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Westlake Legal Group > article (Page 103)

Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is ‘on the verge’ of ‘bringing harm’ to Ukraine call whistleblower

Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, slammed President Trump on Tuesday over his repeated calls to identify the whistleblower who filed the report about his phone call with the Ukrainian leader, suggesting the hostile rhetoric towards the anonymous intelligence community worker may be “bringing harm” towards the individual.

“The president at this point has been very abusive of the Whistleblower Protection Act and really is basically on the verge of not only revealing the identity or getting somebody else to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, but also bringing harm to that person,” Castro said on CNN.

MAXINE WATERS SAYS TRUMP DESERVES WORSE THAN IMPEACHMENT: NEEDS ‘SOLITARY CONFINEMENT’

“It’s getting quite scary, the president’s behavior and his words and what that could conjure up.”

Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and brother of 2020 presidential candidate, Julián Castro, speculated whether someone from within the White House who knows the identity of the whistleblower would “leak” it, but expressed confidence in the protection Congress has given to the informant.

“If you look at the whistleblower’s complaint and the transcript of that phone call, it’s starting to become clear that there was an attempted coverup by the White House of a president abusing his power, betraying his oath of office,” Castro continued.

“And this investigation — every day it seems like there is a new, basically, a path to follow, a new trail to follow and we’re going to do that.”

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Earlier in the day, Castro’s congressional colleague, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., insisted that Trump should be placed in “solitary confinement.”

“I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed,” Waters tweeted. “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.”

Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article   Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article

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Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is ‘on the verge’ of ‘bringing harm’ to Ukraine call whistleblower

Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, slammed President Trump on Tuesday over his repeated calls to identify the whistleblower who filed the report about his phone call with the Ukrainian leader, suggesting the hostile rhetoric towards the anonymous intelligence community worker may be “bringing harm” towards the individual.

“The president at this point has been very abusive of the Whistleblower Protection Act and really is basically on the verge of not only revealing the identity or getting somebody else to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, but also bringing harm to that person,” Castro said on CNN.

MAXINE WATERS SAYS TRUMP DESERVES WORSE THAN IMPEACHMENT: NEEDS ‘SOLITARY CONFINEMENT’

“It’s getting quite scary, the president’s behavior and his words and what that could conjure up.”

Castro, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and brother of 2020 presidential candidate, Julián Castro, speculated whether someone from within the White House who knows the identity of the whistleblower would “leak” it, but expressed confidence in the protection Congress has given to the informant.

“If you look at the whistleblower’s complaint and the transcript of that phone call, it’s starting to become clear that there was an attempted coverup by the White House of a president abusing his power, betraying his oath of office,” Castro continued.

“And this investigation — every day it seems like there is a new, basically, a path to follow, a new trail to follow and we’re going to do that.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Earlier in the day, Castro’s congressional colleague, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., insisted that Trump should be placed in “solitary confinement.”

“I’m calling on the GOP to stop Trump’s filthy talk of whistleblowers being spies & using mob language implying they should be killed,” Waters tweeted. “Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.”

Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article   Westlake Legal Group Joaquin-Castro-GettyImages-1132142232 Rep. Joaquin Castro: Trump is 'on the verge' of 'bringing harm' to Ukraine call whistleblower Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc e98653be-f10e-5828-922d-eacb3a822a6f article

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DOJ seeks reinstatement of Army reservist fired from civilian job over military obligations

Westlake Legal Group iStock-doj DOJ seeks reinstatement of Army reservist fired from civilian job over military obligations Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 2a748822-f77f-5e99-959d-2585d061ab35

An Army reservist in Mississippi, fired from a civilian job because of his military service obligations, should be reinstated, the Justice Department said in a complaint filed Monday in federal court.

Staff Sgt. 1st Class Jason Sims Sr. served with the Coahoma County Sheriff’s Office for four years, between 2014 and 2018, before he was fired because he also taught leadership courses at Fort Knox, Ky., during that time, the Justice Department alleged on Tuesday.

Sims’ firing is a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) of 1994, which protects service members’ civilian jobs when they are called to fulfill military obligations, the department said. USERRA also protects troops from discrimination due to their status with the military.

The DOJ says Sims should be reinstated and paid back wages and benefits.

AIR FORCE ARMS B1-B BOMBER WITH HYPERSONIC WEAPONS

“Our nation has made a commitment to protect the civilian jobs of its service members while they serve our country,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said. “Federal law frees members of the armed forces from the stress associated with the fear they will be fired because they were called to military service.”

