Tuesday morning news briefs, Nov. 26


Lawyer: McGahn ruling doesn’t extend to Bolton, deputy

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Bolton’s attorney suggested Tuesday that a court order directing former White House counsel Don McGahn to appear before Congress has no bearing on whether his client and another ex-national security official he represents will testify.
The statement from attorney Charles Cooper aimed to blunt public speculation that the judge’s order in the McGahn case could influence the actions of his own clients or halt a lawsuit from one of them challenging a subpoena in the House impeachment inquiry.
Cooper’s comments followed a judge’s ruling in a separate case Monday requiring McGahn to comply with a subpoena related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote that not even the Republican president’s closest aides who receive subpoenas from Congress can “ignore or defy congressional compulsory process, by order of the President or otherwise.”

Ex-White House lawyer McGahn ordered to comply with subpoena

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ordered former White House counsel Donald McGahn to appear before Congress in a setback to President Donald Trump’s effort to keep his top aides from testifying.
The outcome could lead to renewed efforts by House Democrats to compel testimony from other high-ranking officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton.
Not even the Republican president’s closest aides who receive subpoenas from Congress can “ignore or defy congressional compulsory process, by order of the President or otherwise,” Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote on Monday in ruling on a lawsuit filed by the House Judiciary Committee.
“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote. “This means they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”
McGahn was a star witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and Democrats wanted to question McGahn about possible obstruction of justice by Trump. That was months before the House started an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden.
The administration filed a notice of appeal early Tuesday and asked Jackson to put her ruling on hold during the appeal.
“This decision contradicts longstanding legal precedent established by Administrations of both political parties,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “We will appeal and are confident that the important constitutional principle advanced by the Administration will be vindicated.”

UN: ‘Quick wins’ needed to keep climate goals within reach

GENEVA (AP) — Countries need to begin making steep cuts to their greenhouse gas emissions immediately or risk missing the targets they’ve agreed for limiting global warming, with potentially dire consequences, senior United Nations officials said Tuesday.
A report by the U.N. Environment Program, published days before governments gather in Madrid for an annual meeting on climate change, showed the amount of planet-heating gases being pumped into the atmosphere hitting a new high last year, despite a near-global pledge to reduce them.
Man-made greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2018 to 55.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the U.N.’s annual ’emissions gap’ report. While much of the increase came from emerging economies such as China and India, some of those emissions are the result of manufacturing outsourced from developed countries.
“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020,” said the agency’s chief, Inger Andersen. “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”

Hong Kong campus siege ending with 1 protester found

HONG KONG (AP) — A weeklong police siege of a university in Hong Kong may be winding down, closing one of the more violent chapters in the city’s long-running anti-government protests.
A search of the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus Tuesday found just one woman, in weak condition, and a senior university official said it’s unlikely anyone else remains.
A few people might still be hiding in the warren of buildings on the urban campus, trying to avoid arrest. The search apparently didn’t find a man who told reporters before dawn that he is happy living at the university and “everyone can stop worrying about us.”
Police have cordoned off the area to try to prevent anyone from escaping.
Polytechnic University Vice President Alexander Wai, who led a search of the campus by seven teams, said he couldn’t rule out that some people remained, but “the possibility is not very high.”
Attention in Hong Kong has shifted to city leader Carrie Lam’s response to a major loss in local elections Sunday. The results were seen as a public rebuke of her tough line on the protests.

Trump says he stands with Hong Kong protesters

HONG KONG (AP) — President Donald Trump says he stands with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that is message is “We are with them.”
Trump cited his “very good relationship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the U.S. was in the final stages of an important trade deal.
Congress recently passed a bill authorizing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in human rights abuses and mandate the State Department to annually review special trade status the U.S. grants Hong Kong.
Trump says he’s asked Xi not to use the military to stamp out the protests. China warns it will retaliate against the U.S. if Trump signs the bill.
So far Trump hasn’t signed the bill.

Labour’s Corbyn denies chief rabbi’s charge of anti-Semitism

LONDON (AP) — Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn sought Tuesday to defuse harsh criticism about anti-Semitism leveled at the party by Britain’s chief rabbi.
Corbyn addressed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ remarks in The Times newspaper while taking questions at a campaign event just over two weeks before Britain’s Dec. 12 election.
He denied Mirvis’ claim that Labour and its leader have been deeply tarnished by pervasive anti-Semitic attitudes.
The influential rabbi’s suggestion that Corbyn was unfit for high office represented a break from his traditional position of not commenting on party politics. He said Britain’s Jews are “gripped by anxiety” about Corbyn’s possible election.
Corbyn said that if he becomes prime minister, he wants to lead a government that has an “open door” to all faith leaders.
He said he would invite Mirvis and other religious leaders “to come talk to us about what their concerns are” and said no community would feel at risk because of their faith.
The rabbi’s damaging column was published on the day Labour was launching its “race and faith” platform as part of its campaign to win voters with its views on tolerance and equality.

Cuba accuses US of violating Vienna Conventions

HAVANA (AP) — Cuba’s foreign minister on Tuesday accused the United States of violating the Vienna Convention and the deal re-establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Soon after, the United States announced a new sanction on Cuba meant to cut off the island’s supply of petroleum from Venezuela.
In two tweets, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said unspecified “illegal actions” by the U.S. Embassy in Havana violated both the international codes of conduct for diplomats and the agreement to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana in 2015.
“Illegal actions by #US embassy in #Cuba are interference in the internal affairs of the country and are intended to attack our constitutional order,” Rodríguez tweeted. “They violate the Vienna Convention, the agreement for the re-establishment of relations and Cuban and US laws.”