Monday, September 30, 2019

Your Monday Evening Briefing

A new Trump phone call emerged.
The New York Times

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Your Monday Evening Briefing

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By victoria shannon and elizabeth pierson

Good evening. Here's the latest.

Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

1. Another troubling phone call emerged.

President Trump recently pushed the Australian prime minister to help Attorney General William Barr discredit the Mueller investigation, according to two officials with knowledge of the call. Above, Mr. Trump today in the Oval Office.

The White House restricted access to the transcript to a small group of aides, similar to the handling of the July call with the Ukrainian president at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

The discussion with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, our reporters write, "shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests" as well as the extent to which "he sees the Justice Department as a potential way to gain leverage over America's closest allies."


Tom Brenner/Getty Images

2. The impeachment inquiry is moving fast.

The House Intelligence Committee, working with the foreign affairs and oversight committees, subpoenaed records from Rudolph Giuliani. President Trump's personal lawyer was deeply involved in Mr. Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.


The demand came even as Mr. Trump said he was seeking to find out the identity of the whistle-blower whose complaint set off the inquiry, and suggested that the chairman leading the investigation, Representative Adam Schiff, should be arrested for treason, and .

And Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said for the first time that if the House ultimately votes to impeach the president, a Senate trial would be unavoidable. Above, the Capitol today.

Madoka Ikegami/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3. A China remade in Xi Jinping's image commemorates its 70th anniversary.

The celebrations, which culminate overnight — China's Tuesday — with a military parade in Beijing, reveal how thoroughly the Communist Party has rewritten the country's past since Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic. They also reflect Mr. Xi's turn to traditionalism, with little mention of the cost.

Hong Kong is braced for antigovernment demonstrations. News reports suggest that the police will be deploying as many as 6,000 officers and that China has quietly doubled its military presence in the city.

We explain the significance of China's National Day and what to expect as it unfolds.

4. A mission lifted out of a Hollywood thriller.

Last week, a telephone line to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran was secretly set up in New York, where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly, above. President Trump waited on the other end.

It was to be the climax of the efforts of President Emmanuel Macron of France to broker a thaw in the U.S.-Iran standoff.

In the end, Mr. Rouhani refused even to come out of his room, Mr. Macron left empty-handed and Mr. Trump was left hanging, according to people with knowledge of the gambit.

In other news of world leaders, our Lebanon-based correspondent found out from court documents that the Lebanese prime minister gave more than $16 million to a South African bikini model. It's quite a story.

Paul J. Richards/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

5. That dictum against eating red meat? Never mind, a study says.

An international collaboration of researchers has concluded that if there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are tiny.

Concerns that these foods are linked to heart disease, cancer and other ills are not backed by good scientific evidence, according to the research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The turnaround is being met with fierce criticism by the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Harvard School of Public Health and other groups. It also raises questions about dietary advice and nutritional research in general.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

6. California takes on the N.C.A.A.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to allow college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsements, threatening the amateurism business model of college sports.

The N.C.A.A. considers the measure "unconstitutional" and said it would "consider next steps in California." The state is apparently betting that the N.C.A.A. will back down before the law takes effect in January 2023 — a risky proposition.

Here are some questions and answers about how athletes and colleges would be affected. Above, the U.S.C. Trojans playing the Stanford Cardinals.

On the professional side, we round up Week 4 in the N.F.L. The Bills and the Lions are the new teams to worry about, the Browns overcame their rough start to the season, and the Rams showed quite a few flaws.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

7. WeWork shelved its I.P.O.

The postponement was the latest sign of trouble at the fast-growing company, which rents out shared office space and was until recently considered one of the world's most valuable start-ups.

But last week Adam Neumann, its co-founder, resigned as chief executive, and investors balked at buying shares. The company has run up billions of dollars in losses and does not appear to be close to turning a profit.

Patricia Wall/The New York Times

8. Two new books on Adolf Hitler were well underway before the tumult of current events.

But the authors — the Holocaust expert Peter Longerich and the Cambridge historian Brendan Simms — recognize that recent political trends have made their subject especially charged.

"In a very alarming and upsetting way, Hitler is actually less strange today than he was 20 or 30 years ago," Mr. Simms says.

Rozette Rago for The New York Times

9. Kanye West's newest album has no cursing.

But the gospel-influenced "Jesus Is King" isn't out yet. Instead of releasing it as promised on Friday (or Sunday, per his wife, Kim Kardashian West), the rapper spent the weekend hosting impromptu listening parties.

No word on a new date for the album, which grew out of Mr. West's recent church performances around the country. Above, "Sunday Service" at Coachella in April.

Moving to the silver screen, our critic Wesley Morris ponders whether Gwyneth Paltrow, whom he sees as an extraordinary actress, lost her taste for performing because Harvey Weinstein used her success to prey on other women.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

10. And finally, Cuba — by ear.

On a 12-day journey across the country, our writer and a photographer found that Cuba's music stretches far beyond the traditional sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club or Celia Cruz.

But defining the island's music is an inherently flawed task, they discovered — with roots in Africa, Haiti, France and Spain, Cuban genres intertwine and cross, endlessly forming new shapes and sounds.

You can find out for yourself: Despite new U.S. limits on travel to Cuba, Americans can still visit the island under the "support for Cuban people" category, either independently or on an accompanied tour.

Buenas noches.

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