White House says aid withheld in push for probe of 2016 race

WASHINGTON (AP) — For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

Here’s a quick summary of the latest news:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

— The White House acknowledged Thursday that Trump’s decision to hold up military aid to Ukraine was linked to his demand that Kyiv investigate the Democratic National Committee and the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. The admission from acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney brought swift rebuke from Democrats, who cast his words as an admission of wrongdoing.

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— Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Democratic chairman of one of the U.S. House committees leading the congressional impeachment inquiry, died Thursday of complications from longstanding health problems. He was 68.

— Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said Thursday that Trump directed him and other envoys to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on Ukraine policy. Sondland said he disagreed with the directive.

— Two businessmen pleaded not guilty Thursday to conspiring with associates of Giuliani to make illegal campaign contributions.

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WHAT’S NEXT

An interview with Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, was scheduled for Friday but has been postponed until Oct. 24. It is unclear if she will show up after Trump’s vow of non-cooperation.

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NUMBERS THAT MATTER

With the death of Cummings, and with other vacancies in the House, 217 votes now constitute the minimum majority to pass measures in the chamber.

A detailed tally of House Democrats’ positions on the Trump impeachment inquiry and a possible vote, powered by the reporting of AP journalists, is now available. See where Democrats in your state stand on the probe and a potential vote to impeach Trump.

http://apne.ws/1vSwLI0

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WORTH WATCHING

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle praised Cummings Thursday as news of his death spread across the Capitol. Cummings chaired one of the three committees leading the Trump impeachment probe.

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