Impeachment, Democratic Debate, Jane Goodall: Your Thursday Evening Briefing


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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. House Democrats voted to press forward with possible impeachment proceedings by setting rules to explore an inquiry into President Trump.

Voting along party lines, the Judiciary Committee action was as much a symbolic display as it was a practical exercise of constitutional powers. Lawmakers are demonstrating to judges and impatient Democrats that they are building a case — but not yet taking the politically loaded step of filing impeachment charges.

“Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, the Judiciary Committee chairman, above on Thursday with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

3. The Democratic presidential candidates will meet tonight in Houston for a debate.

The most anticipated matchup is Joe Biden vs. Elizabeth Warren, two leading candidates with starkly different ideologies who have never shared a debate stage. Above, Greenpeace USA protesters dangled from a Houston bridge today.

Our reporters predict clashes over health care, and perhaps foreign policy, which has been mostly absent from the Democratic race. ABC, the host network, has asked the candidates to refrain from swearing. (Looking at you, Beto O’Rourke.)

The event starts at 8 p.m. Eastern, and will air on ABC and Univision. We’ll have live updates and analysis from our reporters.

On social media, you’ll see people cheering on their favorite candidates and making memes of the best moments. Amanda Hess, a Times critic at large, explores how internet fan culture is swallowing politics.

4. Last week’s deadly boat fire began while crew members were asleep, and their attempts to save passengers were blocked by flames, investigators said.

That finding, by the National Transportation Safety Board, suggests that the crew had failed to uphold a commitment to have someone awake.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board describes the crew’s attempts to reach the 33 passengers trapped below deck and the crew’s decision, after facing thick smoke and fire, to abandon ship and seek help nearby.

The passengers were asleep on the lowest level, within the hull, according to the report. The investigation into the cause of the fire, which killed all of the passengers and one crew member, is continuing, the report said.

5. New York City will repeal its ban on the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy. Why? As a legal gambit to save similar bans elsewhere.

The City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, above center, who is gay, said the legal maneuver was “the most responsible, prudent course” after a conservative Christian legal organization sued over the ban.

If the lawsuit were to reach the Supreme Court, justices could issue a blanket ruling empowering conversion therapy, which medical groups have denounced. Supporters of the repeal say that it is a regrettable but necessary step given the high court’s conservative lineup under the Trump administration.

6. The trainer of the champion race horse Justify blamed “environmental contamination” of the horse’s feed for a failed drug test.

A day after The Times reported that Justify, the colt that won the 2018 Triple Crown, had failed a drug test just weeks before he won the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert denied any allegations that he intentionally administered scopolamine, a banned substance.

Under the sport’s rules, the test should have excluded Justify from the Derby. Instead, the California Horse Racing Board moved slowly to confirm the test results, then quietly dropped the case and changed its rules to retroactively clear the horse.

7. “There’s many layers of fictionalization within this true story.”

That’s Natalie Beach, Caroline Calloway’s ghostwriter. You may have no idea who either of these young women are, but their saga this week became an exciting addition to a new genre of infotainment, in which online pseudocelebrities become the object of intense social media interest.

Here’s what you need to know about the 27-year-old Instagram personality, her college friend, Ms. Beach, who helped her build her social media persona, and how it all fell apart. We spoke with Ms. Beach about the aftermath.

In other Instagram legacies, we went back and looked at the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo, above, before it was #dumbo, the most Instagrammable neighborhood in America.

8. Music! Dance! TV! Options!

We have 77 pop and jazz albums, shows and festivals coming this fall, from buzzy artists like Samantha Fish, above, King Princess and Young M.A to enduring performers like Neil Young and Madonna. Plus: what to watch for in the dance world.

What’s coming to the small screen? Everything. Here’s our exhaustive (but not exhausting) new-show roundup, and a sneak peak at Amazon’s new “Modern Love” show, based on the Times column.

Our TV critic also reviewed “Undone,” which explores the aftermath of trauma. The animated series “has story and humor enough to be more than an art object — but make no mistake, it is magnificent art,” he writes.

9. A comet hunter has spotted an object that may turn out to be an interstellar invader.

A Crimean astronomer spotted the fuzzy blob of light, which is about 6 miles in diameter. Known as C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), it would be only the second known interstellar comet, and may be bright enough to be seen by amateur telescopes on our planet by the holidays.

On the topic of stargazing: For our latest At War column, we collected accounts from troops who encountered natural beauty in dangerous places. “I could actually hear the aurora borealis,” one veteran said. “It sounded like a light wind.” Above, the U.S.S. Iwo Jima in the Norwegian Sea.

10. And finally, a word with Jane Goodall.

Tarzan was her girlhood role model. When she realized how chimpanzee habitats were being destroyed, she turned into a crusader. And at 85, she’s still preaching.

We spoke with Ms. Goodall on a range of topics, including growing up during World War II, effective strategies to promote conservation and what working with chimps has taught her about humans.

“We’re not, after all, separate from the animal kingdom,” she says. “We’re part of it.”

Have an adventurous night.

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