It’s Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. “We do that all the time”
White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday there was a quid pro quo in the Ukraine affair, saying he withheld military aid in part to pressure the country to investigate Democrats.
Hours after the briefing, Mulvaney attempted to clarify his comments in a statement.
“Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump. Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election,” Mulvaney noted. “The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.”
ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl joins “Start Here” to talk about the exchange.
2. Ceasefire in Syria
The U.S. and Turkey reached an agreement Thursday to temporarily pause the Turkish offensive in Syria for 120 hours so Kurdish forces can withdraw 20 miles further into the country.
President Donald Trump welcomed the news as a “a great day for civilization.”
ABC News’ James Longman tells “Start Here” that critics believe the move gives Turkey the buffer zone on their border they wanted from the start: “A lot of people were saying from the very beginning that that’s essentially ethnic cleansing.”
3. Zuckerberg talks free speech
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about the importance of free expression in the digital age Thursday during a speech at Georgetown University.
“People having the power to express themselves at scale is a new kind of force in the world — a Fifth Estate alongside the other power structures of society,” Zuckerberg said.
Matt Stoller, author of “Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy,” tells “Start Here” that the key issue with free speech, which the social network is ignoring, is Facebook’s reliance on advertising revenue.
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘That crazy Nancy’: President Donald Trump again attacked House Democrats over their impeachment inquiry at his Dallas rally Thursday night.
‘I earned my spurs on the battlefield’: Former Defense Secretary James Mattis roasted Trump, his former boss, at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City.
‘Even worse than we had feared’: Nearly 1 million children could lose automatic eligibility for free school lunches under a Trump administration proposal, according to a new analysis.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
FiveThirtyEight’s politics podcast team is back with another round of their 2020 Primary Draft.
Doff your cap:
Two female astronauts are close to accomplishing something no women have done before.
When U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir step outside the International Space Station Friday morning, it will be the first time in history that two women have done a spacewalk together.
Koch and Meir are expected to spend more than five hours outside the space station to replace a failed power controller, according to NASA.