The Army Reserve allows soldiers to serve in the military part time while also holding full-time civilian jobs.

ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY SUICIDES SPIKE TO RECORD HIGH, PENTAGON REPORT SAYS

“The legal rights of the members of our armed forces, who routinely make personal sacrifices to protect our nation, must be respected,” U.S. Attorney William Lamar said. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting those rights, so that these brave men and women can return from their service to their civilian jobs with the full benefits to which they are entitled.”

The Department of Labor referred Sims’ request to the Justice Department following its’ own Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigation.

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Westlake Legal Group iStock-doj DOJ seeks reinstatement of Army reservist fired from civilian job over military obligations Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 2a748822-f77f-5e99-959d-2585d061ab35   Westlake Legal Group iStock-doj DOJ seeks reinstatement of Army reservist fired from civilian job over military obligations Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/judiciary/federal-courts fox news fnc/us fnc article 2a748822-f77f-5e99-959d-2585d061ab35

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Beyonce’s dad, Mathew Knowles, says he’s got breast cancer

Mathew Knowles, the father of Beyonce and Solange Knowles, says he’s got breast cancer.

In an interview with “Good Morning America” that’s set to air on Wednesday, the 67-year-old sat down with Michael Strahan to discuss his diagnosis, his treatment and the implications for his family.

ALEX TREBEK UNDERGOING MORE CHEMOTHERAPY AFTER ‘JEOPARDY!’ RETURN

It’s unclear from the preview when Knowles first received his diagnosis.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer in men is rare. Only 1 in 1,000 men will ever be diagnosed and less than percent of all breast cancer cases develop in males though it is more common in older men.

ROD STEWART SECRETLY BATTLED PROSTATE CANCER FOR THREE YEARS: REPORT

October is also breast cancer awareness month.

Knowles is most noted for managing Beyonce’s early career as a part of the group Destiny’s Child until they broke up in 2006.

Westlake Legal Group 032811_bdad Beyonce's dad, Mathew Knowles, says he's got breast cancer Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/beyonce fox-news/health/cancer fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 26e24f4b-e1aa-55bc-a868-9fc14a254d30

Beyonce Knowles (L) arrives at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards with her father and manager Mathew Knowles in Los Angeles. (AP)

He was married to their mother, Tina, for over thirty years but they divorced in 2011. Knowles then married Gena Avery in 2013.

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He’s also fathered two more children from different relationships.

Westlake Legal Group 032811_bdad Beyonce's dad, Mathew Knowles, says he's got breast cancer Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/beyonce fox-news/health/cancer fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 26e24f4b-e1aa-55bc-a868-9fc14a254d30   Westlake Legal Group 032811_bdad Beyonce's dad, Mathew Knowles, says he's got breast cancer Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/beyonce fox-news/health/cancer fox-news/entertainment/music fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 26e24f4b-e1aa-55bc-a868-9fc14a254d30

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Former veterans charity leader sentenced to year in prison for stealing $900G

The former executive director of a veterans charity organization, convicted last year of stealing $900,000 from the nonprofit and using it for personal expenses, has been sentenced to a year in prison, according to a report.

Patricia Driscoll, a former girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, was found guilty in November 2018 of wire fraud, tax evasion and first-degree fraud, according to the Justice Department. She had been accused of spending the money on jewelry, shopping trips and business ventures.

Court records showed that sentencing for Driscoll, a Maryland resident, has been stayed pending an appeal, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group kurt-busch-ex-girlfriend-ap Former veterans charity leader sentenced to year in prison for stealing $900G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/us fnc bdfb2c90-ab6a-5d49-adb6-a216ee7667bc article

In 2014, Kurt Busch, left, stands with Patricia Driscoll before qualifying for a NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

“The court issued a thoughtful and considered sentence based on the totality of the circumstances in this case and stayed it pending appeal. With the stay, we can continue to pursue justice,” one of her attorneys, Brian Stolarz, told the newspaper.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon also ordered Driscoll to pay $154,289 in restitution and serve 36 months’ supervised release, according to the publication.

Driscoll was the former executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, founded in Washington, D.C., in 2001 to help promote veterans’ quality of life, The Union-Tribune has reported.

MANY VETERANS FUMING OVER NATIONWIDE SMOKING BAN ON VA FACILITIES GROUNDS

The foundation was co-founded by former Rep. Duncan L. Hunter, whose son, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., now faces charges that he illegally used campaign funds for personal expenses.

