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Gabbard, in defiant video, links Clinton ‘smears’ to her previous Sanders endorsement

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095351123001_6095346555001-vs Gabbard, in defiant video, links Clinton 'smears' to her previous Sanders endorsement Gregg Re fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/politics fnc article a5985fbb-d4da-5890-b4f2-a5724d456213

Speaking directly to the camera in a video message posted on social media on Sunday, 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard suggested that Hillary Clinton recently “smeared” her as a “Russian asset” as payback for Gabbard’s defiance of the party establishment in 2016.

“If they can falsely portray me as a traitor, then they can do it to anyone — and in fact, that’s exactly the message they want to get across to you,” Gabbard, a Democrat, said in the video.

“If you stand up to Hillary and the party power brokers — if you stand up to the rich and powerful elite and the war machine, they will destroy you and discredit your message. But, here is the truth: They will not intimidate us. They will not silence us.”

WATCH: GABBARD TALKS TO ‘TUCKER’ ABOUT CLINTON’S REMARKS

The post ratcheted up an already escalating feud that has rocked the presidential primary. Several candidates, including Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, have criticized Clinton’s unfounded suggestion that Russians have been “grooming” Gabbard to be a third-party spoiler in the race.

Gabbard, D-Hawaii, started the video by referencing her time as the vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2013 to 2016 — before she quit and threw her support behind Bernie Sanders. At the time, Gabbard accused party leaders of stifling her freedom of speech and unfairly tipping the scales in favor of eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.

“People warned me in 2016 that my endorsement of Bernie Sanders would be the end of my ‘political career’ — they said Clinton would never forget,” Gabbard said in the video, “that she and her rich and powerful friends — her allies in politics and the media — will make sure you’re destroyed.”

Gabbard asserted that “countless hit pieces full of smears” have been published in an effort to “destroy” her reputation, which included years of military and congressional service.

DAVID BOSSIE: HILLARY CLINTON, HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW (HINT: TULSI GABBARD HAS A SOLUTION)

At last week’s New York Times-CNN primary debate, Gabbard specifically called out the Times and CNN for waging what she called a propaganda campaign against her, while also promoting endless “regime-change” wars.

“The New York Times and CNN have smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime-change war,” Gabbard said. “Just two days ago, The New York Times put out an article saying I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist, and all these different smears. This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable.”

CNN political commentator Van Jones echoed Gabbard’s argument on-air, and called out Clinton’s “disinformation” — saying “she just came out against a sitting U.S. congresswoman, a decorated war veteran, and someone who’s running for the nomination of our party, with just a complete smear and no facts.”

Jones continued: “This is a very, very dangerous game — and there’s a backstory here. Let’s not forget: Tulsi Gabbard was picked out by the Democratic Party establishment and put at the top of the DNC, and they thought she was going to be their golden girl. And, she got in that position in the DNC, and she looked around, and she saw [then-DNC Chairwoman] Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other people, Clinton allies, doing stuff they shouldn’t have been doing in the primary.

“And, Tulsi publicly quit, and then endorsed Bernie Sanders, and it’s been payback hell ever since,” Jones said.

The brouhaha began in a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, when Clinton said she wasn’t “making any predictions, but [she thinks Russians] have got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”

“She’s the favorite of the Russians” she added, saying they “have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Clinton described 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein as a “Russian asset,” but didn’t explicitly name Gabbard. Then, when Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill was asked if Clinton was referring to Gabbard, he responded: “If the nesting doll fits …”

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That prompted Gabbard to respond forcefully to Clinton on Twitter Friday, calling her the “queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party!”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095351123001_6095346555001-vs Gabbard, in defiant video, links Clinton 'smears' to her previous Sanders endorsement Gregg Re fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/politics fnc article a5985fbb-d4da-5890-b4f2-a5724d456213   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095351123001_6095346555001-vs Gabbard, in defiant video, links Clinton 'smears' to her previous Sanders endorsement Gregg Re fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/politics fnc article a5985fbb-d4da-5890-b4f2-a5724d456213

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Trump headlines Dallas rally as scrutiny over Ukraine intensifies

President Trump was headlining a campaign rally on friendly turf in Dallas on Thursday, just hours after Energy Secretary and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he would soon step aside amid scrutiny from House Democrats conducting an impeachment inquiry.

The rally came at a critical time for Trump, whose dealings with the president of Ukraine have been the subject of a quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry run by House Democrats. Perry was subpoenaed earlier Thursday by House committees conducting the probe.

Republicans have raised concerns that they might take a historic beating in Texas in 2020, as more suburban voters have balked at the president. Trump carried the longtime Republican stronghold and its 38 Electoral College votes by only 9 points in 2016 — down from Mitt Romney’s 15-point win in 2012.

WHY IS RICK PERRY STEPPING DOWN?

And, Democrats have pointed to demographic trends as well as the fact that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz won reelection by just over 2 points last year as evidence that the second-most-populous state could soon be in play.

Westlake Legal Group c60d1828-AP19290738607637 Trump headlines Dallas rally as scrutiny over Ukraine intensifies Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc d190e68f-5bb7-5a56-bc61-7f0e547f0516 article

The line to enter a campaign rally for President Trump forming outside the American Airlines Center on Thursday in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

“I expect President Trump to win Texas by 5 percentage points, not 9 points this time,” Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson told Politico. “There are long-term demographic changes taking place in the state that eat into Republican support. The major cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas are already leaning blue. Plus, his Republican coalition has been destabilized by his own actions and conduct.”

