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John Kelly in 2018. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Pool/Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly took aim Wednesday at President Trump's foreign policy during an event at New Jersey's Drew University, The Atlantic reports.

The state of play: Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, defended Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman's decision to testify during the impeachment inquiry and said Trump's decision to condition military aid to Ukraine to investigate political rivals overturned long-standing U.S. policy.

  • "Up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians," he said.
  • "And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what [Vindman] was most interested in."
  • "[Vindman] did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave. He went and told his boss what he just heard."

What he said:

  • On North Korea: "Again, President Trump tried — that’s one way to put it. But it didn’t work. I’m an optimist most of the time, but I’m also a realist, and I never did think Kim would do anything other than play us for a while, and he did that fairly effectively."
  • On immigration: "[T]hey’re overwhelmingly good people. … They’re not all rapists and they’re not all murderers. And it’s wrong to characterize them that way. I disagreed with the president a number of times."
  • On Eddie Gallagher: "The idea that the commander in chief intervened there, in my opinion, was exactly the wrong thing to do. Had I been there, I think I could have prevented it."

Reality check: Some of Kelly's statements now don't align with his public statements during his time in the administration.

  • On North Korea in 2018: "I know [Trump] won't fall for it in the same way that past presidents have, that get strung along, strung along lifting sanctions, giving them money, and get nothing for it."
  • On immigration in 2018: "They're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society. ... They don't speak English; obviously that's a big thing. ... They don't integrate well. They don't have skills."

Go deeper... John Kelly: Impeachment without witnesses "seems like a half trial

Go deeper

Andrew Cuomo refuses to resign: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post, despite an independent investigation finding that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

Why it matters: Cuomo had previously urged those calling for his resignation — including nearly every prominent New York Democrat — to wait for the results of the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The findings were damning, but Cuomo said he is not going anywhere.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

Boeing is getting its do-over

Boeing's Starliner awaits its launch atop an Atlas V rocket. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing is set to launch a redo of an uncrewed test of its Starliner spacecraft — designed to one day carry astronauts — to the International Space Station this week.

Why it matters: This is a high-stakes test for Boeing, which failed to get its Starliner to the station during its first uncrewed test flight in December 2019.

4 hours ago - Health

New York City to require vaccination proof for indoor activities

New York City will require proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities, including visiting gyms and restaurants, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The mandate is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city, according to de Blasio. France and Italy announced similar requirements last month.