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Impeachment inquiry heats up as public hearings begin

The House impeachment inquiry into enters a new and crucial phase Wednesday with the start of public hearings into President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Democrats suggest that Trump’s demand that Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, while withholding nearly $400 million in military aid could warrant impeachment. Two witnesses are scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday: Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who told lawmakers about gradually learning about demands for investigations;George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of State, who raised concerns about Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, steering policy privately. After weeks of closed-door depositions, the public hearings will help educate Americans about what happened in anticipation of a possible House vote on articles of impeachment.

Trump, Erdogan set for controversial White House meeting

President Donald Trump will welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House on Wednesday just weeks after the authoritarian leader invaded Syria and attacked U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. The meeting could spark fresh bipartisan anger over Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a move many lawmakers saw as a betrayal of the Kurdish-led forces that helped American troops fight the Islamic State. On Monday, more than a dozen members of Congress called on Trump to rescind his invitation to Erdogan, saying the Turkish leader’s actions should not be rewarded with a high-profile White House visit.

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Who are the Kurds and what does less U.S. troops in the region mean for the war against ISIS? We explain.
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Last day to qualify for fifth Democratic debate

Democratic presidential candidates must meet polling and fundraising thresholds by Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. to qualify for the fifth primary debate. So far, 10 candidates in the large field have qualified for the Nov. 20 debate, which will be held in Georgia and is co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. To qualify for the debate, candidates must receive individual donations from at least 165,000 people, consisting of at least 600 unique donors in at least 20 states. This is up from the previous requirement of 130,000 donors and at least 400 donors in 20 states, which were the marks set for the September and October debates.

Sentencing scheduled in college admissions scandal after guilty plea

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A California title insurance executive is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after admitting that he paid $450,000 to fraudulently get his daughter and son admitted into the University of Southern California. Toby MacFarlane pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton approved an April plea agreement between MacFarlane and prosecutors, who have recommended that he serve 15 months in prison, receive 12 months of supervised release and pay a penalty of $95,000 along with an unspecified amount of restitution. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

CMA Awards: Country music icons celebrate ‘year of the woman’

For the first time in CMA Awards history, three women will host country music’s biggest night — and they also happen to be legendary music figures. Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood will co-host the awards show Wednesday in a celebration of the genre’s “year of the woman.” The concept for the 53rd CMA Awards was born out of the 50th CMA Awards, which adopted a more inclusive, reflective character. Between performances and presenters, 40 country women will be on the CMA Awards stage. The competition will be friendly but fierce this year. Here are our picks for who will take home the night’s top prizes — and the performers who also deserve the recognition. 

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