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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Mick Mulvaney takes back public admission of Ukraine quid pro quo

  • Trump Doral resort in Miami to host 2020 G7 summit

  • Pence: Turkey agrees to temporary ceasefire in Syria to let Kurds vacate

  • Rick Perry reportedly to resign as energy secretary

  • Paul Dano cast as the Riddler in The Batman

Not long after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney publicly admitted President Trump's decision to hold up aid to Ukraine was partly linked to his wish for the country to launch an investigation into the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack, Mulvaney walked back his comments. Mulvaney made his initial remarks on Thursday in front of reporters, during a televised press conference. It was a surprising acknowledgement, as Trump has repeatedly denied engaging in any quid pro quo. Mulvaney said this was something "we do all the time," and anyone with a problem should "get over it." In his follow-up statement, Mulvaney said "there was never any condition on the flow of aid related to the matter of the DNC server," and tried to shift the blame for his words on the media, claiming they were misconstrued to "advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Next year's Group of Seven summit will be held at President Trump's Doral resort in Miami, Florida, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced Thursday, saying they will do the event "at cost" to block Trump from profiting from the event. Still, that means hundreds of diplomats, world leaders, and their staffers will end up at the financially strained resort. The decision comes even after talks of a Doral venue raised heaps of questions about potential ethics violations. It's an especially risky decision considering the House's impeachment investigation is currently probing how Trump financially benefits from his presidency, and ironic seeing as Trump continues to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of using his position to enrich his family.

Source: The Washington Post

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in Syria. Pence after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference Turkey will "pause" its operation in Syria "in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours." Turkey's offensive, Operation Peace Spring, will be "halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal," Pence said. This announcement comes after Trump pulled back troops from northern Syria, clearing the way for Turkey's military to enter Kurdish-held zones in a decision that drew bipartisan criticism. A senior Turkish official told CNN after the announcement, "we got exactly what we wanted."

Source: The Associated Press, CNN

Rick Perry informed President Trump on Thursday that he'll be resigning as energy secretary in the near future, The New York Times reports. Perry has reportedly been eyeing an exit for several months. The former Texas governor on Wednesday gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal that described his involvement in the Trump administration's Ukraine scandal, saying he was in contact with lawyer Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine-related matters at Trump's behest. Perry led the U.S. delegation to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration this year in what a whistleblower said was Trump's attempt to avoid Zelensky until he was sure the leader would probe former Vice President Joe Biden. Perry is one of Trump's few remaining Cabinet officials since his inauguration.

Source: The New York Times

Paul Dano has been cast as the Riddler in The Batman, Warner Bros. announced Thursday. He's the latest to join the comic book film's cast, which includes Robert Pattinson as Batman and Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman. Jeffrey Wright is also reportedly set to play Commissioner Gordon. Jonah Hill was reportedly in talks to portray the Riddler or the Penguin in the film, but he recently passed on the project, with an offer subsequently going out to Dano. The Batman is set to feature multiple classic villains, including the Riddler, who Jim Carrey previously played in 1995's Batman Forever. The movie, which is directed by Matt Reeves, hit theaters in June 2021.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety
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