The Rundown for November 27, 2019

OMB OFFICIALS RESIGNED OVER WITHHOLDING OF UKRAINE FUNDS… The Washington Post reported yesterday that two White House Office of Management and Budget officials resigned after expressing concerns over the Trump administration’s withholding of U.S. security aid meant for Ukraine. The story cited the November 16 congressional testimony by OMB deputy associate director for national security programs Mark Sandy. According to Sandy, one unnamed official from the agency’s legal division had a “dissenting opinion” about how the Ukraine aid could be held without violating the law. A second unnamed official who resigned in September had “expressed some frustrations about not understanding the reason for the hold,” Sandy said. President Trump is accused of withholding the funds as a means of pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Sandy told the impeachment inquiry that he did not receive an explanation for the freeze of $400 million in aid until around the time the money was ultimately released. The explanation came in the form of an email from Mike Duffey, whom Trump had put in charge of defense programs.

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE INVITES TRUMP TO HEARING… The House Judiciary Committee has invited President Trump to its first impeachment hearing next week. Trump is not required to attend the December 4 hearing but the invitation combats charges of unfairness by allowing the president and his legal team access to congressional impeachment procedures. The House Intelligence Committee, which has conducted the impeachment investigation through closed-door testimony and public hearings, is expected to release a formal evidence report shortly after lawmakers return to Congress from their Thanksgiving recess on December 3.

TRUMP CLAIMS HE’D LIKE AIDES TO TESTIFY… President Trump went on social media yesterday to claim he would “actually like” his current and former aides to testify in the House impeachment inquiry but that he is “fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President.” The claim drew widespread skepticism following Trump’s past assertions that he would actually like to give his own testimony to legislators conducting the impeachment inquiry. He also previously claimed that he wanted to sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and provide testimony but instead provided only written answers to Mueller’s questions. On Monday, a federal district judge rejected the White House’s argument that Trump could block aides from responding to congressional subpoenas based on the claim of presidential immunity.

ANIMAL CRUELTY NOW A FEDERAL CRIME… President Trump yesterday signed a bipartisan bill into law that makes animal cruelty a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, which unanimously passed both Congress earlier this month and the House in October, revises and expands upon an Obama administration bill that outlawed the making and distributing videos of animal cruelty. The bill now criminalizes the crushing, drowning, suffocating, impaling and seriously harming of animals and punishes those convicted with fines and up to seven years in prison.

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS TARGET BIG PHARMA COMPANIES… Six pharmaceutical companies are targeted by federal prosecutors who are investigating potential criminal charges stemming from the shipping of big quantities of opioid painkillers that contributed to a healthcare crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Regulatory filings reveal that five companies have received subpoenas from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York as part of the investigation. Prosecutors are expected to subpoena other companies in the coming months, according to the report.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘GODZILLA VS. KONG’ RELEASE DATE DELAYED… Producers announced yesterday that the highly anticipated upcoming film “Godzilla vs. Kong” has been pushed back eight months from its March 13, 2020, release date to November 20. The Warner Bros. and Legendary film matches two legendary monsters that have been well-represented on the big screen. Julian Dennison, Brian Tyree Henry, Alexander Skarsgard and Demian Bichir star in the film.

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS BOOST CABLE RATINGS… Five days of impeachment hearings boosted cable news networks’ ratings over the last two weeks. The Nielsen company said the daytime hearing audience ranged from a high of 13.8 million on opening day to a low of 11 million on the third day. CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC showed the hearings in their entirety. Fox averaged 2.5 million viewers over the five days. MSNBC and CNN more than doubled their daytime average.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
L.A. Clippers 114 – DALLAS 99… The Clippers built a 16-point halftime lead and held on to win their sixth in a row. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 28 points. Paul George scored 17 of his 26 points in the first quarter.

DENVER 117 – Washington 104… The Nuggets took control with a big second quarter and cruised past the Wizards. Jerami Grant came off the bench to score 20 points and lead six players in double figures. Nikola Jokic grabbed 20 rebounds.

TONIGHT’S NBA SCHEDULE
No games scheduled

NHL SCORES
Boston 8 – MONTREAL 1… David Pastrnak scored three goals to lead the Bruins in their rout of the Canadiens. Charlie Coyle had a goal and two assists.

Minnesota 3 – NEW JERSEY 2… Ryan Suter scored a go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Wild made it stand in their win over the Devils. Suter also assisted on Zach Parise’s first-period goal.

CHICAGO 3 – Dallas 0… Goalie Corey Crawford stopped all 32 shots as the Blackhawks recorded their first shutout of the season and ended the Stars’ seven-game winning streak. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Connor Murphy scored for Chicago.

TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE
Calgary is at Buffalo…
Ottawa hosts Boston…
Toronto is at Detroit…
Tampa Bay hosts St. Louis…
Carolina is at the N.Y. Rangers…
Pittsburgh hosts Vancouver…
Florida is at Washington…
Columbus hosts Philadelphia…
Vegas is at Nashville…
Arizona hosts Anaheim…
Edmonton is at Colorado…
Los Angeles hosts the N.Y. Islanders…
Winnipeg is at San Jose

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE HOOPS SCORES
Stephen F. Austin 85, #1 DUKE 83 (OT)…
#3 Michigan State 93, Georgia 85 in the Maui Invitational…
#4 Kansas 71, BYU 56 in the Maui Invitational…
#18 Auburn 79, Richmond 65 in the Legends Classic…
#21 Colorado 71, Clemson 67 in the Main Event

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