This week on "Face the Nation", October 13, 2019: Esper, Schiff, Kinzinger, Cruz

Pentagon says U.S. is "not abandoning" Kurds

Turkey launches new offensive:

U.S. Special Forces operating in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces on Friday, according to a senior Pentagon official.

No American personnel were injured in the strike.

Turkey began conducting ground and air strikes against American-allied Kurdish forces on Thursday, which Turkey views as a threat to its own borders and security. U.S. officials, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, condemned the decision to invade northern Syria as "impulsive", saying it further puts America's Kurdish forces "in harm's way." 

This comes just days after Mr. Trump pulled American troops from northern Syria at the request of Turkish President Erdogan. Mr. Trump, who has been accused of abandoning the U.S. Kurdish allies, has since defended his move, saying the forces have "wanted to fight, and that's the way it is."

In a significant rebuke to Mr. Trump, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland launched a bipartisan effort to punish Turkey for its attacks on the Kurds, America's top partner in the fight against ISIS. Graham, an ally of Mr. Trump's, lambasted the president's new Syria policy as sending the "most dangerous signal possible" on the world stage that America is an "unreliable ally."

State official speaks out amid impeachment probe

In a closed-door deposition Friday with three House panels leading the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie "Masha" Yovanovitch testified that Mr. Trump urged her removal even though the State Department believed she had "done nothing wrong."

Yovanovitch — who Mr. Trump called "bad news" in a July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — was abruptly removed from her post in May after Mr. Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested she was undermining the president.

Two business associates of Giuliani who assisted him in the campaign to remove Yovanovitch and pressure Ukraine, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested Wednesday evening. 

According to the indictment, Parnas and Fruman made illegal campaign donations to a congressman, dubbed "Congressman-1", who was enlisted in the campaign to oust Yovanovitch. Campaign finance filings identify the lawmaker as former Republican Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas.

Despite orders from the White House and State Department not to cooperate with Democrats' requests, another ambassador —U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — announced Friday that he will testify next week. Sondland was subpoenaed after skipping a voluntary interview earlier in the week.


"Face the Nation" Guest Lineup:

  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (@EsperDoD)
  • Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California (@RepAdamSchiff)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois (@RepKinzinger)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (@SenTedCruz)
  • CBS News Elections & Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto (@SalvantoCBS) with a new CBS News Battleground Tracker poll

And as always, we'll turn to our panel for some perspective on the week that was:

  • Toluse Olorunnipa (@ToluseO), of the Washington Post
  • Gerald Seib (@GeraldFSeib) of the Wall Street Journal
  • Amy Walter (@amyewalter) of Cook Political Report, "The Takeaway"

How to watch "Face the Nation"

  • Date: Sunday, October 13, 2019
  • TV: "Face the Nation" airs Sunday mornings on CBS. Click here for your local listings
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With the latest news and analysis from Washington, don't miss Margaret Brennan (@margbrennan) this Sunday on "Face the Nation" (@FaceTheNation). 

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