Driscoll resigned from the organization after leading it for 12 years when allegations surfaced in 2018 that she’d misused funds. The nonprofit dissolved its operations in September 2018 when Driscoll was found guilty.

The nonprofit’s 2015 tax filing reportedly indicated Driscoll misspent $900,000 on personal expenses going as far back as 2006.

BUBBA WALLACE TO FACE NASCAR OFFICIALS AFTER THROWING DRINK IN ALEX BOWMAN’S FACE

This misuse of funds included jewelry purchases, a $65,000 dermatologist visit and legal fees relating to domestic violence accusations against Busch.

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Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 092016-NASCAR-Patricia-Driscoll.vre-5cbc6df52dc47510VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____ Former veterans charity leader sentenced to year in prison for stealing $900G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/us fnc bdfb2c90-ab6a-5d49-adb6-a216ee7667bc article   Westlake Legal Group 092016-NASCAR-Patricia-Driscoll.vre-5cbc6df52dc47510VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____ Former veterans charity leader sentenced to year in prison for stealing $900G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/military/veterans fox-news/us/crime fox-news/auto/nascar fox news fnc/us fnc bdfb2c90-ab6a-5d49-adb6-a216ee7667bc article

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Liberal ‘The View’ host Joy Behar dismisses controversy surrounding Biden and Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group joy20behar20420ABC Liberal 'The View' host Joy Behar dismisses controversy surrounding Biden and Ukraine Sam Dorman fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6309de7a-511a-5dee-b29b-290a8d66c130

“The View” co-host Joy Behar dismissed concerns over former Vice President Joe Biden’s role in pressuring Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor who previously investigated his son, Hunter.

“There’s nothing to it,” she said on Tuesday. Her comments came after co-host Whoopi Goldberg appeared to suggest the Trump administration was disingenuous in their complaints about Biden’s actions.

“If this were really important to you-know-who in the White House… we’d have heard about this before the way we’ve heard about the emails,” Goldberg said.

Her comments came as House Democrats subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president’s attorney, over concerns surrounding the administration’s push for Ukraine to investigate Biden.

GIULIANI RIPS EX-UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR FOR DOWNPLAYING BIDEN ‘BRIBERY’ CLAIMS

That was the latest action in Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry, announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sept. 24. Pelosi started the inquiry over a report that Trump’s administration tried suppressing a whistleblower report about him telling the Ukrainian president to pursue an investigation.

Neither the transcript released by the White House nor the whistleblower report showed an explicit quid pro quo for foreign aid. Democrats, however, allege that Trump’s conduct was inappropriate as he was targeting the 2020 frontrunner for the Democratic Party.

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Earlier in the program, Behar attacked people like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who defended the president. “I understand why Lindsey Graham is selling his soul — he wants to be re-elected in South Carolina. He has at least a nefarious, but a motive,” she said.

She added that she didn’t understand the motive for other Trump officials to “lie down with this dog and get up with fleas.”

Westlake Legal Group joy20behar20420ABC Liberal 'The View' host Joy Behar dismisses controversy surrounding Biden and Ukraine Sam Dorman fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6309de7a-511a-5dee-b29b-290a8d66c130   Westlake Legal Group joy20behar20420ABC Liberal 'The View' host Joy Behar dismisses controversy surrounding Biden and Ukraine Sam Dorman fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6309de7a-511a-5dee-b29b-290a8d66c130

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New Jersey teacher loses job, accused of snorting morphine in front of students

A New Jersey elementary school teacher has lost his job for allegedly snorting morphine in front of his students, according to a Tuesday report.

Michael Palladino, 43, was charged in December with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and official misconduct, according to a complaint from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Westlake Legal Group 4c1d8e89-NJ-Eagleswood-school New Jersey teacher loses job, accused of snorting morphine in front of students fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 114480c5-20b9-5964-bf00-9f9fadcccf0f

Michael Palladino, who taught at Eagleswood Elementary School, has lost his job for allegedly ingesting drugs in front of his students.  (Eagleswood Township School District)

Palladino was an elementary school teacher at Eagleswood Elementary in Eagleswood Township, N.J.

Prosecutors allege Palladino used a ballpoint pen to snort morphine on his classroom desk in front of his students and a faculty member. The pen, which was found with drug residue, had been kept in a desk drawer, prosecutors say.

