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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 39)

Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

Westlake Legal Group 06musk-facebookJumbo Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet Unsworth, Vern twitter Tesla Motors Inc Rescues Musk, Elon Caves and Caverns

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a jury concluded on Friday in Los Angeles. The verdict ended a short trial based on an acrid dispute between the men over the high-profile rescue of a group of children trapped in Thailand in the summer of 2018.

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Mr. Musk told reporters after hearing the verdict.

The explorer, Vernon Unsworth, sued Mr. Musk in September last year, arguing that the billionaire had used the tweet to insinuate that Mr. Unsworth was a pedophile and damage his reputation. Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, and his lawyers countered that “pedo guy” was a generic insult borrowed from his youth in South Africa.

Both men had become involved in the rescue shortly after rising waters trapped a boys’ soccer team in a cave in June 2018. Mr. Unsworth had firsthand knowledge of the cave system, while Mr. Musk flew in a team of engineers and proposed an unorthodox rescue plan using a minisubmarine.

After Mr. Unsworth slammed the idea in a televised interview, suggesting that Mr. Musk “stick his submarine where it hurts,” the billionaire lashed out on Twitter, describing Mr. Unsworth as a “pedo guy” in a post to his 22 million followers at the time.

“I felt it to be disgusting,” Mr. Unsworth testified on Wednesday, the second day of the trial. “I was effectively given a life sentence without parole.”

Mr. Musk and his lawyers argued that Mr. Unsworth was not appreciably harmed by the post, which Mr. Musk deleted shortly afterward with an explanation that it had been written “in anger.” Specifically, a lawyer for Mr. Musk pointed in court to a photograph of Mr. Unsworth standing next to the British prime minister at a ceremony, as well as video of the explorer smiling and celebrating the rescue.

It was not the only time that Mr. Musk’s posts on Twitter have created problems for him. Also last year, he was replaced as chairman of Tesla’s board as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet in which he said the company had “funding secured” to take the company private. He later explained in a blog post that he had mistakenly believed such a deal to be closer to completion than was really the case.

Even after deleting the tweet about Mr. Unsworth, Mr. Musk did not let the dispute go, later telling BuzzFeed News in an email that Mr. Unsworth was a “child rapist,” an assertion offered without evidence. The accusation was based on information from a man he had hired who claimed to be a private investigator and, it turned out, had been convicted of fraud in Britain.

While that story was brought up in the trial, the judge overseeing the case, Stephen Wilson, instructed the jury that it was not the subject of the case.

On the witness stand this week, Mr. Musk apologized for using the term in the first place and drawing attention away from the ultimately successful effort to save the children.

“It should’ve just been, ‘Here’s a rescue, and that’s great,’” he testified.

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Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet

Westlake Legal Group 06musk-facebookJumbo Elon Musk Is Cleared in Lawsuit Over His ‘Pedo Guy’ Tweet Unsworth, Vern twitter Tesla Motors Inc Rescues Musk, Elon Caves and Caverns

Elon Musk did not defame a British cave explorer by calling him a “pedo guy” on Twitter, a jury concluded on Friday in Los Angeles. The verdict ended a short trial based on an acrid dispute between the men over the high-profile rescue of a group of children trapped in Thailand in the summer of 2018.

“My faith in humanity is restored,” Mr. Musk told reporters after hearing the verdict.

The explorer, Vernon Unsworth, sued Mr. Musk in September last year, arguing that the billionaire had used the tweet to insinuate that Mr. Unsworth was a pedophile and damage his reputation. Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, and his lawyers countered that “pedo guy” was a generic insult borrowed from his youth in South Africa.

Both men had become involved in the rescue shortly after rising waters trapped a boys’ soccer team in a cave in June 2018. Mr. Unsworth had firsthand knowledge of the cave system, while Mr. Musk flew in a team of engineers and proposed an unorthodox rescue plan using a minisubmarine.

After Mr. Unsworth slammed the idea in a televised interview, suggesting that Mr. Musk “stick his submarine where it hurts,” the billionaire lashed out on Twitter, describing Mr. Unsworth as a “pedo guy” in a post to his 22 million followers at the time.

“I felt it to be disgusting,” Mr. Unsworth testified on Wednesday, the second day of the trial. “I was effectively given a life sentence without parole.”

