welcome to bbc news. i'm mike embley. our top stories: public impeachment hearings into donald trump's presidency get under way in washington. this mr trump — who's hosting turkey's leader — says he's too busy to watch. i hear it's a joke. i have not watched, i have not watched for one minute because i've been with the president, which is much more important as far as i am concerned. earlier, president erdogan received a warm welcome to the white house — despite tensions over the war in syria. and — the risks of rebuilding notre—dame. seven months after the fire, architects say there's still a chance of collapse.
the first public televised hearings in president trump's impeachment inquiry have got underway in washington, after weeks of testimony behind closed doors. donald trump is accused of withholding military aid to ukraine — an american ally, under threat from russia — to pressure ukraine's new president into helping him politically in next year's us presidential election. the impeachment inquiry has the potential to remove mr trump from office. he denies any wrongdoing. our north america editor jon sopel has been watching. history in the house... this is like the super bowl for politics, the day the impeachment hearings go public. and coast—to—coast, all the us tv networks are gearing up for the unfolding drama that could be the decisive moment of the trump presidency. and early this morning, in the white house residence, the light is on and the tweets are angry. in the committee room, it's a scrum, an hour before the hearing gets under way.
first up was this man, george kent. he is a senior state department official, overseeing ukraine affairs. i do not believe the united states should ask other countries to engage in selective, politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power, because such selective actions undermine the rule of law. in other words, the president ordered a halt to military aid to ukraine until it agreed to dig dirt on a gas company, burisma, that hunter biden, son of former vice president joe biden and donald trump's potential 2020 rival, was a director of. next up, bill taylor, acting ambassador to ukraine. he says the president was trying to strong—arm kiev. by mid—july, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting that president zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigation of burisma, and alleged ukrainian interference in the 2016 us elections. the republican strategy seems to be to cast doubt on everyone and everything involved in this impeachment inquiry,
including the undermining of these lifelong public servants. ambassador taylor and mr kent, i'd like to welcome you here. i'd like to congratulate you for passing the democrats‘ star chamber auditions, held for the last weeks in the basement of the capital. it seems you agreed, wittingly or unwittingly, to participate in a drama. republicans have dismissed much of the evidence as hearsay, and complained that the whistle—blower hadn't been called. now, there is one witness that they won't bring in front of us, they won't bring it in front of the american people, and that is the guy who started it all, the whistle—blower. i'd be glad to have the person who started it all come in and testify. president trump is welcome to take a seat right here. laughter a rare moment of humour, in a sour, partisan hearing. impeachment is the mechanism by which a sitting president can be removed from office for high
crimes and misdemeanours. the first stage is a vote in the house of representatives, which has to be carried by a simple majority. if that is passed, then the articles of impeachment go to the upper house, and here the president is put on trial, with the 100 senators acting as the jury. for donald trump to be removed from office, two thirds of senators would have to find him guilty, a threshold that has never been reached before. on this blockbuster wednesday, donald trump is meeting president erdogan of turkey at the white house. i'm too busy to watch it. it's a witch—hunt, it's a hoax. i'm too busy to watch it, so i'm sure i'll get a report. donald trump has railed against the unfairness of the process, and has insisted repeatedly he has done nothing wrong. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. attorney david weinstein is a former federal prosecutor. much of the testimony given recently
has been widely leaked but he said there is still a power to public proceedings being live televised. today, people want to see for themselves and they want to hear the testimony on the questions and they want to see what the witness's reaction is and just exactly how the questions are being asked and answered. that is a powerful message that's going to come out of impeachment hearings. there was a stronger suggestion than we've heard so far, that he was stopping attempts by ukraine to investigate his political rivals of any other aspect of the relationship between the us and ukraine. that's what we heard today. we heard about a phone call that was made directly by the president to an ambassador to find out whether or not the actions he had requested were going forward and whether or not any actions had been taken to investigate biden and it was tied not necessarily to anything that was what everybody‘s been talking about, this quid pro quo, but simply that it appeared from the testimony today that there
is some resemblance of either bribery or extortion that is taking place here. we're going to see if that is backed up by other witnesses but it is potentially a further headache for the president's people, isn't it? it absolutely is because they can try and explain away his actions as one that is simply foreign—policy prerogatives on what's taking place but the more that the people, not only that the american public but the world hears about what exactly was being asked, who was asking it, and if in fact some of it was coming directly from the president, that is going to lean more toward something that is not typical foreign policy but rather is the words of someone who's trying to gain undue influence. and yet, of course, it's one thing to have all this in the house of representatives controlled by the democrats. surely when it goes to the senate controlled by the republicans, the trial is not going to fly, he's not going to be impeached. presumably what happens is how all this plays with voters in the american election next year?
