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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 133)

For Once, Republicans Break With Trump, but Not on Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-hulse-facebookJumbo For Once, Republicans Break With Trump, but Not on Impeachment United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Romney, Mitt Republican Party Portman, Rob McConnell, Mitch Haley, Nikki R Graham, Lindsey

WASHINGTON — Senator Lindsey Graham, an unsparing critic of President Trump before he entered the White House, rarely if ever questions him anymore, even after the president urged foreign governments to investigate his political rivals.

But on Monday, Mr. Graham found something to criticize, and he could not have been tougher on Mr. Trump.

“I expect the American president to do what is in our national security interest, and it is never in our national security interest to abandon an ally,” Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, railed on Fox News over Mr. Trump’s decision to pull back in Syria.

He and other Republicans joined Democrats in saying that the move could potentially clear the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters who have helped the United States root out the Islamic State. Mr. Graham also delivered what could be considered the ultimate insult to Mr. Trump: comparing his Syria policy to that of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Consistently assailed for refusing to stand up to the president, Senate Republicans this week briefly found their voices, bombarding Mr. Trump with public complaints over his Syria decision. The fleeting moment of dissonance revealed what has emerged as an informal rule of thumb among Republican senators who consider themselves foreign policy experts, with wide latitude to weigh in and potentially influence a president who has far less experience on the subject than they do. They are willing to break with Mr. Trump on matters of international affairs — but only when they believe there are no domestic political consequences for doing so.

Don’t expect the same reaction when it comes to Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the subject of an accelerating impeachment fight. Republicans see that issue as an existential threat to the president and their party’s rule in Washington, and are reluctant to legitimize what they regard as an overreach by Democrats by joining in their criticism.

In fact, just a day after his harsh assessment of the president’s decision on Syria, Mr. Graham rushed to Mr. Trump’s defense in the Ukraine matter by announcing a hearing that could serve as a counterweight to the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry. He said on Tuesday that the Judiciary Committee, which he is the chairman of, would hear from Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, about “corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine,” which Mr. Trump has argued justified his pressure campaign to get the Ukrainian president to investigate Democrats.

When it comes to foreign policy, many senators have spent considerable time developing their expertise, making repeated trips to the Middle East and other hot spots and becoming deeply invested in their positions. They feel confident expressing their opinion, even when it is quite contrary to Mr. Trump’s.

“Many of us have been dealing with this for a decade or two decades, and I think there are a lot of visits to the area and a lot of discussions that stand behind our views on these issues,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who had previously counseled the White House on the necessity of maintaining forces in Syria. “This is an area where it has been a consistent concern that leaving those places would create bigger problems than staying.”

The opinions of Mr. Blunt and his colleagues also align with those of much of the Republican foreign policy establishment, current and former top members of the military, and many conservative media commentators, bolstering their willingness to speak out. There truly is strength in numbers. Just a few Republicans — notably Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah, both avowed members of the party’s noninterventionist wing — hailed the president’s decision.

“Foreign policy has always been Trump’s Achilles’ heal with Senate Republicans,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and former staff adviser to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, another Republican who faulted the president’s Syria decision — but not his comments about China and Ukraine. Mr. Conant said Republicans were also driven by their view that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy missteps were more damaging, requiring a more forceful response than his day-to-day incendiary statements.

“Everyone forgets Trump’s tweets after a couple of days,” Mr. Conant said. “But history will never forget if the U.S. allows our Kurdish allies to be massacred.”

At the same time, foreign policy — unlike, say, impeachment — is lower on the president’s priority list. Differences of opinion are less likely to spur him to lash out as he has in recent days, for example, at Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, after Mr. Romney said that the president’s requests of Ukraine and China to investigate Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. were “wrong and appalling.” Mr. Trump responded with name-calling, disparagement and a gleeful reminder of Mr. Obama’s defeat of Mr. Romney in 2012.

