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Huawei, Impeachment Hearings, NATO: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering President Trump’s challenges in the U.S. and abroad, shifting views toward Huawei at home and a mysterious North Korean threat.

As President Trump left a tense NATO meeting in London, the impeachment process at home entered a new phase.

Snapshot: Above, Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, in a photo provided by the country’s official news agency, which said they were visiting the sacred Mount Paektu. His previous such journeys have been followed by major policy shifts.

In Her Words: Your former Briefing writer, Alisha Haridasani Gupta, looked at how the global surge in authoritarian movements has spurred a rollback of gender violence protections.

What we’re reading: The Daily Suffragist on Twitter. Our reporter Jennifer Schuessler says, “Love this account, which gives a concise daily snapshot from the history of the women’s suffrage movement.” One example: a look at a 21-year-old woman who publicly dressed down Abraham Lincoln in 1864 for inadequately protecting former slaves.

We asked Dan Levin, the National reporter who wrote the story, about the months he spent tracking down the students from the Class of 2000, and conducting sometimes heartbreaking interviews.

“I was honored that people were willing to talk with me about these very intimate details of their lives, in incredibly nuanced ways,” Dan said.

“It’s almost something out of a Stephen King story,” he said. “You have this small town, and a dark force that clandestinely creeps in. It’s not vampires, it’s not supernatural, but it’s just as horrific.”

For many of the former students, he said, “There was a feeling that, had they only been a few years older, they would have been spared.

“One had a brother, four or five years older. He’d grown up before opioids hit — he was lucky enough to escape.”

And he’s noticed a way the reporting has changed him: “Since working on this, when I see people who are struggling with drugs, on the street, I think to myself, there’s probably a yearbook with them smiling.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the Briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the impeachment investigation against President Trump.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: “Gross!” (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• “1619,” about slavery in America, has been named the year’s best podcast by Time magazine.

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