and this is going to carry out right into unfortunately the midst of that election process. as you pointed out, this is only the second step in the process. they are putting together the articles of impeachment, they're putting together the indictment, for lack of a better word, that's going to go to trial in the senate. and once it's in the senate, that is controlled by the republicans. they will decide how the policy and practice proceeds. and then once again, will shape what the american public is seeing. david weinstein, thank you very much. as if the day wasn't busy enough in washington, as you saw, president trump was also welcoming the turkish leader to the white house. it's the first time the two men have met since president erdogan launched an offensive against kurdish fighters, long—time american allies, in syria last month. since then it's also emerged turkey is considering buying more military hardware from russia. aleem maqbool has the story. the timing of this visit
is unseemly to many. with the trumps welcoming to the white house the man whose forces attacked a neighbouring country, leaving hundreds dead and many thousands displaced. thank you very much, it is a great honour to be here with president erdogan. it was president trump's decision to withdraw us troops from northern syria that in effect gave president erdogan the green light to invade. the relationship we have had has been good and i've heard all the pundits 3, 4, 5 weeks ago against what i did and now all of a sudden they say wow, that is working well. tell that to syrian kurds who have been left reeling by recent events and are still burying their dead. they feel they sacrificed so much in the fight against the islamic state group only to be abandoned by their american ally.
at the mercy of turkey and leaving is to start to assert itself again. the group once more carrying out attacks that kill civilians. the kurds feeling forgotten have been trying to make their voice heard here in washington in the protest right outside the white house as the two leaders met. how do you feel about president erdogan being here in the white house? a betrayal of kurdish americans that our president invites someone who knows there is an invasion going on. it is a disgrace. unfortunately he is being appeased which is a policy that we as kurds do not approve of. erdogan in his current form should not be allowed to further his destabilising agenda in the region. but president erdogan stood
by the turkish operations into syria, even reiterating his aim to use the invaded areas to rehouse refugees. translation: i launched an appeal to establish a safe zone in syria but because of the delay, tens of thousands of civilian lives were lost. this problem cannot continue for ever and ever. there are many here who feel that not only is turkey not been punished for starting its operation in northern syria but that in fact president erdogan is now being rewarded just for limiting an offensive he should never have started and has already done irreparable damage. more palestinians have been killed by israeli air strikes in gaza, as a flare—up between the two sides continues. at least 32 people are reported to have died in the palestinian territory.
