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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 120)

Ecuador’s military warns against violence as residents strike over fuel price increases

Ecuador’s military warned residents on Wednesday to obey the law as its embattled president tries to negotiate with dozens of indigenous groups that have been protesting fuel price boosts.

The message comes after days of unrest that led President Lenín Moreno to move government operations away from Ecuador’s capital, Quito, to the port of Guayaquil. There were scattered clashes in Quito between stone-throwing demonstrators and police using tear gas. Ecuadorians are participating in a national strike in protest of the government’s decision last week to end fuel subsidies, a move that has driven gas prices upward.

In a statement, the military appealed to Ecuadorians to denounce anyone who uses the cover of the protest to carry out vandalism and other crimes.

The military’s backing is key for Moreno, who said late Tuesday that his government is negotiating with indigenous groups in a bid to quell the discontent.

Westlake Legal Group quito-ecuador Ecuador's military warns against violence as residents strike over fuel price increases fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc article 6fdd9672-ec23-5c15-a927-900586dbed09

A petrol bomb bounces off an armored vehicle as it turns a corner in chase of protesters during clashes in downtown Quito, Ecuador, on Wednesday. (AP)

ECUADOR’S GOVERNMENT  FLEES CAPITAL AS PROTESTS ERUPT

The president says the dialogue is difficult because so many indigenous groups are involved, yet he will not resign despite widespread pressure.

“I don’t see why I should if I’m making the right decisions,” he said, according to Reuters.

Moreno said last week that the subsidies have cost the government heavily in recent years and he dropped them in a bid to stimulate Ecuador’s economy. But the move doubled the price of diesel overnight and sharply raised gas prices.

Westlake Legal Group quito-protest-2 Ecuador's military warns against violence as residents strike over fuel price increases fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc article 6fdd9672-ec23-5c15-a927-900586dbed09

Indigenous antigovernment demonstrators chant slogans against President Lenin Moreno and his economic policies during a nationwide strike in Quito on Wednesday. (AP)

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

“What the government has done is reward the big banks, the capitalists, and punish poor Ecuadoreans,” Mesias Tatamuez, the leader of the Workers’ United Front union, told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Ecuadorian government says some 700 people have been arrested so far in the protests.

Fox News’ Thairy Lantigua and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group quito-ecuador Ecuador's military warns against violence as residents strike over fuel price increases fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc article 6fdd9672-ec23-5c15-a927-900586dbed09   Westlake Legal Group quito-ecuador Ecuador's military warns against violence as residents strike over fuel price increases fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox news fnc/world fnc article 6fdd9672-ec23-5c15-a927-900586dbed09

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

Gov. Northam Announces Civil Rights Restored to More Than 20K Virginians

Westlake Legal Group 18779386_G Gov. Northam Announces Civil Rights Restored to More Than 20K Virginians

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced today that since he took office in January 2018, his administration has restored the civil rights of 22,205 Virginians previously convicted of a felony. The civil rights restored include the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office, and become a notary public.

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

Joe Biden, for the first time, calls for Trump’s impeachment

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Joe Biden, for the first time, calls for Trump's impeachment

Donald Trump intensifies his fight with Congress over the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, as the administration blocks a US diplomat from testifying about Ukraine. AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace analyzes the day’s developments. (Oct. 8) AP, AP

Former Vice President Joe Biden, for the first time, called for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. 

Speaking in Manchester, N.H., Biden said, “Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed the nation, and committed impeachable acts.” 

“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” Biden added. 

“The United States cannot afford to have a president who will abuse whatever power available to them to get re-elected,” Biden said, slamming Trump’s request to the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter Biden. 

Trump asked the Ukrainian government in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and probe allegations about Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Democrats have cited evidence showing that the U.S. government withheld military aid from Ukraine as part of the effort to pressure Ukraine into opening the investigation. 

Trump has accused Biden’s son of “corruption” relating to his board seat on a Ukrainian gas company, though Ukrainian prosecutors have said Hunter Biden did not do violate any laws. 

And on Oct. 3, Trump urged China to investigate Biden, though the Chinese government has publicly declined to do so. 

In his speech today, Biden said there was “no truth in [Trump’s] charges against me and my son. Zero.” 

Previously, Biden had hedged his comments about Trump despite the launching of an impeachment inquiry into Trump.

“If the president does not comply with such a request of the Congress, if he continues to obstruct Congress, and flaunt the law,” Biden had said on Sept. 24, “Donald Trump will leave Congress, in my view, no choice but to initiate impeachment.”