At the same time, Trump’s campaign and the RNC have been raking in money, raising a record $125 million in the third quarter of this year. By comparison, former President Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised just over $70 million in the third quarter of 2011 for his reelection campaign.

The RNC raised a record-setting $27.3 million just last month and had $59.2 million cash as of the end of August, amid the impeachment push against the president  — which has fueled GOP campaign contributions heading into the 2020 election.

This cycle, to date, the RNC has more than doubled the DNC’s fundraising efforts, according to the GOP, which also noted that the Democrats, as of last month, carried $7.3 million in debt.

The campaign continued to haul in cash Thursday. Trump began his trip at a fundraiser in Fort Worth that raised about $5.5 million for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. Looking to promote new jobs, Trump then toured the recently built Louis Vuitton plant in Alvarado with his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump.

DEMS STORM OUT OF WHITE HOUSE MEETING WITH TRUMP, SAY HE CALLED PELOSI A ‘NASTY’ NAME AND DECLARED, ‘I HATE ISIS MORE THAN YOU!’

“I’ve seen that before,” Trump told his tour guides while pointing to one of the iconic bags set up on a table.

While Republicans largely have defended Trump, they have sounded alarms over his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria — a move that paved the way for Turkey to invade and assault the Kurds, who’d fought alongside the U.S. in its campaign against Islamic State militants.

Upon landing in Texas on Thursday, Trump credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey and the violence that has unfolded for the announcement of a cease-fire, though critics said Trump green-lit the incursion and put the Kurdish forces in danger by announcing a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Westlake Legal Group AP19290740243974 Trump headlines Dallas rally as scrutiny over Ukraine intensifies Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc d190e68f-5bb7-5a56-bc61-7f0e547f0516 article

A sea of red hats as supporters of President Trump lined up to enter the campaign rally on Thursday in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Trump described the cease-fire as an “incredible outcome” that could not have occurred “unless you went somewhat unconventional.”

A White House meeting between Trump and congressional lawmakers to discuss the situation Wednesday devolved into an insult-fest, with the president calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a “third-grade politician,” and Pelosi and other top Democrats storming out.

A senior aide for the Democrats told Fox News that Trump began the meeting, which ostensibly had been called by the White House, by remarking that “someone wanted this meeting so I agreed to it.” Trump also was said to have told Pelosi, “I hate ISIS more than you do,” prompting Pelosi to respond, “You don’t know that.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump and Pelosi continued to trade jabs after the meeting, with each accusing the other of having a meltdown.

As the Democrats walked out, Trump reportedly remarked, “I’ll see you at the polls.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19290738607637 Trump headlines Dallas rally as scrutiny over Ukraine intensifies Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc d190e68f-5bb7-5a56-bc61-7f0e547f0516 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19290738607637 Trump headlines Dallas rally as scrutiny over Ukraine intensifies Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning/trump-2020-campaign fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc d190e68f-5bb7-5a56-bc61-7f0e547f0516 article

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Pelosi uses image in Trump tweet as Twitter cover photo

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095420824001_6095421727001-vs Pelosi uses image in Trump tweet as Twitter cover photo Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc fc5ffd8a-33aa-5ecd-8a9e-6eb26b3ed094 Edmund DeMarche article

Just hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they stormed out of a Wednesday meeting with President Trump on Syria, the California Democrat updated her Twitter cover banner with an image of her in a tense exchange with the president.

Supporters applauded Pelosi’s decision to use the photo — which was earlier tweeted out by the president — as an example of standing up to a bully, while critics saw it as an example of the Democrats fighting the president at every turn.

DEMS STORM OUT OF SYRIA MEETING WITH TRUMP: ‘WE HAVE TO PRAY FOR HIS HEALTH’

Trump tweeted the image earlier and captioned it, “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!”

The meeting, by all accounts, was unproductive. Schumer and Pelosi told reporters at the White House that Trump “had a meltdown,” and called the speaker either a “third-rate” politician of a “third-grade” politician.

“I pray for the president all the time, and I tell him that — I pray for his safety and that of his family. Now, we have to pray for his health — because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president,” Pelosi said later.

As the Democrats walked out, Trump reportedly remarked, “I’ll see you at the polls.”

The bad blood between Trump and Pelosi has been widely reported and with the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, their relationship has deteriorated.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Pelosi most recently criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — portraying it as an abandonment of the Syrian Kurds — and has called for a formal impeachment inquiry into an alleged pressure campaign involving Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095420824001_6095421727001-vs Pelosi uses image in Trump tweet as Twitter cover photo Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc fc5ffd8a-33aa-5ecd-8a9e-6eb26b3ed094 Edmund DeMarche article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095420824001_6095421727001-vs Pelosi uses image in Trump tweet as Twitter cover photo Gregg Re fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc fc5ffd8a-33aa-5ecd-8a9e-6eb26b3ed094 Edmund DeMarche article

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IG report on possible Russia investigation misconduct is still in declassification process: source

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087685965001_6087681956001-vs IG report on possible Russia investigation misconduct is still in declassification process: source Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1d54a3ea-6c5f-55c2-9297-ab80379fced8

The long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on potential surveillance abuses by intelligence officials during the 2016 Russia investigation is still in the declassification process, a DOJ official told Fox News on Wednesday.