Foreign policy appears to be one of the few areas where Mr. Trump is willing to brook some difference of opinion. Pressed on Monday about the tough criticism of his Syria policy from the likes of Mr. Graham; Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, and Nikki R. Haley, Mr. Trump’s former United Nations ambassador, the president was uncharacteristically restrained.

“I have great respect for all of the people that you named,” Mr. Trump said. “And they have their opinion, and a lot of people do. And I could also name many more than you just named of people that totally are supportive. You see the names coming out; people are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home.”

If Mr. Trump is less likely to be angered by criticism of his foreign policy, many Republicans believe their constituents will be as well. The issue usually does not stir the kind of base revolt and primary challenges back home that have become major concerns for Republicans who dare to cross Mr. Trump on other matters. While many of the president’s core supporters are no doubt eager to see him follow through on his campaign vow to end America’s overseas entanglements, plenty of other Republicans are worried about a premature withdrawal from a trouble spot and a potential resurgence of the Islamic State.

Taking on the president over his dealings with Ukraine, however, is another matter entirely. Even those such as Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, who have joined Mr. Romney in taking issue with Mr. Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian officials say that they don’t believe any offense claimed by Democrats rises to the level of impeachment.

The re-election campaign of Mr. McConnell, who felt compelled on Monday to encourage the president to exercise presidential leadership and reconsider his Syria plan, is currently behind online advertisements in which Mr. McConnell vows to use his position as majority leader to thwart impeachment even before any articles calling for the president’s ouster reach the Senate.

The break with Mr. Trump over Syria has another ancillary benefit for Republicans who are often accused of falling in line behind Mr. Trump like automatons even when he is at his most outrageous: It allows them to point to a significant policy development on which they have quickly and clearly spoken out against him. It cannot be said that they never differ with Mr. Trump, but those differences remain few and far between even as Democrats ramp up their effort to oust the president.

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New James Comey TV series is Hollywood’s way of ‘memorializing’ ex-FBI chief as political hero, Jesse Watters says

Westlake Legal Group comey-daniels-watters New James Comey TV series is Hollywood's way of 'memorializing' ex-FBI chief as political hero, Jesse Watters says fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz bfb2455a-9d1d-5c46-bcb7-e4156b8db77b article

A new CBS television miniseries starring Jeff Daniels as ex-FBI Director James Comey is Hollywood’s way of immortalizing an anti-Trump hero, according to Jesse Watters.

The series — which will also feature “Harry Potter” actor Brendan Gleeson as President Trump — could easily be a flop, Watters said Tuesday on “The Five.”

“Hollywood has to white-knight this guy — they have to memorialize him as the hero in order to lock into the American psyche that this guy was the right man to take out a dastardly president,” he said.

“That’s not going to rate,” he added. “The real stuff that rates — we’re watching it right now unfold in reality — that’s the good stuff.”

JAMES COMEY CHANGES MIND, SAYS CONGRESS MAY HAVE ‘CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY’ TO IMPEACH TRUMP

The program, which will be a screen adaptation of Comey’s memoir “A Higher Loyalty” has no set release date, but will begin production later this year.

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On “The Five,” Watters joked it was fitting Daniels was cast as Comey.

“It is appropriate that the guy that played “Dumb & Dumber” is going to play James Comey,” he said, as Daniels starred as Harry Dunne alongside Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas in the 1994 comedy.

Watters also predicted once Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation is complete, the Comey series’ producers may have to rewrite their script.

Co-host Jedediah Bila called Comey an “insufferable figure” whom both sides of the aisle are likely tired of, while Greg Gutfeld joked he should be better remembered for prosecuting entrepreneur Martha Stewart.

In addition to the Irish actor Gleeson playing Trump, “House of Cards” star Michael Kelly will play Andrew McCabe, and actress Jennifer Ehle will play Comey’s wife Patrice.

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Late last month, Comey suggested that impeaching Trump would be the wrong decision and Democrats might stoke conspiracy theories by pursuing it.

