Jan 17, 2020

Ukraine president rejects prime minister's resignation after audio leak

Ukraine Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk. Photo: Olena Khudiakova/ Ukrinform / Barcroft Media via Getty Images.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk's resignation on Friday, days after he was caught making disparaging comments about Zelensky's understanding of economics, AP reports.

Context: In audio that leaked earlier this week, Honcharuk told National Bank officials that Zelensky, a former television star with no prior political experience, "has a very primitive understanding of the economy.”

  • Meanwhile, Zelensky is embroiled in the impeachment case unfolding against President Trump.

What's new: Zelensky asked Honcharuk to continue serving in his administration on Friday, per the Washington Post.

  • “It’s not a moment when we can afford economic and political destabilization,” Zelensky said in a video released by his office Friday.

Go deeper: Ukraine to investigate possible Yovanovitch surveillance

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Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"