Impeachment, Harvey Weinstein, U.K. Election: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering today’s impeachment debate in the House Judiciary Committee, a tentative deal between Harvey Weinstein and his accusers, and the British election.

The details: The articles accuse Mr. Trump of abusing his power and of obstructing Congress. Read them here.

Closer look: Lawmakers from both parties granted a Times photographer unusual access this week, offering a behind-the-scenes look at how Congress operates.

What’s next: If the House impeaches Mr. Trump, he would stand trial in the Senate early next year. The president’s legal team has been discussing hiring Alan Dershowitz, the veteran lawyer, to help represent him.

ImageMichael Horowitz said of his report into the Russia investigation: “It doesn’t vindicate anybody at the F.B.I. who touched this.”
Michael Horowitz said of his report into the Russia investigation: “It doesn’t vindicate anybody at the F.B.I. who touched this.”Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general has mostly been viewed through a political lens since its release this week.

But congressional testimony on Wednesday by the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, underscored the report’s bleak portrayal of the F.B.I. and its wiretapping powers in ways that extend well beyond the Russia investigation.

News analysis: “At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government’s secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil,” our Washington correspondent writes. “And what the report showed was not pretty.”

Quotable: “My goal is to make sure that people, when this is over — whether you like Trump, hate Trump, don’t care about Trump — you look at this as more than a few irregularities,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “If this becomes a few irregularities in America, then God help us all.”

One of the two assailants in the deadly attack in Jersey City that ended at a kosher supermarket had published anti-Semitic posts online and was a follower of a fringe religious group that has expressed hostility to Jews, officials said on Wednesday.

The attackers, who were among the six people killed, were identified as David Anderson and his girlfriend, Francine Graham. The pair are also suspected of killing a livery driver in nearby Bayonne, N.J., whose body was found on Saturday.

Closer look: Officials said Mr. Anderson was associated with the Black Hebrew Israelites, which has been labeled a hate group. Divided into dozens of semiautonomous groups that are not associated with mainstream Judaism, followers believe that the chosen ones are black, Native American and Hispanic people. Read more about the group here.

Perspective: Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, cited the attack in an opinion piece for The Times about a new executive order that extends civil rights protection to Jews.

The Hollywood producer and the board of his bankrupt film studio have reached a tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.

The deal would not require Mr. Weinstein to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to his accusers himself, according to lawyers involved in the negotiations. Insurance companies representing his former studio would pay.

Background: The settlement would resolve lawsuits filed by dozens of women since 2017, when The Times exposed allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by Mr. Weinstein. His accusers include stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, but none of them have joined the proceedings.

What’s next: Mr. Weinstein faces a criminal trial early next year in Manhattan on charges of sexual assault involving two women. On Wednesday, a judge raised Mr. Weinstein’s bail after prosecutors accused him of mishandling his ankle monitor.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that is helping to warm the planet. It’s also loosely regulated and difficult to detect.

Armed with a powerful infrared camera, two Times journalists flew over oil and gas fields in West Texas, and in just a few hours found six sites with unusually high methane emissions. Their report shows how the energy industry is seeking and winning looser federal regulations on methane.

British election: With the future of the country’s status in Europe undecided after years of haggling, today’s voting comes at a moment of deep divisions. Polls close at 5 p.m. Eastern. Here are the latest updates.

Allowing troops to sue: A giant defense bill includes a provision that would loosen the long-held doctrine that the government is not liable for injuries sustained by military members on active duty.

Risky mission to a volcano: New Zealand’s military plans an effort on Friday to retrieve the bodies of eight people believed to have died in an eruption this week.

Snapshot: Above, part of a painting found in a cave in Indonesia that is at least 43,900 years old. In a paper published on Wednesday, scientists said it’s “the oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world.”

Late-night comedy: Time magazine named Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist, as its person of the year. “When asked what she thought about Time, Thunberg said, ‘We probably have about five, six years left,’” Seth Meyers said.

What we’re looking at: This interactive feature about the ocean’s depths by Neal Agarwal, a self-described “creative coder.” Michael Roston, a science editor, writes: “Just keep scrolling until you reach the bottom. Along the way you’ll learn a lot about our seas, and perhaps even feel a sense of calm.”

Cook: Serve roasted salmon and brussels sprouts with jalapeño and a citrus soy sauce.

Watch: A creative shake-up, last-minute rewrites and a director not known for great endings: J.J. Abrams and company discuss the making of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

Read: “The Serious Goose,” written and illustrated by the late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, is a No. 1 debut on our children’s picture book best-seller list.

Smarter Living: Sending a direct message via social media may be easy, but it’s not necessarily wise. We have tips for reaching out.

In coverage of the country’s divisive, hugely consequential election today, exit polls won’t be cited. There won’t be interviews with candidates or voters or news shows debating the merits of the parties or the issues.

Only after the polls close at 10 p.m. local time will the floodgates open.

The muted coverage stems from British laws meant to keep broadcast coverage from influencing voters.

The laws emerged in the 20th century, at a time when TV and radio were very powerful, and before online journalism was a force. As licensed entities, broadcasters were required to act in the public interest, which was interpreted to include protecting voters from last-minute influences.

The BBC and other British news organizations tend to follow the same rules online, as do foreign news organizations operating within the country, including The Times.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time, with election results.

— Chris

Thank you
Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum provided the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

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