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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 48)

New Statue Unveiled In Response To Richmond’s Confederate Monuments

Westlake Legal Group ap_19275726171527-b5e442f1f73dddef42363b7e70da95ad9ae19938-s1100-c15 New Statue Unveiled In Response To Richmond's Confederate Monuments

Kehinde Wiley’s statue, “Rumors of War,” seen at New York’s Times Square in late September. The work was unveiled Tuesday in Richmond as a permanent installation. Bebeto Matthews/AP hide caption

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Bebeto Matthews/AP

Westlake Legal Group  New Statue Unveiled In Response To Richmond's Confederate Monuments

Kehinde Wiley’s statue, “Rumors of War,” seen at New York’s Times Square in late September. The work was unveiled Tuesday in Richmond as a permanent installation.

Bebeto Matthews/AP

In Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War, towering monuments to Confederate leaders stand in the middle of the city. One statue depicts cavalry commander Gen. J.E.B. Stuart sitting upon a muscular horse, striking a heroic pose.

About a mile away, a similar bronze sculpture has been installed, but instead of a Confederate general, it portrays a black man with dreads, wearing a hoodie and Nikes.

The statue called “Rumors of War” was built by Kehinde Wiley, widely known for painting the official portrait of President Barack Obama. After spending several weeks on display in Times Square, Wiley officially unveiled the three-story-tall statue Tuesday at its permanent home in front of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“It is monumental and not just a figure of speech, it is truly monumental, in terms of its ability to be a seismic shift in how we perceive and how we understand ourselves as people living here,” Valerie Cassel Oliver, the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, told NPR’s Newscast Unit.

The museum wrote the new sculpture “commemorates African American youth lost to the social and political battles being waged throughout our nation.”

Westlake Legal Group ap_17235510721268_wide-60dd4f89653a7e8b7bf4cd04a47d64f78764b152-s1100-c15 New Statue Unveiled In Response To Richmond's Confederate Monuments

The statue of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Ave. in Richmond, as seen in August 2017. The monument was an inspiration for a new statue that was installed about a mile away. Chad Williams/AP hide caption

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Chad Williams/AP

Westlake Legal Group  New Statue Unveiled In Response To Richmond's Confederate Monuments

The statue of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Ave. in Richmond, as seen in August 2017. The monument was an inspiration for a new statue that was installed about a mile away.

Chad Williams/AP

Richmond has a long history of coming to terms with its Confederate past. In an attempt to tell a more comprehensive story, officials have authorized several changes, including renaming a school and some streets.

Several Confederate statues still stand near the city center. In these monuments Wiley found inspiration to reflect the country’s discussion on race, history and inequality.

“In these toxic times art can help us transform and give us a sense of purpose,” Wiley said. “This story begins with my seeing the Confederate monuments. What does it feel like if you are black and walking beneath this? We come from a beautiful, fractured situation. Let’s take these fractured pieces and put them back together.”

Hundreds of people attended the official unveiling, which included remarks by Gov. Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.

Julian Hayter, a historian and associate professor at The University of Richmond, sees Wiley’s installation as a way to push back against narratives about the Confederacy that minimize or deny the role of slavery and racism in the Civil War.

“Many of the institutions that are springing up and the ideas and the artistry that’s, in some ways, emerging to replace this imagery is a direct response to the methodology of the Lost Cause and its gained particular momentum in the last several years with the rise of white supremacy in the 21st century,” Hayter told NPR.

Richmond is just one of many communities contemplating its relationship with Confederate monuments. Earlier this year, a Virginia judge blocked efforts to take down a Charlottesville statue of Robert E. Lee. Some officials, barred from removing monuments, are instead choosing to add plaques alongside the statues that discuss the historical context of their subjects.

In 2018, protesters tore down a Confederate monument known as Silent Sam at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Activists’ celebrations turned into outrage as they found out the university was paying the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans $2.5 million to preserve it.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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Why European Countries Are Reluctant to Repatriate Citizens Who Are ISIS Fighters

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1178786955-bfa4bad11b89b62e8ad4eec994c326d77f7bd189-s1100-c15 Why European Countries Are Reluctant to Repatriate Citizens Who Are ISIS Fighters

Suspected Islamic State militants languish in a prison cell in northeastern Syria in October. The Pentagon has reported about 10,000 ISIS fighters are being held in prison facilities in northeastern Syria. Some 2,000 are said to be foreign fighters, with the rest identified as Iraqi and Syrian nationals. Of the 2,000 foreign fighters, an estimated 800 are from European nations. Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Why European Countries Are Reluctant to Repatriate Citizens Who Are ISIS Fighters

Suspected Islamic State militants languish in a prison cell in northeastern Syria in October. The Pentagon has reported about 10,000 ISIS fighters are being held in prison facilities in northeastern Syria. Some 2,000 are said to be foreign fighters, with the rest identified as Iraqi and Syrian nationals. Of the 2,000 foreign fighters, an estimated 800 are from European nations.

Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump is continuing to put pressure on European governments to repatriate their ISIS fighters, who the Pentagon says are being held in “pop-up prisons” in northeastern Syria.

“Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?” Trump asked French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of last week’s NATO leaders meeting in London. “I can give them to you.” To which Macron replied, “Let’s be serious.”

The awkward exchange between the two world leaders was emblematic of the wider issue at hand. The Trump administration wants Europe to take back its terrorist fighters, but European leaders have brushed away the idea.

Trump previously threatened to drop “thousands” of ISIS fighters into Europe should the various countries continue to shy away from taking them back.

“We’re holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now, and Europe has to take them,” he told reporters in August. “If Europe doesn’t take them, I’ll have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came, which is Germany and France and other places.”

The Pentagon earlier this year reported that an estimated 10,000 ISIS fighters are being held in prison facilities scattered across northeastern Syria. About 2,000 of the detainees are said to be foreign fighters, with the rest identified as Iraqi and Syrian nationals. Of the 2,000 foreign fighters held in Syria, an estimated 800 are from European nations.

U.S. military officials have warned that Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces do not have the capacity to detain thousands of ISIS fighters. Washington has repeatedly called on European countries to repatriate their citizens and try them in their home countries.

“We need countries to repatriate their citizens now more than ever because of the possibly grave consequences of foreign terrorist fighters returning to their home countries on their own and unchecked,” a State Department official told NPR.

The prospect of repatriating ISIS fighters is deeply unpopular in most European countries. A recent poll in France found 89% of respondents opposed the return of adult fighters.

In Britain, where voters will elect a new parliament on Thursday, politicians are treading especially carefully.

“We certainly want to see those responsible for atrocities and crimes given justice in the region, so far as that is practical,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in October. “In relation to the question of returns, we do not want to see foreign fighters returning to this country.”

A deadly attack on London Bridge by an extremist who’d previously been jailed on terrorism charges caused more jitters last month.

Public opinion and memories of recent terrorist attacks in Belgium, France, Germany and the U.K. have put politicians in a bind. Even though most politicians and experts agree that repatriating ISIS fighters would be far safer than leaving them in badly protected prisons, advocating for such an approach is tantamount to political suicide, said Thomas Renard, a senior research fellow at the Egmont Institute in Brussels.

“If European countries do set in place repatriation campaigns, it possibly is going to cost them in terms of votes, and it’s going to make these governments a relatively easy target for far-right political parties and populist parties,” he said.

The U.K. and Denmark have taken some of the most drastic measures thus far by stripping alleged ISIS fighters and their family members of their citizenship in certain instances. Other countries, such as Germany and Sweden, have considered similar plans of their own.

Many European countries have argued it will be difficult to prosecute or convict alleged ISIS fighters for their crimes due to a lack of evidence. Countries might have to settle for minimal sentences, meaning convicted terrorists could be back on Europe’s streets in a few short years.

So far, critics say, efforts to rehabilitate former and would-be extremists across Europe have not produced encouraging results. Usman Khan, the London Bridge attacker, served only half of his 16-year sentence and was considered a success story for his rehabilitation program. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to blame his country’s previous administration for the system of early release for convicted terrorists.

“If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offense, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years — and some should never be released,” Johnson said last week.

In France, an attempt to establish deradicalization centers ended after only five months in 2017. French politician Philippe Bas, a senator from the center-right Republicans party, called the government’s plan a “total fiasco.”

But Renard argues that doing nothing is far riskier.

“If you leave these foreign fighters in the [Middle East] region, there’s a risk that they will further continue radicalizing,” he said. “There is also the risk that they may be released by the Kurds, the Turks or the Iraqis at some point and make their way back to Europe in an uncontrolled manner. That’s kind of the worst-case scenario.”

If fighters stay in the Middle East, they might rejoin ISIS or other terrorist groups, Renard added.

Several nations, including Germany and France, have transferred some of their nationals to Iraq for prosecution. Between May 26 and June 3, 11 French defendants were sentenced to death by hanging in an Iraqi court.

Repatriating adult male fighters is not the only question vexing Europe — there is also the question of what to do with their family members. The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that 11,000 of the roughly 70,000 residents of Syria’s al-Hol camp are relatives of foreign ISIS fighters. Most are women and children. U.S. Central Command described the residents of al Hol and other, smaller refugee camps as potentially susceptible to ISIS messaging, coercion and enticement.

Most European governments have said they would consider repatriating children, at least up to a certain age. “However, in reality, it has not resulted in a proactive repatriation campaign for children in the region,” Renard said.

