Friday is almost here, CivMixers. I, for one, am looking forward to that.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, since there’s a lot of news to wade through today…and it’s not even over yet. Here are some highlights:

Key impeachment witnesses said today it was clear that President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was pursuing political investigations of Democrats in Ukraine, in testimony undercutting Trump’s argument that he only wanted to root out Ukrainian corruption.

The White House’s former top Europe and Russia expert, Fiona Hill, sharply denounced what she called a “fictional narrative” embraced by Trump and his Republican allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections, testifying that the claim at the center of the impeachment inquiry was a fabrication by Moscow that had harmed the U.S.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a set of long-running corruption cases, throwing his political future into doubt and heightening the uncertainty and chaos surrounding Israel’s fitful, yearlong struggle to choose its next leader.

Trump reversed a decision by the Navy seeking to oust a Navy SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, from the elite commando force.

Attorneys representing convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers are demanding that Prince Andrew speak to the FBI — a move that would demonstrate “justice and accountability for the victims.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a state probe into reports of widespread discrimination by real estate agents, citing Newsday’s three-year investigation into housing bias on Long Island.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg took another step toward launching a Democratic bid for president today, filing paperwork with federal election authorities that will allow him to raise money for his campaign.

…In essence, Bloomberg was forced to take this step Thursday because he filed paperwork to appear on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama and Arkansas earlier this month. By doing so, he was required to file paperwork with the FEC within 15 days.

New York’s Medicaid program expenses are running at least $3 billion over budget, but the Cuomo administration has so far said little about its plans to deal with the issue.

Four students at Syracuse University have been suspended in connection with a string of racist and anti-Semitic incidents, school officials said.

Cachet Financial Services, the firm that moved money for MyPayrollHR, is continuing to ask a judge to prevent the CEO of the besieged former Clifton Park payroll processor from accessing millions of dollars allegedly stolen during the scheme that caused a domino effect of reversed checks, outraged workers and lawsuits from coast to coast.

Worried that the MyPayrollHR debacle might hint at a much larger issue, several state senators recently introduced sweeping legislation to tighten the state’s payroll industry.

A mid-level appeals court upheld the class-action status of a lawsuit by town residents who are suing Taconic Plastics, contending that the company contaminated their water supply with toxic perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

Regulations have gotten tougher and people are more aware of dangers, but parents during this holiday shopping season still need to be aware of toys that can potentially choke, gag, or even poison their kids, according to a pair of public interest advocates.

Driven by lower turkey prices, the New York Farm Bureau is predicting the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings will be 15 percent cheaper this year than last.

New York Democrats are increasingly throwing support behind former Vice President Joe Biden to serve as the party’s nominee for president, according to a new Siena College poll.

The University at Albany football team will open the 2020 season at Delaware State on Sept. 5, kicking off an 11-game schedule for the Great Danes. UAlbany’s schedule for next year was released along with the rest of the Colonial Athletic Association slate this afternoon.

Sheriffs, chiefs of police, and district attorneys from across New York gathered to ask state lawmakers to take another look at a criminal justice reform bill that will take effect January 1.

A spokesperson for Minor League Baseball said the goal is to make sure it keeps all 160 teams it currently has in its system – including New York organizations like the Auburn

A former state prison system senior investigator was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge after admitting Wednesday he falsified records, authorities said.

The criminal case against former Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove should be reinstated, an appeals court ruled.

Hempstead Republican Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin won the town supervisor race over Democratic incumbent Laura Gillen after a count of absentee ballots gave him a lead of more than 1,600 votes.

The re-election campaign of NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik released a digital ad highlighting George Conway’s tweet calling her “trash” and urging people to donate to Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb.

A Colonie man serving prison time for leaving the scene of a 2017 crash that left National Guard Master Sgt. Rudolph E. Seabron dead had his sentence reduced by an appeals court that ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove he tampered with evidence when he tried to make repairs to his damaged vehicle.

Ken Lovett, a veteran former state Capitol reporter-turned-communications consultant is heading to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He’s set to become a senior advisor to MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye starting on Monday.

Photo credit: George Fazio.