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David Welna

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.

Having previously covered Congress over a 13-year period starting in 2001, Welna reported extensively on matters related to national security. He covered the debates on Capitol Hill over authorizing the use of military force prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the expansion of government surveillance practices arising from Congress' approval of the USA PATRIOT Act. Welna reported on congressional probes into the use of torture by U.S. officials interrogating terrorism suspects. He also traveled with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan on the Pentagon chief's first overseas trip in that post.

As a national security correspondent, Welna has continued covering the overseas travel of Pentagon chiefs who've succeeded Hagel. He has also made regular trips to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide ongoing coverage of the detention there of alleged "foreign enemy combatants" and the slow-moving prosecution of some of them in an episodically-convened war court. In Washington, he continues to cover national security-related issues being considered by Congress.

In mid-1998, after 16 years of reporting from abroad for NPR, Welna joined NPR's Chicago bureau. During that posting, he reported on a wide range of issues: changes in Midwestern agriculture that threaten the survival of small farms, the personal impact of foreign conflicts and economic crises in the heartland, and efforts to improve public education. His background in Latin America informed his coverage of the saga of Elian Gonzalez both in Miami and in Cuba.

Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995, Welna became the chief of NPR's Mexico bureau.

Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London. Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Covering a wide range of stories in Latin America, Welna chronicled the wrenching 1985 trial of Argentina's former military leaders who presided over the disappearance of tens of thousands of suspected dissidents. In Brazil, he visited a town in Sao Paulo state called Americana where former slaveholders from America relocated after the Civil War. Welna covered the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the mass exodus of Cubans who fled the island on rafts in 1994, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the U.S. intervention in Haiti to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency.

Welna was honored with the 2011 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, given by the National Press Foundation. In 1995, he was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.

A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and distinction in Latin American Studies. He was subsequently a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

One thing all parties in the impeachment saga can agree on: $391 million in security assistance earmarked for Ukraine was withheld this past summer by the Trump White House and released on Sept. 11.

There's far less consensus, though, about just when that hold began. It's a key question, since that date may prove crucial for establishing whether the aid freeze violated the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, or ICA.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

The question of exactly why the Trump administration held up close to $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine came up many times during the first two days of public hearings in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry.

Less discussed has been what motivated President Trump's abrupt decision on Sept. 11 to lift the hold on that aid.

After welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the opening day of public impeachment hearings for a second visit to the Oval Office, President Trump did something highly unusual for such encounters: He invited a select group of Republican senators to join the two leaders' meeting.

The world's two nuclear superpowers have never unleashed their atomic arsenals against one another, but two longstanding agreements that have helped keep the United States and Russia from doing so now appear to be on the verge of collapse.

President Trump has executed a policy U-turn on Syria. He's now tasking U.S. forces that he'd promised to withdraw from there with a new mission: securing the oil fields of southeastern Syria.

And it's raising questions about just what he intends to do with that oil.

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

Turkey is demanding that U.S. officials call off plans to meet with Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces which fought alongside American troops to dislodge Islamic State insurgents from northeastern Syria.

"Our allies' dialogue with a terrorist wanted with a red notice is unacceptable," Turkish foreign minister Mevut Cavusoglu told Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency Friday.

Another round of federal criminal charges has hit the plea deal holdouts in the Varsity Blues college admissions bribery scandal that broke earlier this year.

At a news conference in Kyiv on Friday, Ukraine's newly appointed top prosecutor announced a sweeping review of past corruption investigations that had been either shut down or split up. Fifteen of those cases, according to an official press release, involve the founder of the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma.

It was sometime in July when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith says he started hearing rumblings from some defense contractors. They were wondering whatever happened to the orders they'd expected after the Pentagon announced in mid-June plans to provide Ukraine with $250 million worth of weaponry.

The U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is nearly empty these days, but President Trump is explicitly ruling out the possibility of sending thousands of captured Islamic State fighters there.

