‘Start Here’: US withdrawing troops from Syria and impeachment witness to testify

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It’s Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Let’s start here.

1. Pulling out

The U.S. is withdrawing its forces from northeast Syria as Turkey’s military operation targeting America’s Kurdish allies there continues to expand, according to a senior U.S. official.

ABC News Senior Foreign correspondent Ian Pannell reports from the region and tells us that Turkish-backed militias have reportedly been carrying out executions on the ground, including a 35-year-old female Kurdish politician.

2. Witness week

Former UN Ambassador Gordon Sondland is planning to testify this week as part of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, despite having his original appearance blocked by the Trump administration.

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders tells “Start Here” that according to the Washington Post, Sondland is “only willing to say that the president told him there was no quid pro quo involving military aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt on Joe Biden.”

Fiona Hill, President Donald Trump’s former top Russia adviser, is also set to testify in an appearance today.

3. Bernie v. Warren

Sen. Bernie Sanders says there is a key difference between him and Sen. Elizabeth Warren as he finds his poll numbers falling behind his 2020 presidential rival in recent weeks.

“There are differences between Elizabeth and myself,” Sanders, I-Vt., said in an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. “Elizabeth, I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I’m not.”

ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks tells the podcast that all eyes will be on Bernie Sanders at the Democratic debate this week as he recovers from a heart attack.

“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:

‘Trauma wound’: One person was injured after shoppers fled during a false alarm over a suspected shooting at the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton, Florida, according to police.

‘I want her back bad’: An Amber Alert has been issued for an Alabama toddler girl who vanished while attending a birthday party over the weekend, authorities said Sunday. Investigators fear she may have been kidnapped.

‘Conflicts of interest’: The son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will step down from the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity company by the end of this month and commit to halting all work with foreign entities if his father wins the White House in 2020, according to his attorney.

‘Possible connection’: A New Hampshire man may have been seeking revenge when he stormed into a wedding ceremony with a handgun over the weekend, injuring the bishop as well as the bride and groom, authorities said Sunday.

From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

‘Impeachment is a political process’: The most marked quality of the last three years of American political life is the sheer number of news-making events that have occurred. Those events and their aftermath can be near-impossible to keep track of.

Doff your cap:

A dog that went missing in Florida during George W. Bush’s administration has been reunited with her owner 12 years — and two presidents – later in Pittsburgh.

Dutchess, a fox terrier who is now 14-years-old, went missing in southern Florida more than 12 years ago on Feb. 28, 2007.

She was discovered last week on Oct. 8 hungry and shivering underneath a shed in Carnegie, Pennsylvania.

It is roughly 1,130 miles from Boca Raton and Pittsburgh. It is not known how Dutchess made the long journey there or how she survived for the past 12 years.

“I missed you,” said Dutchess’ owner when she first held on to her for the first time in over 12 years. “Baby, where have you been?”

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