“I think the American people would be let off the hook if Donald Trump were impeached and removed from office and a lot of his supporters would think some sort of coup had taken place,” he said.

Fox News’ Samuel Dorman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group comey-daniels-watters New James Comey TV series is Hollywood's way of 'memorializing' ex-FBI chief as political hero, Jesse Watters says fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz bfb2455a-9d1d-5c46-bcb7-e4156b8db77b article   Westlake Legal Group comey-daniels-watters New James Comey TV series is Hollywood's way of 'memorializing' ex-FBI chief as political hero, Jesse Watters says fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/tv fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz bfb2455a-9d1d-5c46-bcb7-e4156b8db77b article

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Facebook’s Hands-Off Approach to Political Speech Gets Impeachment Test

Westlake Legal Group 00facebook-facebookJumbo Facebook’s Hands-Off Approach to Political Speech Gets Impeachment Test United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Social Media Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Rumors and Misinformation Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — The 30-second video ad released by the Trump campaign last week is grainy, and the narrator’s voice is foreboding. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., it says, offered Ukraine $1 billion in aid if the country pushed out the man investigating a company tied to Mr. Biden’s son.

Saying it made false accusations, CNN immediately refused to air the advertisement.

But Facebook did not, and on Tuesday, the social network rejected a request from Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign to take it down, foreshadowing a continuing fight over misinformation on the service during the 2020 election as well as the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In a letter to the Biden campaign, Facebook said the ad, which has been viewed five million times on the site, did not violate company policies. Last month, the social network, which has more than two billion users, announced that politicians and their campaigns had nearly free rein over content they post there.

Even false statements and misleading content in ads, the company has said, are an important part of the political conversation.

“Our approach is grounded in Facebook’s fundamental belief in free expression, respect for the democratic process, and the belief that, in mature democracies with a free press, political speech is already arguably the most scrutinized speech there is,” Facebook’s head of global elections policy, Katie Harbath, wrote in the letter to the Biden campaign.

The decision by the company illustrates its executives’ hardened resolve to stay out of the moderation of political speech, despite the use of the social network to spread discord and disinformation in the 2016 presidential campaign. On Tuesday, the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee released a sobering report warning of fresh signs of interference by Russia and other foreign nations in the 2020 election.

The company’s position stands in contrast to CNN, which rejected two ads from the Trump campaign last week, including the one the Biden campaign asked Facebook to take down. The cable channel said it rejected the ad because it “makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets.”

Facebook has been dogged by accusations of censorship by conservative politicians, including President Trump, who argue that the Silicon Valley company gives greater attention to liberal points of views on the social network.

But by removing itself as the moderator of political content — including in paid ads on the site — Facebook has left itself open another avenue of criticism. In a series of tweets Monday evening, Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the front-runners for the Democratic nomination, said Facebook allowed President Trump to spread false information widely, and called on the company to take down the attack ad against Mr. Biden, one of her top rivals.

“Facebook already helped elect Donald Trump once because they were asleep at the wheel while Russia attacked our democracy — allowing fake, foreign accounts to run ad campaigns to influence our elections,” Ms. Warren wrote.

Facebook declined to comment.

The ad the Biden campaign asked Facebook to take down, released by the Trump campaign on Sept. 27, starts with staticky shots of Mr. Biden meeting with Ukrainian officials during his time in the Obama administration.

“Joe Biden promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son’s company,” a narrator says, using video from an event in which Mr. Biden mentions the money. “But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him.”

The $1 billion figure was mentioned at an event in 2018 at the Council on Foreign Relations, in which Mr. Biden was talking about how the Obama administration tried to root out corruption in Ukraine. He said he had held back financial aid to push the country to make reforms.

There is no evidence that Mr. Biden, during his time as vice president, pushed for the dismissal of the Ukrainian prosecutor general to help his son Hunter Biden. The former vice president, along with other members of the Obama administration and other international leaders, pushed for the removal of the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because of accusations that he ignored corruption.

Days after the ad was broadcast on television and social networks the Biden campaign wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, asking to reject the ad. The video “spreads false, definitively debunked conspiracy theories regarding Vice President Joe Biden,” Greg Schultz, a Biden campaign manager, wrote to the Facebook leaders.

Mr. Schultz wrote that the vice president’s call for a new prosecutor in Ukraine’s investigation of a company was supported by the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He included clippings from The Washington Post and Factcheck.org that debunked the claims of Mr. Biden’s motives of squashing the investigation to benefit his son.

After CNN rejected the ad last week, Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Mr. Trump’s campaign, said that the ad was “entirely accurate and was reviewed by counsel.”

“CNN spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming,” Mr. Murtaugh wrote in a statement. “So it’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising, too.”

The Biden campaign also urged Fox News to reject the Trump campaign ad last week. But the cable channel declined to do so, saying that it was “not in the business of censoring ads from candidates on either sides of the aisle.”

The ad has also appeared on YouTube and Twitter. A spokesman for Twitter said on Tuesday that the ad complied with its policies. A YouTube official likewise said the ad complied with its policies.

T.J. Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, wrote in an email that “Donald Trump has demonstrated he will continue to subvert our democratic institutions for his own personal gain, but his shortcomings are no excuse for companies like Facebook to refuse to do the right thing.”

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Left-leaning MSNBC to host fifth Democratic debate with Washington Post in November

Westlake Legal Group msnbc-wapo Left-leaning MSNBC to host fifth Democratic debate with Washington Post in November Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 306dedfe-8aac-58b0-a9b9-2d334a2445e9

MSNBC announced on Tuesday that it would host the fifth Democratic primary debate on Nov. 20 in Georgia.

The network said it would wait to announce the format, moderators, and specific location but did announce it would host the debate in cooperation with The Washington Post.

It also commented on which Democrats appeared to qualify for the debate. As of Tuesday, the field included former Vice President Joe Biden, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

For the fifth debate, Democratic candidates need to receive 165,000 unique donors — including 600 spread out over 20 states — and reach 3 percent in “four qualifying state or national polls.” They can also make the stage with 5 percent in two qualifying state polls.

STAGE IS SET FOR RECORD-BREAKING PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATE

According to the announcement, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro have yet to meet the polling requirements.

NBC hosted the first Democratic primary debate in June with anchors Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Jose Diaz-Balart, and Rachel Maddow. That debate sparked an early controversy between Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who also qualified for the fifth debate, after the former made controversial comments about racial issues.

Since June, the 2020 field has narrowed but at least 12 remained and qualified for the fourth debate set to take place in Ohio. That debate will be hosted by CNN and The New York Times on Oct. 15. Given the much smaller field, NBC can apparently avoid the two-night format of the first debate.

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The DNC announced that the fourth-round debate would also be held on a single night. The 10 contenders who faced off in September automatically qualified for the October debate. And Gabbard and Steyer, who narrowly missed the September cut, reached the thresholds to qualify for the upcoming showdown by Tuesday’s deadline.

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Twelve candidates on the same stage at the same time could make for an unwieldy debate and a lot of jockeying for time and attention.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group msnbc-wapo Left-leaning MSNBC to host fifth Democratic debate with Washington Post in November Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 306dedfe-8aac-58b0-a9b9-2d334a2445e9   Westlake Legal Group msnbc-wapo Left-leaning MSNBC to host fifth Democratic debate with Washington Post in November Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 306dedfe-8aac-58b0-a9b9-2d334a2445e9

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30-million-year-old tiny ‘mold pigs’ seen by scientists

Fossils preserved in amber have revealed a new type of microinvertebrate that lived on Earth 30 million years ago.

The findings by George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University’s College of Science provide a rare glimpse of this unique invertebrate.

Poinar calls the animals “mold pigs” because of their resemblance to swine and their diet.

According to his findings, they were about 100 micrometers long with flexible heads and four pairs of legs.

