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Westlake Legal Group > Adam Shaw

Illinois Republicans consider push to separate Chicago from state

Westlake Legal Group chicago-istock Illinois Republicans consider push to separate Chicago from state fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/elections/local fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 9194e403-899e-5c44-81b5-de5d727301d1

Illinois Republicans unhappy at the influence the Democrat-controlled city of Chicago holds over the state are looking at trying to blow the Windy City out of the state altogether — despite the long odds that such a push would face.

A new report by Pew Trusts’ Stateline shines light on an effort by the state’s GOP to turn the state red by turning the blue city into its own state.

CALEXIT SUPPORTERS REVAMP CAMPAIGN WITH PLAN TO CONVERT HALF OF CALIFORNIA INTO ‘AUTONOMOUS NATIVE AMERICAN NATION’

The outlet reports that a resolution calling on Congress to declare Chicago America’s 51st state now has eight Republican co-sponsors in the state’s House, as well as growing support from conservative activists.

Supporters of the move have noted that Chicago is where much of the state’s political power and money rests, and its politics are different than other more conservative parts of the state. The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Brad Halbrook, said he supports the split due to differences on issues such as the Second Amendment and abortion.

“Our traditional family values seem to be under attack at every angle,” Halbrook said, according to The State Journal-Register. “We are trying to drive the discussion to get people at the table to say these are not our values down here.”

The bill notes a “$221 million bailout” for the city’s pension system last year, and says that “the majority of residents in downstate Illinois disagree with City of Chicago residents on key issues such as gun ownership, abortion, immigration, and other policy issues.”

Any such push would require significant political muscle, and the resolution itself is only a statement of support for the push, not legislation that would work to actually make a new state. It would need to pass both the state legislature, and be approved by Congress — making it a longshot proposition.

ILLINOIS RESIDENTS COULD BE CHARGED $1,000 A YEAR TO OWN AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE UNDER NEW LEGISLATION

Even some Republicans sponsoring the bill have indicated it’s more of an expression of frustration rather than a deep-rooted desire to boot the city out of the state.

“It’s more of a frustration of the policies than the true belief that Chicago and Illinois would be better off as separate states,” Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer told the Journal Register last month. ”I don’t believe that Chicago and the state of Illinois should be separated. Our relationship is mutually beneficial.”

He went on to say that the push is designed to highlight how policies from Chicago are hurting the more rural areas of the state.

“The reality is the city of Chicago is competing with New York City and L.A. and San Francisco, and (downstate is) competing against rural Indiana and rural Missouri,” he said. “The policies that come down from Chicago are actually pushing our economic opportunity away.”

But Halbrook indicated to Stateline that he, and his constituents, are dead serious.

“Everywhere I go, people say we just need to get rid of Chicago,” he told Stateline. “It gets rid of all of our problems. My constituency is serious about it. I’m trying to save the state.”

The battle over Chicago’s place in the state has been rumbling for some time. This year’s resolution is the second bill in two years and in 2017 gubernatorial candidate Robert Marshall called for Illinois to be transformed into three states: Chicago, suburbs and the rest of the state.

“Each state would negotiate how they wanted and each state would start off with a new constitution,” he told Chicago Tonight. “Everything would be new. We’d start off with a better financial situation than we are in now.”

Stateline notes that there is a precedent for Chicago being split from Illinois. Maine split from Massachusetts and West Virginia split from Virginia in the 1800s, and that the divide rose to the surface during the two-years-long budget battle between Democrats and then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. The resolution notes that there was a resolution passed by the City in 1925 to form a state of Chicago.

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And while efforts are still in their infancy, the outlet’s study finds some evidence that the movement is taking form. In April, the southern Effingham County voted to hold a referendum in 2020 to ask whether it should work towards forming a new state, and activists say they’ve gathered signatures enough for referenda in two other counties.

It isn’t the only campaign to mix up the U.S. state count, with decades-old calls for statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico to be made states. Last year, organizers of a long-running initiative to secure California’s secession from the United States (known as Calexit) said they instead want to give away nearly half of the state, including all of its federal land, to form an “autonomous Native American nation.”

Westlake Legal Group chicago-istock Illinois Republicans consider push to separate Chicago from state fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/elections/local fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 9194e403-899e-5c44-81b5-de5d727301d1   Westlake Legal Group chicago-istock Illinois Republicans consider push to separate Chicago from state fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/politics/elections/local fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 9194e403-899e-5c44-81b5-de5d727301d1

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De Blasio, Trump face off in dueling videos after campaign launch: ‘We’re coming for you’

Westlake Legal Group bill-de-blasio-donald-trump-AP De Blasio, Trump face off in dueling videos after campaign launch: ‘We’re coming for you’ fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw aaf89ba0-b820-55d1-8f4f-a36b160e9a08

President Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio traded barbs in dueling videos Thursday after the liberal mayor announced he was running for president — and told his fellow New Yorker: “We’re coming for you.”