the violence began when the israelis targeted a military commander from the group, islamichhad. in response, militants have launched hundreds of rockets into israel. gareth barlow has more. palestinian mourners buried people killed following a second day of cross—border strikes. the violence triggered after israel killed a senior military commander from the group palestinian islamic jihad. senior military commander from the group palestinian islamicjihad. in response, militants fired a barrage of rockets into israeli territory, causing damage to homes and factories. israel's iron dome missile defence system intercepted many of the rockets but it has been israeli airstrikes proving deadly for people in gaza. translation: every terrorist should know he carries a timer on his back for the rest of his life. and every person has to decide whether he chooses terror and to end his life or to
leave terror. a similar decision goes for islamicjihad as an organisation. both sides have called on the other to stop strikes before talks can start, despite mediation effo rts talks can start, despite mediation efforts by egypt and the united nations. i do get a sense of frustration from the diplomats on the un and. for us, there needs to be direct dialogue between the palestinians and the israelis. this flareup is different. israel normally blames hammes which controls gaza, for any violence in the region. but for the first time it is made the distinction between hammes and palestinian islamic jihad, an attempt to avoid further escalation, possibly. despite that, missiles are still flying and people are still dying. venice has been hit by severe flooding. the highest tide in more than 50
years has sent water levels in the canals up by at least 6 feet. the city's mayor says the cost of repairing the damage will run into hundreds of millions of euros. here's our rome correspondent mark lowen. italy's city of water has succumbed to it. venice, submerged by its highest tide in over 50 years. six feet, the second—highest since records began. st mark's square, with its byzantine basilica, drowning in water, its 12th century crypt flooded, no word yet on the priceless frescoes and mosaics inside. a city blessed with canals now cursed by them as fierce winds whipped the torrential rain. even the gondolas that glide beneath the rialto couldn't cope. hotels and shops have been hit, the damage will cost hundreds of millions. a floodgate project under way could have saved them but has been plagued by corruption and overspend. translation: they've done nothing. in italy, that's how it is.
0ur politicians are all thieves. they should be injail. translation: everything is damaged. look at what we are living through. there's really something to cry about. some reaped the benefit. a swim with a view. with rising seas and over—tourism, venice is fighting to survive, a city of art and love no match for our changing climate. mark lowen, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: could mining the ocean floor fuel a greenerfuture — or destroy one of the world's most delicate environments? i'm not the bombastic establishment outsider, donald trump, has defied the pollsters to take the keys to the oval office. i feel great about the election result. i voted for him because i genuinely believe that he cares about the country.
it's keeping the candidate's name always in the public eye that counts. success or failure depends not only on public display, but on the local campaign headquarters and the heavy routine work of their women volunteers. berliners from both east and west linked hands and danced around their liberated territory. and with nobody to stop them, it wasn't long before the first attempts were made to destroy the structure itself. yasser arafat, who dominated the palestinian cause for so long, has died. palestinian authority has declared a state of mourning. after 17 years of discussion, the result was greeted with an outburst ofjoy. women ministers who'd long felt only grudgingly accepted in the ranks of clergy suddenly felt welcomed. this is bbc news, the latest headlines.
public impeachment hearings into donald trump's presidency have started in washington. he‘s denounced the inquiry as ‘another witch hunt‘. meanwhile, mr trump‘s also been hosting talks with turkey‘s president erdogan — about the war in syria, and turkey‘s decision to buy russian missiles. let‘s get more on this now. aaron david miller is senior fellow carnegie endowment and a former state department middle east analyst. he joins us from washington. this is a curious situation for mr erdogan. many in congress are to sanction turkey but many critics are attacking his policy on the kurds, effectively ethnic cleansing on the syrian border. a warm welcome for a very authoritarian leader. it raises the question, if turkey is no longer a close ally of the united states than i guess that‘s an accurate description given the fundamental
divergence in our interests. why is donald trump treating mr erdogan as if he is a close ally and i can‘t find an objective set of explanation for the american national interest. i think the explanation lies strangely enough in donald trump‘s assessment that mr erdogan is a kind of soulmate. in many respects, they have much in common. they both have co nte m pt if have much in common. they both have contempt if not outright hostility for democratic actresses, they are fundamentally opposed to a free press and frankly, they are also campaigning against liberal elites so campaigning against liberal elites so if you add to that, mr trump‘s business interests, and let‘s be clear, his supporters make the argument, it‘s legitimate, that is not a politician, he is a businessman. it‘s quite clear that he continues to see the world in a transactional way and trump tower in istanbul is a very lucrative investment and i expect mr trump
