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‘Start Here’: Former Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia and first public impeachment hearings scheduled
 


It’s Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. Saudi Twitter spies?

Two former Twitter employees are accused of accessing information from private accounts of Saudi government critics and thousands of other users, according to prosecutors.

ABC News Senior Investigative Reporter Aaron Katersky walks “Start Here” through the criminal complaint, “In a country like Saudi Arabia, where Twitter may be the only outlet the dissidents have, the Saudi royal family knew where to find these critics and specifically looked for favorable employees at Twitter to try and get the accounts they wanted.”

Twitter in a statement said “sensitive” user information is limited to a “group of trained and vetted employees,” adding, “We understand the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. We have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work. We’re committed to protecting those who use our service to advocate for equality, individual freedoms, and human rights.”

2. Impeachment goes public

House Democrats have announced that public hearings will begin next Wednesday with the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Ambassador William Taylor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent expected to testify.

As several key witnesses have already testified behind closed doors for impeachment investigators, this new public phase has Democrats making their case to the country about President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, according to ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce on “Start Here.”

“A lot of this isn’t about lawmakers necessarily getting the answers,” she says. “It’s about the American people.”

PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff walks to a secure area of the U.S. Capitol, Oct. 30, 2019, in Washington, D.C.Patrick Semansky/AP
Rep. Adam Schiff walks to a secure area of the U.S. Capitol, Oct. 30, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

3. “Who in the world attacks women and children?”

Mexican authorities said Wednesday that a criminal group known as “La Linea” could be responsible for the massacre of an American family in northern Mexico.

Three women and six children were killed in the attack.

ABC News Chief National Affairs correspondent Tom Llamas joins “Start Here” and says some of the violence has shaken some of these fundamentalist Mormon families living in the region: “A lot of these families going to have to decide what they’re going to do, whether they stay put or they end up moving on.”

PHOTO: The burnt wreckage of a vehicle transporting a Mormon family living near the border with the U.S. is seen, after the family was caught in a crossfire between unknown gunmen from rival cartels, in Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2019.Kenneth Miller/Lafe Langford J/via Reuters
The burnt wreckage of a vehicle transporting a Mormon family living near the border with the U.S. is seen, after the family was caught in a crossfire between unknown gunmen from rival cartels, in Bavispe, Sonora, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2019.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

Elsewhere:

‘Missing for several days’: An elderly man who went missing for several days was discovered to have died after falling into a lava tube in his own yard on Monday.

‘Fighting for his life’: A 10-year-old boy was shot in the back of the head in Philadelphia on Wednesday and rushed to a children’s hospital in critical condition, authorities said.

‘Problematic’: Jeff Sessions, the former U.S. attorney general and senator from Alabama, is expected to announce Thursday that he will launch a bid for Senate in Alabama, according to a Republican source familiar with his plans.

‘See something, say something’: An Ohio elementary school student may have thwarted a potential crisis on Wednesday by quickly reporting a first-grader who came to school with a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his backpack, according to police.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

‘Who Will Leave Before The December Debate?’: On Friday, Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke became the ninth candidate to drop out since California Rep. Eric Swalwell dropped out in July. So now the question is: How many more candidates do we think will join their ranks before the Dec. 19 debate?

Doff your cap:

A Texas man is in early retirement thanks to the generosity of his boss who paid off the mortgage on his home.

Rudy Quinones, owner of Renown Auto Restoration in San Antonio, covered the remaining $5,000 on auto mechanic Albert Brigas’ home. Brigas had been Quinones’ employee for 13 years.

PHOTO: Rudy Quinones, owner of Renown Auto Restoration in San Antonio, is seen in a recent photo with Albert Brigas and his wife wife of 44 years, Sylvia Brigas.Rudy Quinones/Renown Auto Restoration
Rudy Quinones, owner of Renown Auto Restoration in San Antonio, is seen in a recent photo with Albert Brigas and his wife wife of 44 years, Sylvia Brigas.

“Albert is a humble individual, extremly hardworking, would give the shirt off his back to anyone,” said Quinones. “His family was very close to our hearts and the fact that he gave us so many loyal years of service, he’d come to work sick, he never came in late, he is just one of those guys that had so much pride in what he did.”