Post Reports

‘Not so much a legal document as a political screed’

Karoun Demirjian tracks how the White House has pushed back against impeachment. Anna Fifield explains a new phase in China’s forcible assimilation of its Uighur population. And Ben Guarino on the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

In this episode

White House refuses to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry
In an eight-page letter made public on Tuesday, the White House counsel announced there is no intention to cooperate with the House’s impeachment inquiry, and arguing that the inquiry into the Ukraine situation is without merit and “violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent.”

The letter capped off a day of defiance as House Democrats continue to seek answers from administration officials, over Republican objections. Most recently, the State Department blocked a scheduled deposition by Gordon Sondland – a key figure in the Ukraine controversy – prompting three House committee chairmen to announce they would issue a subpoena for his testimony. 

“The White House decided to respond to the situation by putting their implied opinions in writing,” says congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian, “and basically challenging the House to more formally start this impeachment inquiry with a vote on the floor. They don’t think that this is fair until that happens.”

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China cracks down further on Uighur Muslims
Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has intensified efforts to “Sinicize” the country, or make a more homogeneous, secular China, by targeting ethnic minorities and curtailing religions they consider to be carriers of foreign influence. 

For two years on the Xinjiang frontier, China has sent hundreds of thousands from its mostly-Muslim Uighur population to what it calls “reeducation centers,” where they are taught to renounce their religion and culture and embrace state-prescribed identities as secular Chinese. 

“It’s kind of brainwashing, in a way,” Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield says.

Now, the country’s campaign to forcibly assimilate its Uighur population into the Han majority is entering a new phase, as Uighurs living abroad start to hear reports of family members being arrested and jailed on suspicion of financing terrorism after sending money to relatives abroad. 

“It’s a completely spurious charge,” Fifield says.

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An ode to the lithium-ion battery
This year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries – the kind that provide energy to mobile phones, pacemakers and electric cars. The batteries also increasingly used to store power from sources that fluctuate, such as solar and wind energy.

“Batteries are one of the most exciting technologies that we have in terms of energy,” science reporter Ben Guarino says. “This award is a good recognition of the work that’s been done, but there’s a lot more exciting things to come.” 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.