De Blasio, who has taken repeated shots at Trump before, launched another salvo in his campaign announcement video, where he called Trump a “bully.”

BILL DE BLASIO ANNOUNCE 2020 WHITE HOUSE RUN, JOINING CROWDED FIELD

“Don’t back down in the face of a bully, confront him, take him on,” he said.

Trump responded with a video from Air Force One, in which he called de Blasio “the worst mayor in the history of New York City” and “the worst mayor in the United States.” He also predicted that de Blasio’s White House dream will “never happen.”

“If you like high taxes and if you like crime, you can vote for him. But most people aren’t into that, so, I wish him luck — but really, you’d be better off if you get back to New York City and did your job for the little time you have left,” he said. “Good luck, do well.”

De Blasio responded a few hours later with an apparent attempt to mimic Trump’s habit of giving his political opponents a nickname.

“Hey, Con Don I saw your video and man you looked really low energy. And you were getting your facts wrong ’cause crime actually has gone down in New York City five years in a row, and our economy is booming, we have the most jobs we’ve ever had in our history. So you obviously aren’t getting your facts straight, and I really think you better rest up because you’re going to need it for the election ahead,” he said.

“We’re coming for you,” he added.

De Blasio is the 23rd Democrat to enter the packed field and faces a steep climb to secure the nomination. He would need to nudge out heavyweights like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

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De Blasio’s potential candidacy has generated little enthusiasm from hometown constituents so far. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 76 percent of New York City voters said they believed de Blasio shouldn’t run.

De Blasio has already visited early-voting states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. On Friday, he was in Iowa again before traveling to South Carolina on Saturday

Fox News’ Tamara Gitt and Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group bill-de-blasio-donald-trump-AP De Blasio, Trump face off in dueling videos after campaign launch: ‘We’re coming for you’ fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw aaf89ba0-b820-55d1-8f4f-a36b160e9a08   Westlake Legal Group bill-de-blasio-donald-trump-AP De Blasio, Trump face off in dueling videos after campaign launch: ‘We’re coming for you’ fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw aaf89ba0-b820-55d1-8f4f-a36b160e9a08

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Nikki Haley warns of China threat, calls Beijing ‘our foremost national security concern’

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday described China as America’s’ “foremost national security concern,” warning that the conventional wisdom about the communist superpower is “dead.”

“China has become our foremost national security concern,” she said in an address to the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul, South Korea. “ Does this mean it’s America’s enemy? No. Not necessarily. At one and the same time it is a principal trade and investment player, our chief strategic competitor, and our most serious potential military antagonist.”

TRUMP SAYS DEAL WITH CHINA WILL HAPPEN ‘WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT,’ US NEEDS TO ‘MAKE UP’ GROUND FIRST

The former South Carolina governor dismissed the theory of convergence, which predicted that as China grew wealthier, it would have to liberalize politically at home and therefore become similar to the U.S. in domestic politics and its outlook on foreign relations.

She called such a theory “false comfort,” and said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has “effectively killed the notion of convergence.”

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-Nikki-Haley Nikki Haley warns of China threat, calls Beijing ‘our foremost national security concern’ fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 484ffd87-f1e7-56e3-8412-3482d863bedc

2019/03/25: Nikki Haley, former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations seen speaking during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“China is growing economically without democratizing. On the contrary, its government is thoroughly ideological and increasingly repressive,” she said, according to prepared remarks. “Its military ambitions are not just regional and defensive; they are global and designed to intimidate.”

“So, I’m here to tell you that the long-standing conventional wisdom about China is dead. Wishful thinking has been overtaken by events,” she said.

Haley said that Xi’s China has created “an Orwellian surveillance state,” kidnapped domestic critics abroad, stolen intellectual property from foreigners (including the U.S.) and is using economic policy to strengthen the government’s power at home and abroad: “The Americans think business, while the Chinese think power politics.”

As an example of Chinese aggression, she pointed to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative — an ambitious international infrastructure and development program. Haley noted that it “relies heavily on corrupt financing arrangements that burden foreign governments with debt they cannot afford to pay.”

She drew attention to a “civil-military integration policy” by which the Chinese government requires even privately-owned companies to work for the military, meaning that “business with Chinese is not just business.”

