US briefing: Paris agreement, Marie Yovanovitch and far-right troubles

Tim Walker
Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

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

French and Chinese leaders to sign environmental pact

The Trump administration has submitted the paperwork to start the year-long process of withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, making the US the only country in the world to opt out of the pact. Its exit from the agreement will take effect a day after the 2020 presidential election. Meanwhile the French and Chinese presidents, Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping, are to sign a pact in Beijing on Wednesday that refers to the “irreversibility” of the Paris deal.

Former Ukraine envoy describes ‘shock’ over Giuliani attack

Marie Yovanovitch leaves the US Capitol on 11 October after testifying in the impeachment inquiry. Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, told the impeachment inquiry of her “shock” upon learning that Rudy Giuliani was running a shadow foreign policy that involved attacks on her reputation. In the transcript of her testimony, released by Congress on Monday, Yovanovitch described the disillusionment of lifelong US diplomats, and said that when she sought advice on how to fight back, she was advised by Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, to tweet something nice about Trump.

  • Tax returns. A US appeals court has ruled that Trump’s accountants must turn over eight years of his tax returns to New York prosecutors, in a legal battle over the president’s lack of personal financial transparency that looks set to end up at the supreme court.

Far right faces fresh scrutiny after arrest, lawsuit and leak

The FBI has arrested a 27-year-old white supremacist accused of planning a bomb attack on a synagogue in Colorado. Meanwhile in Washington state, Joey Gibson – founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer – has been hit with a civil rights lawsuit claiming he and his associates collaborated with three state police officers in the illegal arrest of an anti-fascist protester, during a violent confrontation at Evergreen State College in June 2017.

  • Richard Spencer. The prominent white nationalist has apparently been caught on tape using racist slurs against African Americans and Jewish people, in a recording released on YouTube by the former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos.

Isis leader’s sister captured in border town, says Turkey

Turkey claims to have captured the sister of the slain Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a raid near the Turkish-controlled northern Syrian town of Azaz. Turkish officials told Reuters that 65-year-old Rasmiya Awad had been seized on Monday, along with her husband and daughter-in-law, and that all three were now being interrogated in the hope they would provide “a trove of intelligence … on the inner workings of Isis”.

Cheat sheet


Aniston and Witherspoon at the premiere of The Morning Show in New York. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon: ‘It’s a great partnership’

Aniston and Witherspoon are back on screen together for the first time since Friends in Apple TV’s starriest new series, The Morning Show. They tell Hadley Freeman how the drama tackles #MeToo, and why Aniston joined Instagram: “People are already in my panty drawers all the time … now I can decide which pair to show them.”

The 2020 elections and the United States of Inequality

The US may boast low unemployment and robust job growth, but if Americans are better off than they were a decade ago, they don’t always feel that way. With this piece by Jessica Goodheart, the Guardian is launching a year-long series on inequality in the US ahead of the 2020 election, in partnership with Capital and Main.

The teens making history on TikTok

Teenagers are unexpectedly using the video platform TikTok to re-enact major events in world history. Poppy Noor asked her old high school history teacher what she made of the phenomenon. Sure enough, she was delighted: “I’d use some of those videos in class.”

Why Mexico’s police ‘don’t stand a chance’ against the cartels

When the son of the jailed drug lord Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzmán was arrested last month, a grisly shootout ensued between security forces and cartel gunmen in the northern Mexican city of Culiacán – and Ovidio Guzmán was ultimately set free. As Jo Tuckman reports, Mexican police are cowed and outgunned in the country’s drug war.


The CEO of McDonald’s was fired by the firm for having a consensual romantic relationship with a company employee. Even in the wake of #MeToo, asks Jessa Crispin, should corporations really be dictating who we can date?

A growing number of companies have decided to turn grays into blacks and whites with flat “no fraternization” policies. More than 75% of companies now forbid relationships between an employee and someone in their chain-of-command, but other companies are banning relationships of any kind between employees.


Trump may have been booed by Washington Nationals fans at a World Series game, but the MLB champions were friendlier to the president when they visited the White House on Monday. While 10 players stayed away, those present praised Trump, with catcher Kurt Suzuki even donning a Make America Great Again hat.

A black cat interrupted play at New York’s MetLife Stadium on Monday night but proved to be a lucky omen for the visitors, not the hosts, as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Giants 37-18.

Sign up

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