“The FBI and the DOJ are working together smoothly on the declassification process,” the official said.

In comments to reporters at the White House on Thursday, President Trump — he retains the authority to declassify and release as much of the report as he wants — speculated that the final report could even implicate former President Barack Obama.

“Now, we’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “The IG report is going to come out soon, and we’ll see what happens. I think people — I know nothing about it, in terms of the report. … I’m waiting for the report like everybody else. But I predict you will see things that you don’t even believe, the level of corruption — whether it’s [James] Comey; whether it’s [Peter] Strzok and his lover, [Lisa] Page; whether it’s so many other people — [Andrew] McCabe; whether it’s President Obama himself. Let’s see whether or not it’s President Obama. Let’s see whether or not they put that in.”

On Monday, former Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, now a Fox News contributor, told “Hannity” that bureaucratic squabbling was the reason the report isn’t already available.

“Evidently, there’s an intra-agency debate and really a food fight if you will about the classification issues,” Chaffetz said. “Remember in the last report put out by Horowitz, there were only seven words or so that were redacted. The Democrats threw a fit that they couldn’t see the whole thing. This could have 10 to 20 percent of the report redacted.”

Chaffetz speculated that Obama administration Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and ex-CIA Director John Brennan could be behind the apparent delay.

CARTER PAGE WONDERS: WHY ISN’T HOROWITZ EVEN INTERVIEWING ME?

That was a reference to Horowitz’s bombshell initial report last year, which identified misconduct by senior FBI officials, including Strzok and Page, who exchanged anti-Trump text messages while investigating his campaign.

Last month Horowitz told lawmakers his team had nearly completed his review and submitted a draft to Attorney General William Barr.

“We have now begun the process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the department and the FBI for classification determination and marking,” Horowitz wrote last month to several House and Senate committees. “This step is consistent with our process for reports such as this one that involve classified material.”

The declassification process is one of the final steps before public release.

Horowitz and his investigators have probed how the infamous and salacious anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for former Trump aide Carter Page in October 2016, as well as three renewals.

Horowitz’s team has looked into why the FBI may have regarded Steele — funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC) — a credible source, and why the bureau used news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility before the FISA court.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Horowitz’s probe is not the only ongoing review at the DOJ.  U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into possible misconduct by the intelligence community at the outset of the Russia investigation has expanded in scope recently, based on Durham’s initial findings, Fox News reported earlier this month.

Durham, known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor, according to a source, has been focusing on the period before Nov. 7, 2016 — including the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of FISA warrants. Durham was asked to help Barr “ensure that intelligence collection activities by the U.S. government related to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign were lawful and appropriate.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087685965001_6087681956001-vs IG report on possible Russia investigation misconduct is still in declassification process: source Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1d54a3ea-6c5f-55c2-9297-ab80379fced8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087685965001_6087681956001-vs IG report on possible Russia investigation misconduct is still in declassification process: source Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1d54a3ea-6c5f-55c2-9297-ab80379fced8

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Hunter Biden’s past business associations come under scrutiny, as Dem debate looms

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094792681001_6094795440001-vs Hunter Biden's past business associations come under scrutiny, as Dem debate looms Gregg Re fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc article 004506b8-629e-5148-a77a-26aef6ea98ed

Hunter Biden’s past business dealings at home and abroad are increasingly coming under scrutiny, as the former vice president’s son broke his silence in a nationally televised interview this morning — and 12 Democratic presidential candidates are preparing to debate Tuesday evening in Ohio.

Speaking to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Biden maintained he did nothing improper in serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company but acknowledged it was “poor judgment” on his part. In his first interview since his overseas business dealings came under scrutiny, Biden said he did not discuss the board seat with his father except for one “brief exchange” that was previously reported.

Although President Trump repeatedly has hammered Hunter Biden’s ties to China and Ukraine, the latest cloud of suspicion came as Republicans pointed to resurfaced 2008 reports in The New York Times and The American Spectator. The articles, written as Barack Obama and John McCain vied for the White House, found that Hunter Biden received consulting fees from the financial services company MBNA from 2001 to 2005 — while his father, then a senator, was pushing successfully for legislation that would make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection.

The precise amount of the payments was unclear, but a company official once said Hunter Biden was receiving at least a $100,000 per year retainer, the Times reported. Hunter Biden, now 49, previously had been an executive at MBNA beginning in 1996, but the consulting fees came years after his departure from the company as a full-time employee.

Aides to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama at the time denied that any lobbying had occurred, and insisted the payments were proper.

PROOF OF LINKS: PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS JOE, HUNTER BIDEN GOLFING WITH UKRAINE GAS EXEC

However, that explanation was treated with skepticism. On Monday, the Trump campaign posted a contemporaneous interview in which an incredulous Tom Brokaw asked Joe Biden whether it was “inappropriate” for the then-senator to have his son “collecting money from this big credit card company while you were on the [Senate] floor protecting its interests.”

Hunter Biden’s previous work as an executive at MBNA from 1996 to 1998 also has raised what critics called red flags.

Rachel Mullen, a former senior personal banking officer at MBNA from 1994-2001 who later went into Republican politics, tweeted Monday that managers referred to the younger Biden as “Senator MBNA” after he was hired into a lucrative management-prep track right after he graduated from Yale Law School.