CHINA IS FIGHTING TO ‘PROTECT ITS LEGITIMATE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS’ IN TRADE WAR WITH US, STATE MEDIA SAYS

Haley’s remarks come as the Trump administration is ramping up sanctions against Beijing as part of an escalating trade war between the two countries. The U.S. last week began increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China responded by upping tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

A Chinese delegation was in Washington last week, but while talks broke off, both sides indicated that further talks will be held.

Trump struck a positive note on his relationship with Xi on Tuesday, saying in a tweet that his “respect and friendship with [Xi] is unlimited” but that any trade deal must be “a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Trump said Monday that he will meet with the Chinese premier during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June.

In her remarks Tuesday, Haley said that Americans will look “with deep regret” at the state of U.S. relations with China, noting that the U.S. has looked for decades to build better relations, and even helped China enter the World Trade Organization.

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“We gave it access to our markets even though China did not reciprocate,” she said. “China’s increasingly hostile policies cannot be explained as a reaction to unfriendliness from our side.”

She cautioned that the U.S. should “observe China with care” and think about the country “critically, creatively and courageously.”

“Managing our relationship with China is a complex strategic puzzle, and the stakes could be life or death,” she said.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-Nikki-Haley Nikki Haley warns of China threat, calls Beijing ‘our foremost national security concern’ fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 484ffd87-f1e7-56e3-8412-3482d863bedc   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-Nikki-Haley Nikki Haley warns of China threat, calls Beijing ‘our foremost national security concern’ fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 484ffd87-f1e7-56e3-8412-3482d863bedc

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Lawmakers say FBI may have been warned of Steele’s ‘political motivations’ before Trump aide surveillance

Westlake Legal Group lawmakers-say-fbi-may-have-been-warned-of-steeles-political-motivations-before-trump-aide-surveillance Lawmakers say FBI may have been warned of Steele’s ‘political motivations’ before Trump aide surveillance fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article Adam Shaw 301d7f86-9bc4-5ae1-9b60-13b41d924de6
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6028900939001_6028897828001-vs Lawmakers say FBI may have been warned of Steele’s ‘political motivations’ before Trump aide surveillance fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article Adam Shaw 301d7f86-9bc4-5ae1-9b60-13b41d924de6

Top Republican lawmakers demanded answers Friday on whether the FBI was warned of anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele’s “political motivations’ before the bureau applied for a surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign aide based in part on that document.

In a pair of letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., cited newly revealed notes that a State Department official took during a meeting with Steele in October 2016, just 10 days before the first warrant application and a month before the presidential election. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has also written separate letters to Pompeo and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

FORMER TOP FBI LAWYER ON DEFENSE AS IG PROBE ON SURVEILLANCE ABUSE NEARS CLOSE

Those notes, first reported by The Hill, say that Steele’s security firm Orbis was “keen to see this information [in the dossier] come to light prior to November 8,” suggesting that it wanted the information to directly influence the 2016 presidential election.

“Based on the publicly-released version of the typed notes of the meeting, it appears Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “Further, if that information was included in the material submitted to the FBI, then the FBI may have been aware of Steele’s political motivations before submitting any FISA application.”

They specifically want to know when the State Department shared these details with the FBI. An email from the official, Kathleen Kavalec, was sent on Oct. 13, 2016, though the recipient’s identity is completely redacted, as is an attachment.

The notes, as published by The Hill and posted by Citizens United, also point to the involvement of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, noting that firm co-founder Glenn Simpson and colleague Peter Fritch recommended Steele’s group for the job.

The dossier was eventually published by BuzzFeed News in 2017 and is filled with salacious and unverified claims about alleged dirt the Russians had over Trump. It is believed to have formed a significant part of the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, which did not find evidence of many of the claims within the dossier, fresh scrutiny has returned to the dossier and the role it played in the Page warrant application.

INSPECTOR GENERAL PROBING ROLE OF TRUMP DOSSIER IN SECURING SURVEILLANCE WARRANT FOR AIDE

Republicans have pointed to Steele’s political motivations, as well as the funding of the dossier by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, as proof that the origins of the probe were political as well.

“This important information further demonstrates the bias of the primary source of material that was the basis for the Carter Page FISA warrant,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wrote.

The notes also said that Steele indicated he had been in communication with reporters, which Johnson and Grassley say contradicts the FISA warrant application, “where the FBI repeatedly represented to the court that Steele did not have unauthorized contacts with the press prior to October 2016.”