Shortly after Biden made his remarks, Trump tweeted in response and posted a campaign ad about Bide. 

“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong,” Trump wrote. 

Biden later responded on Twitter. 

“Thanks for watching. Stop stonewalling the Congress. Honor your oath. Respect the Constitution,” Biden wrote, also calling on Trump to release his tax returns. 

Contributing: Aamer Madhani, Deirdre Shesgreen 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/10/09/joe-biden-calls-trumps-impeachment-first-time/3920985002/

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

Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani’s business ties. Is he a ‘foreign agent’?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani's business ties. Is he a 'foreign agent'?

Rudy Giuliani’s long history includes the Reagan Administration, being one of the more successful U.S. Attorneys, and a number of runs for offices. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Rudolph Giuliani’s ties to Ukraine stretch back to at least 2008, when he announced that his firm was advising a former boxing champion who was running to be mayor of the capital city of Kiev.

Then, in 2017, about a year before President Donald Trump hired him to be his personal attorney, Giuliani Safety & Security began working for the city of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine. Press releases described the firm as a consultant on Kharkiv’s emergency response and security issues. 

Giuliani’s emergence as a central figure in an effort to push Ukraine to investigate Trump’s potential presidential rival – a scandal that has led to an impeachment inquiry – has raised fresh questions about the former New York City mayor’s business ties and public appearances in Ukraine and other countries. One possible line of inquiry – and one that Senate Democrats have been pushing – is whether Giuliani’s activities violate a federal law that requires Americans who work on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.

This comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, an 80-year-old law that Democrats say Giuliani may be violating. Once toothless and antiquated, the statute found its way into the public consciousness in the last two years at the height of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and has been used to prosecute several people, including two men who once were close Trump advisers.

The ramped-up enforcement has dramatically changed the landscape not only for lobbyists for foreign governments, but also for others with foreign clients: international law firms, consultants and public relations specialists who, for years, have ignored FARA, experts say. 

Experts say that some don’t register because doing so carries an administrative burden and because of the stigma associated with being labeled a “foreign agent.” Parties also avoid registering in order to keep relationships with foreign governments and officials secret, experts say. 

Paul Manafort sentenced: Former Trump adviser gets 7.5 years in prison

Michael Flynn: Prosecutors leave open possibility of prison for Trump’s former adviser

Giuliani, who did not respond to requests for comment and has hired a former Watergate prosecutor to represent him, told the Washington Post that his work for foreign governments doesn’t require him to register because it doesn’t involve lobbying the U.S., and he dismissed questions about his foreign clients as “diversions by Democrats.”

But legal experts say Giuliani’s comments represent a misunderstanding of how broad the FARA statute is, and the Justice Department’s renewed focus on enforcing it should put him on notice. 

“I think at the very least, the Department of Justice would be justified in taking a very close look at the arrangements that (Giuliani) has with these foreign principals. … Given the backdrop, given the new changes in enforcement priorities, this would seem to be a case that would be ripe for the DOJ to at least ask questions,” said Josh Rosenstein, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who advises clients on FARA.  

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. 

Rudy Giuliani: From ‘America’s mayor’ to Trump’s pit bull: he emerges as central figure in Ukraine firestorm

Ukraine ties under scrutiny

Giuliani’s business ties in Ukraine spilled into public view in September, following a whistleblower’s allegations that he was a “central figure” in an effort to pressure the country’s newly elected president into investigating former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter

House Democrats have subpoenaed records, including contracts that Giuliani and his security consulting firm had with his Ukrainian clientele. The long list of documents that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has demanded suggests a broad inquiry into possible FARA violations. 

Among the documents requested pertain to “engagements, consulting, advising, or lobbying work” done by Giuliani or his firm on behalf of Ukrainian officials. 

One of the Ukrainian clients that House investigators are focusing on is Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian developer, who hired Giuliani’s firm to help improve Kharkiv’s emergency services and international image. Fuks previously described Giuliani as a “lobbyist” for the city and for Ukraine. 

“It is very important for me that such person as Giuliani tells people that we are a good country, that people can do business with us. That’s what we would like to bring to America’s leaders,” Fuks told the New York Times in June.

Experts say this comment should catch the attention of the Justice Department. 

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Lawyering up: Giuliani hires Watergate prosecutor to represent him in impeachment inquiry

“That’s precisely the type of activity that is within FARA’s scope,” said Matthew Sanderson, another Washington lawyer who advises clients on FARA. “FARA covers lobbying, but it also covers much more than that, including any effort to burnish the reputation of a foreign entity” among members of the American public. 

