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Westlake Legal Group > article (Page 24)

John Paul Stevens remembered as ‘judge’s judge,’ with original approach to law

Westlake Legal Group Justice-John-Paul-Stevens John Paul Stevens remembered as 'judge's judge,' with original approach to law fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 95a1c6e2-bbd2-57a8-af75-05b331ccf862

“Independent-minded” may best describe the life and judicial career of Justice John Paul Stevens, nominated by a Republican President to sit on the Supreme Court, but who in his three-plus decades on the bench staked out generally liberal views on the law and Constitution.

Stevens died Tuesday in Florida after a brief illness. He was 99, and earlier this year released a memoir of his years on the bench.

The oldest member of the Court before he retired in 2010, Stevens had been a difficult justice to peg, almost from the day he was first nominated 35 years earlier.

“He’s not someone who’s historically been a champion of either political camp,” said Eduardo Peñalver, a former Stevens law clerk. “He was a humble person who despite his position and stature, was at ease with all kinds of people, and able to bring them together.”

FLASHBACK: STEVENS REVEALS HE DECIDED TO RETIRE FROM COURT AFTER MINI-STROKE WHILE GIVING DISSENT

On the bench, Stevens is remembered for taking out of a case only what was presented to him, refusing to issue sweeping pronouncements on judicial philosophy. This minimalist approach earned him both praise and criticism, but colleagues say he never swayed. “It is not our job to apply laws that have not yet been written,” he once said.

“Stevens was probably one of the least known justices publicly, and it’s ironic because he has had as big an impact of the Supreme Court and on American society as any justice,” said Clifford Sloan, a 1985 law clerk and now a private attorney. “But his niceness and his unassuming manner should not be mistaken for any kind of softness. He has the sharpest mind I’ve ever encountered.”

John Paul Stevens grew up in Chicago, and was raised quite literally in a hotel. Built by his father, Ernest, and promoted as the largest and finest of its kind, the Stevens Hotel was the product of the Roaring Twenties, of brash optimism and unlimited potential. A photo from the Chicago Daily News, shortly after the Stevens opened in 1927, shows a giggling young John and two of his brothers in a hotel playroom, dressed uncomfortably in suit and ties, working a jigsaw puzzle.

“I’m very proud of the Stevens Hotel,” he once said. “It’s one of my dad’s contributions to the city.”

JOHN PAUL STEVENS SAYS KAVANAUGH’S TEMPERAMENT DURING HEARING DISQUALIFYING

The Jazz Age splendor came to an end with the Great Depression, and so too did the fortunes of the brand new Stevens Hotel. It went bankrupt in 1934, and things soon got worse for the Stevens family. John’s father, grandfather, and uncle were indicted by the state, accused of illegally embezzling money from the family insurance company to make payments on the building. Ernest Stevens was convicted but it was later overturned on appeal.

John moved on with his life, rarely speaking publicly about the bankruptcy. He attended the University of Chicago, where his generally moderate views stuck out on what was then a very liberal campus.

He later became an intelligence officer in World War II, earning a Bronze Star. At war’s end, following his brother’s advice, Stevens enrolled in law school at Northwestern University.

“At the time, I was trying to decide what to do, and it seemed like a sensible move,” Stevens told me in 2009, with his characteristic Midwestern modesty.

His stellar academic performance earned him a prestigious Supreme Court clerkship for Justice Wiley Rutledge in 1947-48. Afterward, Stevens settled into comfortable, familiar surroundings as a private attorney in Chicago, specializing in antitrust law.

JOINING THE BENCH

Stevens’ judicial career began in 1970 when President Richard Nixon nominated him to the federal appeals court in Chicago. He earned a reputation as a judge who put a pragmatic eye on cases, without rigid ideology. He was a registered Republican, but never active in local or national politics.

“One of the things that was said about him repeatedly was that he was a ‘judge’s judge,'” said Peñalver. “Especially in a day and age when both parties jockey — certainly more on the right — to nominate judges who they see as transforming the law and embracing fairly strong ideological positions. Justice Stevens was the opposite of that, someone who was very skeptical of that style of judging.”

That reputation for even-handed jurisprudence and “clean” reputation was just what President Ford was looking for in 1975 when Justice William Douglas retired after a debilitating stroke.

STEVENS SAYS SECOND AMENDMENT SHOULD BE REPEALED, CALLING IT ‘RELIC OF THE 18TH CENTURY’

The Watergate scandal had left a nation angry and divided. Ford hoped a moderate, non-political judge would inspire greater public confidence in the government. Public reaction was one of initial confusion, as the press and pundits struggled to categorize Stevens. An ideological conservative? A doctrinaire liberal? A “centrist” seemed to fit.

“When people look at the Supreme Court, they try to put people in factions– liberals or conservatives,” said Sloan. “Justice Stevens, from his first day on the Supreme Court, has defied labels. He approached cases on his own terms and he frequently comes up with original ways of approaching cases and the issues that have carried the day.”