Mr. Musk and his lawyers argued that Mr. Unsworth was not appreciably harmed by the post, which Mr. Musk deleted shortly afterward with an explanation that it had been written “in anger.” Specifically, a lawyer for Mr. Musk pointed in court to a photograph of Mr. Unsworth standing next to the British prime minister at a ceremony, as well as video of the explorer smiling and celebrating the rescue.

It was not the only time that Mr. Musk’s posts on Twitter have created problems for him. Also last year, he was replaced as chairman of Tesla’s board as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet in which he said the company had “funding secured” to take the company private. He later explained in a blog post that he had mistakenly believed such a deal to be closer to completion than was really the case.

Even after deleting the tweet about Mr. Unsworth, Mr. Musk did not let the dispute go, later telling BuzzFeed News in an email that Mr. Unsworth was a “child rapist,” an assertion offered without evidence. The accusation was based on information from a man he had hired who claimed to be a private investigator and, it turned out, had been convicted of fraud in Britain.

While that story was brought up in the trial, the judge overseeing the case, Stephen Wilson, instructed the jury that it was not the subject of the case.

On the witness stand this week, Mr. Musk apologized for using the term in the first place and drawing attention away from the ultimately successful effort to save the children.

“It should’ve just been, ‘Here’s a rescue, and that’s great,’” he testified.

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Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting

A Navy sailor who opened fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii on Wednesday has been identified as Gabriel Antonio Romero, the Navy confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.

Romero, a Texas native and machinist’s mate auxilliary fireman, was just a week shy of his two-year anniversary with the Navy when the incident occurred. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Navy confirmed.

SAILOR AT PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD KILLS 2 CIVILIANS BEFORE TURNING GUN ON HIMSELF, REPORT SAYS

The shooting took place near the USS Columbia, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, which Romero had been stationed at since June 28, 2018.

The submarine, homeported in Pearl Harbor, remains in dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for routine maintenance.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339116769569-1 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

The USS Arizona Memorial can be seen from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Honolulu. A U.S. sailor shot and wounded several civilian Department of Defense employees before taking their own life on Wednesday, the military said. The shipyard is across the harbor from the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

The shooter was an active-duty U.S. Navy petty officer attached to the submarine, according to a Navy official.

Romero shot three civilians before turning the gun on himself. The Navy identified the victims as Vincent J. Kapoi and Roldan A. Agustin, both Hawaii natives who worked at the base.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339106989139 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

Security forces attend to an unidentified male outside the the main gate at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Hawaii, following a shooting. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

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Kapoi was a metals inspector apprentice through the shipyard’s Intermediate Maintenance Facility Apprentice Program. Agustin was a shop planner.

Westlake Legal Group AP19339107493016 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5   Westlake Legal Group AP19339107493016 Navy identifies gunman and victims from Pearl Harbor shipyard shooting Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/honors/pearl-harbor fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc article 38c77a27-29ab-56c2-aabf-f0ba95568cf5

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On Military Bases, the Dangers Increasingly Come From the Inside

Westlake Legal Group 06baseshootings-01-facebookJumbo On Military Bases, the Dangers Increasingly Come From the Inside United States Defense and Military Forces PENSACOLA, Fla. Milley, Mark A Military Bases and Installations mass shootings Lopez, Ivan Antonio Hasan, Nidal Malik Fort Hood (Tex) Defense Department

HOUSTON — The deadliest mass shooting at an American military base came in November 2009 at Fort Hood in Texas, where a military psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, killed 12 soldiers and one civilian in what he described as an attempt to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan.

And then, after all the soul searching and examination of the tragedy, it happened again four years later at the very same base, when an Army specialist, Ivan A. Lopez, killed three soldiers and wounded 12 others in a shooting in April 2014.

The Army’s 105-page report on the second Fort Hood attack offered a sobering analysis, hinting at the scope of the military’s problems in identifying possible assailants and preventing mass shootings on bases. It found that Specialist Lopez, 34, was struggling with a host of issues — including the death of relatives, financial troubles, a spiritual crisis and a dispute with his superiors over the handling of his request for leave. But his military service and medical history “offer no ready explanations or clear indicators of future violent behavior,” the report’s author, Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, wrote, concluding that the Army could not have prevented the shooting.