Eagleswood Township Elementary has students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Palladino held certificates of eligibility to teach grades K-8 with advanced standing, Patch reported.

FLORIDA MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER FOUND GUILTY OF SELLING DRUGS TO STUDENTS, COURT RECORDS SAY

Palladino agreed to relinquish those certificates, which the state Board of Examiners agreed to accept during a Sept. 19 meeting.

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Palladino was never arrested on the charges, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group NJ-Eagleswood-school New Jersey teacher loses job, accused of snorting morphine in front of students fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 114480c5-20b9-5964-bf00-9f9fadcccf0f   Westlake Legal Group NJ-Eagleswood-school New Jersey teacher loses job, accused of snorting morphine in front of students fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime/drugs fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 114480c5-20b9-5964-bf00-9f9fadcccf0f

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‘Bachelorette’ star Mike Johnson: Demi Lovato is a good kisser

Bachelorette” star Mike Johnson is spilling the details on his romance with Demi Lovato.

During an interview on iHeart Radio’s “Almost Famous” podcast with hosts — and “Bachelor Nation” stars — Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti, Johnson, 31, revealed that he and Lovato, 27, have gone on multiple dates and that she’s a good kisser.

“We’ve gone on more than one date,” Johnson said. “I like her tattoos — we both have a lot of tattoos. Demi has more than me. And, uh, she kisses really well.”

Westlake Legal Group Johnson-Lovato 'Bachelorette' star Mike Johnson: Demi Lovato is a good kisser Viktoria Ristanovic fox-news/entertainment/the-bachelorette fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4a858cf6-aaae-5295-bc94-28217df438a7

Mike Johnson of “The Bachelorette” has been flirty with Demi Lovato. Insiders claim they’ve been hanging out privately to get to know one another. (ABC / Getty)

DEMI LOVATO REEMERGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO SUPPORT ‘BACHELORETTE’ HANNAH BROWN AT FINALE: ‘JESUS STILL LOVES US’

Johnson, who competed during Hannah Brown‘s season, was also questioned about Demi making the first move (via social media) and stated that he finds it attractive.

“For one, I’m all about her too. She definitely was the aggressor, you know, I find it incredibly sexy. I love that, like, ‘Come at me. You want me, come at me.’ I want you, I’m [going to] come at you. I’m coming at her as well.”

Lovato has been vocal on social media about her crush on the reality TV star and has even flirted with him through Instagram by dropping suggestive comments and likes on his photos.

DEMI LOVATO SLAMS REPORT ON HER BODY: ‘I AM MORE THAN MY WEIGHT’

The “Skyscraper” singer is reportedly “smitten” with the San Antonio-based portfolio manager, a source told Page Six.

“She considers him “funny [and] smart,” the insider added. “He makes her laugh and is respectful of her boundaries. All of these qualities are very important and intriguing to Demi.”

In Sunday’s interview with Higgins and Iaconetti, Johnson revealed what he thought of Lovato.

“She’s incredibly humble,” Johnson said. “When Demi and I are together, it’s laughter and we talk about real s—. Like, she’s a down-to-earth woman and I respect it so much. And she’s just a really humble, really cool, really fun, down-to-earth person.”

DEMI LOVATO ROCKS BIKINI AMID ‘BACHELORETTE’ STAR MIKE JOHNSON DATING RUMORS

Westlake Legal Group bachelorette-mike-johnson 'Bachelorette' star Mike Johnson: Demi Lovato is a good kisser Viktoria Ristanovic fox-news/entertainment/the-bachelorette fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4a858cf6-aaae-5295-bc94-28217df438a7

Mike Johnson was a fan favorite from “The Bachelorette” and is rumored to be dating Demi Lovato. (Getty)

When asked about the relationship’s status, Johnson kept it cool, saying the “status of the relationship with Demi and I are that we are two people exploring each other.”

After Higgins asked the reality star how he feels about people being invested in his dating life, he admitted that he doesn’t like it. “I am very private with my relationships, like, straight up.”

DEMI LOVATO PROMISES TO TELL HER ‘SIDE OF THE STORY’ WITH FIRST ALBUM SINCE OVERDOSE

“But I mean, I’m in this [public] eye, she’s been in this light, and that’s why I said she’s so humble, and I think the world of her because like, she’s been able to have to deal with this crap like I can’t even imagine from her perspective,” he continued. “I personally don’t care to talk about, you know, what I do behind closed doors. I’m a gentleman, I’m not going to kiss and tell.”