They apparently grew by shedding their exoskeleton and primarily ate fungi, as well as other small invertebrates.

‘INCREDIBLY RARE’ MONKEY BORN AT AUSTRALIA ZOO

Westlake Legal Group mold-pig-image 30-million-year-old tiny 'mold pigs' seen by scientists fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 81e6917e-173d-5bf0-8146-5628e41cb29f

Fossils preserved in Dominican amber reveal a new family, genus and species of microinvertebrate from the mid-Tertiary period, a discovery that shows unique lineages of the tiny creatures were living 30 million years ago. (Provided by George Poinar Jr.) (Provided by George Poinar Jr.)

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“Every now and then we’ll find small, fragile, previously unknown fossil invertebrates in specialized habitats,” Poinar said in a statement. “And occasionally, as in the present case, a fragment of the original habitat from millions of years ago is preserved too. The mold pigs can’t be placed in any group of currently existing invertebrates – they share characteristics with both tardigrades, sometimes referred to as water bears or moss pigs, and mites, but clearly belong to neither group.”

The findings were published last month in the journal Invertebrate Biology.

“No claws are present at the end of their legs as they are with tardigrades and mites,” Poinar explained. “Based on what we know about extant and extinct microinvertebrates, S. dominicana appears to represent a new phylum.

Westlake Legal Group mold-pig-image 30-million-year-old tiny 'mold pigs' seen by scientists fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 81e6917e-173d-5bf0-8146-5628e41cb29f   Westlake Legal Group mold-pig-image 30-million-year-old tiny 'mold pigs' seen by scientists fox-news/science fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 81e6917e-173d-5bf0-8146-5628e41cb29f

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What we know about Trump’s withdrawal from northern Syria as critics argue it abandons Kurdish allies

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close What we know about Trump's withdrawal from northern Syria as critics argue it abandons Kurdish allies

President Donald Trump defended a plan to move U.S. troops out of Northern Syria despite a backlash Monday from the GOP. USA TODAY

Donald Trump has doubled down on his unexpected decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria despite backlash from critics on all sides, who argue he is leaving Kurdish allies open to an attack from Turkish forces.

The announcement and criticism come as the president is facing an impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine’s leader.

Here’s what we know about the announcement that has even Trump’s closest allies in shock:

Trump announces his decision to pull out of northern Syria

On Sunday, the White House said that the U.S. would withdraw troops from a region of northern Syria that borders Turkey. This comes ahead of a Turkish military incursion into Syria against those it considers terrorist threats.

Among those perceived threats are Kurdish fighters, part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have been allied with the United States in fighting the Islamic State, or ISIS.

More: ‘A stain on America’s honor’: Lindsey Graham says Trump’s Syria pullout abandons Kurds, helps ISIS

Trump defended the move as an attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to end U.S. involvement in wars such as in Syria.

“I campaigned on the fact that I was going to bring our soldiers home,” Trump told reporters of the decision.

The White House said the announcement came after Trump talked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who believes that Kurdish forces are allied with insurgents inside Turkey, on the phone.

U.S. relationships with Kurdish and Turkish forces

The United States has fought alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State, capturing thousands of terrorists in the region.

“We may be in the process of leaving Syria, but in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters,” Trump said Tuesday.

A State Department official said that Trump’s decision to withdraw two military units from the border was based on two goals: He does not want U.S. forces to be seen as greenlighting Turkey’s plans, and he does he not want Americans in the line of fire if Erdogan goes through with his threat.

The Kurdish fighters said in a statement that their U.S. allies “did not fulfill their obligations.”

Trump first announced his intention to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in 2018. Amid a backlash, he later agreed to keep a residual American presence there. Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria in late 2018 also led to the resignation of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Foreign policy experts have warned that allowing Turkey into the region could lead to a massacre of the Kurds and would be seen as an American betrayal of a vital military ally.