Now, in the wake of two attacks — a shooting on Friday by a Saudi trainee who left three people dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola, and one on Wednesday, in which a sailor in Hawaii shot and killed two shipyard workers and wounded another at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard — military officials are again confronting just how vexing and persistent such incidents have become.

In different ways, the many shootings reflect both the complications of banning private weapons from places where military personnel train to fight the nation’s wars and the difficulties of monitoring a population whose members are often dealing with extraordinary levels of stress. To ensure that no unauthorized weapon ends up on a base, military installations would need to be outfitted with T.S.A.-style screening — a level of security and added expense that military officials are unlikely to embrace.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was monitoring developments on the two recent attacks and was “considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families.”

A review of media reports by The New York Times found 30 shootings and other violent episodes at American military installations since the Fort Hood attack in 2009. An F.B.I. active-shooter study found that from 2010 to 2013 five shootings on military property resulted in 27 people being killed and 43 wounded. Two suspects had prior military service and one was active-duty, but the two others had no military experience.

This year alone, the Pensacola attack was at least the seventh shooting at a military base. In the span of four weeks in March and April, three separate shootings left three dead at bases in South Carolina, Virginia and California.

On March 15, a Marine was found shot to death while on guard duty at a Marine Corps base in Southern California. Three weeks later, on April 5, a female Navy sailor was wounded in a shooting in the parking lot of a Virginia Beach base and the sailor who shot her was killed by security officers. Days later, on April 15, a Marine corporal was shot to death in a barracks at a South Carolina base and another Marine corporal was taken into custody.

“It’s depressing, it’s saddening and, in many ways, it’s infuriating,” said Neal M. Sher, a lawyer representing victims and their families in the first Fort Hood attack in an ongoing lawsuit accusing Pentagon and federal officials of knowing Major Hasan was a security threat and failing to act before the attack. “You would think that one place that would be almost immune from these sorts of attacks would be a military base.”

The military shootings have been so frequent that there are eerie parallels between some of them. In the 2014 attack at Fort Hood, Specialist Lopez bought his .45-caliber handgun at the same gun shop near the base where Major Hasan bought the weapon he used in 2009. Many of the gunmen have taken their own lives, as the one did in the Pearl Harbor shipyard attack and as Specialist Lopez did.

But the military attacks are as varied as any other mass shootings in the country, with their own motives and circumstances. Some of the suspects, like the one in Friday’s shooting, are not even American service members, an indicator of the wide array of civilians and others who are on military bases at any given moment. The gunman in the attack on Friday was a Saudi national who was a member of the Saudi Air Force and who was on the base for aviation training, officials said.

In some ways, the military shootings reflect the larger issue of mass shootings in America. Just as lawmakers and law enforcement officials struggle to prevent violent attacks in schools, workplaces and places of worship, so has the military had difficulty in identifying threats and acting before it’s too late.

After so many incidents, military officials have now embraced active-shooter preparedness and training, focusing on the issue as much as schools and other workplaces and institutions. One Air Force webpage on active shooters defines the meaning of a “lockdown” and lays out the “actions to consider” before, during and after an incident.

“Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit,” the webpage instructs.

Still, many question whether the military has done enough to ensure that soldiers and sailors are safe while on base. One of the issues involves guns.

Weapons rules at the nation’s military bases prohibit soldiers and sailors who are not police officers or security personnel from carrying their personal firearms while on post, either concealed or unconcealed. In Texas, in particular, soldiers with state-issued concealed-handgun licenses are free to walk into many restaurants and other public places off base while armed with their privately owned firearms. But while on base, no such licenses are honored and no such weapons are allowed.

Some soldiers and gun-rights advocates have called for those rules to be changed, arguing that some of the attacks could have been prevented had soldiers had access to their privately owned firearms.

One soldier who survived Specialist Lopez’s attack at Fort Hood in 2014, First Lt. Patrick Cook, warned Texas lawmakers that more shootings would happen unless soldiers were allowed to carry weapons.

In a letter that was read to a State Senate committee in the Texas Legislature, Lieutenant Cook, who has a state license to carry a handgun, wrote that when the shots first rang out, he reached to his belt “for something that wasn’t there,” and he hid in a room as another soldier barricading the door was shot and killed by Specialist Lopez.

“This will happen again, and again until we learn the lesson that suppressing the bearing of arms doesn’t prevent horrific crimes, it invites them,” Lieutenant Cook wrote in the letter.

Many military leaders and gun-control supporters said the Pentagon rules should not be loosened, and are intended to prevent accidental shootings as well as suicides.

In 2016, General Mark A. Milley, who was then the Army’s chief of staff and is now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, told members of Congress that he opposed allowing soldiers to carry their own concealed weapons on bases. He told lawmakers there was “adequate law enforcement” to respond to incidents on bases and that in the 2009 Fort Hood attack, officers responded within eight minutes. He said he was not convinced that “carrying privately owned weapons would have stopped that individual.”

A Department of Defense directive in 2016 said base commanders may grant permission for the carrying of personal weapons, but it has not been widely applied.

Last year, President Trump said in a speech that he would review policies that prohibit soldiers from carrying personal weapons on bases. “We’re going to look at that whole military base gun-free zone,” Mr. Trump said. “If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad.”

A 19-year-old seaman at the Pensacola base who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press said the pair of shootings on bases this week had “spooked” him, and made him reconsider his own safety.

“You think they’d be safe, but they’re really not,” he said as he sheltered in place on Friday morning. “You have an ID, you can get right in. You could hide a gun in your trunk or anything along those lines.”

John Ismay and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs contributed reporting from New York. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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The Unlikely Rise of Pete Buttigieg: A closer look at the mayor who could be president

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6112153164001_6112157905001-vs The Unlikely Rise of Pete Buttigieg: A closer look at the mayor who could be president Rebecca Kesten Michael Tobin fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc Cyd Upson c8750579-43e8-535a-86c8-60ea4d8c0c50 article

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Suddenly, the man to beat in the crowded field of Democrats running for president is Pete Buttigieg. The millennial and openly-gay candidate is impressing the nation as he polls double digits ahead of the rest of the field in Iowa and is in third place in New Hampshire. While he is credited with making some progress as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, his critics say he remains inexperienced, and it’s not enough to qualify him to become the leader of the free world.

Fox News traveled to the midwest rust belt city for a Buttigieg leadership series broadcast on Fox News’ “Special Report” to find out how South Bend residents feel about Mayor Pete.

Jody Freid, who spent most of her life in South Bend told Fox News, “I have seen South Bend grow. When you travel around the United States and the world and you mention South Bend, Indiana no one ever heard of South Bend until you mention [University of] Notre Dame. Now they know about South Bend and they mention Mayor Pete. She added, “He’s very thoughtful, he’s very controlled, he’s just amazing human being.”

BUTTIGIEG PICKS UP SUPPORT FROM THREE LEADING OBAMA-ERA OFFICIALS

Ebony Poindexter, another resident of South Bend, was not equally as impressed with Buttigieg’s leadership, telling Fox News, “Before he was mayor. South Bend was a better place to be.”

Asked why Buttigieg is having a hard time getting support from the African American community, she said, “There’s no communication with the minorities,”.adding “you’ll see him out in the Mishawaka area or Notre Dame area but he doesn’t come out to the black communities and try to find out what’s going on.”

What Buttigieg might lack at 37-years-old, is the kind of experience he was surrounded by on the Democrat debate stage Nov. 20th in Atlanta.

In fiery exchanges with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Hawaiian Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Buttigieg defended his lack of Washington D.C. experience: “Washington experience is not the only experience that matters. There’s more than 100 years of Washington experience on this stage, and where are we right now as a country?”

Buttigieg often emphasizes his time as a naval intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan and his experience as a decision-maker in the mayor’s office.

Indiana Republicans see a candidate who has maxed his potential in a red state pointing out that the only time Buttigieg ran statewide was for treasurer in 2010 and he was clobbered.

“It doesn’t take much after running statewide and losing by 25 points to realize that if you have a political future, it’s probably not in Indiana,” Kyle Hupfer, the president of the Indiana GOP, told Fox News.

Democrat resident Henry Davis Jr. lost to Buttigieg in the primary in the mayoral campaign of 2015. He says Buttigieg’s time in the mayor’s office was needed to fill out an ambitious politician’s resume.

“He has always looked to South Bend as a stepping stone, an internship perhaps,” Davis said.

BUTTIGIEG DISMISSES BIDEN’S ‘ESTABLISHMENT’ ENDORSEMENT FROM KERRY

With all his strengths as a rising star in the crowded field of Democrats competing for the nomination, a glaring weakness for Buttigieg is support from African-Americans. As mayor, Buttigieg’s trouble started early in his first term when he stumbled upon complicated race relations, angering police and African-Americans at the same time.