An official from the German Federal Foreign Office with knowledge of the situation told NPR the country has been working for several months to facilitate the transfer of German children from northern Syria. Four children arrived in Germany in August, the spokesperson said. The U.K. has repatriated a small number of orphaned children of British ISIS fighters. France has also repatriated several children this year. But a poll in France found two-thirds of people favored leaving the children of jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, warned in May that some of the children of ISIS fighters are at risk of becoming “the next generation of suicide bombers.” He described the situation as a “ticking time bomb.”

Finding a common European approach to repatriating militants is complicated by the fact that not all nations on the continent share the same concerns. The European Parliament has not adopted an official position on the repatriation of ISIS fighters, as it falls under the jurisdiction of individual EU member states.

“Some countries are not even concerned at all because they have no citizen in Syria and Iraq, so it only concerns only a minority of the member states,” Renard said.

However, he proposes that countries facing the same issues develop a shared strategy to ease logistical and legal burdens of repatriation.

In addition, a number of European nations currently don’t have consular services in Damascus, Syria’s capital, and rely on the help and support of humanitarian organizations and Syrian Kurds.

Turkey’s recent incursion into parts of northern Syria, anti-government protests in Iraq and the ongoing civil war in Syria all make an already-complicated situation more so. Turkey recently deported captured fighters hailing from the United States, Denmark and Germany back to their native countries, and threatened to send more in the future.

“These gates will open and these IS members who have started to be sent to you will continue to be sent. Then you can take care of your own problem,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned last month.

Stavros Lambrinidis, the European Union ambassador to the United States, told NPR that Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria resulted in the escape of many foreign fighters.

“That is the real danger. If we’re going to be serious about the business of ensuring that ISIS does not find a way to rear its ugly head again and to be a real threat, we must be able to address this issue looking at the totality of the risks of people escaping and destabilizing Syria again in a way that creates new radicalization,” he said. “This is a classic example of a case that we ought to be much better coordinated together, Americans and Europeans.”

Despite the risks of leaving Western-born fighters in Syria and Iraq, Renard believes European countries’ reluctance to repatriate their citizens will continue.

“Two months ago, if you would have told [me] about the situation that we have seen unfolding in northern Syria, I would have said that in those circumstances European governments would change their position, but that didn’t happen,” he said. “I thought it would take a lot for European governments to change their response, but apparently it takes more than a lot. It takes everything, and I do fear that European governments are stuck in their political reason, and that they will not change their mind.”

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

Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation

Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is facing intraparty opposition ahead of a vote on drug pricing legislation that progressives have complained doesn’t go far enough in regulating costs for Americans.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) — along with progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — pushed for more aggressive cost control.

According to Politico, CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal, D-Wa., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., have privately said they had enough votes to reject the bill.

DR. MATTHEW STRYKER: WHO PROFITS FROM DRUG PRICE DECREASES?

While the bill likely won’t gain traction in the GOP-led Senate, it could serve as an opportunity for Democrats to advance a drug pricing plan as the administration advocated its own.

The Democrats’ legislation would focus on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the most expensive drugs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would save the agency $345 billion over a decade.

But according to the White House, it would block 100 drugs from reaching the market by threatening a 95 percent excise tax on sales of drugs that don’t abide by Health and Human Services’ pricing. Pelosi’s plan would presumably have a more wide-reaching impact in that it would make negotiated drug prices available to everyone — not just those with Medicare.

If progressives shoot down the legislation, it would likely feed the White House’s narrative that progressives are thwarting the will of the leadership. “Is anyone surprised their socialist 2020 candidates want to drive their party even further left?” Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Michael Joyce told Fox News.

TRUMP LOOKS TO CANADA TO HELP LOWER US PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

On Monday, Pelosi reportedly called the potential insurrection a “bad idea.” She’s currently leading her caucus in what appears to be a united front in impeaching President Trump. A progressive revolt could disrupt that unified image as Democrats head into the 2020 primary season. Leading candidates have promised bold reform like “Medicare-for-all,” a prospect that could look even less likely if House Democrats are unable to compromise on drug pricing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an icon of the House’s progressive wing, will likely oppose the legislation. “They stripped out everything that looked like progress,” spokesperson Corbin Trent said, according to The Intercept. Jayapal, in particular, has pushed for cost controls that would block price hikes beyond the rate of inflation.

Ocasio-Cortez previously clashed with leadership over a bipartisan bill funding immigration enforcement agencies during the migrant crisis. Pelosi has also indicated that the New York congresswoman wouldn’t get leadership’s support while pushing her signature Green New Deal. She’s also said she’s “not a big fan of Medicare-for-all,” a policy favored by Jayapal, Warren, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi’s office has described the bill — titled the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act” — as “bold action to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers.”

But according to the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the plan would result in shortages and hurt new research and development.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Exorbitant healthcare costs are a direct product of decades of increasing government interference in the marketplace,” CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said in a statement to Fox News. “Ratcheting-up this interference, particularly with simplistic price controls, has predictable and undesirable results.”