“THE COURT HAS CHANGED UNDER US”

Stevens’ early years on the high court found him in agreement with many of his fellow conservatives. In his first year, he wrote opinions that reinstated the death penalty, after a four-year moratorium.

These important rulings, however, imposed new legal standards, upholding the use of so-called “discretionary” guidelines for juries when deciding life or death — such as mitigating or aggravating factors — in a separate sentencing phase of a trial. And the Court threw out “mandatory” death sentences for certain crimes, like murder or rape, which disregarded aspects of the offense that might favor the defendant.

Another early opinion by Stevens gained him instant public renown. In FCC v. Pacifica Foundation (1978), the justices upheld the government’s authority to regulate “indecent” speech, which Stevens famously defined as any depiction or description of “sexual or excretory activities or organs” in a manner that it deems “patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.”

The offending speech was an infamous monologue by comedian George Carlin, who spoke about society’s taboo surrounding “seven dirty words.” But Stevens steered clear of a philosophical discourse on the First Amendment, choosing instead what became a Stevens trademark, the practical effect of Court rulings. His justification for suppressing “dirty” speech: protecting young children, who might be watching or listening.

In later years, however, Stevens led the Court away from restrictive government censorship of risqué speech or content. Beginning in 1997, he was the driving force striking down several attempts by Congress to protect children from pornography on the Internet, saying it violated the free speech rights of adults.

Other cases in Stevens’ early years reflected his more conservative roots: upholding federal funding restrictions for abortions, and limiting affirmative action programs.

But with the elevation of William Rehnquist to chief justice in 1986, and the addition of more conservative justices, Stevens came be viewed by many political observers as a “transformed” liberal.

Yet the body of legal scholars disagrees with that label. “He was thought to be what I call an ‘Establishment’ Republican– not an ideologue” when he joined the Court, said Edward Lazarus, a onetime Supreme Court law clerk and author of “Closed Chambers.” “Whether that label was true or not, whoever John Paul Stevens was in 1975 is pretty much what you see today. So ironically, an ‘Establishment’ Republican became the leader of the liberal wing of the Court, and that says a lot about how far this Court has drifted to the right over the last 30 some years.”

And Stevens never thought he had evolved. Justice Harry Blackmun, who joined the Court six years before Stevens, once recalled the two of them talking about their ideology. “John Stevens and I were joking the other day,” said Blackmun, “the fact he being appointed by Ford and I being one of the original Nixon appointees, we’re now the liberals among the court. Each of us steadfastly adhered to the proposition that neither of us had changed, the court has changed under us.”

Nearly every important social issue before the Court in recent years has had Stevens’ imprint, including the 1985 opinion striking down Alabama’s “moment of silence” for prayer or meditation in public schools.

A year later he dissented in an opinion upholding anti-sodomy laws. “When I clerked for him, the Supreme Court ruled it was okay to have criminal penalties for gay, consensual sex, something he disagreed with,” recalled Sloan. “Seventeen years later [in 2003] the Supreme Court reversed that position and said Justice Stevens was right.”

In 1989, Stevens dissented in a case upholding state laws allowing the execution of juvenile killers. That case, too, was overturned in recent years, again led by Stevens.

And in 1992, he joined a divided Court in upholding the essential right to an abortion, saying states can place “no undue burden” on women seeking the procedure.

When Stevens became second in seniority in 1994, his powers of persuasion made him a key player on the Court, particularly with the more liberal and moderate justices. His quiet influence became evident as he came to be author of some of the most important rulings of the 2000s.

In the 2005 term, he wrote opinions striking down federal sentencing guidelines and state laws allowing use of “medical marijuana.” He also permitted local governments to use eminent domain laws to take private homes and give them to private developers to build shopping malls and factories. In that case, Kelo v. City of New London, Stevens again took a practical position, saying, “The city has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue.”

A year earlier, Stevens led the way in upholding sweeping federal election reform and held states liable when they fail to accommodate disabled persons from gaining access to public buildings. And in the first terrorism case to arise from the 9/11 attacks, Stevens said foreign-born terror suspects captured abroad and held at a Navy-run prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have a right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. For him, the issue was simple: “What is presently at stake is only whether the federal courts have jurisdiction to determine the legality of the executive’s potentially indefinite detention of individuals who claim to be wholly innocent of wrongdoing.”

He also authored the 2002 landmark appeal that banned the execution of the mentally disabled. This was one area of law where Stevens’ views changed dramatically over the years, as he consistently voted to block the use of the death penalty.

In a 2005 speech, he issued a biting critique of capital punishment, stopping just short of calling for its abolition. “With the benefit of DNA evidence, we have learned that a substantial number of death sentences have been imposed erroneously,” he said. “That evidence is profoundly significant. Not only because of it’s relevance to the debate about the wisdom of continuing to administer capital punishment, but also because it indicates that there must be serious flaws in our administration of criminal justice.”

