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What We're Watching: The Mueller Report, Strife in Sudan

The Mueller Report – On Thursday, the US Department of Justice is expected to release a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Much of the media will focus on what the report says about any contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, as well as any efforts by the President to obstruct the investigation. But we'll be watching to learn more detail on all the ways Russia tried to influence the last election and what can be done to prevent Moscow, or anyone else, from doing the same in 2020.

Strife in Sudan – Amid surging popular protests, Sudan's military ousted President Omar Bashir last week after 30 years in power and set up a "military council" to run the country for two years. When that didn't placate the streets, the defense minister who led the coup stepped down too. A protest spokesman says demonstrators want a fully civilian government and the prosecution of many former officials. We'll be watching to see whether the army keeps its cool. More importantly, senior military officials in Algeria and Venezuela are watching to see what happens when ousting a strongman isn't enough to quiet angry crowds.

What We're Ignoring: Underwater Meetings, Ukraine's non-Debate

Seychelles Underwater Cabinet Meeting – The President of the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago, delivered a speech last weekend on the importance of protecting the world's seas. The broadcast earned international attention because the president, Danny Faure, delivered it from a submersible vehicle 400 feet beneath the surface of the sea. No one can ignore Faure's message on behalf of the world's oceans. But we're ignoring the stunt itself because in 2009 the government of the Maldives held an entire cabinet meeting underwater.

Ukraine's presidential debate – On Sunday, Ukraine's embattled President Petro Poroshenko held a debate against an empty podium after his opponent, the comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, skipped the event. Zelenskiy has now agreed to debate Poroshenko on Friday at Kiev's Olympic Stadium. The spectacle might be fun to watch, but we're ignoring the debate itself, because if Ukrainian voters cared about the finer points of policy right now, Zelenskiy (who plays a president on TV) wouldn't have made the runoff—much less find himself the odds-on favorite to be elected president this Sunday.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream