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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 7)

Ukraine’s Leader, Wiser to Washington, Seeks New Outreach to Trump

Westlake Legal Group 12dc-lobby-1-facebookJumbo Ukraine’s Leader, Wiser to Washington, Seeks New Outreach to Trump Zelensky, Volodymyr Yanukovych, Viktor F United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Telizhenko, Andrii Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2020 Mercury Public Affairs Manafort, Paul J Lobbying and Lobbyists Lanza, Bryan

WASHINGTON — Eager to repair their country’s fraught relationship with Washington, allies of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine have met with lobbyists with close ties to the Trump administration, hopeful of creating new channels of communication.

After more than two months of anxious waiting, Mr. Zelensky finally appears to have won support from the White House for a candidate to fill Ukraine’s vacant ambassadorship to the United States.

And Mr. Zelensky, still deeply dependent on American assistance, has been signaling, in hardly subtle fashion, that he and his officials will not assist in the impeachment process, keeping quiet in particular about the fact that his government knew weeks earlier than it has publicly acknowledged that Mr. Trump had frozen nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

Nearly every world leader has struggled to figure out how to deal with Mr. Trump. But few face greater pressure to find the answer — or more hurdles to doing so — than Mr. Zelensky.

Wiser now to the ways of Washington, he and his team are carefully trying to reestablish themselves in a variety of ways as an important ally with a substantive agenda deserving of Washington’s attention and support.

They have a long ways to go. Mr. Zelensky’s team has been discouraged by the absence of expected support from Mr. Trump for Ukraine’s peace talks with Russia, as well as the lack of follow-through from the White House on a promised Oval Office meeting with Mr. Zelensky that the administration had quietly signaled might happen in late January.

Mr. Zelensky’s allies were frustrated further by Mr. Trump’s meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. And when the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani paid an unexpected visit to Kyiv last week in a continued effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump’s political opponents, no Ukrainian government officials met him.

Asked by an official at the German Marshall Fund on Friday what the Zelensky administration wants from Washington, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, who has been in Washington this week meeting with administration and congressional officials, said “all we are asking from our colleagues in the U.S. administration is fair treatment.”

He added, “We don’t want to be shamed and blamed.”

The continued push to try to overcome Mr. Trump’s grudge against Ukraine suggests Zelensky administration officials have concluded that impeachment will fail in the Senate and that they will almost certainly need to work with Mr. Trump for at least another year, and possibly another five years if Mr. Trump is re-elected.

“Our relations are not in good shape,” said Olena Zerkal, a former deputy foreign minister under Mr. Zelensky. “I don’t believe in any chemistry between our leaders.”

Mr. Zelensky’s willingness to accommodate the Trump administration has hardly gone unnoticed in Kyiv.

After the White House released a rough transcript of a July 25 call between the American and Ukrainian presidents, Mr. Zelensky was panned in Ukraine on social media for seeming too eager to please Mr. Trump. That included signaling a willingness to pursue the investigations sought by Mr. Trump into political targets like the family of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Monica Zelensky,” the Ukrainian president was called on social media in Kyiv, in a reference to the intern whose sexual relations with Bill Clinton led to the last impeachment proceedings of an American president.

Even a White House visit, if it happens, risks being seen not so much as a triumph for Mr. Zelensky as more kowtowing to Mr. Trump, who could cite it as evidence he never linked such a visit, or American military assistance for Ukraine, to investigations that would benefit him politically.

“In Kyiv, we have to place bets on the current power in Washington,” said Nikolay Kapitonenko, professor at the Institute of International Relations. But outreach to the Republican administration is not risk free, he said, adding, “Zelensky understands that taking any side is dangerous.”

The importance of American support for Ukraine — and the desire for more of it from Mr. Trump — has been on display in recent days.

An American diplomat traveled to Kyiv to express support for the Ukrainians headed into Mr. Zelensky’s first face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday in Paris.

But Trump administration officials privately told the Ukrainians that Mr. Trump himself would signal support, according to Americans and Ukrainians familiar with the matter, either via Twitter, as first reported by The Daily Beast, or possibly even an invitation for Mr. Zelensky to visit the White House next month. While Mr. Trump posted more than 100 tweets on Sunday, none expressed support for the Ukrainians headed into the peace talks.

The Trump administration had also resisted calls to levy sanctions against a Russian gas pipeline that would circumvent Ukraine. The White House reportedly worked to undermine congressional efforts to block the pipeline, though sanctions language was added to a $738 billion military policy bill that passed the House on Wednesday. And the military assistance that Democrats accuse Mr. Trump of using as leverage to force the investigations reportedly still has not fully reached Ukraine.

Those are among the issues that may help explain why the Ukrainians are considering stepping up their lobbying in Washington, despite potential political and financial costs.

During his campaign and early in his presidency, Mr. Zelensky proclaimed that he had no need to hire lobbyists like the government of his predecessor. “I never met a single lobbyist,” he said. “I don’t need this. I never paid a coin and I never will.”

Yet, in the weeks before Mr. Zelensky was elected in April, his advisers quietly worked with a Washington lobbying firm, Signal Group, to arrange meetings in Washington with Trump administration officials, as well as congressional offices and think tanks that focus on Ukraine-United States relations.

Mr. Zelensky distanced himself from the arrangement, even though Signal Group reported in a filing under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, that it was paid nearly $70,000 by Mr. Zelensky’s party through a lawyer named Marcus Cohen. Mr. Cohen, on the other hand, claimed that the money came from his own pocket, not from Mr. Zelensky’s party.

The Justice Department’s National Security Division, which oversees FARA, sent a letter to Mr. Cohen requesting information about the arrangement, then urged him to register as a foreign agent, according to people with knowledge of the situation. One of the people said that the division also audited Signal Group’s filings, informing the firm in a letter in October that the inquiry was closed.

Signal defended its FARA filings as accurate, and referred questions about Mr. Cohen’s representations to him or Mr. Zelensky’s team. Neither responded to requests for comment.

Mr. Zelensky “may find that it is best to be his own spokesperson on this subject for a while to prevent others from interpreting his words for him,” at least until “trust can be rebuilt,” Heather A. Conley, who was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of European and Eurasian affairs from 2001 to 2005, said in an email.

Ms. Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was among the think tank officials who met with one Mr. Zelensky’s advisers in April in a meeting arranged by Signal and Mr. Cohen.

They discussed Mr. Zelensky’s anticorruption and economic overhaul plans, Ms. Conley said, adding, “Ukraine faces a fraught landscape in Washington — with or without a lobbyist.”

The discussions about hiring a lobbyist, which are described as preliminary, have divided Mr. Zelensky’s team.

Some are concerned that hiring a lobbying firm with ties to Mr. Trump could jeopardize Democratic support. And some are wary of becoming involved with K Street at all, because of the specter of Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, who was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for crimes related to his lobbying for a deeply unpopular former Ukrainian government.

Yet two of the firms being discussed for possible lobbying engagement have links to Mr. Manafort, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions.

A representative of one of the firms, Mercury Public Affairs, which worked with Mr. Manafort on his Ukraine effort, met in Kyiv last month with a top aide to Mr. Zelensky. The lobbyist, Bryan Lanza, has ties to the Trump White House, and was in Ukraine on unrelated business according to people familiar with the meeting.

It was arranged by an American lawyer named Andrew Mac, who himself registered last month with the Justice Department as an unpaid lobbyist for Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Mac, who splits his time between Washington and Kyiv, was appointed by Mr. Zelensky last month as an adviser responsible for building support among the Ukrainian diaspora.

In a sign of the scrutiny in Kyiv on its new government’s tumultuous relationship with Mr. Trump, and efforts to calm it, secretly recorded video and photographs circulated of Mr. Lanza’s meeting with the Zelensky aide in a restaurant.

In an article featuring the photographs, a Ukrainian news outlet noted that Mr. Lanza helped lift sanctions against the corporate empire of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin ally. That arrangement was assailed by critics in Washington as a sweetheart deal that represented a capitulation to the Kremlin, while Mr. Lanza also lobbied to help remove potentially crippling sanctions on the Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

Mr. Mac said Mr. Lanza had been “very effective in working for his clients on difficult matters.”

Another firm that was discussed by Mr. Zelensky’s aides, Prime Policy Group, also has a Manafort link — albeit a more dated one. It was started by Charlie Black, a former business partner of Mr. Manafort’s in the 1980s and ’90s. Mr. Black’s firm has represented other clients in Ukraine, including Sergey Tigipko, a Ukrainian billionaire and former official in the government of Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Mr. Black said he had not had any conversations with Mr. Zelensky’s team about a possible contract, but would not be opposed to such an engagement.

Mr. Mac met this month in Washington to discuss Ukrainian energy issues with the former Representative Billy Tauzin, a Democrat turned Republican from Louisiana who is now a lobbyist. While someone with knowledge of the deliberations said Mr. Tauzin was not being considered as a potential lobbyist for Ukraine, he has connections that could be helpful. His congressional staff once included Dan Brouillette, who was confirmed this month as secretary of the Energy Department, upon which the Ukrainian government has relied for help with its power supply during brutally cold winters.

Ms. Conley suggested that Mr. Zelensky would be better served by an ambassador than a lobbyist, but the process of filling that vacancy has not been quick.

At least three names had been floated in recent months, and the Zelensky administration’s current preference for the position, Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, had been awaiting approval since late September or early October, according to people familiar with the process. They said that the State Department had signed off on Mr. Yelchenko weeks ago, but that the Ukrainians had grown anxious waiting for the White House to do so.

Officials in Kyiv were told that the approval would be formally communicated this week, they said. The White House and State Department did not respond to questions about the approval of Mr. Yelchenko.

Some attributed the delay to a quiet push by some Trump allies for a prospective ambassador who is closely aligned with Mr. Giuliani, Andrii Telizhenko, who had served as a low-ranking diplomat in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington under the previous government.

He was embraced by Mr. Trump’s allies after claiming that the former American ambassador to Kyiv and other Ukrainian officials worked to undermine Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. In recent months, Mr. Telizhenko has worked closely with Mr. Giuliani to advance those claims. As part of the effort, the two men traveled together to Hungary and Ukraine last week to record interviews with former Ukrainian officials for a series of programs by a conservative cable channel seeking to undermine the impeachment proceedings.

It is unclear whether Mr. Zelensky’s team ever seriously considered Mr. Telizhenko as an ambassador candidate.

Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Andrew E. Kramer from Kyiv.

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Georgia church pays off $10G in Walmart layaway in time for Christmas

“We’re blessed to be a blessing.”

That’s how an Atlanta pastor explained why his church decided to pay off $10,000 worth of layaway items in Walmart Monday.

5 FEEL-GOOD STORIES FROM THIS WEEK YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

Kevin Murriel, the senior pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church, made the announcement this week for 23 families who expressed gratitude, some left speechless by the generous gesture.

Westlake Legal Group WalmartChurch Georgia church pays off $10G in Walmart layaway in time for Christmas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 93276bbd-7685-50cc-8390-40cbf4d01629

Suwanda McCreary hugs Cascade United Methodist Church senior pastor, Kevin Murriel, after his church paid for $10,000 worth of items in layaway at an Atlanta-area Walmart. McCreary’s 28-year-old son died in April and he left three kids behind. She said it meant a lot to her. (Douglas Simmons/Dream Images Productions)

For Suwanda McCreary, it was the extra boost she needed this year. Her 28-year-old son, with whom she would go shopping every year, died in April, leaving behind three kids.

COMMUNITY RAISES $35G FOR WALMART CASHIER WHO PAID FOR WOMAN’S BILL: ‘LORD TOLD ME I HAD TO HELP HER’

“It’s a big help. It’s a tremendous help,” McCreary told WSBTV through tears. “Because I really wasn’t able to do it.”

“Everyone deserves a good Christmas,” Murriel told the families gathered. “Merry Christmas and we hope that you are blessed by this gift.”

DAD BRINGS CHRISTMAS TREE FARM TO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL TO HONOR DAUGHTER’S MEMORY

The local pastor said they are not asking for anything but just that they would “pay it forward” at some point in their lives.

Westlake Legal Group Kevin-Murriel-Walmart Georgia church pays off $10G in Walmart layaway in time for Christmas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 93276bbd-7685-50cc-8390-40cbf4d01629

Cascade United Methodist Church senior pastor, Kevin Murriel, with a young girl, Promise, who was overjoyed about the church’s generous gesture. (Douglas Simmons/Dream Images Productions)

He pointed out a young girl named Promise who was with her mother.

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“This is our future,” Murriel said. “And we want to make sure that the future is bright for Promise and those young people, children, that we have an immense responsibility to care for.”

Westlake Legal Group WalmartChurch Georgia church pays off $10G in Walmart layaway in time for Christmas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 93276bbd-7685-50cc-8390-40cbf4d01629   Westlake Legal Group WalmartChurch Georgia church pays off $10G in Walmart layaway in time for Christmas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/special/occasions/christmas fox-news/good-news fox-news/faith-values/faith fox news fnc/faith-values fnc Caleb Parke article 93276bbd-7685-50cc-8390-40cbf4d01629

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Rip Torn’s cause of death revealed

Actor Rip Torn died of Alzheimer’s, according to his death certificate.

The Emmy-winning actor died on Oct. 29 at his Los Angeles home at age 77. TMZ, which obtained the death certificate, reported that Torn fought Alzheimer’s for years before his passing.

EMMY-WINNING ACTOR RIP TORN HAS DIED AT 8

According to the outlet, the actor died due to “complications” of the disease. The certificate also listed that he had been diagnosed “years” before he died.

His body was buried in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the certificate stated.

Torn’s wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page were by side at the time of his passing, his publicist Rick Miramontez said at the time.

The actor was known for his stage and screen presence that spanned a total of seven decades.

Westlake Legal Group rip-torn-2 Rip Torn's cause of death revealed Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 60c14250-2c44-5e15-91ee-650ed24b33f9

Actor Rip Torn’s cause of death has been revealed as Alzheimer’s disease, a death certificate confirmed.  (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)

The actor had acclaimed roles in “Cross Creek” and “Sweet Bird of Youth” before transitioning into comedy with his legendary role as the ethically challenged television producer in HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” which scored him an Emmy.

The HBO spoof of TV talk shows aired from 1992 to 1998.

Born Elmore Rual Torn, the actor adopted the name Rip in his childhood, following in his father and uncle’s footsteps. His nickname caused endless ridicule during his early acting days but he refused to change his name at the behest of his former drama classmates.

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Torn was a political activist who joined James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and other cultural and civil rights leaders for a 1963 meeting with then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about the nation’s treatment of blacks.

Other film credits included: “Critics Choice” and “The Cincinnati Kid.” In Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life,” he was featured as a gregarious attorney in the afterlife.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group rip-torn Rip Torn's cause of death revealed Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 60c14250-2c44-5e15-91ee-650ed24b33f9   Westlake Legal Group rip-torn Rip Torn's cause of death revealed Melissa Roberto fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 60c14250-2c44-5e15-91ee-650ed24b33f9

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Kim Kardashian had 5 operations after son Saint’s complicated birth

Westlake Legal Group Kim-Kanye-GettyImages-1142126397 Kim Kardashian had 5 operations after son Saint's complicated birth fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cd24b8f4-de6e-53f1-b7c6-81aa84014c6a article Andy Sahadeo

Kim Kardashian revealed that she had five operations since the complicated births of her children, North and Saint West.

On Thursday, Kim took to Instagram to upload a video that included very poignant reflections about her experiences with childbirth, while promoting her brand, Skims.

KIM KARDASHIAN REMOVED FAKE NIPPLES FROM MET GALA DRESS AFTER KANYE WEST VOICED DISPLEASURE

“When I was pregnant with my daughter North, I had a condition called preeclampsia or toxemia, which is basically when the mom’s organs start to shut down,” Kim, 39, explained. “The only way to get rid of that is to deliver the baby.

“At 34 and a half weeks, I had to go into emergency labor — they induced me. North was 4 pounds. She was almost six weeks early. After I delivered, my placenta never came out, so that’s called placenta accreta. My placenta grew inside my uterus and that is what women die from in childbirth,” the “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” star noted.

KIM KARDASHIAN ADMITS SHE WAS ‘EMBARRASSINGLY OBSESSED’ WITH FAME, ISN’T BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY STUDYING LAW

Kim then detailed the process of getting pregnant with her second child, Saint, stating, “After my daughter was born, I still continued to do the process of freezing my eggs. I was able to get pregnant through that with my son Saint, and then I had two embryos left. I had the same condition, same awful delivery that I had with my first daughter.”

“After that, I actually had to have five different operations within a year and a half to fix the damage that all of that did from the inside. From the outside I was filming and [doing] photoshoots. I asked my doctors, ‘Can I do it one more time?’ And they were like, ‘We won’t even put an embryo in you — that would be like malpractice.’”

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Kim has been married to rapper Kanye West since May 2014 and the couple are parents to four children.

Following the dangerous births of her first two children, Kim had two more–daughter Chicago, 1 and son Psalm, 7 months. Both children were delivered via surrogate.

Westlake Legal Group Kim-Kanye-GettyImages-1142126397 Kim Kardashian had 5 operations after son Saint's complicated birth fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cd24b8f4-de6e-53f1-b7c6-81aa84014c6a article Andy Sahadeo   Westlake Legal Group Kim-Kanye-GettyImages-1142126397 Kim Kardashian had 5 operations after son Saint's complicated birth fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc cd24b8f4-de6e-53f1-b7c6-81aa84014c6a article Andy Sahadeo

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Amanda Bynes’ family worried about drug relapse after she flees sober living facility: report

Amanda Bynes recently fled a sober facility and now her family is worried the troubled star may relapse on drugs, according to a new report.

The actress, 33, was reportedly in treatment for mental health and was also undergoing routine drug testing at the facility.

AMANDA BYNES SPORTS NEW LOOK IN RETURN TO INSTAGRAM AFTER LONG HIATUS: ‘CHECK ME OUT’

According to The Blast, Bynes’ family is left wondering where she is now living since bailing on treatment. The “She’s the Man” star refused help from her parents, who attempted to get her back into the facility, the outlet said.

Bynes remains under a conservatorship controlled by her mother, Lynn. The agreement was extended last year to August 2020.

AMANDA BYNES PLANNING A HOLLYWOOD COMEBACK, REPORT SAYS

In September, Bynes shocked fans by returning to social media after a long hiatus. The 33-year-old took to Twitter to announce she had returned to Instagram.

“Hey guys! I’m on Instagram now!” Bynes tweeted along with a mirror selfie debuting long, pink hair and a septum piercing.

And just last week, Bynes shared a selfie rocking blue hair, and appeared to be on the move near an undisclosed parking lot.

In June, the “All That” actress announced she had graduated from Los Angeles-based Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

The former child star opened up in an interview with Paper Magazine in 2018 about her past substance abuse, in which she revealed she began smoking marijuana at the age of 16 before transitioning into harder substances.

“Even though everyone thought I was the ‘good girl,’ I did smoke marijuana from that point on,” she told the outlet. “I didn’t get addicted [then] and I wasn’t abusing it. And I wasn’t going out and partying or making a fool of myself…yet.” She recalled slipping into a darker period of her life after developing an addiction to Adderall.

AMANDA BYNES SUED BY MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY FOR ALLEGEDLY NOT PAYING BILL

Westlake Legal Group amanda-bynes-2 Amanda Bynes' family worried about drug relapse after she flees sober living facility: report Melissa Roberto fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ca3ebb2d-090e-5b33-ae6d-bd5e0378074c article

Amanda Bynes opened up in a Paper magazine story in 2018 about her substance abuse. She revealed she began smoking marijuana at age 16 before exploring harder substances. (Reuters)

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“Later on it progressed to doing molly and ecstasy,” she said. “[I tried] cocaine three times but I never got high from cocaine. I never liked it. It was never my drug of choice. I definitely abused Adderall.”

In the cover story, Bynes vowed that she had been sober for “almost four years now.”

“There are gateway drugs and thankfully I never did heroin or meth or anything like that but certain things that you think are harmless, they may actually affect you in a more harmful way. Be really, really careful because you could lose it all and ruin your entire life like I did,” she revealed.

Westlake Legal Group amanda-bynes-reg-getty Amanda Bynes' family worried about drug relapse after she flees sober living facility: report Melissa Roberto fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ca3ebb2d-090e-5b33-ae6d-bd5e0378074c article   Westlake Legal Group amanda-bynes-reg-getty Amanda Bynes' family worried about drug relapse after she flees sober living facility: report Melissa Roberto fox-news/health/mental-health/drug-and-substance-abuse fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc ca3ebb2d-090e-5b33-ae6d-bd5e0378074c article

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Danny Aiello mourned by Hollywood: ‘A true one of a kind’

Hollywood is mourning the loss of Danny Aiello after his death was announced Friday.

Per TMZ, the “Do the Right Thing” actor died Thursday night at a medical facility in New Jersey where he was being treated for a sudden illness. He was 86.

Actor Michael Rapaport tweeted out his condolences.

“Damn I’m so sad to hear the great Danny Aiello has passed away. So so sad. Such a great actor. HUGE INSPIRATION for me personally,” he wrote.

Westlake Legal Group DannyAiello1 Danny Aiello mourned by Hollywood: 'A true one of a kind' fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc da8178cf-bf9e-55b2-9b7d-64be2c98815c article Andy Sahadeo

Danny Aiello on the set of the film “Do the Right Thing,” directed by Spike Lee in New York, 1989. (Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

JUICE WRLD MOURNED BY HIP-HOP COMMUNITY: ‘TOO SOON’

“Literally one of my favorites & such a nice guy. He inspired Me so much,” Rapaport wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Cousin Sal, best known for his appearances on his cousin Jimmy Kimmel’s late night talk show, also addressed Aiello’s death.

“This is my pizzeria!!!” One of the greats. RIP Danny Aiello,” he wrote.

“God Bless Danny Aiello. His Oscar nom was for ‘Do The Right Thing’ but watch ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ to see him as a literal angel,” actor John Fugelsang wrote.

Famed film critic and former Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder tweeted out about Aiello’s passing as well.

COMEDIAN CHRIS COTTON DEAD AT 32

Cher also tweeted her condolences.

BRITISH COMEDIAN IAN COGNITO, 60, DIES ONSTAGE DURING STAND-UP ACT

Actor Luka Jones chimed in:

Billy Baldwin tweeted out a lengthy tribute.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group DannyAiello2 Danny Aiello mourned by Hollywood: 'A true one of a kind' fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc da8178cf-bf9e-55b2-9b7d-64be2c98815c article Andy Sahadeo   Westlake Legal Group DannyAiello2 Danny Aiello mourned by Hollywood: 'A true one of a kind' fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc da8178cf-bf9e-55b2-9b7d-64be2c98815c article Andy Sahadeo

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U.S.-China Trade Deal Phase 1 Is Here; December Tariffs Are Scrapped

Westlake Legal Group facebook-default-wide U.S.-China Trade Deal Phase 1 Is Here; December Tariffs Are Scrapped

China and the United States have agreed on what has been called the first phase of a trade deal.

In a tweet, President Trump said the U.S. has agreed to a “very large Phase One trade deal with China” and said tariffs on imported Chinese products that were set to take effect this weekend would not be imposed.

He also said Beijing has agreed “to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more.”

The two countries will begin negotiations over the second phase of a trade deal right away, he said.

The tariffs will be phased out gradually. The office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States would cut in half tariffs that were imposed in September on $120 billion worth of Chinese imports, but will maintain 25% tariffs on another $250 billion in imports.

China too confirmed in a press conference in Beijing that a deal was reached. Both sides are yet to sign the deal.

Officials said the agreement would cover agricultural products, intellectual property protection, currency manipulation and forced technology transfers by U.S. companies doing business in China.

All are issues that Washington has been pressing China to address for years, with limited success.

China will increase purchases of high quality and competitive products from all countries, including the United States, officials said.

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Impeachment Expert: ‘First Time in History’ We’ve Seen Trump-Mitch McConnell Type of Coordination on Senate Trial

Westlake Legal Group shxd4G7utLmOPZhPg0JVBQ-G5G4sGLSt0azeob0xGEs Impeachment Expert: ‘First Time in History’ We’ve Seen Trump-Mitch McConnell Type of Coordination on Senate Trial r/politics

It was pretty telling that almost all of the Republicans on the Judiciary committee (and some on the Intelligence committee as well), said something like “we need time and witnesses so we can mount a defense on the president’s behalf”.

Like, that’s not your role in this, motherfuckers. Your role is to defend the constitution, not the president, even if he is the de facto leader of your political party. The president could have defended himself, but he refused to cooperate in any fashion: witnesses, documentation, testimony. Nothing.

The real precedent being set here is much scarier even than election meddling or abuse of power. We’re watching Congress being torn down as a co-equal branch of government just because it’s momentarily convenient for Republicans when their guy is in the White House.

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Dead man tied to 11-year-old girl’s cold case murder in Texas through DNA

The cold case rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl has been solved after 36 years but her accused killer isn’t around to be brought to justice, a Texas TV station reported Friday.

The victim was Julie Fuller, who was found slain in Fort Worth in 1983 after her abduction from an Arlington motel.

Fort Worth police now believe the killer was James Francis McNichols thanks to genealogical testing of DNA from the crime scene, Fox 4 Dallas reported.

Westlake Legal Group Julie-Fuller-James-Francis-McNichols Dead man tied to 11-year-old girl's cold case murder in Texas through DNA Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 596ca3ed-d937-5cb3-8392-26ea34b47408

Julie Fuller was 11 when she was killed in Texas after being abducted from a motel. Fort Worth police said Friday her killer was James Francis McNichols based on genealogical testing of crime scene DNA, Fox 4 Dallas reported. McNichols died in 2004. (Fort Worth Police Department/Fox4 Dallas)

The DNA testing tying McNichols to the crime came 15 years after his death, the station reported.

Detective Thomas O’Brien told the station he would have preferred that McNichols was around so that he could be held responsible.

“I mean you’re talking about an 11-year-old girl who was raped and murdered. That’s not something we want to have on our books that’s not solved.”

— Fort Worth Detective Thomas O’Brien

The Arlington motel was where Julie and her family were staying after moving to North Texas from England, the station reported.

Julie disappeared as she was taking out the garbage. Her body was found the next day.