Following an alleged phone-tapping scandal, Buttigieg fired the city’s first African-American police chief, Daryl Boykins, and replaced him with a white chief. In his memoir, Shortest Way Home, the mayor wrote that the tapes case “affected my relationship with the African American community in particular for years to come.”

Now, in his race for the presidency, a recent poll found him at 0 percent support amongst black South Carolina Democrats.

Buttigieg’s mayoral opponent Davis told Fox News, “I don’t think he cares to connect with African American voters. His record here in South Bend is abysmal as it relates to African American affairs.”

In 2016, Buttigieg hired the city’s first Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Christina Brooks. She has heard the criticism, and says there’s no quick fix. “When you build authentic relationships it takes time. And he’s you know 37 years old and he’s not afraid to say that there are things that he’s still learning.”

Brooks doesn’t see that has a bad thing.  “But as he learns them he masters them,” she adds. “And I think that’s one thing that we can look for forward to in leadership from him.”

In June, Buttigieg took a break from the campaign trail to try to calm protests back home after a white police officer, Ryan O’Neill, shot and killed Eric Logan, a black man who the police say refused orders to drop a knife.

What Buttigieg has mastered is fundraising. His campaign has drummed up more than 50-million dollars and has 23-million ready to spend. Only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have raised more money or have more on hand. And Michael Bloomberg promises to spend 30-million on ads.

“There is political skill involved. He really has invested heavily in volunteers and headquarters in these early primary and caucus states,” said Elizabeth Bennion, a professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend.

Several times, Bennion referred to the term symbolic politics when discussing Buttigieg as a presidential candidate.

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“Symbolic politics have less to do with the specific policies people pass, and more to do with what they represent,” said Bennion. “As a young candidate and a millennial–as somebody who has created a sense of optimism and moving forward for many people in the city of South Bend–that seems to be what he represents to a lot of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire right now. A fresh start. And that symbolic politics matters a lot in a head of state.”

The announcement of his presidential bid from the old Studebaker plant was overtly symbolic too–as the Buttigieg team boasts the return of some 12-thousand jobs.

Jeff Rea, the president and CEO of the South Bend Regional, says a slow recovery was already underway when Buttigieg was elected.

“Pete came in and really put his foot on the gas pedal and accelerated those improvements to happen,” he said.

South Bend tells a tale of two cities under Buttigieg. The neighborhoods that suffered the same fate as many rust belt towns when auto manufacturing dried up and the population shrank. And the downtown, where cranes now tower over the small skyline. Where the young mayor pushed for 33-million dollars in public investments on things like “smart sewers” which use real-time monitoring sensors to prevent flooding and “smart streets” that are pedestrian friendly and intended–among other things–to get people out of their cars and into the downtown shops.

In the poorer neighborhoods of South Bend where blight has taken over, Mayor Buttigieg executed an initiative to demolish 1,000 abandoned homes in 1,000 days.

“He goes to these African American communities that are suffering already from the lack of investment over the years and takes a wrecking ball or machine to remove the homes,” Davis told Fox News. “There is no plan in place to return housing back to these areas.”

Former South Bend City Controller Mark Neal, who also served as deputy mayor while Buttigieg was deployed oversees, said progress is happening.

“Well for the neighbors who lived next door to those deteriorating properties, thank goodness the houses were taken down,” Neal said. “And you now see some infill take place. You’ve have community groups that have begun doing some infill work for themselves. Local people buying properties building smaller homes newer homes or rehabbing other homes to make them now new rentals or make them office space.”

Fox News asked Rea, a Republican, if he thought the South Bend mayor has what it takes to go from running a city of 101,000 people to running a country of over 300 million.