TRUMP BELITTLES BIDENS WITH GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AT MINNEAPOLIS RALLY, AS CHAOS UNFOLDS OUTSIDE ARENA

An MBNA source who previously worked at the company told Fox News on Monday that other employees heard Biden boasting that his salary was unusually high, even for the management-prep track — which was widely seen in the company as a way to groom and pamper well-connected executive candidates with powerful family members.

The source said Biden’s “Senator MBNA” nickname was not politically motivated, but rather reflected a widely held belief among managers — who did not work directly with Biden — that he essentially was engaged in lobbying.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO KICK GIULIANI OFF TV, AFTER HE IMPLICATES BIDENS IN OVERSEAS CORRUPTION

In a January 2008 article entitled “The Senator from MBNA,” columnist Byron York recounted how then-MBNA vice chairman John Cochran paid “top dollar” for Biden’s home in February 1996, just prior to his Senate re-election bid, and that “MBNA gave Cochran a lot of money—$330,000—to help with ‘expenses’ related to the move.”

The $1.2M sale was a “pretty darned good deal for Biden,” York wrote, noting that “Cochran simply paid Biden’s full asking price” even though the “house needed quite a bit of work; contractors and their trucks descended on the house for months after the purchase.”

Asked how Cochran and Biden found each other for the sale, an MBNA spokesperson told York: “That’s a very personal question.”

Federal election records also showed top MBNA executives apparently made a “concerted” effort to donate to Biden’s campaign, York reported.

It remained unclear whether, and to what extent, the resurfaced accounts of possible misconduct by the Bidens could affect the 2020 presidential race. An ABC News interview with Hunter Biden is set to air beginning Tuesday, and the issue might come up during Tuesday night’s presidential primary debate.

Under intense scrutiny from Republicans, Hunter Biden announced this past Sunday he will step down from the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity firm at the end of the month as part of a pledge not to work on behalf of any foreign-owned companies should his father win the presidency. At the same time, the Bidens have denied wrongdoing.

HUNTER MAY HAVE MADE ‘MILLIONS’ IN UKRAINE, NEWLY REVEALED DOCS SUGGEST

Biden revealed his plan in an Internet post written by his attorney, George Mesires, who outlined a defense of the younger Biden’s work in Ukraine and China, which has emerged as one of Trump’s chief lines of attack against Hunter’s father.

“Hunter makes the following commitment: Under a Biden Administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests. In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies,” Mesires wrote.

He continued: “He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs, while availing himself as necessary and appropriate to the Office of the White House Counsel to help inform his application of the Biden Administration’s guidelines or standards to his business decision-making.”

From late 2013 through this month, Hunter Biden has served on the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, which was “formed with the stated intent to invest Chinese capital outside of China.” Mesires insisted Biden’s initial role was that of an unpaid member of the board and that in October 2017, Biden “committed to invest approximately $420,000 USD to acquire a 10 percent equity position in BHR, which he still holds.”

Separately, Joe Biden has acknowledged on camera that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings — where Hunter had a lucrative role on the board despite limited relevant expertise. Shokin also was widely accused of corruption.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Critics alleged Hunter Biden, in effect, might have been selling access to his father, who had pushed Ukraine to increase its natural gas production.

“Impossible to justify $50k/month for Hunter Biden serving on a Ukrainian energy board w zero expertise unless he promised to sell access,” political scientist Ian Bremmer tweeted.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094792681001_6094795440001-vs Hunter Biden's past business associations come under scrutiny, as Dem debate looms Gregg Re fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc article 004506b8-629e-5148-a77a-26aef6ea98ed   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094792681001_6094795440001-vs Hunter Biden's past business associations come under scrutiny, as Dem debate looms Gregg Re fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc article 004506b8-629e-5148-a77a-26aef6ea98ed

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Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey amid Syria incursion, calls for end to its ‘destabilizing actions’

President Trump announced Monday afternoon that he will soon issue an executive order imposing sanctions against Turkey for its “destabilizing” offensive in Syria, amid a bipartisan outcry over the president’s troop pullback earlier this year that endangered U.S.-aligned Kurdish forces.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Trump announced that steel tariffs would “be increased back up to 50 percent,” and the U.S. will “immediately stop negotiations … with respect to a $!00 billion trade deal with Turkey.”

The order would enable “powerful” additional sanctions against those who “may be involved in serious human rights abuses, obstructing a ceasefire, preventing displaced persons from returning home, forcibly repatriation refugees, or threatening the peace, security, or stability in Syria,’ Trump wrote. Current and former Turkish officials, as well as anyone contributing to “Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria” might be targeted, Trump said.

Remaining U.S. troops in northeast Syria will be withdrawn as planned, Trump said, and redeployed “in the region to monitor the situation and prevent a repeat of 2014,” when ISIS made major territorial gains.

In separate tweets, the president said he would “much rather focus on our Southern border” than the conflict in Syria.

Trump also emphasized that Syria “wants naturally to protect the Kurds.” The New York Times reported that a deal between Kurdish forces and Damascus – which was announced Sunday evening – would enable Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to attempt to regain a foothold in the country’s northeast.