David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who oversaw the enforcement of FARA, was more cautious, saying that if Giuliani were representing a foreign country to influence an “official action” by the United States, his actions “could come within the scope” of FARA. 

Other Ukrainian officials named in the subpoena are Gennady Kernes, mayor of Kharkiv, and Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev. Giuliani advised Klitschko during Klitschko’s 2008 mayoral bid. The Kiev mayor and former boxing champion visited Giuliani last July.

Giuliani’s business ventures involving Eastern Europe have been guided in part by a company that boasted of doing image consulting to companies and clients with Kremlin ties. TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a consulting firm whose website lists locations in Moscow, Kiev, New York, London, Zurich and Vienna, has a longstanding business relationship with Giuliani. Among TriGlobal’s clients, according to older versions of the firm’s website, was Transneft, Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline giant that’s subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

Simply having business ties in the form of consulting work with foreign governments is not enough to require registration under FARA, experts say. But little is publicly known about Giuliani’s contracts with foreign governments. His firm, for example, had not disclosed how much it was paid for his consulting work, or what the terms of its contracts are. 

“DOJ may very well want to ask questions … to get to the bottom of what the facts really are,” Rosenstein said. 

Giuliani’s proximity to the president also could raise questions about whether foreign officials with whom he is connected are using the relationship to get information about U.S. policy, experts say. 

“That’s arguably registrable under FARA, so you can very quickly get into troubled waters,” Sanderson said. 

Trump-Ukraine affair: Follow a visual timeline of the text messages from diplomats

Are speaking engagements covered by FARA?

Giuliani kept another side gig even after he became Trump’s personal attorney. 

In October 2018, he attended a conference in Armenia, where he met with the country’s acting defense minister. Two months later, he met with the king of Bahrain. In both meetings, relations with the United States were discussed, according to the two countries.

In February, he traveled to Poland, where he spoke in front of hundreds of supporters of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, a controversial Iranian dissident group, and called for a regime change in Iran. Months later, he was in Albania, speaking for the same group, which the United States once labeled a terrorist organization. 

These public appearances were among the several activities that merit an investigation, Senate Democrats wrote in a letter urging the Justice Department’s FARA unit to begin an inquiry. 

But Laufman, who left the Justice Department in early 2018, said the types of activities the senators cited do not, on their face, violate the statute. Merely giving paid speeches to foreign groups, whether in the United States or in other countries, does not require registration – unless the speech was part of an effort to influence foreign policy and public opinion in the U.S, he said. 

“There would have to be a full exploration of facts to determine whether a speech as described in and of itself would trigger an obligation to register,” Laufman said.

Rosenstein said Giuliani’s ties to MEK should set off alarm bells. 

Giuliani overseas: Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s side project: Bashing Iran, in Poland

Giuliani has acknowledged that MEK has been his client for more than a decade, and he has spoken on behalf of the group during events held in Washington – which then raises questions, Rosenstein said, about whether the speech was intended to influence the American public.

Giuliani also has not said whether he was paid for the speeches, but high-profile speakers at MEK rallies routinely get paid tens of thousands of dollars.

For 50 years, the Justice Department used the FARA statute in only seven criminal cases. Laufman said that changed in 2015, when the department began a more aggressive enforcement of the law. 

The number of FARA cases has more than doubled in the last two years, largely because of the prosecutions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Among those who have been prosecuted are two men who were in Trump’s inner circle: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has yet to be sentenced, and former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is in prison. Greg Craig, Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, was also charged; he was later acquitted.

“FARA itself and its enforcement really should no longer be viewed as sort of this sleepy old legal regime,” Rosenstein said. “And instead, you’ve seen a real awakening of the regulators.”

In Giuliani’s case, there’s a “real and present danger” that he would end up violating the law, Sanderson said.

“One contact (with a foreign government) or one act can trigger registration, so he certainly should be careful, particularly when he’s throwing stones at others,” Sanderson added. 

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard and Kevin McCoy

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Seeking witnesses: Democrats subpoena key witness after Trump blocks testimony from diplomat

New to the job: Handling of whistleblower complaint highlights turnover at Trump’s White House

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/09/rudy-giuliani-foreign-agents-registration-act-trump-ukraine/3869473002/

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Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani’s business ties. Is he a ‘foreign agent’?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani's business ties. Is he a 'foreign agent'?