Johnson also addressed his fears about dating in the public eye.

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“It scares me, honestly,” he said. “What scares me about it is that if Demi and I were not to become boyfriend/girlfriend, right, how would people perceive that? Which honestly, I shouldn’t give two s—s about it, right? No disrespect to people that, you know, follow us. But it scares me for that reason.”

“Being quite transparent, she’s a woman that I treat like a regular individual,” Johnson added. “I’m a man that she treats like a regular man. And we do like each other and we are getting to know each other, but what if it were not meant to be?”

Westlake Legal Group Johnson-Lovato 'Bachelorette' star Mike Johnson: Demi Lovato is a good kisser Viktoria Ristanovic fox-news/entertainment/the-bachelorette fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4a858cf6-aaae-5295-bc94-28217df438a7   Westlake Legal Group Johnson-Lovato 'Bachelorette' star Mike Johnson: Demi Lovato is a good kisser Viktoria Ristanovic fox-news/entertainment/the-bachelorette fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4a858cf6-aaae-5295-bc94-28217df438a7

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Where does Mexico really get its guns?

MEXICO CITY – Tucked inside a narrow wedge of a traditional open-air market is one of Mexico’s most dangerous black market operations. It’s known as the Tepito.

It’s a barrio where even the police mostly remain outside. Inside, it’s under the tightly controlled thumb of the Union de Tepito, otherwise known as the Union Cartel – one of the capital city’s most violent and well-financed criminal players. Cartel “hawks” – often children – are positioned in the entry to report on any unusual visitors inside the tented tunnel. Those inside worship the Mexican folklore legend Jesús Malverde, who steals from the rich to give to the poor. He’s the narco saint, the so-called patron saint of drug traffickers, the perceived “angel of the poor.”

But, from the pirated goods – including sex toys, endangered turtle eggs, counterfeit designer clothes, DVDs and drugs – to other lucrative enterprises including kidnapping and extortion, once trust is gained, one may be lured by a cartel operative into private homes or underground bunkers, which are scattered city-wide, to make a weapons purchase.

MEXICAN PIRATES POSING GREATER RISK IN GULF OF MEXICO TO OIL WORKERS, TOURISTS

The inventory boasts everything from low-caliber weapons, rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and 50-caliber rifles, with prices for basic handguns beginning at just $300 and going as high as $1,500 for an AR-15 and $3,000 for more advanced weapons systems, according to Mexican intelligence officials.

Westlake Legal Group mex8 Where does Mexico really get its guns? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/crime fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc article 72d5d5cf-5ffd-5aea-ab00-2cf41cba5ea5

A figure of folklore legend Jesús Malverde in Mexico City’s Tepito. (Hollie McKay/Fox News)

The Union Cartel started around 2010 as a small group dedicated to shielding the community from crime, with locals paying a fee for the added protection. But, over the years it has morphed into a large and violent criminal enterprise. Its main leaders, Roberto “El Betito” Mollado Esparza and David “El Pistache” García Ramirez, both were arrested last October but are believed to maintain their top-brass roles from behind bars. Local reports indicated the heavy-handed cartel started proactively recruiting both former and active policemen following the leaders’ arrests to defend the illicit sales and oversee extortion missions.

However, many people in Mexico have viewed the lack of gun-control measures in the United States as wreaking havoc on the violence in their country and enabling the illicit activities to rage.

“A lot of the violence in the U.S. is because of the drugs going in from Mexico, and a lot of the violence in Mexico is because of the guns coming from the U.S.,” one high-ranking former Mexican intelligence official told Fox News, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Many of the cartels in Mexico are being paid by counterparts in the U.S. not only with money but with guns.”

Some estimates – including a recent study published in Oxford’s Journal of Economic Geography – have pegged the number of guns crossing the U.S-Mexico border at over 200,000 annually.

The most recent available data compiled by the National Tracing Center for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) indicated that a total of 67,295 firearms recovered in Mexico between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2018, were determined to have been either manufactured in the U.S. or legally imported into the U.S., an average of 11,216 per year.

Westlake Legal Group mex9 Where does Mexico really get its guns? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/crime fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc article 72d5d5cf-5ffd-5aea-ab00-2cf41cba5ea5

One of the most dangerous pockets of Mexico City: Teptio, the primary-black market area, under the thumb of the Union Cartel. (Hollie McKay/Fox News)

Moreover, a total of 28,741 recovered weapons – an average of 4,790 annually – were classified as having an “undetermined” source.