On Monday, House Republicans introduced an alternative for drug pricing — the “Lower Costs, More Cures Act” — that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, among other things.

Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e   Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e

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

Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation

Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is facing intraparty opposition ahead of a vote on drug pricing legislation that progressives have complained doesn’t go far enough in regulating costs for Americans.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) — along with progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — pushed for more aggressive cost control.

According to Politico, CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal, D-Wa., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., have privately said they had enough votes to reject the bill.

DR. MATTHEW STRYKER: WHO PROFITS FROM DRUG PRICE DECREASES?

While the bill likely won’t gain traction in the GOP-led Senate, it could serve as an opportunity for Democrats to advance a drug pricing plan as the administration advocated its own.

The Democrats’ legislation would focus on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the most expensive drugs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would save the agency $345 billion over a decade.

But according to the White House, it would block 100 drugs from reaching the market by threatening a 95 percent excise tax on sales of drugs that don’t abide by Health and Human Services’ pricing. Pelosi’s plan would presumably have a more wide-reaching impact in that it would make negotiated drug prices available to everyone — not just those with Medicare.

If progressives shoot down the legislation, it would likely feed the White House’s narrative that progressives are thwarting the will of the leadership. “Is anyone surprised their socialist 2020 candidates want to drive their party even further left?” Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Michael Joyce told Fox News.

TRUMP LOOKS TO CANADA TO HELP LOWER US PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

On Monday, Pelosi reportedly called the potential insurrection a “bad idea.” She’s currently leading her caucus in what appears to be a united front in impeaching President Trump. A progressive revolt could disrupt that unified image as Democrats head into the 2020 primary season. Leading candidates have promised bold reform like “Medicare-for-all,” a prospect that could look even less likely if House Democrats are unable to compromise on drug pricing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an icon of the House’s progressive wing, will likely oppose the legislation. “They stripped out everything that looked like progress,” spokesperson Corbin Trent said, according to The Intercept. Jayapal, in particular, has pushed for cost controls that would block price hikes beyond the rate of inflation.

Ocasio-Cortez previously clashed with leadership over a bipartisan bill funding immigration enforcement agencies during the migrant crisis. Pelosi has also indicated that the New York congresswoman wouldn’t get leadership’s support while pushing her signature Green New Deal. She’s also said she’s “not a big fan of Medicare-for-all,” a policy favored by Jayapal, Warren, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi’s office has described the bill — titled the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act” — as “bold action to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers.”

But according to the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the plan would result in shortages and hurt new research and development.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Exorbitant healthcare costs are a direct product of decades of increasing government interference in the marketplace,” CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said in a statement to Fox News. “Ratcheting-up this interference, particularly with simplistic price controls, has predictable and undesirable results.”

On Monday, House Republicans introduced an alternative for drug pricing — the “Lower Costs, More Cures Act” — that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, among other things.

Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e   Westlake Legal Group Jayapal-Pelosi-Getty Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/health-care fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4e14c01d-1e9c-5e05-abe8-6c0c3e2a2f5e

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Comey is ‘delusional’ if he thinks Horowitz FISA report vindicates him, lawyer says

Former FBI director James Comey was quick to claim vindication after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) report findings were released Monday — but Republican attorney Joe diGenova found his claim of innocence “delusional.”

“I think the problem with Mr. Comey is he is delusional,” diGenova said Tuesday on Fox Nation’s “Witch Hunt.”

Comey claimed an apparent victory over the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe in 2016, saying criticism of the probe “was all lies” after Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz said investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch the 2016 investigation.

Comey, however, seemingly ignored the portion of Monday’s report where Horowitz faulted the bureau’s handling of surveillance warrants during his time as director.

“So it was all lies,” Comey tweeted, in an apparent reference to President Trump’s claims that the FBI wrongly investigated the president’s alleged ties to Russia. “No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trump’s wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.”

Westlake Legal Group comey-hearing3 Comey is 'delusional' if he thinks Horowitz FISA report vindicates him, lawyer says Yael Halon fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc e938c3ec-b38a-5d9f-96a9-f77d6078a6cc article

Former FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday said “history has its eyes on us” and encouraged people to vote for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. (AP)

Fox News Legal Analyst Gregg Jarrett, host of the Fox Nation show, broke down the “many stunning takeaways” from the report, and he asked diGenova to weigh in on Comey’s claim.

“He has talked himself into believing — and he’s a very, very good actor — he tries to be convincing but in fact…[he had a] disgraceful downfall,” diGenova said. “He basically destroyed the integrity of the FBI not only with the Hillary Clinton investigation with the server, but he basically decided he was going to destroy an American presidential candidate and then a president — and he almost succeeded.”

