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MPR News AM Update: Impeachment hearings continue; Trump may testify

Plus an anti-gang violence program may expand in Minneapolis

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President Trump speaks at a news conference with Turkish President Erdogan
President Trump speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Washington.
Evan Vucci | AP Photo

Good morning and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

Another warmer day. Mostly cloudy statewide, but temps will be in the lower 40s in the Twin Cities and southwest. Northeast highs in the mid 30s. Overnight, lows in the lower 30s, with some places getting down to the mid 20s. More on Updraft. | Forecast

Impeachment hearings start at 8 a.m. today. We’ll carry them live online and on the radio. Among those expected to testify is Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, who listened to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy -- the call that prompted the impeachment inquiry. Here’s what else to expect.

In a tweet, the president said he’s considering a written testimony in the impeachment inquiry. "Even though I did nothing wrong, and don't like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!" he tweeted.

A Twin Cities contractor accused of exploiting immigrant workers was supposed to face criminal charges in a first-of-its-kind trial in Hennepin County this week. But Ricardo Batres instead pleaded guilty Monday to labor trafficking, and prosecutors say other cases in the construction industry are coming.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has uncovered more improper payments, and counties and tribes are on the hook to help pay the money back. The payments total more than $10 million and include improper checks to substance abuse providers, a welfare assistance program and child foster care services. They come on top of the recent discovery of $29 million in overpayments the department made to two state tribes over a span of more than a decade for substance abuse treatments.

Minneapolis is expanding a program to reduce gang violence. MinnPost’s Jessica Lee reports that the “Group Violence Intervention” initiative will expand from north into south Minneapolis under a proposal by Mayor Jacob Frey. Its leaders say the strategy has already helped curb gang-related shootings — GVI only began in 2016.

If you’re flying, MSP airport officials want to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. Airport leaders criticized the Transportation Security Administration for closing a security checkpoint that TSA said it would staff: “Every single traveler is paying for security screening services that are now being taken away.”

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Check the radio lineup here for Tuesday, Nov. 19.