FROM PAULA TO MONICA TO BUSH V. GORE

A 1997 ruling written by Stevens began a chain of dramatic political events. The justices concluded the President enjoyed no executive immunity from civil claims while in office. That allowed a lawsuit by Paula Jones against President Bill Clinton to go forward. She had accused him of improper sexual advances while he was Arkansas government. That case led to disclosures Clinton was having an affair while President with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.

But where individual rights collided with the power of states, Stevens was likely to side with the independence of the individual, but not always. In 1989, he authored a dissent in Texas v. Johnson, which ruled that flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment. The war veteran disagreed, arguing that the case “has nothing to do with ‘disagreeable ideas.’ It involves disagreeable conduct that, in my opinion, diminishes the value of an important national asset.”

“That case just caught an emotional streak in him, and he read his dissent in that case from the bench,” recalled Lazarus, “And I don’t think anybody who heard him read that dissent– the passion with which he looked at the flag and what it meant for him– could really ever think about the American flag the same way when you look at it, whatever you thought about the legal issue. There’s a deep steak of patriotism in Justice Stevens and it was wonderful to see it on display in the court that morning.”

Stevens became viewed by many conservatives as a traitor of sorts, having become the leader of the Court’s liberal wing after being nominated by a Republican president. Anti-abortion groups in particular criticized his rulings on that hot-button issue.

Operation Rescue was one of many groups demanding he step down from the bench, saying in February 2006, “Our nation is weary of your brand of judicial activism… For the good of the nation, please announce your retirement as soon as possible.”

Part of the Stevens mystique is a certain “I didn’t know that” quality surrounding his life off the bench. He was nationally recognized bridge player, piloted his own small airplane for years, and played in golf and tennis well into his eighties. In recent years, Stevens stayed out of the spotlight, rarely granting interviews, even preventing cameras from covering his occasional speeches. He spent much of his free time at his Florida vacation home, reading.

On the bench, he was known for his thick-rimmed glasses, bow ties, and friendly manner toward the often nervous lawyers arguing before the justices. His questioning was gentle but firm. However, he was not shy with tossing sharply worded barbs at fellow justices with whom he disagreed.

Stevens became more critical of the growing conservative strength of the Supreme Court beginning in President Ronald Reagan’s first term. In a 1984 speech, he made unusually harsh remarks aimed at some recent cases. In one, the Court upheld federal aid to schools that might discriminate against women. “The Court went out of its way to announce that the statute did not forbid sex discrimination throughout the associated institution,” said Stevens, “even though neither party had argued that it did.”

And during the 2000 Florida presidential recount, when the high court ultimately ruled in George W. Bush’s favor, Stevens could barely contain his frustration at the outcome.

“I think that case was devastating to Justice Stevens as well as some of the other more liberal justices on the court,” said Lazarus. “They could not understand how the conservatives could conceivably reach the result they did in that case and I think that has hardened the feelings of Justice Stevens a bit. It has brought out a little more of an acid tongue in some of his opinions than you would have seen in the late ’80s and early ’90s.”

In his dissenting opinion, Stevens slammed the conservative majority, writing, “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.

Friends and colleagues admit Stevens was something of an enigma, hard to figure personally and professionally. He was one of the few justices who has publicly supported bringing cameras into the Supreme Court during oral arguments. Currently, only sketch artists hired by the media are allowed to make a visual record. But during an exhibition of court sketches over the decades, sponsored by the Court’s historical society, Stevens insisted all sketches with his likeness be removed. No reason was given.

“He really savors his anonymity,” said former clerk Peñalver, “and he isn’t really out for personal glory and shies away from opportunities to claim it.”

The Midwestern-born justice mostly avoided the Washington social scene, which he found uncomfortable, but occasionally rewarding. He recently recalled his first year on the Court, when he initially turned down an invitation to a fancy white-tie event. Justice William Brennan persuaded him to attend, even lending him his tuxedo, complete with tails.

“The fit was not exactly perfect,” he remembered, “but I accepted and have been eternally grateful for a generous act that made it possible for me to spend an evening with the still-gorgeous and charming Ginger Rogers as my dinner partner.”

The paradox of John Paul Stevens will leave many historians scratching their heads over his three-plus decade influence on the Supreme Court. Most will agree he was an intellectually gifted jurist with an aversion for public recognition; a personally friendly man not afraid to hit back professionally with his pen.

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His emergence in those last years on the high court as a profound, influential voice had, in many ways, come to dominate a fractured Court.

“He really strove for a kind of fairness in his jurisprudence,” said Peñalver, “a nuance that resists ideological characterizations. He wasn’t a hero of the right like [Antonin] Scalia, or a hero of the left like Brennan or [Thurgood] Marshall. “He’s done his own thing and that idiosyncrasy has in some ways kept him from the limelight.”

And that probably suited the ever-cordial, ever-vigilant Justice Stevens just fine.