“If Hillary would have won, we never would have known about any of this,” he added. “Trump has saved the country by winning.”

“I think the problem with Mr. Comey is he is delusional.”

— Joe diGenova

Also joining Tuesday’s episode was Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who echoed diGenova’s concerns with the FBI director.

“It’s very clear that he’s been at the very heart of this, and I think more and more is going to be coming out,” he said. “Even the Horowitz report mentions the failure of leadership from the top down.”

U.S. Attorney John Durham, who conducted a separate investigation into the origins of the 2016 probe, said he disagreed with Horowitz’s findings on the matter and believes more evidence will surface that could potentially point to Comey’s mishandling in the opening of the investigation.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in a statement.

COMEY CLAIMS VINDICATION AFTER HOROWITZ FISA REPORT

Acting FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared to come to Comey’s defense in an ABC interview, where he highlighted the IG report’s conclusion that there was no political bias or improper motive behind the FBI’s launching of the Russia probe, saying: “I think it’s important that the inspector general found that in this particular instance, the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization.”

When asked if he had any evidence that the FBI unfairly targeted Trump’s campaign, Wray said, “I don’t,” and appeared to take offense at the notion that the FBI is part of a “deep state.”

Many, including President Trump, responded to Wray’s remarks, and diGenova echoed his frustration.

“Over the last 24 hours, one of the most disturbing events is Christopher Wray’s public statement [on] the current FBI director in which he basically is flipping pancakes. I mean the guy has no sense what an egregious offense this is to [the] FBI,” diGenova added.

To hear diGenova’s full remarks and for extended commentary from additional guests of the show, visit Fox Nation and watch the latest episode of “Witch Hunt” today.

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Westlake Legal Group Joe-Digenova-FOX Comey is 'delusional' if he thinks Horowitz FISA report vindicates him, lawyer says Yael Halon fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc e938c3ec-b38a-5d9f-96a9-f77d6078a6cc article   Westlake Legal Group Joe-Digenova-FOX Comey is 'delusional' if he thinks Horowitz FISA report vindicates him, lawyer says Yael Halon fox-news/topic/fox-nation-opinion fox-news/opinion fox-news/fox-nation fox news fnc/media fnc e938c3ec-b38a-5d9f-96a9-f77d6078a6cc article

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Andy Dick sentenced to 14 days in jail for sexual battery case: report

Andy Dick was sentenced to 14 days in jail — stemming from his 2018 sexual battery case — but was released after serving one day, according to a new report.

Dick, 53, was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery and misdemeanor simple battery in the incident, TMZ reported. According to the outlet, a judge ordered the comedian to complete community service, but he allegedly failed to complete it, which led to his two-week jail sentence.

Per TMZ, he reportedly checked in on Friday and was already checked out by Saturday due to jail overcrowding.

ANDY DICK CHARGED WITH SEXUAL BATTERY FOR ALLEGEDLY GROPING WOMAN: REPORT

In July 2018, Dick was charged for allegedly groping a woman in Los Angeles.

Westlake Legal Group andydick Andy Dick sentenced to 14 days in jail for sexual battery case: report Mariah Haas fox-news/entertainment/events/in-court fox-news/entertainment/events/arrest fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 4b65c5f6-b629-5287-a329-64dfb382e03c

Andy Dick was sentenced to 14 days in jail stemming from his 2018 sexual battery case, according to a new report. Per TMZ, the actor was released after serving one day due to jail overcrowding.  (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

The woman claimed that Dick grabbed her butt twice as he walked past her on a sidewalk in Los Angeles, TMZ reported at the time, citing law enforcement sources. He also allegedly made lewd comments. The news came months after Dick’s wife, Lina Sved, claimed he’d started drinking again and filed a restraining order against him, according to the gossip site.

COMEDIAN ANDY DICK PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO GROPING RIDE-SHARE DRIVER IN LOS ANGELES 

Dick still faces other legal problems. In October, he was arraigned on a charge of misdemeanor sexual battery after he allegedly groped a driver from a ride-hailing service. He has pleaded not guilty.

Los Angeles County prosecutors alleged that he groped a driver in West Hollywood on April 12, 2018. He is accused of reaching over and grabbing the driver’s crotch. The driver reportedly filed a police report with the L.A. County Sheriff soon after.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A rep for the comedian did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment

Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report

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Kimberley Strassel: Democrats drop ‘quid pro quo’ from impeachment case to protect Joe Biden

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Fox News Contributor and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel claimed Democrats did not include “bribery” or “quid pro quo” in their articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday because they realized that the charge could backfire and bring down their own front-runner.

In a news conference, House Democrats formally accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine, but they notably dropped some language that they have been using for weeks.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told NPR during an interview in his Congressional office just last week, “I don’t think there’s any question that the uncontested facts show this president solicited a bribe.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has accused the president of “extortion.”