believes with respect to the company and his family there may be additional business opportunities in turkey ‘s overall these reasons, i think you have a peculiar relationship where mr trump provides sanctuary at the white house to a quy sanctuary at the white house to a guy who is viewed with great suspicion, scepticism and outright hostility by the media, by the think—tank world for sure. hostility by the media, by the think-tank world for sure. it's a strange relationship of the united states as you pointed out in your writings, mr erdogan often rallies his nationalist base with anti—american sentiment and is taking delivery of a russian air defence system and seeking to strengthen his ties with moscow, moving away from nato.|j strengthen his ties with moscow, moving away from nato. i mean, it's all true and the common denominator that literally was the adhesive or the glue that cemented the us— turkish relationship for decades was the cold war and the challenge that the cold war and the challenge that the former soviet union posed. i
think with that change in the fundamental international equation and the rise of erdogan, he began to see himself from the standpoint of turkish interests, it smell may make sense to play the great power game. he doesn‘t trust the united states. the relationship with the kurds is something he perceives wrongly i think but from his perception, it is existential and keeping mr putin happy is important. 0ne existential and keeping mr putin happy is important. one additional issue, i think the coup ofjuly 2016 and use of american aircraft potentially against him drove his need for an potentially against him drove his need foran air potentially against him drove his need for an air defence system that frankly is not linked to nato and i think to some degree, that‘s going to be the hardest problem to resolve. those s400s have been delivered, they are not deployed, in warehouses. i don‘t see erdogan
abandoning mr putin right now. david miller, thank you very much. more and more people are buying electric cars as a way to cut carbon emissions. the key ingredient for car batteries is cobalt — and that could mean new mines on the ocean floor to extract it. but there is concern that mining the deep ocean will cause lasting damage. research is underway off the coast of spain into its impact, and our science editor david shukman has had exclusive access. in the waters off malaga, an experiment with a strange—looking machine, lowered underwater to test a new and controversial kind of mining on the ocean floor. a camera on the machine monitors its advance over the sea bed. a soft coral stands in its path. mining would involve excavating rocks down here, and no—one knows the implications.
the project is run from this spanish research ship, funded by the eu to find new sources of important metals. it‘s a challenging operation, but there‘s momentum behind an emerging industry. what this project shows is how the technology is advancing in a way that makes deep sea mining seem much more plausible, which confronts us with a very difficult question. is it the right thing to do, given how little we know about the potential impact it could have on life on the ocean floor? 0perating underwater, mining the sea bed has never been tried before. it would destroy whatever‘s directly in front of the machines and they‘d create clouds of sand and silt, which could smother marine plants and creatures even a long way away. so, it‘s actually sands or sediments from the sea floor being whipped up by the tracks and creating big clouds. sabine haalboom is one of the researchers studying the effects of the experiment to see what might happen when mining starts for real in the pacific. so, normally in the deep pacific,
at four or five kilometres depth, there‘s hardly any material in the water, so the water is crystal clear. but if you then make a massive plume of a cloud of sediments, all the animals that are living there aren‘t used to it so, yeah, they will probably suffocate. but there‘s growing pressure for mining to start. rocks like these, billions of them, are the target. because they‘re amazingly rich in important metals, especially cobalt, which is needed for batteries. the future is electric. so the boom in electric cars means there‘s growing demand for cobalt, she is and mining companies think the deep ocean could provide it. if you want to make a fast change, you need cobalt quick, and you need a lot of it. if you want to make a lot of batteries, you need the resources to do that. and there‘s a lot
of it in the ocean? and there‘s a lot of it in the ocean. this is a trial device. the machines that will actually do mining will be about ten times bigger. dozens of ventures are planning to open mines on the sea bed. this is a glimpse of how they might look. david shukman, bbc news, in the bay of malaga. british voters have been urged by the outgoing eu president not to give up on exit. donald tusk said leaving the eu would leave the uk a second rate player and brexit would likely mark the real end of the british empire. things become inner irreversible only when people start to think so. so the only words that
come to my mind today are simply don‘t give up. in this match, we had at its time and now we are in extra time, perhaps it will even go to penalties. the first tv pictures have been broadcast showing the extent of the damage inside notre dame cathedral caused by the fire in april. the images — broadcast by france3— make it very clearjust how big the task of rebuilding it will be. this from our paris correspondent lucy williamson. behind its familiar towers, the shape of notre—dame has changed, its soaring spire now a gaping hole, lead melting into new sculptures on its grizzled face. walking into notre—dame was always humbling. philippe villeneuve is one of very few to have seen how the cathedral looks today. it‘s silent, floodlit by sunlight, the charred remains of the collapsing spire still piled on the floor. translation: the wood continued to burn on the ground and burnt the bases of these two columns. if they weren‘t reinforced like this
to stop them shattering, they could have collapsed and taken the walls and vault with them. it would have been a catastrophe. firefighters say they came close to losing notre—dame that night, but the reconstruction could risk its survival again. architects here say there is still a major risk of the vaults collapsing because of the effect of intense heat and water on the stones. teams are working to stabilise the structure over the next few months so reconstruction can begin. it took an evening to burn through this building. it‘ll take much more than a single night to really save it. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris.