Westlake Legal Group AP19287343859296 Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey amid Syria incursion, calls for end to its 'destabilizing actions' Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2a9131c9-2957-5e1a-badd-e93d9d28f138

A poster of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is held up during show of support by about a dozen people for Turkey’s operation in Syria, in the border town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Erdogan has criticized NATO allies which are looking to broaden an arms embargo against Turkey over its push into northern Syria. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government – whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty – for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the [Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF] stop this aggression” by Turkey, the SDF, which is a primarily Kurdish militia, said in a statement.

The developments came as graphic images of violence directed at Kurds circulated on social media.

Turkey has justified its ongoing invasion of northeast Syria to the United Nations by saying it’s exercising its right to self-defense under the U.N. Charter, according to a letter circulated Monday.

Ankara said the military offensive was undertaken to counter an “imminent terrorist threat” and to ensure the security of its borders from Syrian Kurdish militias, whom it calls “terrorists,” and the Islamic State extremist group.

KURDS ANNOUNCE DEAL WITH DAMASCUS AMID US PULLOUT

Since 2014, the Kurds had fought alongside American forces in defeating ISIS in Syria. But Trump ordered American troops in northern Syria to step aside last week — a move decried at home and abroad as a betrayal of an ally.

The U.S. withdrawal cleared the way for Turkey’s cross-border attack on Kurdish-held areas in Syria, which is now in its sixth day and has led to quickly shifting alliances.

The military action by Ankara sets up a potential clash between Turkish and Syrian government troops, as the Kurds have now turned to Damascus for support. It also raises the specter of a resurgent ISIS, since the Kurds will focus their attention on the Turkish advance.

Turkey’s position is that the main Kurdish group in Syria is linked to an outlawed Kurdish group in Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Known as the PKK, that group has waged a 35-year old conflict against the Turkish state that has left tens of thousands of people dead.

JIM HANSON: U.S. MUST DO THIS TO PREVENT ISIS RESURGENCE

Turkey’s U.N. Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu said in the letter to the Security Council dated Oct. 9 that its counter-terrorism operation will be “proportionate, measured and responsible.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19287532459027 Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey amid Syria incursion, calls for end to its 'destabilizing actions' Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2a9131c9-2957-5e1a-badd-e93d9d28f138

A Turkish forces tank is driven to its new position after was transported by trucks, on a road towards the border with Syria in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. Syrian troops entered several northern towns and villages Monday, getting close to the Turkish border as Turkey’s army and opposition forces backed by Ankara marched south in the same direction, raising concerns of a clash between the two sides as Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria entered its sixth day. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

“The operation will target only terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment,” he said. “All precautions are taken to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population.”

But U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday that at least 160,000 civilians have been newly displaced and that military action has already reportedly resulted in many civilian casualties.

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Sinirlioglu said Syria’s eight-year conflict “has created a breeding ground for various terrorist organizations, posing a wide range of threats to the region and beyond.”

This is a developing report; check back soon for updates. Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094508998001_6094503912001-vs Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey amid Syria incursion, calls for end to its 'destabilizing actions' Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2a9131c9-2957-5e1a-badd-e93d9d28f138   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094508998001_6094503912001-vs Trump authorizes sanctions against Turkey amid Syria incursion, calls for end to its 'destabilizing actions' Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 2a9131c9-2957-5e1a-badd-e93d9d28f138

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NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation ‘outrageous’: sources

After President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it was reported to then-senior National Security Council (NSC) leadership that an NSC staffer had relayed information about the call to individuals outside the NSC — and characterized the president’s conversation as “outrageous,” sources familiar with the matter told Fox News.

The development comes as Fiona Hill, a former special assistant to the president who worked on European and Russian affairs, is set to give a deposition next week. Fox News has reached out to Hill for over a week with questions about whether she helped prep for the July 25 call or received any readout of the call.

Hill departed the White House in July, after working under ex-National Security Advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton.

The White House has yet to comment on the matter to Fox News.

WHISTLEBLOWER ATTORNEY ACKNOWLEDGES CLIENT HAD ‘CONTACT’ WITH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

Other top administration officials linked to the Ukraine situation are also set to testify next week. On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. envoy to Kiev and someone President Trump called “bad news,” according to a memorandum of the telephone call with Ukraine’s leader, arrived on Capitol Hill for a transcribed interview with lawmakers and staff.

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FILE – In this March 6, 2019 file photo, then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, sits during her meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Ukraine. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

Trump and his allies have sought to paint Yovanovitch as a rogue employee with an anti-Trump bias. She was ousted in May amid alleged attempts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to press Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who reportedly was involved in Yovanovitch’s ouster, said in a statement Thursday that “after several congressional colleagues reported to me that the current U[.]S[.] Ambassador to Ukraine was disparaging President Trump to others as part of those official duties, I wrote a letter to the Secretary of State to refer this matter directly. My entire motivation for sending the letter was that I believe that political appointees should not be disparaging the President, especially while serving overseas.”

On Friday, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland announced that he will testify before Congress. The announcement came a week after the State Department directed him not to appear before lawmakers at a scheduled deposition. House Democrats on Wednesday then subpoenaed Sondland to appear before the joint committees to testify, prompting the shift.

TRUMP ALLED FORMER UKRAINE DIPLOMAT ‘BAD NEWS’…AND NOW SHE’S SET TO TESTIFY

Meanwhile, the whistleblower at the center of the House Democratic impeachment inquiry wants to testify to Congress in writing instead of appearing in person, Fox News has confirmed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that lawyers for the anonymous CIA officer have asked lawmakers if the whistleblower could submit testimony in writing, but the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have not yet responded.