Fox News Chief Legal Correspondent Shannon Bream contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Justice-John-Paul-Stevens John Paul Stevens remembered as 'judge's judge,' with original approach to law fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 95a1c6e2-bbd2-57a8-af75-05b331ccf862   Westlake Legal Group Justice-John-Paul-Stevens John Paul Stevens remembered as 'judge's judge,' with original approach to law fox-news/politics/judiciary/supreme-court fox news fnc/politics fnc Bill Mears article 95a1c6e2-bbd2-57a8-af75-05b331ccf862

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Rep. Cheney: Dems’ actions ‘really shameful’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060047085001_6060047382001-vs Rep. Cheney: Dems' actions 'really shameful' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6e96fdce-db9c-568b-b396-19822df25e69

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., called the actions of House Democrats “shameful” during a brief appearance Tuesday on “Hannity.”

“What we watched happen today and what we’ve watched happened since Democrats have been in charge of the House of Representatives is really shameful. You know you’ve had Democratic leadership completely unwilling to condemn their own members particularly for really vile anti-Semitic remarks,” Cheney told Sean Hannity, referring to the past response to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about Israel.

AOC ‘SQUAD’ HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE CALLING TRUMP ‘OCCUPANT’ OF WHITE HOUSE

“And then today you watched as Nancy Pelosi showed total utter contempt … for what is really the heart of our constitutional republic.”

The House passed a resolution Tuesday evening condemning Trump’s “racist” remarks this past weekend.

A dramatic floor fight earlier ended with House Speaker Pelosi ruled out of order for a breach of decorum.

The events briefly resulted in the revocation of Pelosi’s speaking privileges on the House floor.

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Cheney criticized Pelosi’s actions and the Democrats’ agenda.

“You know she’s acting as though she thinks this is Nancy Pelosi’s House when it is the people’s house. And it’s really important for us to focus on what they stand for and what they stand for as a socialist agenda that would be devastating for this nation,” Cheney said.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060047085001_6060047382001-vs Rep. Cheney: Dems' actions 'really shameful' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6e96fdce-db9c-568b-b396-19822df25e69   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060047085001_6060047382001-vs Rep. Cheney: Dems' actions 'really shameful' Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6e96fdce-db9c-568b-b396-19822df25e69

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Small plane lands on water near Maryland beach in front of onlookers

A pilot of a small plane landed the aircraft on the waters off a Maryland beach Tuesday but was not hurt, police said.

Trevor H. Deihl, 23, of Reedville, Va., told officials he’d been flying his single-engine Cessna 172RG when the plane started having engine problems, Maryland State Police said.

Deihl brought the aircraft down toward the water and skidded for several feet before it stopped off an Ocean City beach.

Westlake Legal Group Water-Landing-@a_k_a_alexis Small plane lands on water near Maryland beach in front of onlookers Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc be9d2903-027a-5b97-8fc5-3eddfd17f647 article

A small plane crash-landed on the waters off Ocean City, Md., Tuesday.  (Twitter: @a_k_a_alexis)

Deihl was the only person inside and managed to get out. Paramedics treated and released him.

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He reportedly had been flying from Reedville to the Ocean City Airport when the engine trouble began. The plane has been recovered, and the Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the incident.

Ocean City is about 140 miles southeast of Washington, D.C.

Westlake Legal Group Water-Landing-@a_k_a_alexis Small plane lands on water near Maryland beach in front of onlookers Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc be9d2903-027a-5b97-8fc5-3eddfd17f647 article   Westlake Legal Group Water-Landing-@a_k_a_alexis Small plane lands on water near Maryland beach in front of onlookers Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc be9d2903-027a-5b97-8fc5-3eddfd17f647 article

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Brit Hume says feeling self-assured led to ‘the kind of rage’ seen in today’s politics

Westlake Legal Group Hume-Tucker Brit Hume says feeling self-assured led to 'the kind of rage' seen in today's politics fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 45874cee-93cb-5b3e-87eb-e9be575c5597

When politicians and their supporters feel certain in their convictions and see opponents as insincere, it leads to the discord seen today in America, according to Brit Hume.

People are losing sight of the American custom of spirited disagreements and discussions often devolve into “rage,” Hume claimed Tuesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“Liberalism has changed and the attitudes of liberals have changed,” he said.

“What I sense in all this… is a loss of humility about one’s own political viewpoint.

DEM-LED HOUSE FORMALLY CONDEMNS TRUMP REMARKS DEEMED ‘RACIST,’ AFTER DRAMATIC FLOOR FIGHT OVER PELOSI

“People have such conviction and certainty, that their views are right and wise and obviously correct, that they therefore believe that anyone who holds opposing views cannot possibly be doing so for any sincere reason.”

Additionally, Hume said he believed opposing sides sometimes thought their rivals were believing what they believed for reasons of “racism or greed.”

“That kind of viewpoint leads to a kind of rage,” he said.

“‘How can anybody possibly think this?'” he continued, mentioning a politico’s possible thought.

In his own life, Hume said he has experienced such friction firsthand.

He said Twitter users have wondered aloud why he decided to join Fox News Channel.

