead the Raptors to a victory over the Magic. Pascal Siakam powered his way to 18 points and 11 boards.

Milwaukee 135 – ATLANTA 127… The Bucks shot their way past the Hawks in a back-and-forth contest. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 33 points and 11 rebounds.

MIAMI 124 – Cleveland 100… The Heat built a 27-point halftime lead and coasted past the Cavaliers. Duncan Robinson made nine 3-pointers on his way to 29 points. Jimmy Butler tossed in 21 points.

BROOKLYN 101 – Charlotte 91… Jarrett Allen scored 22 points and pulled down 17 boards as the Nets downed the Hornets. Taurean Prince and Spencer Dinwoodie added 20 points apiece.

DALLAS 142 – Golden State 94… The Mavericks built a 28-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their rout of the Warriors. Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half. He also had 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Utah 103 – MINNESOTA 95… The Jazz got 30 points from Bojan Bogdanovic and 26 from Donovan Mitchell in topping the Timberwolves. Rudy Gobert grabbed 15 boards to go with his 12 points.

CHICAGO 109 – Detroit 89… The Bulls pulled away in the second half to wallop the Pistons. Lauri Markanan pumped in 24 points. Wendell Carter Jr. had 12 points and 15 rebounds.

DENVER 105 – Houston 95… The Nuggets came up big defensively in beating the Rockets. Nikola Jokic scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. All five starters scored in double figures for Denver.

L.A. CLIPPERS 107 – Boston 104 (OT)… Paul George scored 25 points delivered 25 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Clippers outlasted the Celtics. Patrick Beverley totaled 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Portland is at Milwaukee…
Phoenix hosts New Orleans

Ottawa 2 – MONTREAL 1 (OT)… Brady Tkachuk found the net 38 seconds into overtime to send the Senators past the Canadiens. Jean-Gabriel Pageau netted a game-tying goal midway through the second period.

NEW YORK 4 – Washington 1… Artemi Panarin opened the scoring with a second-period goal and scored again to spark a three-goal third-period that carried the Rangers past the Capitals. Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist.

Buffalo is at Boston…
Florida hosts Anaheim…
Pittsburgh is at the N.Y. Islanders…
Carolina hosts Philadelphia…
Detroit is at Columbus…
St. Louis hosts Calgary…
Vancouver is at Nashville…
Minnesota hosts Colorado…
Tampa Bay is at Chicago…
Dallas hosts Winnipeg…
Toronto is at Arizona…
Vegas hosts San Jose…
Edmonton is at Los Angeles

#2 Louisville 76, South Carolina Upstate 50 in the Global Sports Shootout…
#5 North Carolina 75, Elon 61 in the Battle 4 Atlantis…
#16 Memphis 68, Little Rock 58 in the Barclays Center Classic…
#20 Tennessee 76, Alabama State 41 in the Emerald Coast Classic

Indianapolis (6-4) is at Houston (6-4)

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