Trump tweeted on Monday, “WE WILL FIGHT WHERE IT IS TO OUR BENEFIT, AND ONLY FIGHT TO WIN.”

Who are the Kurds?: A Middle Eastern people with ‘no friends but the mountains’

What is Turkey expected to do next?

According to the White House, the move from the United States does not signal support of the Turkish mission to invade Syria.

“Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria. The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation,” the White House said.

Turkey has long expressed its intentions to quell perceived threats in the region. 

The White House says that captured ISIS fighters will now be under Turkey’s control. If they’re released, they could return to the battlefield.

Trump said that Turkey “must, with Europe and others” guard over the captured Islamic State fighters held by the Syrian Democratic Forces if Erdogan sends his forces into Syria.

The SDF warned that Turkey’s planned “invasion” would “have a major negative impact on our war on ISIS and will destroy all the stability achieved during the past years.” 

The Kurdish fighters said they “will not hesitate for a moment to defend ourselves” and they called on “Arabs Kurds, Syrians and Assyrians to join forces and stand with their legitimate forces to defend our country against this Turkish aggression.” 

A spokeswoman for the European Union warned that Turkey’s planned military action “will only exacerbate civilian suffering and lead to massive displacement.”

“If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!),” Trump tweeted.

Erdogan has also reportedly accepted an invitation from Trump to meet in Washington.

The bipartisan argument against withdrawal

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have warned that this withdrawal could lead to a massacre of Kurdish people.

Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who are normally staunch Trump supporters, expressed disapproval of the president’s actions in statements and interviews.

“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Graham said that the decision is “a disaster in the making.”

“I like President Trump,” Graham said on Fox and Friends. “I’ve tried to help him. This to me is just unnerving to its core.”

‘A reckless gamble’: Reasons critics decry Trump’s ‘impulsive’ Syria withdrawal

Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted that “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Graham said he and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., planned to introduce bipartisan sanctions on Turkey if they invade Syria and to call for Turkey’s suspension from NATO if they attack the Kurds. 

Democrats, too, weighed in on what they’ve called a “sinister” move.

“The U.S. convinced the Kurds to destroy ISIS for us, causing massive Kurd casualties. Then we conned the Kurds into dismantling their defenses, promising to protect them. Now Trump invites the Turks into Syria, green lighting them to wipe out the Kurds,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Positively sinister.” 

“Trump’s narcissism is a threat to our national security and stability around the globe,” tweeted Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/08/trump-syria-withdrawal-what-you-need-know-turkey-kurd-conflict/3908110002/

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Robbery suspect beat Texas officer with his baton before being fatally shot

suspected robber was shot and killed at a Texas motel early Tuesday after grabbing a police officer’s baton and beating him with it, authorities said.

Crederick Joseph, 37, of Opelousas, La., was shot dead just after midnight at the Merit Inn and Suites in Beaumont, located 90 miles east of Houston.

Officers were dispatched to the motel after receiving reports of a trespasser, according to a Beaumont Police Department statement.

While en route, officers were told the suspect assaulted a clerk and was attempting to rob the motel.

Westlake Legal Group Motel Robbery suspect beat Texas officer with his baton before being fatally shot Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 003dbd22-d011-5654-95cb-4da7c2325abf

A Texas police officer was assaulted by a robbery suspect before shooting him dead at a motel early Tuesday, authorities said. (Google Maps)

The first officer to arrive took Joseph into custody. However, he was able to grab the officer’s baton while he was being handcuffed and began to hit him with it, authorities told KBMT-TV.

The officer, who suffered deep cuts to his face, shot Joseph, Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary said. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s not clear how many shots were fired or where Joseph was hit.

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The clerk suffered minor injuries. The officer, who has been with the department for 17 months, was placed on administrative while the shooting is being investigated.

Local media outlets reported that Joseph had a long criminal history, including evading arrest.