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“You used to be a very good journalist and used to be respected… then you sold out and went to Fox News,” he recalled one case, adding that he formerly reported for ABC News decades ago.

He said he kept his opinions to himself as a reporter, and later, an anchor on “Special Report,” but could express his views publicly now that he’s specifically a political analyst.

Westlake Legal Group Hume-Tucker Brit Hume says feeling self-assured led to 'the kind of rage' seen in today's politics fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 45874cee-93cb-5b3e-87eb-e9be575c5597   Westlake Legal Group Hume-Tucker Brit Hume says feeling self-assured led to 'the kind of rage' seen in today's politics fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 45874cee-93cb-5b3e-87eb-e9be575c5597

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Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious passport is Austrian, was needed for ‘personal protection,’ attorneys say

Westlake Legal Group c24c03e5-ContentBroker_contentid-819b92324e534495b7a0608f725a6e28 Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious passport is Austrian, was needed for 'personal protection,' attorneys say Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 9ca19341-f1e0-5eb0-8966-a45ba91fbe04

Attorneys representing registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein said Tuesday that an expired passport federal investigators found in a safe in the well-connected financier’s Manhattan home was necessary for his “personal protection.”

During a two-hour bail hearing on Monday, prosecutors used the passport to bolster their argument that Epstein was a flight risk. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said the passport photo appeared to be Epstein, but the name on the document was different and placed the holder’s home address in Saudi Arabia.

In response, Epstein’s attorneys said the passport was Austrian and expired 32 years ago.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN ACCUSERS’ LAWYER SAYS FINANCIER ABUSED FEMALE VISITORS WHILE ON WORK RELEASE FROM JAIL 

“The government offers nothing to suggest – and certainly no evidence – that Epstein ever used it,” they wrote in the filing, addressed to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. “In any case, Epstein – an affluent member of the Jewish faith – acquired the passport in the 1980s, when hijackings were prevalent, in connection to Middle East travel.

“The passport was for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnapers [sic], hijackers or terrorists should violent episodes occur.”

In a letter sent to Judge Berman on Tuesday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman (no relation) wrote that the government is trying to find out how Epstein obtained the foreign passport and whether it is genuine or fabricated.

“The defendant’s possession of what purports to be a foreign passport issued under an alias gives rise to the inference the defendant knows how to obtain false travel documents and/or assume other, foreign identities,” he wrote in the filling. “This adds to the serious risk of flight posed by the defendant.”

Judge Berman is expected to rule Thursday on whether Epstein, 66, should be detained until trial on charges that he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.

In addition to the passport, investigators also discovered diamonds and cash in the safe during the raid of Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion following his July 6 arrest.

On Tuesday U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a filing that “the Government has learned that the safe contained more than $70,000 in cash. In addition, the safe contained 48 loose diamond stones, ranging in size from approximately 1 carat to 2.38 carats, as well as a large diamond ring …  Such ready cash and loose diamonds are consistent with the capability to leave the jurisdiction at a moment’s notice.”

JEFFREY EPSTEIN HAD MYSTERIOUS PASSPORT, ‘PILES OF CASH,’ AND ‘DOZENS OF DIAMONDS’ IN HOME SAFE: PROSECUTORS

Epstein’s safe was also where hundreds of photos “of what appeared to be underage girls” were discovered after his arrest, prosecutors said. In addition to the disclosure of what was in the safe, prosecutors said their case is getting “stronger by the day” after several more women contacted them in recent days to say he abused them when they were underage.

In a written submission to Berman  Friday, prosecutors said they believe Epstein might have tried to influence witnesses after discovering that he had paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals late last year. That came after the Miami Herald reported the circumstances of his state court conviction in 2008, which led to a 13-month jail term and a deal to avoid federal prosecution.

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In Tuesday’s filing, U.S. Attorney Berman asked for Epstein to “be detained pending trial.”

“The defendant cannot meet his burden of overcoming the presumption that there is no combination of conditions that would reasonably assure his continued appearance in this case or protect the safety of the community were he to be released,” he wrote in the filing.

Fox News’ Travis Fedschun, Marta Dhanis, Tamara Gitt, Maria Paronich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group c24c03e5-ContentBroker_contentid-819b92324e534495b7a0608f725a6e28 Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious passport is Austrian, was needed for 'personal protection,' attorneys say Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 9ca19341-f1e0-5eb0-8966-a45ba91fbe04   Westlake Legal Group c24c03e5-ContentBroker_contentid-819b92324e534495b7a0608f725a6e28 Jeffrey Epstein’s mysterious passport is Austrian, was needed for 'personal protection,' attorneys say Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime/sex-crimes fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox news fnc/us fnc article 9ca19341-f1e0-5eb0-8966-a45ba91fbe04

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Leslie Marshall: Trump deserves condemnation for ‘racist’ comments – Now Dems must unite against him

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060013581001_6060009896001-vs Leslie Marshall: Trump deserves condemnation for ‘racist’ comments – Now Dems must unite against him Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d3d1605-41c4-564f-b15b-f2d473b11b58

The 240-187 House vote Tuesday night to approve a resolution titled “Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Member of Congress” was justified and necessary to hold the president accountable for his unacceptable attack on four Democratic House members who are all women of color.

But the vote only amounts to a slap on the wrist for the president’s tweet Sunday and subsequent comments against the four congresswomen, which I consider racist.

What Democrats in Congress and across the nation – including all of my party’s presidential contenders – need to focus on now is making Trump a one-term president. That means spending less time quarreling with each other and taking extreme positions, and more time reaching out to independents and moderate Republicans to make the case for electing a Democratic president in 2020.

DEM-LED HOUSE FORMALLY CONDEMNS TRUMP REMARKS DEEMED ‘RACIST,’ AFTER DRAMATIC FLOOR FIGHT OVER PELOSI

Trump has no one to blame but himself for the House resolution.

The president’s tweet that prompted the House rebuke said: “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world … viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….”

Although Trump did not name them in his tweet, it was clear who he was talking about – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. All four are U.S. citizens. Omar was born in Somalia and the other three congresswomen were born in the U.S.

Why do I and so many other people consider the Trump tweet racist?

Because an American citizen is an American citizen, regardless of national origin, ethnicity or race. Sadly, some white people in our country still look at some non-white people and consider them the “other” – not true Americans.

This view is, frankly, anti-American as well as racist. Whether your origins are in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America or as a Native American, if you are an American citizen you are equal to all your fellow citizens.

Unfortunate as Trump’s attack on the four congresswomen – known as the Squad – was, he managed to unite Democrats behind the four and at least temporarily halt the internal squabbling between moderates and those on the far left like members of the Squad.

And it doesn’t matter if your ancestors came here hundreds of years ago or if you are a naturalized citizen. In the same way, your religion has no bearing on equal status as an American citizen.

Unfortunate as Trump’s attack on the four congresswomen – known as the Squad – was, he managed to unite Democrats behind the four and at least temporarily halt the internal squabbling between moderates and those on the far left like members of the Squad.

The president could have attacked the congresswomen based on their policy positions and controversial statements on a number of issues, and would have been much smarter to do so. Instead, his racist attack prompted Democrats to circle the wagons around the four.

But the unity sparked by the Trump tweet is likely only temporary. It appears the Democratic Party is moving further and further left, creating the split with older and more moderate Democrats.

What’s most concerning is that while some far-left positions play well with members of the Democratic base who vote in primaries, the same positions could very well drive independent voters and moderate Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Trump again in 2020.

The leftward tilt of the Democratic Party is apparent in how differently the views of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are being received this year compared to the 2016 presidential primary, when he ran unsuccessfully against Hillary Clinton.

In the last presidential campaign, Sanders’ proposal for a $15 an hour minimum wage and “Medicare-for-all” were considered radical. Now they are considered mainstream, embraced by millions of voters and many Democratic presidential contenders.

But the Democratic presidential candidates seem to be in a competition now to see who can “out- left” other candidates. This has led some to support decriminalizing illegal entry across our border and eliminating private health insurance entirely.

These positions – and others on the far-left edge of the political spectrum – will not be popular with many moderate suburban swing voters who are the key to winning elections. By embracing these positions, it seems that Democrats are confirming Republicans’ accusations that the Democratic Party has moved too far from the mainstream.

So how far left is too left?

Democrats fought and up until recently continued to fight hard for Americans being able to obtain insurance if they had preexisting conditions; something which most Americans support.  But when you see Democrats supporting ending private insurance coverage, which the majority of our nation relies on for health coverage, the Democrats end up sounding more like Republicans who say they want to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

And on the controversial issue of immigration, the Democratic presidential candidates who want to make illegal border crossings a civil offense rather than a criminal one are giving Republicans ammunition to claim that the Democratic Party favors open borders – a key GOP talking point designed to appeal to swing voters.

So are Democrats concerned? Of course they are, and they should be.  Especially those who ran in the 2018 midterms and flipped seats in largely conservative districts that Trump carried in 2016. 

Why is the Democratic Party titling so far to the left?

Many say that Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar bear a large responsibility. They attract heavy news coverage because their positions are so extreme and because the congresswomen know how to use social media and traditional media to get maximum publicity.

As the 2020 elections draw closer, Democrats will have to decide what is more important to them: appealing to far-left activists, or winning elections next year so they can send Trump into retirement and hopefully win majorities in both the House and Senate.

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Early polling should be a warning sign to the Democrats: going too far to the left may satisfy their activist base, but could result in defeat at the polls next year.