Rudy Giuliani’s long history includes the Reagan Administration, being one of the more successful U.S. Attorneys, and a number of runs for offices. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Rudolph Giuliani’s ties to Ukraine stretch back to at least 2008, when he announced that his firm was advising a former boxing champion who was running to be mayor of the capital city of Kiev.

Then, in 2017, about a year before President Donald Trump hired him to be his personal attorney, Giuliani Safety & Security began working for the city of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine. Press releases described the firm as a consultant on Kharkiv’s emergency response and security issues. 

Giuliani’s emergence as a central figure in an effort to push Ukraine to investigate Trump’s potential presidential rival – a scandal that has led to an impeachment inquiry – has raised fresh questions about the former New York City mayor’s business ties and public appearances in Ukraine and other countries. One possible line of inquiry – and one that Senate Democrats have been pushing – is whether Giuliani’s activities violate a federal law that requires Americans who work on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.

This comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, an 80-year-old law that Democrats say Giuliani may be violating. Once toothless and antiquated, the statute found its way into the public consciousness in the last two years at the height of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and has been used to prosecute several people, including two men who once were close Trump advisers.

The ramped-up enforcement has dramatically changed the landscape not only for lobbyists for foreign governments, but also for others with foreign clients: international law firms, consultants and public relations specialists who, for years, have ignored FARA, experts say. 

Experts say that some don’t register because doing so carries an administrative burden and because of the stigma associated with being labeled a “foreign agent.” Parties also avoid registering in order to keep relationships with foreign governments and officials secret, experts say. 

Paul Manafort sentenced: Former Trump adviser gets 7.5 years in prison

Michael Flynn: Prosecutors leave open possibility of prison for Trump’s former adviser

Giuliani, who did not respond to requests for comment and has hired a former Watergate prosecutor to represent him, told the Washington Post that his work for foreign governments doesn’t require him to register because it doesn’t involve lobbying the U.S., and he dismissed questions about his foreign clients as “diversions by Democrats.”

But legal experts say Giuliani’s comments represent a misunderstanding of how broad the FARA statute is, and the Justice Department’s renewed focus on enforcing it should put him on notice. 

“I think at the very least, the Department of Justice would be justified in taking a very close look at the arrangements that (Giuliani) has with these foreign principals. … Given the backdrop, given the new changes in enforcement priorities, this would seem to be a case that would be ripe for the DOJ to at least ask questions,” said Josh Rosenstein, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who advises clients on FARA.  

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. 

Rudy Giuliani: From ‘America’s mayor’ to Trump’s pit bull: he emerges as central figure in Ukraine firestorm

Ukraine ties under scrutiny

Giuliani’s business ties in Ukraine spilled into public view in September, following a whistleblower’s allegations that he was a “central figure” in an effort to pressure the country’s newly elected president into investigating former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter

House Democrats have subpoenaed records, including contracts that Giuliani and his security consulting firm had with his Ukrainian clientele. The long list of documents that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has demanded suggests a broad inquiry into possible FARA violations. 

Among the documents requested pertain to “engagements, consulting, advising, or lobbying work” done by Giuliani or his firm on behalf of Ukrainian officials. 

One of the Ukrainian clients that House investigators are focusing on is Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian developer, who hired Giuliani’s firm to help improve Kharkiv’s emergency services and international image. Fuks previously described Giuliani as a “lobbyist” for the city and for Ukraine. 

“It is very important for me that such person as Giuliani tells people that we are a good country, that people can do business with us. That’s what we would like to bring to America’s leaders,” Fuks told the New York Times in June.

Experts say this comment should catch the attention of the Justice Department. 

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Lawyering up: Giuliani hires Watergate prosecutor to represent him in impeachment inquiry

“That’s precisely the type of activity that is within FARA’s scope,” said Matthew Sanderson, another Washington lawyer who advises clients on FARA. “FARA covers lobbying, but it also covers much more than that, including any effort to burnish the reputation of a foreign entity” among members of the American public. 

David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who oversaw the enforcement of FARA, was more cautious, saying that if Giuliani were representing a foreign country to influence an “official action” by the United States, his actions “could come within the scope” of FARA. 

Other Ukrainian officials named in the subpoena are Gennady Kernes, mayor of Kharkiv, and Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev. Giuliani advised Klitschko during Klitschko’s 2008 mayoral bid. The Kiev mayor and former boxing champion visited Giuliani last July.