Of all the recovered weapons, ATF documented that 51.1 percent were pistols, 13.6 percent were revolvers, 27.4 percent were rifles, 5.4 percent were shotguns and 2.5 percent were a combination of machine guns, destructive devices, derringers, tear-gas launchers, combination guns, flare guns, receivers/frames, silencers or any other “unknown” type.

Nonetheless, some law enforcement experts and analysts have concluded such figures represented only a small amount of the firearms rotating through the cartel-plagued country and argued that many more that Mexican officials have seized were not documented or traced.

And, the ATF itself became a contentious piece of that puzzle between 2009 and 2011 in what became known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” when the ATF’s Phoenix Field Division allowed illegal gun sales in order to track the sellers and purchasers who were believed to be linked to Mexican drug cartels. In 2010, two of the weapons issued in the operation turned up at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

Last month, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard pushed back amid U.S pressure to curb the flood of migrants to the border, asserting that in turn, the U.S needed to “do much more” to stop firearms trafficking into Mexico.

Still, the notion of whether the U.S border wall would benefit Mexico – by helping block the illicit transfer of firearms – has been subject to debate.

Some supporters have said it would help stem the flow. “A wall would help both sides to monitor the people and contraband going back and forth,” said Derek Maltz, a former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Special Operations Division. “We want to create one option: going through the port of entry to help the limited resources screen the people and vehicle at the border.”

Lee Oughton, the managing partner and chief operating officer of the Mexico City-based Fortress risk-management company, concurred that while a wall would hardly solve the trafficking problem, it would serve as the “first line of defense” for both countries.

Meanwhile, multiple officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the wall would have little impact as many of the arms have been transferred through regular border crossings – via bribes issued to Mexican officials – or smuggled through drug tunnels.

According to Thomas Kilbride, a retired Department of Homeland Security agent and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy adviser, the general assumption has been that the guns got to Mexico from the U.S. predominantly by straw buyers working on behalf of gun-trafficking organizations – meaning the gun was bought illegally by someone on behalf of someone else, or from a private seller without a federal license.

“The parts are vastly hidden in vehicles in many pieces then reassembled in Mexico,” he noted.

Also, they’re routinely disguised inside other items such as goods and electronics.

The common estimation among officials has been that some 90 percent of guns in Mexico stemmed from the U.S., but such a figure would be ripe for dispute.

“I wouldn’t say that the number is that high. I would say that maybe it will be around 50 percent. The known modus operandi of weapons and money, for drugs, does happen as a transaction. But also, knowing some of the weapon systems available here in Mexico,” Oughton said, “it would suggest that they would be illegally manufactured here, and also [found] their way from other parts of Latin America, Eastern Europe… Russia and China. For me, it’s an impossibility and maybe a bit of political wrangling to lay the full blame at the USA’s door for supply and demand on guns.”

Other high-ranking officials also underscored that the majority of guns these days have been flowing not from the United States, but from the south.

“Most cartels buy in bulk, and the weapons are coming from places like Nicaragua and other South American countries. Also Asia and some from the Middle East,” a Tijuana-based police authority who requested anonymity explained. “And, another factor is the CNC machines making uppers in clandestine shops in Mexico.”

According to recent Fortress intelligence assessments, an increase in surveillance on Mexico’s northern border has meant criminal groups have had to open new arms-trafficking routes from Central America to the center of Mexico, especially into Tepito – making it the largest underground weapons distribution center in the country.

VENEZUELANS REGRET GUN BAN, ‘A DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST AN UNARMED POPULATION’

Studies have indicated weapons have been moving increasingly from Colombia, Spain, and Pakistan – in addition to the United States – to be resold in the Tepito underground.

Mexico itself has had some of the most stringent gun-control measures in the broader region, which has largely fueled the sentiment in recent years that gun violence was a result of the United States’ Second Amendment and lax gun laws by comparison. Even though the right to bear arms has been protected by the Mexican Constitution, obtaining a weapon would be a difficult grind for the average person. The entire country has just one legal gun store, known as the Directorate of Arms and Munitions Sales, which is located in Mexico City and operated by the military.