The lawmakers want to know about the FBI’s communications with the State Department and what information was provided to it about the meetings — specifically when State provided the notes about the meeting to the FBI. Graham also requested that the State Department make the official who took the meeting with Steele, Kathleen Kavalec, available for a transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee.

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The new revelations come as Horowitz is believed to be approaching the end of his investigation into the FBI and DOJ’s surveillance conduct in the 2016 election, and whether the agencies acted improperly. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster his credibility.

President Trump has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt” while Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers last month that “spying did occur” during the campaign.

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6028900939001_6028897828001-vs Lawmakers say FBI may have been warned of Steele’s ‘political motivations’ before Trump aide surveillance fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article Adam Shaw 301d7f86-9bc4-5ae1-9b60-13b41d924de6   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6028900939001_6028897828001-vs Lawmakers say FBI may have been warned of Steele’s ‘political motivations’ before Trump aide surveillance fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article Adam Shaw 301d7f86-9bc4-5ae1-9b60-13b41d924de6

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Former top FBI lawyer on defense as IG probe on surveillance abuse nears close

Westlake Legal Group former-top-fbi-lawyer-on-defense-as-ig-probe-on-surveillance-abuse-nears-close Former top FBI lawyer on defense as IG probe on surveillance abuse nears close fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 29e944c6-1627-5753-9de8-8bb3873785cd
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5990132962001_5990127487001-vs Former top FBI lawyer on defense as IG probe on surveillance abuse nears close fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 29e944c6-1627-5753-9de8-8bb3873785cd

Former FBI counsel James Baker, speaking Friday at a rare public appearance, defended the FBI’s controversial surveillance of a former Trump aide during the 2016 campaign, as a closely watched inspector general investigation into that process nears its conclusion.

Baker was quizzed at a forum organized by Brookings Institution about the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump aide Carter Page in 2016 and the use of an unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele in the application for the warrant.

INSPECTOR GENERAL PROBING ROLE OF TRUMP DOSSIER IN SECURING SURVEILLANCE WARRANT FOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE

Republicans have alleged that the dossier was a central source for the warrant and that agents did not properly disclose the dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Baker was asked Friday why the reference to where the dossier originated came in a footnote rather than in “big red magic marker.”

“Nobody is going to miss a page-long footnote in regular type, OK?” Baker responded. “These are federal judges for goodness’ sake, they know how to evaluate wiretap applications.”

“[The information] was consistent with the type of information and the way we would phrase things to basically, effectively be the red light on top of a document like ‘hey court pay attention to this, there are issues here, we think you need to know about these things,’” he said.

His remarks come as IG Michael Horowitz’s enters what is thought to be the final phases of his review into alleged surveillance abuses during the 2016 campaign. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News this week that Horowitz is focusing on how the dossier was used to secure the original warrant on Page, as well as three renewals.

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report now out in the open, attention has returned to the salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier authored by Steele — especially since its more sensational claims were not substantiated by Mueller’s team.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON BEING INVESTIGATED, FIRING JAMES COMEY, AND THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Horowitz is close to concluding his inquiry into the genesis of the Russia probe. The report said Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.

It was revealed in January that Baker was under federal investigation for allegedly leaking to the media, an investigation believed to have been opened during the Obama administration and not in the course of the Russia investigation.

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Asked if he was nervous about Horowitz’s investigation, Baker said “I’m always nervous about the IG I guess” but said he has had a good relationship with the IG’s office for decades and has confidence in the decisions he made and welcomed the accountability.

“I’m confident in the judgments I made at the time based on the information I have available to me,” he said.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5990132962001_5990127487001-vs Former top FBI lawyer on defense as IG probe on surveillance abuse nears close fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 29e944c6-1627-5753-9de8-8bb3873785cd   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5990132962001_5990127487001-vs Former top FBI lawyer on defense as IG probe on surveillance abuse nears close fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 29e944c6-1627-5753-9de8-8bb3873785cd

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Trump debuts new nickname for Biden: ‘SleepyCreepy Joe’

Westlake Legal Group trump-debuts-new-nickname-for-biden-sleepycreepy-joe Trump debuts new nickname for Biden: ‘SleepyCreepy Joe' fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc ee412e0e-2195-5f9b-bc65-c8e45e37bd64 article Adam Shaw
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035027039001_6035038302001-vs Trump debuts new nickname for Biden: ‘SleepyCreepy Joe' fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc ee412e0e-2195-5f9b-bc65-c8e45e37bd64 article Adam Shaw

President Trump on Friday debuted a new nickname for 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden — calling the former vice president “SleepyCreepy Joe.”