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The request comes as Democrats have expressed a desire to protect the identity of the whistleblower, along with worries over safety and media scrutiny.

President Trump and Republicans believe the president should have a right to confront his accuser and have also cited recent reports indicating the whistleblower could have partisan motives. Attorneys for the whistleblower have acknowledged he is a registered Democrat who has worked with at least one 2020 candidate. On Thursday, the Washington Examiner reported that the candidate was Joe Biden.

Westlake Legal Group Trump101019 NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation 'outrageous': sources Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article 95dcb8df-58ac-53bd-a623-0f411163e563   Westlake Legal Group Trump101019 NSC staffer discussed Trump-Ukraine call outside council, called conversation 'outrageous': sources Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Catherine Herridge article 95dcb8df-58ac-53bd-a623-0f411163e563

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Trump called former Ukraine diplomat ‘bad news’ … and now she’s set to testify

Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. envoy to Kiev and someone President Trump has privately called “bad news,” is scheduled to sit for a potentially explosive transcribed interview with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill on Friday as Democrats intensify their impeachment inquiry.

But after the White House abruptly blocked U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland from testifying shortly before his planned appearance on Tuesday, it remained unclear whether Yovanovitch would appear at all. The White House announced this week it would not comply at all with what it called Democrats’ “unconstitutional” proceedings.

However, multiple sources told Fox News late Thursday that Sondland will indeed appear for a transcribed interview before House investigators next Wednesday.

As of now, Fox News is told that the plan is for only House Intelligence Committee staff and members to pose questions to Yovanovitch, should the ex-diplomat show up as scheduled at 10 a.m. ET. No staffers from the Foreign Affairs or Oversight Committees, majority or minority party, are expected to be able to ask questions.

But Republicans will be allowed to have a second aide in the room after complaining last time, Fox News is told. It’s unclear how long the session is likely to run.

HERE’S WHY THE WHITE HOUSE SAYS IT WON’T COMPLY WITH DEMS’ IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Trump and his surrogates have painted Yovanovitch as a rogue State Department employee with an anti-Trump political bias. Her ouster in May came amid alleged attempts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to press Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. Those efforts triggered the impeachment inquiry.

The former New York mayor labeled Yovanovitch a political hack bent on undermining Trump’s efforts, charges that apparently resonated with the president.

Westlake Legal Group 40aba875-AP19270594642501 Trump called former Ukraine diplomat 'bad news' ... and now she's set to testify Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 787021dc-7ce5-553a-81fa-8afd4529afae

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, center, is set to testify on Friday on Capitol Hill. (Mikhail Palinchak, Presidential Press Service Pool Photo via AP)

On Thursday, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment alleging in part that two donors to a pro-Trump fundraising committee were engaged in lobbying efforts in the U.S. on behalf of a Ukrainian politician to seek Yovanovitch’s ouster.

The Soviet-born defendants, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are U.S. citizens who helped Giuliani’s efforts to pursue an investigation of Joe Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president insisted Thursday that he faced “no blackmail” from Trump in the July 25 phone call between the two men that led to an impeachment inquiry.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy said for the first time that his country will “happily” investigate the conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that it was Ukrainians, not Russians, who interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And he encouraged U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors to discuss investigating the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.

GIULIANI ASSOCIATES TIED TO UKRAINE PROBES INDICTED ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS

Biden has acknowledged that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings — where Hunter had a lucrative role on the board despite limited relevant expertise. The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if Shokin was not fired.

The impact of any news from the interview with Yovanovitch may be blunted temporarily because both the House and Senate formally remain on recess until next Tuesday. The House Democratic Caucus and Republican Conferences will hold their formal meetings and press conferences on Wednesday morning.

“The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news.”

— President Trump, on Marie Yovanovitch

Yovanovitch, a State Department employee for 33 years who also led U.S. embassies in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, has drawn praise from colleagues for her past work on international affairs.

She is “a top-notch diplomat, careful, meticulous, whip-smart,” and unlikely to have badmouthed Trump, either to Ukrainian officials or her colleagues, said John Herbst, a predecessor as ambassador in Ukraine who worked alongside Yovanovitch there in the early 2000s.

That reputation is all but impossible to square with what some view as a smear campaign, capped by the Trump administration’s removal of Yovanovitch from her post this year.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN SEEKS TO BAR GIULIANI FROM TV … THEN GOES AFTER NEW YORK TIMES

“The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news,” Trump told Ukraine President Zelenskiy during their July 25 call, according to a partial transcript released by the White House. “She’s going to go through some things.”

Currently a State Department fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Yovanovitch was declining all requests to speak with reporters in advance of her planned testimony.

Yovanovitch, 60, was raised in a household that helped prepare her for a career in international relations.

Born in Canada to immigrant parents — her father from the former Soviet Union, her mother from Germany — she grew up speaking Russian at home. The family moved to Connecticut when she was a young child, and she later became a U.S. citizen.

“Like so many, including those in the Ukrainian-American community, my parents’ lives were changed forever by Communist and Nazi regimes,” Yovanovitch said during a Senate confirmation hearing in 2016, attended by her 88-year-old mother. “They survived poverty, war and displacement, and finally arrived in the United States, with me in tow, in search of freedom, opportunity, dignity and accountability.”