Westlake Legal Group Motel Robbery suspect beat Texas officer with his baton before being fatally shot Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 003dbd22-d011-5654-95cb-4da7c2325abf   Westlake Legal Group Motel Robbery suspect beat Texas officer with his baton before being fatally shot Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/louisiana fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 003dbd22-d011-5654-95cb-4da7c2325abf

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Russian Operatives Drank Champagne, Said They ‘Made America Great’ After Trump Win

Westlake Legal Group 5d9cffb32100003d07ac789f Russian Operatives Drank Champagne, Said They ‘Made America Great’ After Trump Win

Russian social media trolls working to boost the candidacy of now-President Donald Trump celebrated the real estate mogul’s win on election night 2016 with champagne, according to a message disclosed in a new report from the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee.

According to the committee’s report, released Tuesday, an employee of Russia’s Internet Research Agency sent a message indicating that they “uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne” when they found out that Trump had won. “We uttered almost in unison: ‘We made America great.’” The exchange was highlighted by Bloomberg

Robert Mueller’s extensive special counsel investigation laid out a mountain of evidence showing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Like the Mueller investigation, the new report from the Intelligence Committee found that the Internet Research Agency “sought to influence the presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the committee, said in a statement Tuesday that Russia is “waging an information warfare campaign against the U.S. that didn’t start and didn’t end with the 2016 election” and that their goal was to “sow societal discord and erode public confidence” in government. 

Trump has been publicly skeptical of intelligence community conclusions about Russian interference in the 2016 election because he believes it takes away from his victory.

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A Hard Lesson in Silicon Valley: Profits Matter

Westlake Legal Group 08valley-facebookJumbo A Hard Lesson in Silicon Valley: Profits Matter Wilson, Fred (1961- ) WeWork Companies Inc Venture Capital Union Square Ventures Start-ups Silicon Valley (Calif) Initial Public Offerings Entrepreneurship Computers and the Internet Bird Rides Inc Benchmark Capital

SAN FRANCISCO — Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, recently published a blog post titled “The Great Public Market Reckoning.” In it, he argued that the narrative that had driven start-up hype and valuations for the last decade was now falling apart.

His post quickly ricocheted across Silicon Valley. Other venture capitalists, including Bill Gurley of Benchmark and Brad Feld of Foundry Group, soon weighed in with their own warnings about fiscal responsibility.

At some start-ups, entrepreneurs began behaving more cautiously. Travis VanderZanden, chief executive of the scooter start-up Bird, declared at a tech conference in San Francisco last week that his company was now focused on profit and not growth. “The challenge is to try to stay disciplined,” he said.

The moves all point to a new gospel that is starting to spread in start-up land. For the last decade, young tech companies were fueled by a wave of venture capital-funded excess, which encouraged fast growth above all else. But now some investors and start-ups are beginning to rethink that mantra and instead invoke turning a profit and generating “positive unit economics” as their new priorities.

The nascent change is being driven by the stumbles of some high-profile “unicorns” — the start-ups that were valued at $1 billion and above in the private markets — just as they reached the stock market.

The most visible of those was the office rental start-up WeWork, which dramatically ousted its chief executive and withdrew its initial public offering last month. At the same time, shares of Peloton, a fitness start-up, and SmileDirectClub, an online orthodontics company, immediately cratered after the companies went public. And Uber, Lyft and Slack — which also listed their stocks this year — have similarly dealt with falling stock prices for months.

The lackluster performances have raised questions about Silicon Valley’s start-up formula of spending lots of money to grow at the expense of profits. (All of those companies lose money.) Public market investors, it seemed, just weren’t having it.

“A lot of these highly valued companies have run into the buzz saw of Wall Street, where they’re questioning or reminding us that profitability matters,” said Patricia Nakache, a partner at Trinity Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.

She added that she anticipated a “ripple effect” on private start-up valuations that would start with the largest, most valuable companies and trickle down to the smaller, younger ones.

For start-ups and investors that were used to heady times and big spending, that means it may be time for a reset.