“Looks to me like it’s going to be SleepyCreepy Joe over Crazy Bernie [Sanders],” Trump tweeted. “Everyone else is fading fast!”

BIDEN LABELS TRUMP ‘A CLOWN’ DURING CAMPAIGN STOP IN SOUTH CAROLINE

Trump’s prior moniker for Biden was “Sleepy Joe,” but Trump has turned up the heat on the former veep as he dominates the polls in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The new nickname appears to refer to accusations of inappropriate touching that dogged Biden before his campaign launch. Trump last month tweeted out a meme mock video of Biden touching, sniffing and groping himself.

“WELCOME BACK JOE!” he tweeted.

Trump regularly assigns nicknames to his political opponents, sometimes with devastating effectiveness. Republican primary rival Jeb Bush struggled to escape the shadow of “low-energy Jeb,” while Trump’s decision to brand election rival Hillary Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” zeroed in on the 2016 Democratic nominee’s difficulties shaking off her email scandal and other controversies.

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Biden was asked last week in South Carolina if he had a nickname for Trump, and said: “You can just start with clown.”

Trump’s focus on Biden comes as the former vice president continues to build on a strong lead since announcing his long-awaited run last month.

A new Monmouth University poll in the vital primary state of New Hampshire shows Biden with 36 percent support among registered Democrats, with Bernie Sanders trailing him at 18 percent. All other candidates are in single digits.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035027039001_6035038302001-vs Trump debuts new nickname for Biden: ‘SleepyCreepy Joe' fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc ee412e0e-2195-5f9b-bc65-c8e45e37bd64 article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6035027039001_6035038302001-vs Trump debuts new nickname for Biden: ‘SleepyCreepy Joe' fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc ee412e0e-2195-5f9b-bc65-c8e45e37bd64 article Adam Shaw

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Trump envoy slams ‘baffling’ anti-Israel UN meeting as members line up to condemn settlements, Israeli policy

Westlake Legal Group trump-envoy-slams-baffling-anti-israel-un-meeting-as-members-line-up-to-condemn-settlements-israeli-policy Trump envoy slams 'baffling' anti-Israel UN meeting as members line up to condemn settlements, Israeli policy fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc f489fbf4-a290-572a-a7c2-a4d1f258e262 Ben Evansky article Adam Shaw

President Trump’s U.S. envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, made a surprise visit to the United Nations on Thursday, as members of the U.N. Security Council held an informal meeting to condemn Israeli settlements — a meeting that Greenblatt called “baffling and disappointing.”

Security Council members Indonesia, South Africa and Kuwait organized the meeting and invited Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and other critics of Israel to speak.

Maliki praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas for his work as a peacemaker and condemned Israel, saying that it no longer hides behind its “true colonial nature of its occupation and its intention to annex Palestinian land.” Maliki said that Israel’s colonialism was a violation of the U.N. Charter.

Indonesia, presiding over the Security Council for this month, sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to chair the meeting.

Westlake Legal Group Jason-Greenblatt-Getty-2019 Trump envoy slams 'baffling' anti-Israel UN meeting as members line up to condemn settlements, Israeli policy fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc f489fbf4-a290-572a-a7c2-a4d1f258e262 Ben Evansky article Adam Shaw

White House adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt, seen here in March 2019, blasted “the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N.” (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

She said the issue of settlements deserved the council’s full attention and said that “the international community needs to ensure accountability and respect of international law of the occupying power (Israel).” She also called for more public pressure from the world community to end settlement construction.

One way of doing that, she said, was to have an international day of solidarity for what she said were the victims of illegal settlements.

The meeting is the latest broadside at Israel from the U.N., where Israeli actions are regularly the focus of condemnation — leading to claims from the U.S. and Israel that the world body is fundamentally biased against the Middle East democracy.

Greenblatt said it was “baffling and disappointing to see the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N.”

He drew attention to the U.S. effort to get the U.N. General Assembly to condemn Hamas rocket attacks in December — an effort that ultimately failed in the assembly hall. The U.S. has noted repeatedly that Israel has been condemned repeatedly, yet Palestinian terror group Hamas has not been condemned by name.

“It is truly shameful that in these halls there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel, the region’s only real democracy, yet not one condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israelis or its abuse and neglect of the very people it claims to represent,” he said.

Greenblatt criticized the decision not to invite Israel to the meeting, calling it “surprising and unfair” and called on U.N. members to make a real effort to bring peace to the region. The Trump administration is expected to reveal its plan for peace in the Middle East this year.

ISRAEL MARKS INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH SOMBER CEREMONY

“We hope to present our vision soon,” Greenblatt said. “In the meantime, we will continue to speak the truth, even where it is not welcome.”