As a Democrat, I hope the unity sparked by President Trump’s harsh attack on members of the Squad will last and will convince Democrats to take a pragmatic path to victory in 2020.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060013581001_6060009896001-vs Leslie Marshall: Trump deserves condemnation for ‘racist’ comments – Now Dems must unite against him Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d3d1605-41c4-564f-b15b-f2d473b11b58   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060013581001_6060009896001-vs Leslie Marshall: Trump deserves condemnation for ‘racist’ comments – Now Dems must unite against him Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 6d3d1605-41c4-564f-b15b-f2d473b11b58

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Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems ‘focused’ on impeaching Trump, ‘not going to stop at anything’

Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, voiced his frustration with “the squad” Tuesday and reacted to the House of Representative’s vote to condemn President Trump’s controversial remarks.

“I mean they’re so focused on going after this president, so focused on actually getting to impeachment I believe that they’re not going to stop at anything even if it means breaking the rules on the House floor where there is a certain level of decorum that you must maintain,” Jordan said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

The House passed a resolution Tuesday evening condemning Trump’s “racist” remarks this weekend.  The moment was overshadowed by a dramatic floor fight earlier in the day that ended with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled out of order for a breach of decorum.

Jordan defended the president’s comments and his displeasure with the Democrat’s position on the border with Mexico.

AOC ‘SQUAD’ HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE CALLING TRUMP ‘OCCUPANT’ OF WHITE HOUSE

“I think the president was expressing the frustration that so many Americans feel about what’s going on at the border. Understand this Martha, it was just a couple months ago when the president said this is a crisis and all the Democrats say ‘no, it’s not. It’s manufactured, it’s contrived.’ And they wouldn’t provide the money we needed to actually deal with the situation on the border,” Jordan said.

Jordan also blasted the four congresswomen, noting their past controversial comments saying it was difficult to work with them.

“These are the same people who said abolish ICE, abolish the Department of Homeland Security. I mean these are the radical positions they take,” Jordan said.

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“These are the same individuals who said that the detention facilities to deal with this influx of amazing numbers we’ve seen on the border. They call these detention facilities ‘concentration camp’s and we’re supposed to figure out a way to work with them. It’s just difficult.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240   Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240

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Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems ‘focused’ on impeaching Trump, ‘not going to stop at anything’

Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, voiced his frustration with “the squad” Tuesday and reacted to the House of Representative’s vote to condemn President Trump’s controversial remarks.

“I mean they’re so focused on going after this president, so focused on actually getting to impeachment I believe that they’re not going to stop at anything even if it means breaking the rules on the House floor where there is a certain level of decorum that you must maintain,” Jordan said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

The House passed a resolution Tuesday evening condemning Trump’s “racist” remarks this weekend.  The moment was overshadowed by a dramatic floor fight earlier in the day that ended with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ruled out of order for a breach of decorum.

Jordan defended the president’s comments and his displeasure with the Democrat’s position on the border with Mexico.

AOC ‘SQUAD’ HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE CALLING TRUMP ‘OCCUPANT’ OF WHITE HOUSE

“I think the president was expressing the frustration that so many Americans feel about what’s going on at the border. Understand this Martha, it was just a couple months ago when the president said this is a crisis and all the Democrats say ‘no, it’s not. It’s manufactured, it’s contrived.’ And they wouldn’t provide the money we needed to actually deal with the situation on the border,” Jordan said.

Jordan also blasted the four congresswomen, noting their past controversial comments saying it was difficult to work with them.

“These are the same people who said abolish ICE, abolish the Department of Homeland Security. I mean these are the radical positions they take,” Jordan said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“These are the same individuals who said that the detention facilities to deal with this influx of amazing numbers we’ve seen on the border. They call these detention facilities ‘concentration camp’s and we’re supposed to figure out a way to work with them. It’s just difficult.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240   Westlake Legal Group jim-jordan-AP Rep. Jim Jordan: Dems 'focused' on impeaching Trump, 'not going to stop at anything' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/alexandria-ocasio-cortez fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7b750a55-d1cd-51b1-8208-26beb288b240

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Photos of New York teenager’s corpse still being shared online: reports

Photos showing the corpse of a teenager allegedly killed by a man she’d met on Instagram continued to spread online on Tuesday amid efforts to curb their posting, according to reports.

Using the hashtag #yesjuliet, the gory pictures were redistributed widely, including by online posters making light of or celebrating the death of the teen, who had a small social media following in upstate New York.

Others urged people to stop circulating the images, seen on online chat sites including 4chan and Discord.

Discord users who saw the photos Sunday morning alerted police.

IS ‘FLESH-EATING’ BACTERIA HEADING TO A BEACH NEAR YOU?

Instagram spokeswoman Stephanie Otway told Fox News via email that her social media platform had blocked the hashtag #yesjuliet for attempting to spread the images.

But Rolling Stone reported that photos were still being circulated Tuesday, even via Twitter.

“On the Instagram side, we’re using technology that allows us to find other images that are visually similar to the original image posted and automatically remove them when people attempt to upload them,” Otway told Fox News. “When our teams become aware of other images from this incident on other social media sites, we are hashing them as a preventative measure to stop this content from being uploaded to Instagram.”

Utica police said they are working to address the sharing of the images with various Internet platforms.