“It suddenly occurred to some members of the Democratic Party that the incredibly widespread definition — this very broad definition that they had to manufacture in order to ensnare Donald Trump in it — could ensnare, for instance, their own frontrunner for the Democratic nomination,” Strassel told Fox Nation host David Webb on “Reality Check” on Tuesday.

“If you’re going to define bribery the way Adam Schiff was defining it over the last couple of weeks, where it’s supposedly anytime you asked for anything that could help you politically, you’ve engaged in bribery, well, of course, Joe Biden is guilty of the exact same thing. In fact, half of Washington probably engaged in an act like that yesterday,” Strassel argued, pointing to the former vice president’s claims that he withheld a billion-dollar loan guarantee to Ukraine until they fired their top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.

During a January 2018 event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Biden seemed to brag about his quid pro quo when he recounted a meeting he had in Ukraine, saying, “I looked at them and said, ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a —-, he got fired.”

“Now instead, we get this watered down abuse of power charge,” Strassel said, “which is equally mystifying, in that it’s not even attached or related to any statute that I know of.”

“Well, maybe they didn’t poll test that one. We know they’ve been poll-testing these various terms, ‘bribery,’ ‘quid pro quo’ and everything else,” Webb said, in reference to reports that Democrats shifted their language during the impeachment inquiry after testing various words with focus groups.

Strassel said the last-minute changes to the Democrats’ case against the president shows that Pelosi’s “worst fears” are coming true.

“Nancy Pelosi decided that she was going to try to protect her more moderate members who were demanding that this be more narrowly tailored,” she said. “There is a reason that Nancy Pelosi didn’t want to do impeachment — resisted impeachment all the way up until the end of summer — and it’s because she did not believe it would be good for her party.”

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What happens next

WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – are charges of wrongdoing that lay out specific assertions of how the president violated the U.S. Constitution and the oath of his office.

Each of the articles will be voted on separately by the Judiciary Committee later this week, possibly Thursday. Those the panel approves will go to the full House for a vote, probably with a simple majority in the Democratic-controlled body on each article.

Those that pass will be sent on to the Senate, which must hold a trial. If two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 senators, vote to convict, Trump would be removed from office and Vice President Mike Pence would become commander in chief.

Pathway of the impeachment process:How it works, where we are

How to stay updated on USA TODAY’s impeachment coverage

The articles are drawn from the work of the House Intelligence Committee, which released a 300-page report on the investigation last week.

Here is each article explained:

Abuse of Power

The allegation of abuse of power stems from Trump’s decision to withhold roughly $400 million of congressionally approved military aid from Ukraine until the country announced an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival.

In a July 25 phone call, Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden, and his son, Hunter, who worked for the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings. The “favor,” as Trump described it, was made despite a lack of evidence that Biden or his son had engaged in corrupt activities, according to the House Intelligence report.

Democrats allege the pressure Trump exerted on a foreign ally amounted to an unconstitutional use of his office for political and personal gain by trying to wound a top opponent in a way that would help Trump win re-election in 2020.

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, said the president sought “to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest.”

Trump and his GOP allies have dismissed the allegation, saying the aid was released and Ukraine never made an announcement to investigate the Bidens. In addition, they point to Zelensky’s statements that he never felt pressure to act in exchange for the aid.

Trump said Zelensky’s denial is proof that he “has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls.”

Obstruction of Congress

The allegations of obstruction are based on Trump’s lack of cooperation with the House inquiry, including defying subpoenas for documents and testimony.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in an Oct. 8 letter to Pelosi and other House leaders that the inquiry is being conducted in a manner that “violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.”

But Democrats say the decision to withhold documents and prevent witnesses from testifying as part of the Ukraine probe violates the fundamental check-and-balance system between the branches of government the country’s founders said was vital to the republic’s survival.

The White House prevented a number of mid-level and top staffers from testifying, in part because the process wouldn’t allow the president to call or cross-examine witnesses. Trump tweeted last month he wanted people to testify but was “fighting for future presidents and the Office of the President” by not letting them appear before Congress.

Despite the directive not to appear, several administration officials did testify under subpoena.

The Intelligence report said Trump intimidated witnesses who appeared before the Intelligence Committee as part of the inquiry by questioning their patriotism and subjecting them to mockery.

Contributing: Bart Jansen

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America’s Top Foundations Bankroll Attack on Big Tech

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WASHINGTON — Critics of big tech companies are eager to keep up their momentum — and some of country’s wealthiest foundations are providing the financial firepower.

Major nonprofits including the Ford and Hewlett Foundations have pledged millions of dollars in total toward taking on the power of the country’s corporate giants like Facebook and Amazon. Other supporters include groups run by George Soros, the billionaire financier, and Pierre Omidyar, an eBay founder.