hello. wednesday started decently enough across the south—west of england and south wales and then came a mix of rain or snow, just depending on elevation. to keep decent weather, you had to be a good dealfurther away towards the east and it was a drier and finer day than we‘ve seen of late, but there was no escaping the fact the system that has brought that combination of wet and at times wintry fare into that south—western quarter is going to be a player more widely across the southern half of britain during the course of thursday. really quite wet for the commute across the southern counties of england.
come the afternoon, we‘lljust be pushing the eastern portion of the front with some significant rainfall up towards those flood—affected areas and if you don‘t happen to see it during daylight hours, given the fact that this system is going to move a little bit further north, you might get it during the evening on what will have been another single—figure temperature day right across the piste. there is more sunshine to be had across scotland and northern ireland with a few showers, but it won‘t make an awful lot of difference. here we are into the wee small hours of friday, that frontal system tending to fracture a little but each individual pulse of rain i‘m showing there could be really quite heavy and unwelcome rain at that into the flood—affected areas, on what is going to be another fairly cool night and a fairly cool start to friday. still dominated by the big area of low pressure which is sitting across us and, indeed, much of central and western europe and the onshore flow from the north sea, moisture—laden airs and there‘s still bits and pieces of rain to be had quite widely across england and wales, but not with the same sort of intensity that we might have seen on thursday. scotland, northern ireland seeing the very best of the sunshine, the north of scotland still picking up on one or two showers, each in their own right could be
wintry across the higher ground. what news of the weekend? not a great deal changes, i‘m afraid. not much intensity about the rain i just about to speak of, but that set—up for saturday is very similar to friday, still the big area of low pressure, still the moisture—laden airs on its northern flank, feeding cloud and bits of pieces of rain, particularly in eastern parts of both scotland and england. separate weather front eventually closes on the western isles. in between, bits and pieces of sunshine perhaps to the western side of wales, down into the south—west of england, up towards the solway, could be favoured and we mayjust about find a degree on the temperatures. i‘ve changed the day, the story‘s the same. 0k, we‘re going to bring the front of scotland with some snow on the high ground, but further south, sunshine in really short supply. and i‘m afraid it is going to be one of those weekends.
this is bbc news. the headlines: president trump has again dismissed the impeachment inquiry against him after the first public hearings, claiming it‘s all based on third—hand information. he told journalists he hadn‘t seen a minute of the proceedings. he is accused of withholding aid to ukraine to pressure its new leader into investigating one of mr trump‘s rivals for the white house, joe biden. the us president has been giving a very warm welcome to the turkish president visiting washington. and mr trump insisted he‘d done the right thing by withdrawing us troops from northern syria, even though it led to a turkish military onslaught, across the border, against long—time american allies, the kurds. british voters have been urged not to give up on stopping brexit by the outgoing european council president. donald tusk said leaving the eu would leave the uk a "second—rate player" and that brexit would likely mark the "real end of the british empire".