Monday Sunrise Briefs: Trump's call to Ukraine and the Emmys

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you were at a Lauren Daigle concert, watching the Downton Abbey movie, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news coming this week.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump won 14 percent of the Indian American vote in 2016. Here, he participates in the "Howdy Modi" event with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, Texas, U.S., September 22, 2019.

Constitutional integrity test.

A new challenge to Congress's ability to check the executive branch took shape this weekend. On Sunday, President Donald Trump appeared to confirm media reports that he had urged Ukraine to reopen an investigation into the son of former Vice President Joe Biden in a July 25 phone call. "...we don't want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine," Mr. Trump told reporters on his way to a rally for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston. He said there was "no quid pro quo" and he would consider releasing a copy of the transcript of the call. 

Democrats say the call was an attempt to get a foreign nation to help Mr. Trump win re-election. They've also said that U.S. law requires that the details of a whistleblower complaint about the call be turned over to congressional intelligence committees. But the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused, citing executive privilege. Some legal experts say that a classified conversation with a foreign leader would normally fall under presidential privilege. 

In Iowa, a poll Saturday showed Elizabeth Warren ahead of Joe Biden for the first time, and Bernie Sanders a distant third. 

2. Historic shift in Israel. For the first time in nearly three decades, a bloc of Arab parties endorsed a candidate for prime minister, in this case, former military chief Benny Gantz. The reluctant endorsement by the Joint List, a bloc of four small Arab parties that controls 13 seats, marks a turning point in Israeli politics. As The Monitor reported on Sept. 10, "Arab citizens have had the right to vote since Israel’s founding, but even the leaders of liberal Jewish parties have ruled out forming a governing coalition that relies on an Arab party to secure a parliamentary majority. And, in a nod to the often-awkward contortions of political life here, so have the Arab parties themselves." Until now. 

3. Equality and diversity celebrated. Michelle Williams took the best actress Emmy Sunday night for her portrayal of dancer Gwen Verdon in "Fosse/Verdon." But it was her call for equal pay that stole the night. "... when you put value into a person it empowers that person to get in touch with their own inherent value. And then where do they put that value? They put it into their work," she said, noting that a woman of color makes 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, male counterpart. Other big winners included Billy Porter for best actor, the first openly gay actor to win that Emmy. Jharrel Jerome won for "When They See Us," the Netflix series about the Central Park Five. Peter Dinklage won his fourth Best Supporting Actor Emmy for playing Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. 

REUTERS/Mike Blake
Michelle Williams accepts the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for "Fosse/Verdon" at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, Sept.r 22, 2019.

Look ahead

Monday, Sept. 23

A climate summit today introduces a week of events in New York as leaders from more than 90 nations gather for the annual United Nations General Assembly. The U.N. Secretary General told speakers to come with "concrete and transformative plans" to stop rising global temperatures. 

Tuesday, Sept. 24

Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro will speak first at the official opening of the The U.N. general session. He'll followed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Sideline meetings (through Thursday) between heads of state are often more newsworthy than the speeches. The recent attack on Saudi oil fields, and the presence of all the key leaders in the Sunni-Shiite Middle East conflict, will lead to speculation about sideline meetings between key players, including Mr. Trump and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

Wednesday, Sept. 25

Expect calls for a ban on "military style assault weapons" at a House committee hearing scheduled for today. Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said at recent TV debate: "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15."

Thursday, Sept. 26

If he hasn't already, expect Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to be asked to turn over the details of a whistleblower’s complaint involving a phone call between President Trump and the President of Ukraine. Mr. Maguire is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence committee today.

Saturday, Sept. 28

The 45th  season of Saturday Night Live will debut with actor Woody Harrelson as the host. The featured musical guest: Billie Eilish.

Generosity watch

Courtesy of Daryn Sturch

Gratitude in a lemonade cup. A year ago, Daryn Sturch, a nurse in Chili, Indiana, stopped to help when she spotted an accident involving five motorcyclists. Ms. Sturch and members of the Milwaukee Iron biker club kept in touch on Facebook. On Sept. 7, her 8-year-old daughter Bryanne planned to set up a lemonade stand, but she got rained out. Members of the biker club suggested Bryanne try again. The next weekend. 30 bikers showed up. Ms. Sturch was overwhelmed. "It was a good thing I wore waterproof mascara that day," she told CNN. "I think it's a perfect example of how just because you don't look the same way or dress the same way or have the same hobbies or interests doesn't mean we don't have the same core values inside us," Ms. Sturch said. "We shouldn't make assumptions about people, we should just love each other."

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor editors and readers:

Melinda Gates: What she’s learned

Courtesy of Gates Archive
Melinda Gates meets in eastern India with women from Pradan, an Indian nonprofit that works with poor people in rural communities.

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about tackling climate change: If multilateralism is waning, how can the U.N. make progress on this global issue? 

Finally, the Monitor’s five best stories in Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. To impeach or not? Here’s why Democrats have been keeping things fuzzy.
  2. Does Hungary education reform mean more patriotism, but less democracy?
  3. How these scientists are uniting the world around climate change (video)
  4. These dogs get second chances. Just like their inmate caretakers.
  5. Beyond birthday cards and hugs: The rise of intensive grandparenting

This is a beta test. This is an experiment with an early Monday morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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