The foundations regularly fund critical looks at capitalism. The Ford Foundation, for example, supports many organizations that study and fight inequality. The Hewlett Foundation, whose lineage goes back to a founder of Hewlett-Packard and has a $10 billion endowment, has put a slice of its money toward organizations re-examining the free market economic policies that dominate Washington.

But the financial support is reaching new heights, and it could help the activists keep pressure on Silicon Valley by building the sort of political might that has powered liberal policy victories on issues like civil rights and net neutrality. Activists recently announced a coalition to take on Amazon, for example, that includes organizers around the country.

One of the groups receiving foundation money is led by Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder who now publicly argues for breaking up the social media giant. His group, the Economic Security Project, is pooling some of the money and then distributing it to projects focused on antitrust and concentration concerns. Mr. Hughes, wealthy from his time at Facebook, has contributed some of the money himself.

The Economic Security Project plans to give antitrust activists $10 million over the next 18 months. On Tuesday, the organization will announce how it plans to spend the first $3 million, putting the money toward grass-roots organizers, researchers at several Washington think tanks and a group that recruits artists to make graphics that “expose how our economy really works.”

The coming years will test whether the efforts of the advocates can harness the skepticism about large corporations and the wealthy that is animating the Democratic presidential primary race. Federal and state officials have already announced investigations into Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.

Ultimately, these advocates hope to address corporate concentration in numerous businesses, including drugs and farm products, and combat rising economic inequality.

They have their work cut out for them. Tech companies spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying every year. And antitrust issues hinge on dense questions of law and economics that don’t fit on a bumper stickers.

“It’s not just about trends and corporate accountability,” said Maria Torres-Springer, the vice president for United States programs at the Ford Foundation, which has a $12 billion endowment. “It’s about creating and sustaining a movement that rebuilds political and economic power for everyday Americans.”

A leading beneficiary of the money is the Open Markets Institute, a research group whose focus on antitrust issues has been pivotal in making corporate concentration a matter of public debate. It expects to bring in more than $3 million in 2020, according to an internal document from the first half of this year. In 2016, before the group split off from a bigger organization, New America, its revenue topped out at just over $900,000.

This year, the Knight Foundation, which focuses on journalism, awarded Open Markets $2 million to study the impact that concentration among technology platforms has on the media. In September, the Ford Foundation gave it $200,000 to examine how tech monopolies affect workers. A public campaign it has led to break up Facebook will expand to include Google next year, according to Sarah Miller, the organization’s deputy director.

Mr. Hughes’s Economic Security Project is contributing to that campaign. It is also paying for Open Markets to conduct public opinion polling.

“Our view is you need an ecosystem,” Mr. Hughes said. “You need a community of people who generally share the same values but who, among themselves, may even have different approaches to the issues.”

Another progressive group, Jobs With Justice, plans to hold sessions next year explaining to people the antitrust case against tech companies in simple terms. In the draft script of the training, the session’s leader seizes on a simple metaphor, asking attendees to consider two lemonade stands.

The first stand belongs to someone whose family owns the local grocery store, so it gets its lemons free. The family’s neighbors, who opened a competing stand, aren’t so lucky. Over time, the first stand is able to slash its prices to undercut the second stand.

The session leader asks for a volunteer to play the person running the stand that can’t use a family connection to get free fruit. The volunteer has to decide whether to engage in a price war with the more powerful competitor while an organizer charts the volunteer’s dire financial situation on butcher paper.

Each situation ends with the volunteer’s lemonade stand closing and a revelation: Amazon, the session leader will tell participants, has used this tactic against its competitors.

“What we wanted to do was create some field materials, some training materials, just to even explain what a monopoly meant for people,” said Erica Smiley, Jobs With Justice’s executive director. “Outside of people maybe playing the board game, it’s kind of an old idea that maybe they learned in their fourth grade civics class but haven’t necessarily re-upped on.”

Ms. Smiley’s group is one participant in Athena, the new coalition organizing opposition to Amazon over antitrust, privacy and other concerns. The coalition says it wants to raise $15 million in its first three years.

Athena will receive money from Mr. Hughes’s fund, along with other groups trying to rally the grass roots to the cause.

The civil rights group Color of Change plans to use its funding from the project to pay for new hires to lead public campaigns around antitrust issues, while the Action Center on Race and the Economy will run “corporate campaigns designed to influence the public narrative on corporate concentration and win real victories for communities of color around the country.”

Other projects, like the artists’ group, are focused on finding new ways to explore the antitrust issue. Mr. Hughes’s group paid for a New York event in November — held by a project called the Museum of Capitalism — where people could play versions of the board game Monopoly that are meant to call out inequities in the economy.

Mr. Hughes will also finance some groups doing academic research on corporate concentration and intends to support more researchers in the future.

