10 things you need to know today: October 5, 2019

Tim O'Donnell

1.

House Democrats on Friday subpoenaed the White House, giving the Trump administration until Oct. 18 to produce documents related to President Trump's impeachment inquiry. "We deeply regret that President Trump as put us — and the nation — in this position, but his actions have left us with no choice but to issue this subpoena," three House committee chairs wrote in a letter. Earlier Friday, House Democrats requested that Vice President Mike Pence produce documents on Trump's phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, any government communication about the conversations, and information on plans for providing foreign aid based on political meddling. The letter also warned that failure to comply with the request for documents by Oct. 15 would be considered evidence of obstruction of the impeachment inquiry. [Fox News, CNN]

2.

The White House issued a proclamation Friday saying it would soon require immigrants applying for a U.S. visa to prove that they either have health insurance or can afford to cover their own health care costs before entering the country starting Nov. 3. President Trump said the White House wants to "protect the availability of health care benefits for Americans" as "taxpayers bear substantial cost" in paying for medical expenses of people who lack health insurance. "Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our health care system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs," Trump said. The proclamation would affect many immigrants, including those with family ties in the country, but it does not include non-citizen children of U.S. citizens or those who have been granted asylum. The proclamation is expected to face legal challenges. [The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post]

3.

A second intelligence official is considering filing another whistleblower complaint and testifying to Congress about President Trump's communications with Ukraine's government, The New York Times reports. The official reportedly has more direct information than the first whistleblower, whose complaint that Trump was using the office of the presidency to pressure Kyiv to investigate his political rivals spurred a congressional impeachment inquiry. The second official was reportedly interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the first official's account. In related news, Trump reportedly has ordered reductions to the staff of the National Security Council. The first whistleblower alleged NSC officials had tried to keep Trump's controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky under wraps, though sources said the cuts are meant to increase efficiency during a leadership transition. [The New York Times, Bloomberg]

4.

The Treasury Department's inspector general will investigate whether Trump administration officials have improperly blocked Democrats from accessing President Trump's tax returns, officials confirmed Friday. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) has requested six years of Trump's taxes, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has so far refused to comply. Trump has said his taxes are under audit and thus cannot be released. A whistleblower, revealed Thursday to be an IRS official, said a Treasury Department appointee may have tried to "improperly interfere" with an audit, which the White House disputed. Neal requested the Treasury investigation, saying he wants assurance "no one is endeavoring to intimidate or impede government officials and employees carrying out their duties." [The Washington Post]

5.

The United States re-engaged on two geopolitical fronts. U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday for the first time since President Trump declared peace negotiations to end the conflict in Afghanistan "dead" in September. Few details have been released about the meeting, but there reportedly has not yet been a resumption of peace talks. Meanwhile, Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde confirmed Saturday that U.S. and North Korean officials are in Sweden to hold talks about Pyongyang's denuclearization process after the negotiations between the two sides broke down in February. North Korea had announced earlier this week they were ready to resume talks. [Politico, The Associated Press]

6.

The subway and most shopping malls were closed in Hong Kong on Saturday, as the city reportedly fell "eerily silent" amid an unprecedented shutdown after the government invoked emergency measures to stifle political unrest. Earlier in the day, hundreds of anti-government protesters defied a ban on face masks and marched in the streets, but by evening they had reportedly dispersed. However, there are reportedly plans for bigger marches Sunday. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the emergency measures and criticized protesters for the "horribly violent incidents" that occurred during Friday demonstrations, which erupted after the face mask ban was announced. During the Friday protests, police shot a teenage boy, and protesters reportedly torched businesses and metro stations. [Reuters, The South China Morning Post]

7.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) presidential campaign raised $24.6 million in the third fundraising quarter of 2019, her campaign announced Friday. That's a more than $5 million increase from her gain in the previous quarter, and nearly $10 million more than what former Vice President Joe Biden posted in Q3. After the third fundraising quarter closed earlier this week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) revealed he'd raised $25.3 million, the biggest quarterly haul of any 2020 Democrat. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised $19.1 million, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang nearly quadrupled his Q2 with $10 million in the third quarter. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reported modest gains of $11.6 million and $6 million, respectively. Biden earned just $15.2 million in Q3, down from the $21.5 million he brought in during his first quarter of the race. [Team Warren, NBC News]

8.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was discharged from a Las Vegas hospital Friday following a heart procedure that put his presidential campaign on hold. His campaign also confirmed Friday that the Democratic presidential candidate had a heart attack earlier this week. The campaign had previously only announced that Sanders experienced chest discomfort, and that doctors inserted two stents in a blocked artery. Sanders' doctors said he's made good progress in his recovery, and Sanders reiterated in a statement that he "feels great" after the brief stay in the hospital and is looking forward "to getting back to work." The campaign has also said Sanders plans to participate in the next Democratic primary debate on Oct. 15. [The New York Times, NBC News]

9.

Joker, the dark new origin story for the iconic Batman villain, is expected to set a new record for biggest opening weekend for an October release. The film has already set a new record for biggest preview night for a movie released in October with $13.3 million on Thursday, surpassing the record held by 2018's Venom. Venom also holds the record for biggest October opening with $80.2 million, but estimates see Joker raking in at least $90 million. Some theaters have seen increased police presence for the controversial film, which its critics have accused of depicting a mentally-ill loner turning to violence in an irresponsible fashion. A theater in Southern California shut down for two showings Thursday after receiving a credible threat. [Variety, The Hollywood Reporter]

10.

Actress Diahann Carroll died of cancer at her home in Los Angeles on Friday, her daughter told The Associated Press. She was 84. Carroll, who was black, portrayed iconic stage roles traditionally dominated by white women, and became a household name starring in NBC's Julia from 1968 to 1971, portraying a single mother working as a nurse in the first TV show that starred a black professional woman. Carroll grew up and went to performing arts high school in New York City, and started her career as a model before a TV talent competition earned her a nightclub singing gig. That eventually transformed into her Broadway debut at age 19, and when Richard Rogers wrote the musical No Strings Attached specifically for her, she won a Tony award for her performance. [The Associated Press, The Week]