Giuliani’s business ventures involving Eastern Europe have been guided in part by a company that boasted of doing image consulting to companies and clients with Kremlin ties. TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a consulting firm whose website lists locations in Moscow, Kiev, New York, London, Zurich and Vienna, has a longstanding business relationship with Giuliani. Among TriGlobal’s clients, according to older versions of the firm’s website, was Transneft, Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline giant that’s subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

Simply having business ties in the form of consulting work with foreign governments is not enough to require registration under FARA, experts say. But little is publicly known about Giuliani’s contracts with foreign governments. His firm, for example, had not disclosed how much it was paid for his consulting work, or what the terms of its contracts are. 

“DOJ may very well want to ask questions … to get to the bottom of what the facts really are,” Rosenstein said. 

Giuliani’s proximity to the president also could raise questions about whether foreign officials with whom he is connected are using the relationship to get information about U.S. policy, experts say. 

“That’s arguably registrable under FARA, so you can very quickly get into troubled waters,” Sanderson said. 

Trump-Ukraine affair: Follow a visual timeline of the text messages from diplomats

Are speaking engagements covered by FARA?

Giuliani kept another side gig even after he became Trump’s personal attorney. 

In October 2018, he attended a conference in Armenia, where he met with the country’s acting defense minister. Two months later, he met with the king of Bahrain. In both meetings, relations with the United States were discussed, according to the two countries.

In February, he traveled to Poland, where he spoke in front of hundreds of supporters of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, a controversial Iranian dissident group, and called for a regime change in Iran. Months later, he was in Albania, speaking for the same group, which the United States once labeled a terrorist organization. 

These public appearances were among the several activities that merit an investigation, Senate Democrats wrote in a letter urging the Justice Department’s FARA unit to begin an inquiry. 

But Laufman, who left the Justice Department in early 2018, said the types of activities the senators cited do not, on their face, violate the statute. Merely giving paid speeches to foreign groups, whether in the United States or in other countries, does not require registration – unless the speech was part of an effort to influence foreign policy and public opinion in the U.S, he said. 

“There would have to be a full exploration of facts to determine whether a speech as described in and of itself would trigger an obligation to register,” Laufman said.

Rosenstein said Giuliani’s ties to MEK should set off alarm bells. 

Giuliani overseas: Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s side project: Bashing Iran, in Poland

Giuliani has acknowledged that MEK has been his client for more than a decade, and he has spoken on behalf of the group during events held in Washington – which then raises questions, Rosenstein said, about whether the speech was intended to influence the American public.

Giuliani also has not said whether he was paid for the speeches, but high-profile speakers at MEK rallies routinely get paid tens of thousands of dollars.

For 50 years, the Justice Department used the FARA statute in only seven criminal cases. Laufman said that changed in 2015, when the department began a more aggressive enforcement of the law. 

The number of FARA cases has more than doubled in the last two years, largely because of the prosecutions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Among those who have been prosecuted are two men who were in Trump’s inner circle: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has yet to be sentenced, and former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is in prison. Greg Craig, Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, was also charged; he was later acquitted.

“FARA itself and its enforcement really should no longer be viewed as sort of this sleepy old legal regime,” Rosenstein said. “And instead, you’ve seen a real awakening of the regulators.”

In Giuliani’s case, there’s a “real and present danger” that he would end up violating the law, Sanderson said.

“One contact (with a foreign government) or one act can trigger registration, so he certainly should be careful, particularly when he’s throwing stones at others,” Sanderson added. 

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard and Kevin McCoy

Autoplay

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Seeking witnesses: Democrats subpoena key witness after Trump blocks testimony from diplomat

New to the job: Handling of whistleblower complaint highlights turnover at Trump’s White House

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/09/rudy-giuliani-foreign-agents-registration-act-trump-ukraine/3869473002/

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Joe Biden Calls for Trump’s Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group biden-impeach-facebookJumbo Joe Biden Calls for Trump’s Impeachment Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Rochester (NH) impeachment Biden, Joseph R Jr

ROCHESTER, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday called for President Trump’s impeachment for the first time, blistering Mr. Trump as a threat to American democracy and accusing him of “shooting holes in the Constitution.”

Escalating his language in an effort to rebut Mr. Trump’s unfounded claims about his actions with Ukraine, Mr. Biden set aside months of restraint to demand Congress sanction the president.

“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached,” the former vice president told supporters here.

Mr. Biden linked Mr. Trump’s false claims to an idea promulgated by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. “You say it long enough, often enough, people may believe it,” he said, invoking Goebbels by name.

While Mr. Biden stopped short of calling for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, his new aggressiveness marked an acknowledgment that he must do more to both confront the president and to halt his slide in the polls in the Democratic primary.

Mr. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House because of his request to the Ukrainian government that it investigate what Mr. Biden did with the country when his son, Hunter, was working for a gas company there. Mr. Biden again denied that he did anything improper as vice president. And he accused Mr. Trump, who has baselessly accused Mr. Biden of corruption and whose campaign is airing ads repeating the same claim, of attempting to damage his candidacy.

“We’re not going to let Donald Trump pick the Democratic nominee for president, period,” said Mr. Biden, who has fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in a series of national and early nominating state polls. “He’s picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162427434_6b81aae3-41d9-41c2-aa05-075aabae67e0-facebookJumbo Trump Calls Turkey’s Syrian Offensive a ‘Bad Idea’ United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Turkey Trump, Donald J Syria Graham, Lindsey Cheney, Liz

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday called a Turkish military operation along the border with Syria “a bad idea” but reiterated his opposition to “endless, senseless wars,” even as leading Republicans expressed outrage and said the Turkish offensive could inflict lasting damage on Washington’s relationship with its NATO ally.

“The United States does not endorse this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Noting that American soldiers had been moved from the area in advance, Mr. Trump limited his criticism of Turkey and made no mention of punitive action against it.

That was a contrast with the response from Capitol Hill, where Republicans were sharply critical of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for following through with a plan he disclosed to Mr. Trump in a Sunday phone call.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump’s who often speaks and golfs with the president, wrote on Twitter that a Turkish entry into Syria would be “a disaster in the making.”

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration,” he added. “This move ensures the re-emergence of ISIS.”

Mr. Graham added that he would urge the president to “change course,” and renewed a vow to punish Turkey in Congress with severe economic sanctions.

A Kurdish-led militia has fought alongside the United States in the campaign against the Islamic State, or ISIS, over the past five years. But Mr. Erdogan sees Syria’s Kurdish fighters as an enemy, and wants to create a “buffer zone” along his country’s southern border with Syria, which has been devastated by a civil war of more than eight years.

Mr. Trump asserted in his statement that “Turkey has committed to protecting civilians, protecting religious minorities, including Christians, and ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place.” He said he was holding the country responsible for preventing the release of ISIS fighters who are being held captive in the area and for ensuring “that ISIS does not reconstitute in any way, shape, or form.”

But echoing Mr. Graham, another leading Republican voice on foreign policy, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, wrote on Twitter that news of the Turkish action was “sickening.” She accused Mr. Trump of “leaving America’s allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.”

The Pentagon said the United States was providing no assistance to the Syrian-led militia and was drawing up contingency plans to withdraw all 1,000 American troops from northeast Syria if Turkey pushed deeper into Syrian territory.

As of noon on Wednesday, the United States military assessed that the Turkish operation was limited in scope, and that Turkish troops had not actually crossed the Syrian border. But one official said that Turkish artillery and mortar fire into Syria was intended to weaken any resistance before Turkish ground troops advanced.

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

Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani’s business ties. Is he a ‘foreign agent’?

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Trump-Ukraine scandal puts spotlight on Rudy Giuliani's business ties. Is he a 'foreign agent'?

Rudy Giuliani’s long history includes the Reagan Administration, being one of the more successful U.S. Attorneys, and a number of runs for offices. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Rudolph Giuliani’s ties to Ukraine stretch back to at least 2008, when he announced that his firm was advising a former boxing champion who was running to be mayor of the capital city of Kiev.

Then, in 2017, about a year before President Donald Trump hired him to be his personal attorney, Giuliani Safety & Security began working for the city of Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine. Press releases described the firm as a consultant on Kharkiv’s emergency response and security issues. 

Giuliani’s emergence as a central figure in an effort to push Ukraine to investigate Trump’s potential presidential rival – a scandal that has led to an impeachment inquiry – has raised fresh questions about the former New York City mayor’s business ties and public appearances in Ukraine and other countries. One possible line of inquiry – and one that Senate Democrats have been pushing – is whether Giuliani’s activities violate a federal law that requires Americans who work on behalf of foreign governments to register with the Justice Department.

This comes as the Justice Department has stepped up its use of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, an 80-year-old law that Democrats say Giuliani may be violating. Once toothless and antiquated, the statute found its way into the public consciousness in the last two years at the height of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and has been used to prosecute several people, including two men who once were close Trump advisers.