Greenblatt took aim at the notion that settlements are to blame for a lack of a peace deal: “Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution.  This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

In maybe a clue to what might come out of the peace deal he is working on Greenblatt said that he had heard the same points being made for many years at today’s gathering, and that, “the sad truth is that saying the same things, repeating the same tired talking points, but not identifying a realistic way forward, has not and will not lead to peace – Ever!”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, in a statement to Fox News, said member states should call out the Palestinian Authority’s “culture of terrorism and incitement.”

“The Palestinian leadership repeats the same lies against Israel while it continues to pay salaries to terrorists. This policy has only led to more U.N. discussions, but not to a future for its people,” he said. “The international community must renounce the PA’s culture of terrorism and incitement, and not condone this policy.”

The Trump administration has pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, citing political bias, and has cut its funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. It also withdrew, along with Israel, from the U.N. Social and Cultural Body (UNESCO). This more combative approach by the U.S. has been praised by Israeli Settler groups, who called the Thursday afternoon meeting “pernicious.”

“Thankfully the Trump administration has already recognized this pernicious effort to really delegitimize Israel by erasing Jewish history and has left UNESCO, and has left the Human Rights Council,” Yishai Fleisher, spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron, told Fox News. “What they are really trying to do is not to come to any peace accords, but to delegitimize the Jewish people in the land of Israel.”

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley spent a significant part of her tenure at Turtle Bay pushing back against alleged anti-Israel bias, and in her final speech to the U.N. Security Council described the U.N. as “hopelessly biased.”

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“This U.N. obsession [with Israel] has been entirely unproductive. It’s actually worse than that. The U.N.’s obsession with this issue has been counterproductive.”

“It has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the U.N., rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the U.N.” she said.

Westlake Legal Group Jason-Greenblatt-Getty-2019 Trump envoy slams 'baffling' anti-Israel UN meeting as members line up to condemn settlements, Israeli policy fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc f489fbf4-a290-572a-a7c2-a4d1f258e262 Ben Evansky article Adam Shaw   Westlake Legal Group Jason-Greenblatt-Getty-2019 Trump envoy slams 'baffling' anti-Israel UN meeting as members line up to condemn settlements, Israeli policy fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/united-nations/security-council fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/politics fnc f489fbf4-a290-572a-a7c2-a4d1f258e262 Ben Evansky article Adam Shaw

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Trump says John Kerry ‘should be prosecuted’ for Iran contacts

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034794927001_6034792922001-vs Trump says John Kerry ‘should be prosecuted’ for Iran contacts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 532b49c9-6e7c-50ec-b2f2-344c47b74ea7

President Trump on Thursday accused former Secretary of State John Kerry of breaking the law by meeting with Iranian officials last year — and went so far as to say he should be prosecuted under the Logan Act.

“You know John Kerry speaks to them a lot, and John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act, and frankly he should be prosecuted on that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

TRUMP AND KERRY TRADE BARBS OVER EX-SECRETARY OF STATE’S MEETINGS WITH IRANIAN REGIME

“But my people don’t want to do anything, only the Democrats do that kind of stuff. If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act,” he said.

Trump appears to be partially referring to a reported meeting between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the beginning of 2018, part of what the Boston Globe called “an aggressive yet stealthy” mission to put pressure on the Trump administration to keep the Iran nuclear deal.

Such a push was unsuccessful as Trump would announce the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) just a few months later.

But Trump has repeatedly accused Kerry of being in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government without authorization. No one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the law, however.

In September, Kerry acknowledged meeting with Zarif “three or four times” since leaving office, admitting to discussing the scrapped nuclear deal, among other issues.

CLINTON SLAMS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ‘MAXIMUM PRESSURE’ CAMPAIGN 

“What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better,” Kerry said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show.

On Thursday, Trump indicated he believes the contact between Kerry and Tehran to be ongoing, accusing Kerry of having “many meetings and many phone calls and he’s telling them what to do — that is a total violation of the Logan Act.”

A spokesman for Kerry pushed back on Trump’s remarks, calling them “simply wrong, end of story.”

“He’s wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe. Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem,” the spokesman said.

“The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the President would focus on solving foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”

Trump’s remarks came as the administration imposed sanctions on Tehran’s steel, aluminum, copper and iron sectors this week, the latest pressure the administration is putting on Iran’s already fragile economy.

Iran, meanwhile, announced that it will keep excess uranium instead of selling it as required by the nuclear deal. It also issued an ultimatum to Europe that it will enrich its stockpile in 60 days unless new terms to the deal are negotiated.

Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman and Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034794927001_6034792922001-vs Trump says John Kerry ‘should be prosecuted’ for Iran contacts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 532b49c9-6e7c-50ec-b2f2-344c47b74ea7   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6034794927001_6034792922001-vs Trump says John Kerry ‘should be prosecuted’ for Iran contacts fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 532b49c9-6e7c-50ec-b2f2-344c47b74ea7

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UN draws fire after electing Somalia, Congo to women’s rights boards: ‘Asking the fox to guard the chickens’

The United Nations has elected several countries with poor women’s rights records to boards charged with promoting those rights — leading one critic to compare the decision to “asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lebanon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone were among those elected by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the Executive Board of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women), while Somalia was among those elected to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

ECONOMIST, PROMINENT UN FIGURE BLAMES AMERICAN SANCTIONS FOR THOUSANDS OF DEATHS IN VENEZUELA

The Executive Board governs U.N. Women’s operational activities, approves its programs and activities, and decides the budgets and financial plans of the body. The Commission on the Status of Women, meanwhile, is tasked with “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” according to its website.

“The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” the website says.

While numerous other countries such as Germany and New Zealand were also elected to terms on these panels, the presence of nations with poor women’s rights records is likely to raise questions.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report placed Congo at 144th out of 147 countries it monitored. Lebanon was 140th, Nigeria was 133rd and Sierra Leone was 114th.

Westlake Legal Group un-nyc-iStock UN draws fire after electing Somalia, Congo to women’s rights boards: 'Asking the fox to guard the chickens' fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 8a15a59f-1457-50ea-b3ba-c06b14dce0af

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. (iStock)

“The election to U.N. women’s rights bodies of countries such as Somalia, where female genital mutilation is widespread, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, which many consider the rape capital of the world, is a betrayal of the UN’s founding principles,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, an independent monitoring group based in Switzerland, told Fox News.

“By placing regimes that are complicit with some of the worst crimes committed against women to global leadership posts on women’s equality, the U.N. is saying that they don’t really care about the rights of women,” he said. “This just sends absolutely the wrong message.”

The U.N. Women’s website itself gives some damning summaries of those countries that have been elected. It notes that “the women of Somalia bear an unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority.”

“Somalia has extremely high rates of maternal mortality, rape, cases of female genital mutilation, violence against women and child marriage,” the U.N. Women’s website says. “Women’s access to justice is restricted both within the formal, clan based and sharia-based judicial systems. Women face limited access to economic resources and assets. This is compounded by women’s low participation in politics and decision making spheres.”

“Violence against women and girls remains high in Somalia with displaced women and girls targeted. Somalia also has a history of violent attacks on women leaders, women who speak out against gender-based violence and the men and women who defend them,” it says.

ISRAEL’S UN AMBASSADOR GIVES THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL A HISTORY LESSON ON THE BIBLE

U.N. Women reports that in the DRC, up to 52 percent of women are survivors of domestic violence, and that women have little access to decent jobs, less access to education and lower rates of literacy.

Lebanon, meanwhile, is praised for recent strides in women empowerment and for having “one of the most vibrant feminist movements in the Arab region” but the report notes a number of legal, institutional and social hurdles to women’s full enjoyment of their rights remain in place” and the labor force participation rate for women is just 22 percent, compared with 72 percent for men.

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“Countries that show contempt to the founding purposes of UN women’s rights bodies should never have been elected as their leaders,” Neuer said. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. The Human Rights Council, from which the U.S. withdrew last year, currently includes Cuba, China, DRC, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia among its members.

Westlake Legal Group un-nyc-iStock UN draws fire after electing Somalia, Congo to women’s rights boards: 'Asking the fox to guard the chickens' fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 8a15a59f-1457-50ea-b3ba-c06b14dce0af   Westlake Legal Group un-nyc-iStock UN draws fire after electing Somalia, Congo to women’s rights boards: 'Asking the fox to guard the chickens' fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 8a15a59f-1457-50ea-b3ba-c06b14dce0af

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Economist, prominent UN figure blames American sanctions for thousands of deaths in Venezuela

Westlake Legal Group economist-prominent-un-figure-blames-american-sanctions-for-thousands-of-deaths-in-venezuela Economist, prominent UN figure blames American sanctions for thousands of deaths in Venezuela fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 50fea04d-dd5b-5c0e-8775-b85c4defcec8

A top economist who has worked for years with the United Nations is claiming that U.S. sanctions are responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in Venezuela and that such actions are illegal under international and U.S. law — his latest attack on the Trump administration in recent weeks.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University and a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) advocate for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, co-authored the report, “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” which criticizes sanctions the U.S. has imposed since 2017.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES US WITHDRAWAL FROM UN ARMS TREATY

“We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017-2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory,” the report, published by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) says.

