Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels aimed lasers at the cockpit of a U.S. attack helicopter while it was operating in international airspace over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, a U.S. Navy spokesman said Thursday, calling the behavior “unsafe, unprofessional and irresponsible.” No one was injured in the incident and the helicopter was not damaged.
- NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg made a previously unannounced visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, noting in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Ukrainian troops were “gradually gaining ground” in their ongoing counteroffensive against Russian troops. The visit came after Ukrainian air defense systems in the south of the country reportedly destroyed 30 drones in an overnight Russian barrage Wednesday.
- President Joe Biden delivered a speech in Arizona yesterday calling former President Donald Trump and his “extremist movement” a danger to democracy. “There’s something dangerous happening in America right now,” Biden said. “They’re pushing the notion that the defeated former president expressed when he was in office and believes applies only to him.” The president also paid tribute to the late Sen. John McCain, announcing plans to construct a library in his honor at Arizona State University.
- The House Oversight Committee held its first hearing in its impeachment inquiry investigating potential misconduct and corruption by President Biden on Thursday. Three Republican-picked witnesses testified before the committee, though two said the GOP did not yet have enough evidence to support claims of corruption by the Biden family—a sentiment echoed by a fourth, Democrat-selected witness. GOP witness Eileen O’Connor, former assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, testified that, based on documents obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee and released Wednesday, the prosecutor overseeing the probe into Hunter Biden’s taxes may have attempted to shield the elder Biden from Justice Department scrutiny.
- The Senate on Thursday opened debate on a bipartisan continuing resolution—a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded through mid-November—though the measure, which McCarthy swiftly rejected, will be dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled House. Meanwhile, in a late-night vote series, the House passed funding bills for the State Department, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security—though the bills represent just a starting point in negotiations with the Senate. House lawmakers failed to pass appropriations bills for the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
- A five-judge panel on the New York state appeals court on Thursday denied Trump’s request to postpone his trial on business fraud allegations. The trial will begin on Monday where New York Attorney General Letitia James will present her case, arguing the former president inflated the value of his properties and other assets by hundreds of millions of dollars in order to receive better loan terms and lower insurance premiums.
- Michael Gambon, the Irish-born film and stage actor who played Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film franchise, died Wednesday after suffering a “bout of pneumonia,” according to his publicist. Gambon was 82 years old.
An Indo-Canadian Dust-Up
At the Group of 20 summit in India earlier this month, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for reinvigorated trust in—and between—governments. “As the President of the G20, India invites the entire world to come together and, first and foremost, transform this global trust deficit into global trust and confidence,” he said.
Just over a week later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the floor of his country’s parliament to accuse Modi’s government of involvement in the June assassination of a Sikh nationalist—and Canadian citizen—on Canadian soil.
The shocking allegation has brought relations between two Commonwealth democracies in New Delhi and Ottawa to an all-time low. The details surrounding Trudeau’s claims remain murky, but the escalating tensions may nonetheless have repercussions for the complex relationship President Joe Biden is trying to build with the South Asian nation positioned as a potential bulwark against their common rival in China.