US briefing: Impeachment, California fires and Russia World Cup emails

Tim Walker
Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Subscribe now to receive the morning briefing by email.

Good morning, I’m Tim Walker with today’s essential stories.

Republicans hold ranks as vote splits on party lines

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 232-196 to endorse impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, setting out a road map for the public phase of the inquiry, which could lead to televised hearings within two weeks and a final impeachment vote before the end of the year. No Republicans were persuaded to back the proceedings, though the House’s sole independent, Justin Amash of Michigan – who quit the GOP in July – voted to advance the resolution.

  • Rogue policy. In his deposition on Thursday, national security council official Tim Morrison corroborated prior testimony about the Trump administration’s efforts to strike a shady deal with Ukraine. But Morrison also appeared to distance the president from the issue.

Trump changes primary residence from New York to Florida

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

Trump has announced he is changing his primary residence from Manhattan to Mar-a-Lago, the exclusive Florida golf club that he describes as the “winter White House”. “I cherish New York,” the president said in a tweet on Thursday, but added: “Despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state.” The move could bring Trump tax benefits, and also reflects the importance of Florida to his 2020 re-election campaign.

  • Foreign interference. Trump on Thursday weighed into the UK election, appearing by phone on Nigel Farage’s radio programme to suggest an alliance between Farage and Boris Johnson, and to criticise the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Ring of fires around Los Angeles as California keeps burning

Fresh wildfires in Riverside County and the city of San Bernardino added to a growing ring of flames around Los Angeles on Thursday, as southern California’s Santa Ana winds fanned the blazes that have affected millions of people up and down the state. But as bad as this wildfire season has been for California, writes Susie Cagle, it could be much worse if the state – and the utility blamed for starting many of its fires – fail to adapt to a future of extreme weather.

Anonymous seller offers Russian emails on ‘how to bribe Fifa’

Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter hands 2020 World Cup hosting duties to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Photograph: RIA Novosti/Reuters

An anonymous seller has claimed they have a tranche of emails relating to Russia’s successful bid to host the 2020 Fifa World Cup, reportedly containing a dossier compiled by Russian officials on how to bribe Fifa executive council members. The emails purportedly come from the account of the former head of Russia’s national football academy, and are being offered for sale by a user of the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

  • Character profiles. There is no suggestion Russian officials acted on the dossier, which included extensive character profiles of Fifa council members, including former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner.

Cheat sheet

  • In her final speech to the House, the California Democrat Katie Hill condemned a “misogynistic culture” and the “double standard” that led her to resign after being accused of a relationship with a staffer and having nude photos published online without her consent.

  • A group of young climate campaigners wept tears of frustration after learning that Chile had withdrawn as host of the upcoming Cop 25 UN climate conference, while the activists were already sailing across the Atlantic to attend the summit.

  • New York’s city council has voted to build 250 new bike lanes and 1m sq ft of extra pedestrian space, in a bid to “break the car culture” of the city, according to council speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the plan.

  • A haul of apparent Nazi artefacts found behind a wall at a Buenos Aires antiquarian’s home, and about to go on show at Argentina’s Holocaust museum is in fact made up of fakes and counterfeits, a German art historian has claimed.


Kamala Harris would be a history-making nominee, but her campaign lacks ‘a coherent thesis for why she is running’, says one expert observer. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Can Kamala Harris salvage her languishing 2020 bid?

Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign launch in Oakland drew a bigger crowd than any of her rivals, but now she’s languishing in the second tier of Democratic candidates. Lauren Gambino asks whether an impeachment trial could provide the springboard she needs for a comeback.

An undercover reporter on life in a Polish troll farm

Reporter Katarzyna Pruszkiewicz spent six months running fake social media accounts at Cat@Net, a so-called “ePR firm” in the Polish city of Wrocław. Many of her colleagues were disabled, she tells Christian Davies, which means their work options are limited – and the firm can claim public subsidies for employing them.

Al and Bob: ‘We’ve helped each other throughout life.’
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino have become quite the double-act on the press tour for The Irishman, their acclaimed new film with Martin Scorsese. “We’re really close,” Pacino tells Andrew Pulver. “In a way, I think we’ve helped each other throughout life.”

How private equity killed Deadspin

Deadspin, the blog that helped define American online sportswriting, is now a shell of its former self after staff resigned en masse over its private equity owners’ directive to “stick to sports” in their coverage. Jack Moore, who wrote for the site, says that was just a thinly veiled euphemism for “don’t speak truth to power”.


More than half of American 11-year-olds already have a smartphone, according to a survey. Parents and teachers are worried about their effect on children, says Nancy Jo Sales – so why not make the obvious move and just take them away?

They’re all for limiting screen time – though it’s hard, they say; their kids act like addicts when you try to take away their drugs – but when you raise the question of not giving kids phones at all, they balk.


Marcus Rashford’s storming goal for England against Bulgaria appears to have injected fresh confidence into his performances for Manchester United. Mesut Özil proved his enduring worth at Anfield on Wednesday; if Unai Emery puts him on against Wolves, he might save both their skins. Those are two of 10 things to look out for in the Premier League this weekend.

Tokyo has reluctantly accepted the International Olympic Committee’s surprise decision to move the 2020 Olympic marathon and walking events from Japan’s capital to the northern city of Sapporo, over concerns about the heat.

Sign up

The US morning briefing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.