7 of our top opinion columns this week: ICYMI

USA TODAY

In today's fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we've started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week's top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1. Democratic debate in Atlanta: From A to F, Mastio & Lawrence grade the 2020 candidates

By David Mastio and Jill Lawrence

"David: These debates are paying diminishing returns for the Democrats. Nobody really went out on a limb to make a big statement. ...

"Jill: I am grateful that Medicare for All did not rear its head until the 18th minute of the debate, and it did not stick around long."

Everyone was in the loop by

2. Credible Sondland is no Never Trumper. House hearings now need Bolton, Pompeo, Mulvaney.

By The Editorial Board

"Gordon Sondland is no Never Trumper. A wealthy Republican hotelier who contributed $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, Sondland was rewarded for his loyalty with a coveted ambassadorship to the European Union. ... That makes Sondland's testimony Wednesday — directly linking the president and his men to a quid pro quo on Ukraine — all the more credible and crushing."

3. Airlines tell parents to pay up or risk sitting rows away from their kids. That's wrong.

By William J. McGee

"In two cases, United knowingly separated families traveling with 1-year-olds, in one case on a two-leg international itinerary. In seven cases, 2-year-olds were seated separately from family, including on American, Delta, United and Spirit Airlines. ... Airlines could easily fix this, but they haven’t. Doing so would mean forsaking revenue from millions of dollars in fees from parents."

Medicare's Cost by

4. Hey, Elizabeth Warren: Your wealth tax plan? It's unconstitutional.

By James S. Robbins

"Do we really want a system in which Washington has the right to tax anything you have simply because you have it? If so, no property would ever be safe. ... And who is a millionaire anyway? Recall President Bill Clinton’s 1993 'millionaire’s surtax' proposal that would have applied to households earning a million dollars over four years."

5. A mayor? Who's 37? What are Democrats thinking? Maybe that Buttigieg could beat Trump.

By Jill Lawrence

"Many of us in the Boomer cohort had an existential reckoning a while back when we suddenly noticed all of our doctors were younger than us. ... I’m reminded of that transition as Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, leaps into the lead in the first Democratic contest of the presidential nominating season, the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses."

Sondland impeachment hearings

6. Gordon Sondland’s impeachment testimony on Trump and Ukraine adds up to bribery

By Barbara McQuade

"Gordon Sondland is not a note taker, but it appears that he can do math. ... Sondland said that though Trump never specifically told him the delay in releasing the military aid was directly tied to the announcement of investigations, he assumed the link because 'two plus two equals four.'"

7. Roger Stone conviction: As impeachment looms, the 'provocateur' may have to wait for a pardon

By Jonathan Turley

"In his documentary ... Roger Stone begin with the signature declaration, 'My name is Roger Stone, and I'm an agent provocateur.' In what might be his most impressive success as a provocateur, Stone seemed to provoke a jury in Washington, D.C., to render a sweeping conviction on all counts for his role in the investigation into Russia and the 2016 election." 

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gordon Sondland testimony, Democratic debate, airlines: Top columns