“We’ve seen firsthand that executive experience where he’s tried to craft smart solutions to the issues at hand,” Rea said. “I suppose you could argue that he hasn’t sat across the table from world leaders and negotiated with them on peace treaties or whatever, but in terms of running a very large complex organization, Pete’s done it on a small scale here and that’s given us a chance to feel like he could do it on a larger scale as well.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6112153164001_6112157905001-vs The Unlikely Rise of Pete Buttigieg: A closer look at the mayor who could be president Rebecca Kesten Michael Tobin fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc Cyd Upson c8750579-43e8-535a-86c8-60ea4d8c0c50 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6112153164001_6112157905001-vs The Unlikely Rise of Pete Buttigieg: A closer look at the mayor who could be president Rebecca Kesten Michael Tobin fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox news fnc/politics fnc Cyd Upson c8750579-43e8-535a-86c8-60ea4d8c0c50 article

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White House Counsel Calls On House Democrats To End Impeachment ‘Charade’

Westlake Legal Group 5deadc67240000ab005a296a White House Counsel Calls On House Democrats To End Impeachment ‘Charade’

The White House told Democrats they should end the impeachment investigation on Friday, shortly before President Donald Trump let pass a deadline to agree to participate in the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

In a letter addressed to committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called the proceedings “baseless” and a “charade.”

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade,” Cipollone wrote. “You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings.”

He added: “Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history.”

Nadler responded to Cipollone’s letter on Friday in a statement saying, “The American people deserve answers from President Trump.”

“We gave President Trump a fair opportunity to question witnesses and present his own to address the overwhelming evidence before us. After listening to him complain about the impeachment process, we had hoped that he might accept our invitation,” Nadler wrote.

He added: “If the President has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the Committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair. The President’s failure will not prevent us from carrying out our solemn constitutional duty.”

A senior White House official, who asked to remain anonymous, told HuffPost on Friday: “We don’t see any reason to participate because the process is unfair. Speaker Pelosi has already announced the predetermined result. They will not give us the ability to call any witnesses.”

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked that articles of impeachment be prepared against Trump, saying the president’s actions have left the House “no choice.”

The Judiciary Committee took over the impeachment hearings this week from the House Intelligence Committee, which earlier questioned a host of current and former administration officials to determine if Trump had acted improperly when he pressured the leader of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter.

The witnesses testified that Trump waged an explicit campaign for a quid pro quo, demanding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky open probes into the Bidens and into a discredited 2016 conspiracy theory in exchange for the release of nearly $400 million in military aid and a prestigious visit to the White House.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, referring to the July 25 call as “perfect” and accusing Democrats of attempting to undermine the 2016 election results.

The Trump administration faced a 5 p.m. deadline on Friday to say whether it wanted to participate in a Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. The panel is expected to hear from Intelligence Committee lawyers that day regarding their investigation into the president’s actions.

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GOP senators seek records on ‘connection’ between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6101490511001_6101476334001-vs GOP senators seek records on 'connection' between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016 fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 1e09c935-596d-596d-940a-722d48bba18c

The GOP chairmen of the Senate committees that would be involved in an impeachment trial are seeking records and interviews related to allegations that a Democratic National Committee consultant solicited derogatory information about the Trump campaign from Ukrainian embassy officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

In a news release Friday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said they are looking to obtain records and transcribed staff interviews with two individuals reportedly involved in an effort by Ukrainian embassy officials to “undermine” the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE REPUBLICANS COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

“To believe that the mainstream media will investigate all things Russia or Ukraine is to hope against hope,” Graham said in a statement Friday. “The hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was done by the Russians and no one else. Whether there’s a connection between Democratic operatives and Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election has yet to be determined.”

He added: “It will only be found by looking. We intend to look.”

The requests from Grassley, Graham and Johnson come as House Democrats are entering what may be the final phase of their impeachment inquiry ahead of introducing articles of impeachment for a vote. Should the House approve impeachment articles and trigger a trial in the Senate, Republicans plan to turn the tables on Democrats, by looking more closely at issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings.

Friday’s requests are a continuation of an inquiry that Grassley launched in 2017 when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley, at the time, was questioning the actions of then-DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa, which he said seemed to show that she was “simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, Ukraine, and on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence not only the U.S. voting population but U.S. government officials.”

Chalupa has denied the accusations: “For the record: I have never worked for a foreign government. I have never been to Ukraine. I was not an opposition researcher. In 2008, I knew Manafort worked for Putin’s interests in Ukraine. I reported my concerns about him to the NSC in 2014 & sounded the alarm bells in 2016,” Chalupa tweeted last month.