DNA CLEARS NORTH CAROLINA WOMAN IN SISTER’S COLD CASE MURDER–AFTER SHE TOLD DR. PHIL SHE DIDN’T DO IT

“I always kind of would beat myself up that maybe I should have been paying more attention and maybe not so into myself,” Julie’s older brother Lee Fuller told the station via a phone interview. “The fact that I allowed my little sister to just wander off like that… I mean, she was just taking out the trash.”

Fuller, who was 13 when his sister was killed, said he was glad McNichols was dead.

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“Just the thought of him and my parents, especially having for them to go through that of facing the guy, I think would just be horrific,” he said.

O’Brien said McNichols was living in the Fort Worth area around the time of Julie’s murder.

He had a criminal record but was never on the FBI’s radar and his DNA was never in a database, the station reported.

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“I feel very certain this case would never have been solved,” without genetic genealogy, O’Brien told the station. “Especially with him being dead, there would have been no other way to have solved this case.”

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Westlake Legal Group Julie-Fuller-James-Francis-McNichols Dead man tied to 11-year-old girl's cold case murder in Texas through DNA Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 596ca3ed-d937-5cb3-8392-26ea34b47408   Westlake Legal Group Julie-Fuller-James-Francis-McNichols Dead man tied to 11-year-old girl's cold case murder in Texas through DNA Robert Gearty fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/crime/cold-case fox news fnc/us fnc article 596ca3ed-d937-5cb3-8392-26ea34b47408

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Christmas photo of dog suffering ‘existential crisis’ goes viral on Twitter

Westlake Legal Group dog Christmas photo of dog suffering 'existential crisis' goes viral on Twitter Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article a6ec805f-b9d8-58bc-98c0-0eddfa11b3cd /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

The holiday season can be overwhelming for both humans and pets, as evidenced by a small dog who was recently pictured suffering an “existential crisis” during a wintery photo shoot.

Last week, dog-mom Lauren Carter tweeted a hilarious image of her two pets from a professional portrait session, and the post has since gone wildly viral with over 757,000 likes and more than 175,000 shares.

In the photo, her pups are flanked by evergreens as faux snow falls around them. Her more chipper dog, Opiee, seemingly smiles at the camera while wearing a string of lights. But her other dog, Mika, is desperately staring into the distance with an empty-looking gaze, apparently unimpressed by her jaunty hat and jingle bell collar.

CAT MEOWING WITH ‘THICK SOUTHERN ACCENT’ GOES VIRAL ON INSTAGRAM

“Took my dogs to take their yearly Christmas photos. It’s really hard when you have one super photogenic dog and one dog having an existential crisis,” Carter wrote.

In reply, jokesters seized the opportunity to speculate about what Mika could be thinking behind her grave gaze.

“What does it even mean to be ‘good’?” one user imagined the pooch pondering.

“How I look on the outside vs. how I feel on the inside,” another offered, in a post juxtaposing the two dogs.

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Carter later admitted that her pets frequently mirror each other’s moods.

“Sometimes she rubs off on him,” she explained, sharing a somber-looking image of the pups in reindeer hoods.

“Sometimes he rubs off on her,” she added, posting a sweet photo of Opiee nuzzling Mika’s face, as they sported Santa Claus and elf outfits, respectively.

As for Mika’s one-of-a-kind personality, Carter said that she doesn’t take Mika’s somewhat dimmer disposition too seriously.

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“I’m telling y’all she has a very classic ‘Oh god… did I leave the stove on?’ type of face 24/7,” she joked.

Westlake Legal Group dog Christmas photo of dog suffering 'existential crisis' goes viral on Twitter Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article a6ec805f-b9d8-58bc-98c0-0eddfa11b3cd /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday   Westlake Legal Group dog Christmas photo of dog suffering 'existential crisis' goes viral on Twitter Janine Puhak fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox-news/lifestyle fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article a6ec805f-b9d8-58bc-98c0-0eddfa11b3cd /FOX NEWS/LIFESTYLE/OCCASIONS/Holiday

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