"The United States is not going to have thousands and thousands of people that we've captured stationed at Guantánamo Bay, held captive at Guantánamo Bay for the next 50 years and us spending billions and billions of dollars," Trump told reporters Friday during an appearance at the White House with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

American military and intelligence officials say they are accumulating a growing mound of evidence that Iran launched the airstrikes that idled about half of Saudi Arabia's oil production capacity over the weekend. But the Trump administration has been slow to respond to those attacks.

It's been eight months since President Donald Trump's first secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, handed in his resignation.

Now the retired four-star general has written his first book, co-authored by former Marine Bing West. Spoiler alert: Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead is not, as the title might suggest, a tell-all exposé of Mattis' tense tenure at the helm of the Pentagon with Trump as commander in chief.

"I'm old fashioned," Mattis writes. "I don't write about sitting presidents."

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Saying that "modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral," Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican in Congress who has accused President Trump of impeachable conduct, is quitting the GOP.

Amash, a fifth-term congressman representing Michigan's 3rd Congressional District, chose Independence Day to disclose his decision.

In 2004, on the day he turned 29, then-Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia charged into a darkened house in Fallujah, Iraq and fired his weapon at lurking insurgents as the squad he led scrambled outside.

"Staff Sgt. Bellavia single-handedly saved an entire squad, risking his own life to allow his fellow soldiers to break contact and reorganize when trapped by overwhelming insurgent fire."

WikiLeaks was already established as an online outlet for posting secret documents from anonymous leakers well before its massive disclosure of U.S. government and military information in 2010. That was the year WikiLeaks' Australian founder, Julian Assange, faced allegations that led to his seeking asylum in Ecuador's London embassy.

Here is a timeline of WikiLeaks' key disclosures and related developments.

History's most enduring multination military alliance turned 70 Thursday, but it was a milestone more notable for festering disputes than celebrations of harmony.

Formed to protect a World War II-ravaged Europe in the throes of a Cold War with the Soviet Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is now grappling with ongoing uncertainty about the United States' commitment to its leading membership in NATO, questions about burden-sharing fairness, and criticism of the growing ties of some members with longtime adversaries.

The U.S. has suspended the delivery of parts and program materials to Turkey that it needs for standing up a key $12 billion jet fighter program there. The U.S. Defense Department says deliveries will not resume unless Ankara abandons its planned acquisition of a Russian missile defense system.

It's the latest slap in an escalating showdown between two longtime NATO allies whose ties have become increasingly strained in recent years.

At a post-summit news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin last July in Helsinki, President Trump did not once mention Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. Nor did he point to its military support of pro-Russian secessionists in eastern Ukraine.

There has not been a military draft in the United States since conscription was ended in 1973. Still, all men, whether citizens or residents of the United States, are required to register with the selective service once they turn 18.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After weeks of brandishing the threat of invoking a national emergency, President Trump is going ahead and declaring one.

"President Trump will sign the government funding bill," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Thursday afternoon, "and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border."

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A former Army Green Beret officer who was awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third highest award for valor, for his actions in a fierce 2010 battle in Marjah, Afghanistan, was notified last week he is being charged by the Army with premeditated murder.

That officer is Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a 2008 West Point graduate. The victim was an unarmed Afghan whom Golsteyn suspected of being a Taliban fighter who made a bomb that killed two Marines from his unit in the Marjah fighting.

Largely missing from the flood of remembrances of the late President George H.W. Bush is the role he played as Ronald Reagan's vice president in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.

It's an episode that clouded an otherwise remarkable career in public service.

Perhaps Bush's most well-known involvement in the affair was his absolution of some of those in the know about it.

In the mud-filled sports complex where some 6,200 Central American migrants have been mired near the U.S. border in Tijuana, a 20-year-old Honduran named Josue Pineda awaits his turn for an open-air cold water shower. He's thinking about his next move, given the near impossibility of realizing his goal of crossing the border into the United States.

Pineda is one of a growing number of newly arrived migrants in Tijuana who have started thinking about Mexico as their next home.

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