5 things to know for October 18: Elijah Cummings, Syria, Brexit, impeachment, quakes

CNN's Jake Tapper reads a letter President Donald Trump sent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 9, 2019.

Posted: Oct 17, 2019 10:00 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2019 10:00 AM

Sad news to report this morning. US Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland has died at age 68. The longtime Democratic congressman died of "complications concerning longstanding health challenges," his office said. He chaired a key committee involved in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Syria

GOP lawmakers joined with their Democratic colleagues to pass a resolution opposing the Trump administration's move to pull US troops from Syria. Many have criticized the President's decision -- which cleared a path for Turkey to attack US-allied Kurdish forces there -- because they believe it opens a door for the resurgence of ISIS in the region. Later, during a meeting at the White House on Syria, the President clashed with congressional Democratic leaders. They walked out of the meeting after Trump had what they described as a "meltdown" and called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "a third-rate politician." The White House pushed back on the Dems' version of the meeting, saying Trump was "measured" and "decisive" and that Pelosi "had no intention of listening."

2. Brexit

There's a deal on Brexit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted almost simultaneously earlier this morning that an agreement had been reached on the UK's long-planned exit from the EU, set for two weeks from today. No details were released, but we should learn more later today when Johnson heads to Belgium for a two-day summit with EU leaders. Click here to get the latest on Brexit developments.

3. Impeachment inquiry

It's another big day in the impeachment inquiry. Today, we're expecting testimony from another key player in the probe: Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union. He's appearing before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees. Sondland's name has popped up at various points in the investigation so far, including text messages turned over to Congress in which Sondland and a top US diplomat in Ukraine debate whether $400 million in military and security aid was being withheld in connection with Ukraine opening an investigation into President Trump's political rivals.

Meanwhile, if the House goes ahead and impeaches the President, the trial in the Senate could be quick. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave GOP senators a preview of how an impeachment trial in the chamber would work. The conventional wisdom is that the House could pass articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving. If that happens, McConnell speculated that the Senate trial could be over by Christmas. Do you have questions about the impeachment process? You're in luck. CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, is here to answer them.

4. Worker strikes

A tentative deal has been reached that could end the monthlong General Motors strike. Details about the agreement haven't been publicly released. It needs to get the OK from both union leadership and rank-and-file union members before it can take effect. Union officials are set to meet today in Detroit. If the deal is approved, it's not clear when workers would start returning to work. Meanwhile, in Chicago, 25,000 educators are set to go on strike today. Classes have been canceled today in the country's third-biggest school district. The educators want higher pay, smaller class sizes and more support staff.

5. California earthquakes

On the anniversary of one of the deadliest quakes in its history, California is launching the nation's first statewide earthquake early warning system. Here's how it will work: Ground motion sensors across the state will detect earthquakes before people can feel them, and then a notification will go out so Californians can be prepared. The system launches on the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, a 6.9-magnitude quake that hit the central coast of the state in 1989 and killed 63 people.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Paying it forward

If you get a parking ticket in Las Vegas over the next month, you'll be able to pay off the fine with a food donation.

Seeing double

Been there, done that. A new dad said he relaxed a bit when he learned identical twin nurses would help deliver his identical twin daughters.

Where's the elevator?

Call some friends, jump in your pink Jeep and hop on the Pacific Coast Highway. Barbie's Malibu Dreamhouse will be on Airbnb for $60 per night.

Divas unite

Nicki Minaj and Adele have been collaborating on a song. We're not surprised to hear it's "epic."

TODAY'S QUOTE

"How can we work together and be in sweatpants?"

Actress Angela Kinsey to Jenna Fischer, explaining why the two alums of "The Office" decided to start a podcast -- called "Office Ladies" -- which will review every episode of the classic sitcom

TODAY'S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

In the middle

Who is the better cook? Mom or grandma? Let the kids decide! (Click to view.)

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