Anything more potent than a .38 caliber gun is prohibited, and customers must endure upwards of a six-month wait in their applications for permits as they undergo background checks. Those purchasing for “personal defense” would be allowed to own just one handgun. People in hunting clubs would be granted leeway to possess additional rifles. In all, fewer than 40 weapons are issued per day on average.

As a deterrent, illegal possession of a firearm, even small amounts of ammunition, could result in lengthy prison sentences.

Still, gun violence has continued to grip the country.

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For some critics, it’s an explicit example of tight gun-control policies failing their citizens as homicide rates rose – up 3.3 percent in the first eight months of 2019 compared to 2018 – while law-abiding citizens have been left to recoil in the face of illegal gun owners. Over 33,000 people were murdered in Mexico last year alone.

“Mexico is a horrifying example of what can happen to a people who are disarmed and left helpless to be preyed upon by armed criminals,” added Frank Miniter, the editor in chief of the NRA’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom. “Some Mexican citizens have tried, desperately and as a last resort, to band together with whatever weapons they can gather to protect themselves.”

Westlake Legal Group 757e1ba7f83f441cb1f9c61245ddc0a6 Where does Mexico really get its guns? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/crime fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc article 72d5d5cf-5ffd-5aea-ab00-2cf41cba5ea5   Westlake Legal Group 757e1ba7f83f441cb1f9c61245ddc0a6 Where does Mexico really get its guns? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/world/crime fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/world fnc article 72d5d5cf-5ffd-5aea-ab00-2cf41cba5ea5

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US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say

The Trump administration has agreed to sell Ukraine 150 Javelin antitank missiles and two additional missile launchers, two U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.

Lethal arms sales to Ukraine have come under intense scrutiny, now that President Trump has been accused of taking part in an alleged quid pro quo scheme using military aid as leverage to get officials there to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their business dealings in Ukraine.

Westlake Legal Group Anti-tank-Missile-1 US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

U.S. Army Soldiers fire a Javelin Antitank Missile system during a large-scale platoon live-fire exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky., July 29, 2016. (U.S. Army)

Trump has vigorously denied the claims and pushed back against the accusations, which have sparked an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats after a whistleblower complaint accused Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

During the July 25 phone call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told President Trump, “We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps. [Specifically] we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense [sic] purposes,” according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House.

President Trump replied, “I would like you to do us a favor though…,” leading some to speculate that the U.S. president was referring to some kind of “favor for a favor” in exchange for information on Biden, the onetime vice president.

Trump has repeatedly defended his call with Zelensky as “perfect” and calls the latest Democratic probe “another witch hunt.” House Democrats have subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and State Department officials, as well as Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as part of their impeachment probe.

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Officially, the Pentagon was not ready to confirm the Javelin sale to Ukraine on Tuesday. The two officials who spoke to Fox News declined to be identified.

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A U.S. soldier fires a Javelin antitank missile in Afghanistan in this 2015 photo. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

“It would be premature to discuss security assistance until it has been formally notified to Congress. I would refer you to the State Department,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement.

ONLY 11 PERCENT OF NETWORK NEWS COVERAGE OF UKRAINE CONTROVERSY REFERENCED BIDENS, RIGHT-LEANING WATCHDOG CLAIMS

Javelin antitank missiles were not part of the $250 million Pentagon aid package the White House held up in July, along with roughly $150 million from the State Department for a total of $400 million for Ukraine.

Trump has cited corruption in Ukraine as one of the reasons his administration withheld the aid, which was released Sept. 11. To date, $225 million has been allocated, according to defense officials.

The Trump administration first sold 210 Javelin antitank missiles to Ukraine last year for $47 million. Bloomberg first reported the $39 million missile sale on Tuesday.

Westlake Legal Group Anti-tank-Missile-2 US OKs Javelin antitank missile sale to Ukraine, officials say Melissa Leon Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc dc0c7176-92ee-51e2-ad8f-4b551c8136eb article

A U.S. soldier fires a Javelin anti-tank missile near Al Asad Air Base (AAAB), Iraq, Sept. 26, 2018. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leland White)

At the United Nations last week, Trump defended his record of providing assistance to Ukrainian forces who have been engaged in fierce ground combat with Russian and Russian-backed forces, including armored units, in eastern Ukraine for the past five years.

“I gave you antitank busters that — frankly, President Obama was sending you pillows and sheets, and I gave you anti-tank busters. And a lot of people didn’t want to do that. But I did it,” Trump told reporters in New York.

Russian troops also annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

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