Utica Police Lt. Bryan Coromato told Fox News via email Tuesday night, “We are working to stay in contact with all platforms where these photos are appearing to have them removed, hoping to keep the exposure to a minimum.”

Westlake Legal Group bianca-devins Photos of New York teenager's corpse still being shared online: reports Frank Miles fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 394f99ad-20b9-5e45-b245-2d4c77434677

Bianca Devins was killed, allegedly by a man she’d met recently on Instagram, who then posted photos of her corpse online, police said. (Instagram)

The teen was identified as Bianca Devins, Utica Police Sgt. Michael Curley said. He identified Brandon Clark, 21, as the suspect in her slaying.

Devins and Clark met on Instagram about two months ago, police said.

Initially, they were online acquaintances only, but the “relationship progressed into a personally intimate one,” police said. “They had spent time together, and were acquainted with each other’s families.”

Utica Police told Fox News they were continuing to examine the backgrounds of the pair and their relationship.

Police were also working to nail down the events of Saturday night through early Sunday.

The two, Devins and Carl, allegedly attended a concert together Saturday night in New York City and got into an argument. They arrived back in Utica early Sunday and went to a spot on a dead-end street, according to the police statement.

There, they argued until Clark used a large knife to kill the teenager, police said. Authorities began receiving calls around 7:20 a.m. Sunday, reporting that a man posted on a social media site that he’d killed someone.

The case is being investigated as a murder and attempted suicide, Coromato said.

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Clark was charged with second-degree murder Monday night, police said. It was unclear whether the suspect had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Bianca-Devis Photos of New York teenager's corpse still being shared online: reports Frank Miles fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 394f99ad-20b9-5e45-b245-2d4c77434677   Westlake Legal Group Bianca-Devis Photos of New York teenager's corpse still being shared online: reports Frank Miles fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 394f99ad-20b9-5e45-b245-2d4c77434677

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Ken Starr: Dems’ Trump impeachment calls becoming a first step instead of ‘last resort’

Westlake Legal Group McCallum-Starr-FOX Ken Starr: Dems' Trump impeachment calls becoming a first step instead of 'last resort' fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3be56f6a-2f05-58e9-9563-dab8d448a0fa

Some Democrats are trying to make impeachment the first recourse to express disapproval with President Trump, according to Ken Starr.

The Founding Fathers intended impeachment to be an emergency lever or sorts and not something invoked regularly against the chief executive, Starr claimed Tuesday on “The Story.”

“When you talk about impeachment, we are in a stage in our history when impeachment is becoming the tool of first resort instead of the tool of last resort,” he said.

“That is not what the founding generation wanted.”

DEM-LED HOUSE FORMALLY CONDEMNS TRUMP REMARKS DEEMED ‘RACIST,’ AFTER DRAMATIC FLOOR FIGHT OVER PELOSI

In the wake of Trump’s tweets critical of four freshmen progressive congresswomen, calls for impeachment have again arisen, including from Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, — who has previously introduced articles of impeachment — and two of the lawmakers called out by the president: Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

On that topic, the former independent counsel claimed Trump’s comments do not rise to the threshold of an impeachable offense.

“I don’t think so,” he said, adding he would let others judge whether or not the president’s comments were “racist.”

“Let’s put the impeachment talk aside. We know there’s not going to be a majority or much less a supermajority in favor of the impeachment of the president of the United States.”

Regarding the House vote earlier Tuesday condemning Trump’s comments, Starr claimed it was an appropriate action within Congress’ purview.

PELOSI’S REMARKS ON TRUMP’S ‘RACIST’ COMMENTS RULED OUT OF ORDER AFTER FLOOR FIGHT ERUPTS

“Express your disapprobation or your approval as the case may be,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, veritable mayhem ensued on the House floor prior to the vote itself, with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., calling for a “point of order” formally objecting to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks about Trump. Several minutes later, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who was presiding at the time, “abandoned” the chair — in his words.

While Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., assumed the chair momentarily, Pelosi’s deputy in Democratic leadership, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., eventually took the reins.

In the resolution’s vote tally, four Republicans — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Will Hurd, R-Texas, Fred Upton, R-Mich. and Susan Brooks, R-Ind. — joined Democrats in supporting Rep. Pelosi’s, D-Calif., resolution.

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Additionally, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash — who recently left the Republican Party after himself calling for Trump’s impeachment — also voted yes. The rest of the Republicans voted no.

The unexpected tumult, which briefly resulted in the revocation of Pelosi’s speaking privileges on the House floor, left commentators and lawmakers stunned.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group McCallum-Starr-FOX Ken Starr: Dems' Trump impeachment calls becoming a first step instead of 'last resort' fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3be56f6a-2f05-58e9-9563-dab8d448a0fa   Westlake Legal Group McCallum-Starr-FOX Ken Starr: Dems' Trump impeachment calls becoming a first step instead of 'last resort' fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3be56f6a-2f05-58e9-9563-dab8d448a0fa

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