The ramped-up enforcement has dramatically changed the landscape not only for lobbyists for foreign governments, but also for others with foreign clients: international law firms, consultants and public relations specialists who, for years, have ignored FARA, experts say. 

Experts say that some don’t register because doing so carries an administrative burden and because of the stigma associated with being labeled a “foreign agent.” Parties also avoid registering in order to keep relationships with foreign governments and officials secret, experts say. 

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Giuliani, who did not respond to requests for comment and has hired a former Watergate prosecutor to represent him, told the Washington Post that his work for foreign governments doesn’t require him to register because it doesn’t involve lobbying the U.S., and he dismissed questions about his foreign clients as “diversions by Democrats.”

But legal experts say Giuliani’s comments represent a misunderstanding of how broad the FARA statute is, and the Justice Department’s renewed focus on enforcing it should put him on notice. 

“I think at the very least, the Department of Justice would be justified in taking a very close look at the arrangements that (Giuliani) has with these foreign principals. … Given the backdrop, given the new changes in enforcement priorities, this would seem to be a case that would be ripe for the DOJ to at least ask questions,” said Josh Rosenstein, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who advises clients on FARA.  

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment. 

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Ukraine ties under scrutiny

Giuliani’s business ties in Ukraine spilled into public view in September, following a whistleblower’s allegations that he was a “central figure” in an effort to pressure the country’s newly elected president into investigating former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter

House Democrats have subpoenaed records, including contracts that Giuliani and his security consulting firm had with his Ukrainian clientele. The long list of documents that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has demanded suggests a broad inquiry into possible FARA violations. 

Among the documents requested pertain to “engagements, consulting, advising, or lobbying work” done by Giuliani or his firm on behalf of Ukrainian officials. 

One of the Ukrainian clients that House investigators are focusing on is Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian developer, who hired Giuliani’s firm to help improve Kharkiv’s emergency services and international image. Fuks previously described Giuliani as a “lobbyist” for the city and for Ukraine. 

“It is very important for me that such person as Giuliani tells people that we are a good country, that people can do business with us. That’s what we would like to bring to America’s leaders,” Fuks told the New York Times in June.

Experts say this comment should catch the attention of the Justice Department. 

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“That’s precisely the type of activity that is within FARA’s scope,” said Matthew Sanderson, another Washington lawyer who advises clients on FARA. “FARA covers lobbying, but it also covers much more than that, including any effort to burnish the reputation of a foreign entity” among members of the American public. 

David Laufman, a former Justice Department official who oversaw the enforcement of FARA, was more cautious, saying that if Giuliani were representing a foreign country to influence an “official action” by the United States, his actions “could come within the scope” of FARA. 

Other Ukrainian officials named in the subpoena are Gennady Kernes, mayor of Kharkiv, and Vitaly Klitschko, mayor of Kiev. Giuliani advised Klitschko during Klitschko’s 2008 mayoral bid. The Kiev mayor and former boxing champion visited Giuliani last July.

Giuliani’s business ventures involving Eastern Europe have been guided in part by a company that boasted of doing image consulting to companies and clients with Kremlin ties. TriGlobal Strategic Ventures, a consulting firm whose website lists locations in Moscow, Kiev, New York, London, Zurich and Vienna, has a longstanding business relationship with Giuliani. Among TriGlobal’s clients, according to older versions of the firm’s website, was Transneft, Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline giant that’s subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

Simply having business ties in the form of consulting work with foreign governments is not enough to require registration under FARA, experts say. But little is publicly known about Giuliani’s contracts with foreign governments. His firm, for example, had not disclosed how much it was paid for his consulting work, or what the terms of its contracts are. 

“DOJ may very well want to ask questions … to get to the bottom of what the facts really are,” Rosenstein said. 

Giuliani’s proximity to the president also could raise questions about whether foreign officials with whom he is connected are using the relationship to get information about U.S. policy, experts say. 

“That’s arguably registrable under FARA, so you can very quickly get into troubled waters,” Sanderson said. 

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Are speaking engagements covered by FARA?

Giuliani kept another side gig even after he became Trump’s personal attorney. 

In October 2018, he attended a conference in Armenia, where he met with the country’s acting defense minister. Two months later, he met with the king of Bahrain. In both meetings, relations with the United States were discussed, according to the two countries.

In February, he traveled to Poland, where he spoke in front of hundreds of supporters of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, a controversial Iranian dissident group, and called for a regime change in Iran. Months later, he was in Albania, speaking for the same group, which the United States once labeled a terrorist organization. 