“If you’re going to see real change, you need a community of scholars who are in dialogue with one another,” he said.

Money is already flowing to campuses. In November, the Knight Foundation allocated $3.5 million to researchers to examine questions about digital platforms, including competition issues.

The foundation, along with Mr. Omidyar’s philanthropic network, has also provided the money to introduce an antitrust-focused initiative at Yale’s business school. In an interview, Sam Gill, a Knight executive, said the foundation had not yet taken a position on whether there should be an antimonopoly movement but felt it was important to finance inquiries into the questions posed by major tech companies.

In recent years, more potential solutions to corporate concentration have emerged. While some believe in aggressive approaches like breaking up companies, others prefer new regulations or other measures.

At a conference at the University of Utah this fall, Dan Crane, a conservative law professor, challenged a group of participants including Tim Wu, a legal scholar and New York Times contributing opinion writer who is a leading voice calling for more aggressive antitrust enforcement. Mr. Crane pushed them to be more specific about the changes they would like to see in how antitrust laws are interpreted and enforced.

Over box lunches, the group wrote a statement, later published by Mr. Wu, listing legal precedents the group hopes will be overturned and policies it hopes will be enacted.

“Those who believe in a strong revival of antitrust, and a return to its antimonopoly roots, have a duty to specify what, exactly, they mean, in concrete, legal detail,” the statement said.

Mr. Wu said that, among other purposes, the statement could be a test for judicial nominees. It’s a focus reminiscent of the playbook that helped build the conservative legal movement — which in turn shaped the antitrust laws Mr. Wu and his compatriots criticize today.

“Over a 30-year period, they won almost every one of those battles,” Mr. Wu said. “They just sort of said, ‘Here’s what it should be,’ and it happened.”

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Andrew Yang qualifies for next debate after release of new poll

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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang stands at 4 percent in a new national poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University — which means the first-time candidate and tech-entrepreneur has qualified to take the stage at next week’s sixth Democratic presidential primary debate.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden leads with 29 percent support in the poll, with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at 21 percent. Biden jumped 5 percentage points and Sanders climbed 4 points from Quinnipiac’s previous national poll in the Democratic nomination race, which was released late last month.

YANG DIPLOMATICALLY RESPONDS TO AOC’S ‘FREEDOM DIVIDEND’ CRITICISM

Prior to the release of the new survey, Yang’s campaign had said it remained one poll shy of reaching the thresholds to make the stage at the Dec. 19 showdown.

Candidates must reach at least 4 percent in four surveys recognized as qualifying polls by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or 6 percent in two polls in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Yang has already reached the other qualifying criteria — receiving contributions from at least 200,000 individual donors.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii still remains one poll shy of qualifying for the debate. She grabbed the support of 2 percent in the new Quinnipiac University survey among Democrats and independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.

On Monday, Gabbard announced that she wouldn’t attend the debate even if she qualifies. The candidate said instead, she’ll meet with voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Candidates have until the end of Thursday to reach the polling and donor thresholds. The Democratic National Committee will wait unit after the deadline to officially announce which White House hopefuls have qualified for the debate.

By qualifying, Yang, an Asian-American, becomes the first non-Caucasian candidate to make the debate stage.

BUTTIGIEG SUPPORT DROPS IN NEW QUINNIPIAC POLL

Sen. Kamala Harris — one of three black candidates running for the Democratic nomination — had qualified, but the California senator last week ended her bid for the White House. The lack of a non-white candidate on the debate stage from a field that, at its zenith, was arguably the most racially diverse in history raised concerns with some voters.

Yang — once the longest of long-shots who has seen his campaign surge to middle tier status thanks in part to his promise of a $1,000-per-month Freedom Dividend payment to all adults — has qualified for all of the Democratic primary debates.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts stands at 15 percent in the new poll, basically unchanged from last month. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg plunged from 16 percent support in last month’s poll to 9 percent.

“This is the first time Biden has had a double-digit lead since August, and Sanders’ best number since June. While Warren’s numbers seem to have stabilized, Buttigieg’s numbers have dipped,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said.

BLOOMBERG’S MASSIVE AD BLITZ SO FAR NOT BUYING THE LOVE OF PRIMARY VOTERS

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg grabbed 5 percent support in the Quinnipiac survey. The multi-billionaire business and media mogul, who declared his candidacy two and a half weeks ago, also stood at 5 percent in a Monmouth University national poll that was also released on Tuesday.

Besides Yang and Gabbard, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota stood at 3 percent. No other candidate in the still-large field of Democratic White House hopefuls topped 1 percent.

The poll also indicates that Biden, Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg and Buttigieg each with upper to middle single-digit advantages over President Trump in hypothetical 2020 general election matchups.

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The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from Wednesday to Monday, with 1,533 registered voters nationwide questioned by live telephone operators. The survey includes 665 Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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