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US diplomat set to take center stage in impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (AP) — For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

A quick summary of the latest news: —An unsung diplomat is described as a "seasoned statesman" as he prepares to meet with House lawmakers Tuesday for a deposition. — Three years of simmering frustration inside the State Department is boiling over on Capitol Hill as some current and former diplomats testify to their concerns about the Trump administration's unorthodox policy toward Ukraine.

WHAT'S NEXT

William "Bill" Taylor, the diplomat who expressed unease about the Trump administration's hold on U.S. security assistance for Ukraine, is expected to testify in private Tuesday. Taylor sent a text reading: "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

—The number of Republican House members not standing for reelection next year now totals 21, including three resignations and 18 retirements.

—By contrast, five Democrats have said they are not seeking reelection in 2020, and the recent death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., leaves a vacancy in a staunchly Democratic district.

—Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., made waves last week by saying he was keeping an open mind about impeachment. The next day, he announced he would retire at the end of his term.

—Democrats, who hold a comfortable majority in the House, have enough votes to impeach the president without GOP help. Former Republican Justin Amash of Michigan, who has voiced support for the impeachment inquiry, renounced his GOP affiliation and is now the chamber's lone independent.

WORTH WATCHING

White evangelical Christians broadly backed Donald Trump in 2016 and continue to approve of his performance, according to recent polls. Now, two faith leaders from famous families are approaching the issue of impeachment through different lenses.

https://youtu.be/Pv3Hv_oNK6I

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