In addition to the interview and records requests, Johnson, Grassley and Graham are requesting “staff-led transcribed interviews” with Chalupa, and Andrii Telizhenko, a political officer within the Ukrainian embassy at the time. Telizhenko reportedly was ordered to assist in an off-the-books investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which included then-Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort’s prior business dealings in the region.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday blasted the latest GOP efforts, saying it “undermines our democracy.”

“Putin and his intelligence services disinformation campaign team in Moscow couldn’t have cooked up a more useful tool for spreading conjured and baseless conspiracy theories than the one Chairmen Graham, Grassley and Johnson announced today,” Schumer said in a statement.

Last month, Johnson and Grassley also requested information from the National Archives and Records Administration regarding meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and Democratic National Committee officials. They also requested Justice Department records related to the FBI’s interactions with Chalupa.

The Republicans emphasized Friday that their interest in Ukraine does not mean they deny Russia’s meddling in 2016.

“The senators’ inquiries are unrelated to an uncorroborated theory that Ukraine was also behind the hack of the DNC servers,” the statement from the senators said. “U.S. intelligence officials and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that Russia was responsible for the DNC hack.”

The three senators have also recently requested information related to potential conflicts of interest and political influence by Ukraine, including the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, which employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on the board. At the time, the elder Biden was running U.S.-Ukraine relations and policy for the Obama administration.

And Graham, last month, alone, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and to a meeting between son Hunter Biden’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

This pertains to questions surrounding the elder Biden’s role in pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma. Biden denies any wrongdoing, but Republicans have pressed for details throughout the impeachment process, in a bid to show that even though President Trump’s pressure campaign on Kiev triggered the impeachment inquiry, his concern was legitimate.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

TRUMP THREATENS TO HAVE SCHIFF, BIDENS, PELOSI TESTIFY IN SENATE TRIAL AS HE DARES HOUSE TO IMPEACH

Meanwhile, Trump challenged House Democrats this week to impeach him “fast” so that he can have a “fair trial” in the Senate. He also threatened to seek testimony from the Bidens, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, D-Calif., then dramatically called for the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.

“The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power,” Pelosi said.

But despite his threats, the president does not, alone, have the power to call witnesses to testify in those proceedings. In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

A senior Senate Republican aide told Fox News last month that once they receive articles of impeachment, they will begin working on two resolutions — one that governs the timeline of the trial, and the other that sets up witnesses for closed-door depositions, as well as which witnesses will be required to testify on the stand.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

The aide suggested that Republican senators – like Graham, Johnson, and Grassley – could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial in their recent attempts to obtain documents and information from the administration and companies related to Hunter Biden.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6101490511001_6101476334001-vs GOP senators seek records on 'connection' between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016 fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 1e09c935-596d-596d-940a-722d48bba18c   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6101490511001_6101476334001-vs GOP senators seek records on 'connection' between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016 fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc Brooke Singman article 1e09c935-596d-596d-940a-722d48bba18c

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Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’

Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article

Fans couldn’t get enough of a local hardware store’s holiday commercial and are dubbing the adorable spot the “best Christmas ad of the year.”

Spending less than $150 to create the viral ad, Hafod Hardware — a family-owned business in Rhayader, Wales –premiered the ad on Monday and was immediately inundated with praise for its quality and creativity, given its budget.

The ad shows two-year-old Arthur managing the hardware shop owned by his father, Tom Jones; it follows the boy as he goes about the day-to-day duties operating the family business as the shop’s “owner.”

Arthur wakes up and gets himself ready for the day ahead as he enjoys breakfast before making his way to the shop.

TOM SHILLUE OFFERS THE TREAL REASON BEHIND THE PELOTON AD OUTRAGE: ‘EXPRESSIVE EYEBROWS’

Arthur then sets up for the day, putting the “open” sign on the sidewalk and sweeping the floors. The boy repairs tools and wraps a customer’s purchase in holiday-themed paper as he offers the patron a “thumbs up” after his admirable gift wrap job.

PELOTON ACTOR SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ROLE IN CONTROVERSIAL AD

The day progresses with Arthur crunching numbers on a calculator while the camera pans to his coloring book and ends with a young Arthur exiting the store for the day while carrying a moderately-sized Christmas tree back home. The words “Be a kid this Christmas” appear at the bottom of the screen of the 2-minute piece.

The BBC reported that the store had been making holiday ads for the past seven years, but this latest release seems to be the most-appreciated one so far.

