National News Update: November 6, 2019

The last days of October and the first days of November 2019 saw the clear division of Washington politicians and Americans attempting to cope with new environmental disasters.  Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. faced off on the ever intensifying issue of impeachment on Halloween in the first full house vote related to the impeachment inquiry.  As war was waged in the House of Representatives, the state of California continued to fight a very different type of battle. Fires Northwest of Los Angeles wreaked havoc on the region, resulting in widespread power outages and thousands of mandatory evacuations.

Impeachment Inquiry

The first vote in the House of Representatives relating to the impeachment inquiry of President Trump was held last Thursday.   Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) scheduled a vote on a resolution outlining the procedural aspects of the impeachment inquiry.  The resolution lists the rules and procedures for the coming weeks of investigation. The vote, not constitutionally required, comes after weeks of criticism from the White House and Congressional Republicans stating that the impeachment inquiry was a “witch hunt” because there was never a vote on it and hearings up until this point were held behind closed doors.  The resolution passed largely on party lines: 232-196, with 2 Democrats in competitive districts voting no and one former republican who is now an independent voting yes. The resolution outlines the procedures for public hearings and public investigation. Notably, it allows for the president or council on his behalf to defend against accusations, something not allowed in the previous closed door hearings of the investigation.

Giuliani: The “Secretary of Offense”

Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and a current personal lawyer to the president, moved farther into the public view this week when he appeared on the front cover of Time magazine.  Giuliani, a regular on political talk shows has taken a lead role in the defense of the president during the impeachment inquiry. His often use inflammatory and aggressive rhetoric has led Time magazine to name him the “Secretary of Offense.”  The article covers the change in Rudy Giuliani’s career, from the healing NYC mayor during 9/11 to the intense defender of President Trump.

California Wildfires

Published by Google Crisis Response
As of November 6, eight wildfires are still burning throughout California, with the Kincade fire (outlined in red) being the largest and burning 77,758 acres thus far. Thankfully, it is 86% contained.

Last week saw the escalation of recent California wildfires.  Fires continued to burn forests and suburban communities, with over one hundred thousand acres in the last three weeks.  Multiple fires have lead power companies in the region to intentionally cut power from several high voltage lines, causing over one million power outages.  As fires neared communities, forest service firefighters joined forces with many local fire departments, volunteers, and California Department of Correction inmates to successfully fought the fires as the winds died down over the weekend, limiting the acres of residential area burned.  Large fire tanker aircraft and helicopters dropped water and fire retardant to aid the ground fighters in their efforts. Families in the regions immediately threatened by the blaze were under mandatory evacuation orders. As of Sunday, November 3, power has recently been mostly restored, and the fires are over 50% contained.