Yovanovitch attended Princeton, where she majored in history and Russian studies. She joined the Foreign Service six years later, working as deputy director of the Russian desk before being posted to Canada, Russia, Great Britain and Somalia.

From 2001 to 2004, she worked as the U.S. deputy chief of mission in Ukraine, as second in charge to Herbst, before being named ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, then to Armenia. She returned to Ukraine after President Barack Obama nominated her to be ambassador in 2016.

FOX NEWS POLL SHOWS RECORD SUPPORT FOR IMPEACHMENT

She arrived in Kiev two years after Russia’s forced annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and its continuing military intervention. As an envoy, Yovanovitch sought to reassure Ukrainian officials of U.S. support, while pushing them to root out widespread corruption.

“The old oligarch system is still clinging to life, and corruption is its life support,” she said in a speech in January to new graduates of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy. “Ukraine must continue to pursue economic reforms in line with European standards and fully empower all of its anti-corruption institutions.”

Some Ukrainian officials, including the country’s top prosecutor, bridled at the pressure from the U.S. ambassador.

In March, the prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, claimed that Yovanovitch had given him a list of people he should not prosecute. The State Department dismissed the statement as baseless and Lutsenko later recanted his claim.

But critics, led by Giuliani, accused her of working to undermine Trump’s interests. “The embassy in Ukraine was a ‘Hillary Clinton for president’ office. And they were looking to dig up dirt on President Trump,” Giuliani said. “There was a lot more collusion with Ukraine than in Russia, where there doesn’t appear to be any. They were trying to bring Trump down.”

As part of Senate confirmation hearings to ambassadorial posts, Yovanovitch reported that she made several small contributions to Democratic candidates in the early 2000s, but none more recently.

She returned to Washington in 2012 and 2013, serving as the State Department’s day-to-day contact with U.S. officials in Europe. Lee Feinstein, the U.S. ambassador to Poland at the time, recalled extended conversations with Yovanovitch about how to calibrate negotiations over missile development and a continuing U.S. military presence there.

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“She was always the kind of person who was very, very supportive of her ambassadors and looking to help them do their jobs better,” said Feinstein, now dean of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Relations at Indiana University. “Never somebody who was trying to pursue her own agenda.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19270594642501 Trump called former Ukraine diplomat 'bad news' ... and now she's set to testify Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 787021dc-7ce5-553a-81fa-8afd4529afae   Westlake Legal Group AP19270594642501 Trump called former Ukraine diplomat 'bad news' ... and now she's set to testify Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 787021dc-7ce5-553a-81fa-8afd4529afae

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White House announces it will not comply with ‘illegitimate and unconstitutional’ impeachment inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092947937001_6092939625001-vs White House announces it will not comply with 'illegitimate and unconstitutional' impeachment inquiry John Roberts Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article afd3c50b-4fc4-5a5b-b712-3e0edccdb934

The White House outlined in a defiant eight-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democrats on Tuesday why it will not participate in their “illegitimate and unconstitutional” impeachment inquiry, charging that the proceedings have run roughshod over congressional norms and the president’s due-process rights.

Trump administration officials called the letter, which was written by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and obtained by Fox News, perhaps the most historic letter the White House has sent. The document tees up a head-on collision with Democrats in Congress, who have fired off a slew of subpoenas in recent days concerning the president’s apparent efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political foe Joe Biden.

“President Trump and his administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process,” the letter stated. “Your unprecedented actions have left the president with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

The document concluded: “The president has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people.”

Substantively, the White House first noted in the letter that there has not been a formal vote in the House to open an impeachment inquiry — and that the news conference held by Pelosi last month was insufficient to commence the proceedings.

“In the history of our nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the president without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step,” the letter stated.

It continued: “Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an ‘impeachment inquiry’ based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.”

SCHIFF SAYS ‘WE’ DIDN’T TALK TO WHISTLEBLOWER — THEN BACKTRACKS

Despite Pelosi’s claim that there was no “House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry,” several previous impeachment inquiries have been launched only by a full vote of the House — including the impeachment proceedings concerning former Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

White House officials told Fox News the vote opening the proceedings was a small ask, considering the implications of potentially overturning a national election.

The letter went on to note that “information has recently come to light that the whistleblower had contact with [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Adam] Schiff’s office before filing the complaint,” and that Schiff’s “initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to conclude that Chairman Schiff “clearly made a statement that was false.”

The letter added: “In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral ‘investigator.'”

The letter then dinged Schiff for reciting a fictional version of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader during a congressional hearing. Schiff later called his statements a “parody.”

“Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing,” the letter stated. “The chairman’s action only further undermines the public’s confidence in the fairness of any inquiry before his committee.”

Separately, the letter asserted multiple alleged violations of the president’s due-process rights. It noted that under current impeachment inquiry proceedings, Democrats were not allowing presidential or State Department counsel to be present.

Democrats’ procedures did not provide for the “disclosure of all evidence favorable to the president and all evidence bearing on the credibility of witnesses called to testify in the inquiry,” the letter noted, nor did the procedures afford the president “the right to see all evidence, to present evidence, to call witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, to cross-examine all witnesses, to make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and to respond to evidence and testimony.”

Democrats also have not permitted Republicans in the minority to issue subpoenas, contradicting the “standard, bipartisan practice in all recent resolutions authorizing presidential impeachment inquiries.”

“President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.”

