While You Were Out: Dec. 4, 2019

Wednesday has come and (almost) gone. The impeachment circus was back on down in D.C., and that heads our list of headlines for the day…

Three constitutional scholars invited by Democrats to testify at today’s impeachment hearings said that President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for political gain clearly meet the historical definition of impeachable offenses, according to copies of their opening statements.

Even as Democrats intensified their scrutiny this week of Rudy Giuliani’s role in the pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the former NYC mayor has been in Europe continuing his efforts to shift the focus to purported wrongdoing by Trump’s political rivals.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted he was joking about Trump with other world leaders — but minimized the incident, saying he had a “positive” relation with the president and agreed that NATO countries should spend more on defense.

Trump nixed a scheduled press conference this morning during the two-day NATO summit, saying he’ll be headed straight home after his day of meetings.

The Trump administration, brushing aside tens of thousands of protest letters, gave final approval today to a rule that will remove nearly 755,000 people from the federal food-stamp program by strictly enforcing federal work requirements.

The nation’s hospital groups sued the Trump administration today over a new federal rule that would require them to disclose the discounted prices they give insurers for all sorts of procedures.

California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes filed a lawsuit against CNN, seeking $435,350,000 in damages and claiming the outlet defamed him last month when it published a “demonstrably false hit piece.”

New York’s ethics watchdog agency, JCOPE, is dropping its investigation into Kat Sullivan, an alleged rape victim, for possible lobbying violations as she pushed for passage of the Child Victims Act.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie contacted a commissioner with the JCOPE last January after the legislative leader had a heated conversation with Gov. Andrew Cuomo that included discussion of the ethics panel. Both the governor and speaker have declined to say what they talked about.

NYPIRG’s Blair Horner called the Public Campaign Financing Commission’s recommendations “inadequate at best and fatally flawed at worst.”

The nation’s lieutenant governors – the No. 2 elected officials in every state – will be gathering in Buffalo for their annual meeting in July 2021, at the invitation of New York Lt. Gov. and Buffalo native Kathy Hochul.

Outgoing Democratic Troy City Council member T.J. Kennedy faces a felony assault charge after being accused of secretly spiking a woman’s drink with the intoxicating ingredient in marijuana, according to court records.

Members of the City of Schenectady Employees Federal Credit Union have approved a merger with CAP COM Federal Credit Union.

National Guard crews were out this morning clearing snow along parts of Eastern Parkway, according to Schenectady City Council president Ed Kosiur.

Anthony Ojeda, 38, of Cohoes, has been arrested in the death of a 6-week-old baby and charged with manslaughter.

Wide receiver Malachi Jones, voted the Arena Football League’s offensive player of the year in 2019 for the Albany Empire, has signed a contract with the Montreal Alouettes, the Canadian Football League team announced.

Over three years after the oldest home in Albany lost its neighbor during an emergency demolition, work to stabilize the Van Ostrande-Radliff House will begin.

I’m not sure this is in the true spirit of “Giving Tuesday.”

The parenting website BabyCenter released its annual list of 100 most popular baby names for girls and boys in the United States, and for the 10th year in a row, Sophia is at the top. Liam knocked Jackson out of the No. 1 spot that he had held onto for six years straight.

A documentary on Taylor Swift will kick off the next Sundance Film Festival, where new films including the Will Ferrell-Julia Louis Dreyfus remake of the Swedish film “Force Majeure” and Benh Zeitlin’s long-awaited follow-up to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” are set to premiere.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said he is filing a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission over a threat made yesterday by a caller to a WBEN-AM talk show.

Maroon 5 is coming to SPAC, with special guest Meghan Trainor as part of their 2020 tour.

Sterling Partners, the business of the Wilpon family, is in negotiations to sell 80 percent of the Mets to hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen. The transaction would value the franchise at $2.6 billion.

Be careful when removing snow from your roof…and also here are some tips for preventing Christmas tree fires, which are rare but do occur.

Free skate rentals will once again be available to individuals and families courtesy of Hannaford Supermarkets each Saturday this season at the Empire State Plaza ice rink – the rink’s most popular day for attendance. (The rink opens Friday).

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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