These public appearances were among the several activities that merit an investigation, Senate Democrats wrote in a letter urging the Justice Department’s FARA unit to begin an inquiry. 

But Laufman, who left the Justice Department in early 2018, said the types of activities the senators cited do not, on their face, violate the statute. Merely giving paid speeches to foreign groups, whether in the United States or in other countries, does not require registration – unless the speech was part of an effort to influence foreign policy and public opinion in the U.S, he said. 

“There would have to be a full exploration of facts to determine whether a speech as described in and of itself would trigger an obligation to register,” Laufman said.

Rosenstein said Giuliani’s ties to MEK should set off alarm bells. 

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Giuliani has acknowledged that MEK has been his client for more than a decade, and he has spoken on behalf of the group during events held in Washington – which then raises questions, Rosenstein said, about whether the speech was intended to influence the American public.

Giuliani also has not said whether he was paid for the speeches, but high-profile speakers at MEK rallies routinely get paid tens of thousands of dollars.

For 50 years, the Justice Department used the FARA statute in only seven criminal cases. Laufman said that changed in 2015, when the department began a more aggressive enforcement of the law. 

The number of FARA cases has more than doubled in the last two years, largely because of the prosecutions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Among those who have been prosecuted are two men who were in Trump’s inner circle: former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has yet to be sentenced, and former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is in prison. Greg Craig, Barack Obama’s former White House counsel, was also charged; he was later acquitted.

“FARA itself and its enforcement really should no longer be viewed as sort of this sleepy old legal regime,” Rosenstein said. “And instead, you’ve seen a real awakening of the regulators.”

In Giuliani’s case, there’s a “real and present danger” that he would end up violating the law, Sanderson said.

“One contact (with a foreign government) or one act can trigger registration, so he certainly should be careful, particularly when he’s throwing stones at others,” Sanderson added. 

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard and Kevin McCoy

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Ohio dad with breast cancer says he’d be ‘nothing’ without God, family

Breast cancer is most often associated with women, and for good reason: At least 1 in 8 U.S. women will be diagnosed with it during her lifetime. But an Ohio father who was diagnosed with the disease is warning other men that, although rare, it can happen to them, too.

Daniel DiNardo, 49, of Youngstown, was candid when recently detailing his ongoing battle with breast cancer. DiNardo, an engineer, was first diagnosed with the disease in 2015 after noticing a lump on the right side of his chest. A biopsy later revealed it was Stage 3 breast cancer.

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DiNardo, who told Fox 8 he has no family history of the disease, later underwent a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. He reached remission — but the cancer returned a few months later and spread to other areas of his body.

“It metastasized into my femoral ball in my left hip; there’s a spot on my spine [and] a couple [of] spots in my lymph nodes in my chest,” DiNardo told the news station.

DiNardo, who was given a 6-month prognosis following his initial diagnosis, continues to battle cancer. He credits his family and God with helping him through the hard times.

Westlake Legal Group dad-breast-cancer Ohio dad with breast cancer says he'd be 'nothing' without God, family Madeline Farber fox-news/health/cancer/breast-cancer fox news fnc/health fnc article 6a48400a-a82a-592c-810d-43b02947fa96

Daniel DiNardo was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. (Fox 8)

“If it wasn’t for them and if it wasn’t for God, I’d be nothing,” he said. “I get my strength from my family and I get my strength from my faith.”

Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases. The American Cancer Society estimates 2,670 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year.

Symptoms of breast cancer in both men and women are similar. A painless lump, and changes in the skin covering the breast, such as dimpling, redness or scaling, are often signs. Redness is as well, as is an inward-turned nipple.

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DiNardo’s wife, Sarah, said her husband’s fighting spirit sets a good example for their children.

“We want to teach our children, you can either wake up and cry and woe-is-me or you can get up and fight,” she said.

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Biden: Impeach Trump!

Westlake Legal Group 5d9e1e98200000da064fed3d Biden: Impeach Trump!

“We all laughed when he said he could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it,” Biden told an audience in Rochester, New Hampshire. “No joke! He’s shooting holes in the Constitution and we cannot let him get away with it.”

“Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts. … He should be impeached,” the 2020 Democratic contender added.

“The United States cannot have a president who will abuse whatever power he has available to him in order to get reelected,” Biden continued, adding later, “His lying is matched only by his manifest incompetence as president.”

In April, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first Democratic candidate to call for Trump’s impeachment, based on conclusions made by former special counsel Robert Mueller in his report on Russian influence in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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