— Pat Cipollone, counsel to President Trump

The letter claimed that House committees have “resorted to threats and intimidation against potential Executive Branch witnesses,” by raising the specter of obstruction of justice when administration employees seek to assert “long-established Executive Branch confidentiality interests and privileges in response to a request for a deposition.”

“Current and former State Department officials are duty bound to protect the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch, and the Office of Legal Counsel has also recognized that it is unconstitutional to exclude agency counsel from participating in congressional depositions,” the letter stated.

EXCLUSIVE: WHISTLEBLOWER WRITES WH OFFICIAL DESCRIBED TRUMP CALL AS ‘FRIGHTENING’

Additionally, the letter noted that Democrats reportedly were planning to interview the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry at an undisclosed location — contrary, the White House said, to the constitutional notion of being able to confront one’s accuser.

According to a White House official, the bottom line was: “We are not participating in your illegitimate exercise. … If you are legitimately conducting oversight, let us know. But all indications are this is about impeachment.”

The document came as the White House aggressively has parried Democrats’ inquiry efforts. One of the administration’s first moves: the State Department on Tuesday barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from appearing before a House panel conducting the probe into Trump.

GOP INTRODUCES RESOLUTION TO KICK PELOSI OUT OF THE HOUSE

“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see,” Trump tweeted.

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The strategy risked further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. Schiff said Sondland’s no-show would be grounds for obstruction of justice and could give a preview of what some of the articles of impeachment against Trump would entail.

But, as lawmakers sought to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly has signaled that all-out warfare was its best course of action.

“What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.”

House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in administrations from both parties, voicing support for the whistleblower who raised concerns about Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to look into Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“A responsible whistleblower makes all Americans safer by ensuring that serious wrongdoing can be investigated and addressed, thus advancing the cause of national security to which we have devoted our careers,” they wrote. “Whatever one’s view of the matters discussed in the whistleblower’s complaint, all Americans should be united in demanding that all branches of our government and all outlets of our media protect this whistleblower and his or her identity. Simply put, he or she has done what our law demands; now he or she deserves our protection.”

The House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees were investigating Trump’s actions alleging he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, potentially interfering in the 2020 election. The former vice president, for his part, has accused Trump of “frantically pushing flat-out lies, debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me.” And, Biden’s campaign has sought to have Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has accused Biden of possible corruption, removed from the airwaves.

PROOF OF LINKS: PHOTO OBTAINED BY FOX NEWS SHOWS BIDEN GOLFING WITH UKRAINE EXEC

Biden has acknowledged on camera that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings — where Hunter had a lucrative role on the board despite limited relevant expertise. Critics have suggested Hunter Biden’s salary bought access to Biden.

The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid if Shokin, who was widely accused of corruption, was not fired.

“Well, son of a b—h, he got fired,” Biden joked at a panel two years after leaving office.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092947937001_6092939625001-vs White House announces it will not comply with 'illegitimate and unconstitutional' impeachment inquiry John Roberts Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article afd3c50b-4fc4-5a5b-b712-3e0edccdb934   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092947937001_6092939625001-vs White House announces it will not comply with 'illegitimate and unconstitutional' impeachment inquiry John Roberts Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article afd3c50b-4fc4-5a5b-b712-3e0edccdb934

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GOP rep introduces resolution to expel Nancy Pelosi from House

A Louisiana Republican congressman introduced a resolution Tuesday to expel Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., from the House of Representatives, the latest sign that frustration in the GOP is building as Democrats continue their impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Rep. Ralph Abraham’s resolution stands no realistic chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled House. Likewise, Republicans have argued that Democrats’ potential articles of impeachment are all but certain to stall if they ever reach the Senate.

THE LATEST REPORTING FROM FOX NEWS IN THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY AND UKRAINE CONTROVERSY

“Nancy Pelosi’s vicious crusade against our lawfully-elected President is nothing more than a politically-motivated witch hunt and it must be stopped,” Abraham said in a statement. “She has disgraced the people’s House and weaponized the Speaker’s gavel for her party’s political gain.”

Abraham added: “House Democrats spent nearly three years obsessed with election meddling only to dwarf any such efforts with their own deceitful plan to nullify the 2016 election and prevent President Trump from winning in 2020. I have introduced a resolution calling for her to be expelled from the House and for the Speaker’s Office to be vacated.”

Fox News is told that the resolution has been closely held, and hasn’t secured many Republican cosponsors — but that Abraham’s office expects it to gain traction.

The text of the resolution reads simply: “Resolved, That pursuant to Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, Representative Nancy Pelosi be, and she hereby is, expelled from the House of Representatives and the Office of the Speaker is declared to be vacant.”

IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY GAINS SUPPORT IN NEW POLL

That constitutional clause holds that “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.”

Westlake Legal Group Ralph-Abraham-House-or-Reps GOP rep introduces resolution to expel Nancy Pelosi from House Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article af796e8c-b0e2-5a6b-a9fb-52467a69bea5

Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., is calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ouster. (U.S. House of Representatives)

The Trump administration has mirrored congressional Republicans’ aggressive approach in response to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. The State Department on Tuesday barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from appearing before a House panel conducting the probe.

“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify, but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true facts are not allowed out for the public to see,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said that Sondland’s no-show would be grounds for obstruction of justice and could give a preview of what some of the articles of impeachment against Trump would entail.

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But as lawmakers seek to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly believes all-out warfare is its best course of action.

“What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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