“They are also illegal under international law and treaties which the US has signed, and would appear to violate US law as well,” it says. Sachs co-authored the report with CEPR’s Mark Weisbrot.

Venezuela has been gripped by turmoil and economic crisis for years under the socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, which has escalated recently as opposition leader and U.S.-recognized President of Venezuela Juan Guaido has attempted to oust Maduro out of office.

The report is the latest barb by left-leaning analysts and politicians to place at least partial blame for the crisis on the U.S. and points to August 2017 financial sanctions that bars the government from borrowing in U.S. financial markets. It also criticizes January 2019 sanctions that targeted Venezuelan oil exports.

Westlake Legal Group Jeffrey-Sachs Economist, prominent UN figure blames American sanctions for thousands of deaths in Venezuela fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 50fea04d-dd5b-5c0e-8775-b85c4defcec8

Jeffrey Sachs gives a discussion on climate change and surviving Trump during the Starmus Festival on June 21, 2017 in Trondheim, Norway. (Getty Images)

The report alleges that the sanctions have exacerbated power outages and deprived the Venezuelan economy of billions needed to pay for “essential and live-saving imports”

“The sanctions implemented in 2019, including the recognition of a parallel government, accelerated this deprivation and also cut off Venezuela from most of the international payments system, thus ending much of the country’s access to these essential imports including medicine and food — even those that could normally be bought with available dollars,” the report says. “There is no doubt that all of these sanctions since August 2017 have had severe impacts on human life and health.”

The report also claims “an economic recovery could have already begun in the absence of economic sanctions.”

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Sachs said the U.S. was “deliberately creating massive, massive suffering” and said it was “a catastrophe largely created by the U.S.”

It is the latest fiery broadside by Sachs against the Trump administration. Last month, he called for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

PENCE SAYS VENEZUELA AMBASSADOR ‘SHOULDN’T BE HERE’ WHILE ADDRESSING UN SECURITY COUNCIL

“Trump recklessly welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election for political gain while he was pursuing personal business interests in Russia, and those actions, together with his brazen attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation, surely constitute high crimes and misdemeanors justifying the launch of impeachment hearings,” he wrote in a CNN op-ed.

Sachs has worked with the U.N. for years in a number of roles, having served as a special adviser to multiple secretaries-general including Guterres from 2001 until last year. In addition to his role as an SDG advocate for Guterres, he is also a director of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the U.N. Broadband Commission for Development, none of which are paid roles.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sachs on United States policy are his own and are expressed in his personal capacity,” Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Fox News in an email. “They do not reflect the opinion of the Secretary-General or the United Nations.”

While Sachs has built a reputation as one of the world’s most well-known economists, he’s also emerged as a prominent critic of President Trump. In 2017, when he was a special adviser, he wrote a column called “Donald Trump’s Climate Fantasies” in which he told readers to pity the president.

“In less than 100 days, we have learned that Trump is a man living in a fantasy world. He issues decrees, barks orders, sends out midnight Tweets, but to no avail. The facts – real ones, not his ‘alternative’ variety – keep intervening,” Sachs wrote.

Also in 2017, he wrote a column for The Boston Globe accusing Trump of “mining that deep vein of fear and hate” with his travel ban affecting certain Muslim-majority countries. He also has called Trump the “quintessential short-run populist” and a “non-stop font of lies.”

Sachs, while holding a plethora of roles at Turtle Bay, has with his commennts risked exacerbating already-frayed relations between the Trump administration and the U.N.

Since the U.N.-skeptical Trump took office, the U.S. has pulled out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s Social and Cultural Commission (UNESCO) and cut funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA.)

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Last month Trump announced that he is withdrawing the U.S. signature from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, in response to concerns from gun rights activists that it could impinge on Americans’ right to bear arms.

“By taking these actions, we are reaffirming that American liberty is sacred and that American citizens live by American laws not by laws of foreign countries,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033508732001_6033506514001-vs Economist, prominent UN figure blames American sanctions for thousands of deaths in Venezuela fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 50fea04d-dd5b-5c0e-8775-b85c4defcec8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033508732001_6033506514001-vs Economist, prominent UN figure blames American sanctions for thousands of deaths in Venezuela fox-news/world/united-nations fox news fnc/politics fnc article Adam Shaw 50fea04d-dd5b-5c0e-8775-b85c4defcec8

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