“Absolutely beautiful! Brought a tear to my eye, [and a] smile to my face. Best Christmas ad of the year,” wrote one Twitter user. Another person echoed the sentiment, writing, “This must be my favorite advert in some time. It beautifully captures something adverts tend to miss. It touches home to those who appreciate family, hard work, being a kid and Christmas.”

‘PELOTON HUSBAND’ CONFUSED BY VIRAL FAME: ‘I’M GRAPPLING WITH THE NEGATIVE OPINIONS’

Speaking to Wales Online, Jones said the video features four generations of his family and was shot in a single day, with assistance from a pal who is a filmmaker. He said his only expense for creating the ad was the approximately $131 he spent for permission to use a cover of the 1984 Alphaville smash, “Forever Young.”

In discussing his son’s performance in the film-like advertisement, Jones couldn’t contain his excitement about the final product.

“He was so good,” Jones said. “They say never work with animals or children but he was a joy — I’m bursting with pride.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“People have come to the shop to say how much they love it,” Jones added. “It’s really, really nice.”

Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article   Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article

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Megathread: White House won’t take part in House Judiciary impeachment hearings

Westlake Legal Group uIWokY_pkvXeY1hvtYtaydSR8lZPxZfaKuDB15JBtEo Megathread: White House won't take part in House Judiciary impeachment hearings r/politics

The White House will not participate in future House Judiciary Committee hearings that are designed to outline evidence in support of President Donald Trump’s removal from office.

In a one page letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), White House Counsel Pat Cipollone criticized the ongoing impeachment inquiry as “completely baseless” and that it violates “basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”


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Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’

Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article

Fans couldn’t get enough of a local hardware store’s holiday commercial and are dubbing the adorable spot the “best Christmas ad of the year.”

Spending less than $150 to create the viral ad, Hafod Hardware — a family-owned business in Rhayader, Wales –premiered the ad on Monday and was immediately inundated with praise for its quality and creativity, given its budget.

The ad shows two-year-old Arthur managing the hardware shop owned by his father, Tom Jones; it follows the boy as he goes about the day-to-day duties operating the family business as the shop’s “owner.”

Arthur wakes up and gets himself ready for the day ahead as he enjoys breakfast before making his way to the shop.

TOM SHILLUE OFFERS THE TREAL REASON BEHIND THE PELOTON AD OUTRAGE: ‘EXPRESSIVE EYEBROWS’

Arthur then sets up for the day, putting the “open” sign on the sidewalk and sweeping the floors. The boy repairs tools and wraps a customer’s purchase in holiday-themed paper as he offers the patron a “thumbs up” after his admirable gift wrap job.

PELOTON ACTOR SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ROLE IN CONTROVERSIAL AD

The day progresses with Arthur crunching numbers on a calculator while the camera pans to his coloring book and ends with a young Arthur exiting the store for the day while carrying a moderately-sized Christmas tree back home. The words “Be a kid this Christmas” appear at the bottom of the screen of the 2-minute piece.

The BBC reported that the store had been making holiday ads for the past seven years, but this latest release seems to be the most-appreciated one so far.

“Absolutely beautiful! Brought a tear to my eye, [and a] smile to my face. Best Christmas ad of the year,” wrote one Twitter user. Another person echoed the sentiment, writing, “This must be my favorite advert in some time. It beautifully captures something adverts tend to miss. It touches home to those who appreciate family, hard work, being a kid and Christmas.”

‘PELOTON HUSBAND’ CONFUSED BY VIRAL FAME: ‘I’M GRAPPLING WITH THE NEGATIVE OPINIONS’

Speaking to Wales Online, Jones said the video features four generations of his family and was shot in a single day, with assistance from a pal who is a filmmaker. He said his only expense for creating the ad was the approximately $131 he spent for permission to use a cover of the 1984 Alphaville smash, “Forever Young.”

In discussing his son’s performance in the film-like advertisement, Jones couldn’t contain his excitement about the final product.

“He was so good,” Jones said. “They say never work with animals or children but he was a joy — I’m bursting with pride.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“People have come to the shop to say how much they love it,” Jones added. “It’s really, really nice.”

Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article   Westlake Legal Group Hafod-Hardware Fans are raving over this local hardware store’s $130 commercial: ‘Best Christmas ad of the year’ Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/media fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c12de8d2-01e4-539a-8564-ac4af3457ef9 article

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