Aileen Lee, an investor at Cowboy Ventures, a venture capital firm in Palo Alto, Calif., said she considered dusting off a four-year-old “winter is coming” email she had sent to start-ups in 2015, telling them to prepare for a downturn. She hasn’t revived the warning yet, she said, because “I worry about becoming the boy who cried wolf.”

Other venture capitalists are being more forward. At Eniac Ventures, a venture firm in New York and San Francisco, the partners recently combed through their companies and identified the “gross margins” — a measure of profitability — for each one, said Nihal Mehta, general partner of the firm. This was not something the firm regularly looked at, he said, but they were inspired by Mr. Wilson’s cautionary blog post.

They ultimately decided that in future meetings with entrepreneurs, they would push for more detailed financial models, even though the companies are very young, Mr. Mehta said. While Eniac had looked at this when making investments before, “now it’s more important,” he said.

Tech start-ups have long gone through different cycles of fear and loathing. When the 2008 recession began, Sequoia Capital, one of the highest-profile venture firms, called a mass meeting with its start-ups and presented a slide deck, titled “R.I.P. Good Times,” that featured a graphic of a “death spiral” and a skull.

The event was intended as a way to shock the start-ups into reining in costs to survive the downturn. Sequoia’s presentation quickly became the talk of Silicon Valley, which did not fall into as deep an economic funk as other parts of the United States.

Yet other alarms about the state of the start-up economy fell on deaf ears.

In 2015, as unicorn start-ups sucked in billions of dollars in funding and soared to stratospheric valuations, Mr. Gurley of Benchmark bemoaned “the complete absence of fear” in Silicon Valley and said “dead unicorns” would soon appear. In 2016, Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist who was an early Facebook investor, also predicted “blood in the water” for the unicorns.

But the money continued to flood into tech start-ups from overseas investors, private equity firms, corporations and SoftBank’s behemoth Vision Fund. That allowed founders to command higher valuations and delay going public. By the end of 2018, start-ups in the United States had raised a record $131 billion in venture funding, surpassing the amount collected during the late 1990s dot-com boom, according to Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Mr. Gurley gave up on his warnings of excess. “You have to adjust to reality and play the game on the field,” he said in an interview last year.

(Complaining about high valuations is a longstanding pastime among venture capitalists, of course, since most prefer to invest their money in cheaply priced start-ups rather than expensive ones.)

This year, the warnings are being revived. In his recent blog post, Mr. Wilson wrote that many of today’s start-ups were focused on traditional physical industries like real estate, exercise or transportation. They should not command the high valuations that pure software companies — which tend to have less overhead — have, he wrote.

In several message exchanges, Mr. Wilson said he had already seen that as criticism of WeWork mounted over the last month, some start-up fundings were taking place at lower valuations and with stricter terms than the companies had hoped for.

“What I would like to see is a bit more rationality, and I’m hopeful we are going to get it,” he said.

By last week, his words appeared to be sinking in elsewhere.

At a start-up conference held by the tech publication TechCrunch at a San Francisco convention center, around 10,000 founders, investors and “innovators” watched interviews with slightly more famous founders, investors and “innovators” from a dark, cavernous room. Onstage, entrepreneurs lamented the unforgiving stock market and challenging investment environment.

Postmates, a food delivery start-up that confidentially filed to go public in February, attended the confab. The company has not yet gone public because the markets have been “choppy when it comes to growth companies,” said Bastian Lehmann, Postmates’ chief executive, at the event.

Bird, the scooter start-up, announced $275 million in fresh funding at the conference. But its chief executive, Mr. VanderZanden, said he had been able to raise that money only because his unprofitable company had taken steps this year to shore up its losses. Many scooter companies have lost their shine this year because of regulatory pushback and safety issues.

The shift toward making a profit wasn’t easy, Mr. VanderZanden said. “I’m an ex-growth guy, and sometimes it’s painful for me,” he said.

But spending fast to grow fast was just no longer feasible, he added. It is now difficult for “a growth-at-all-costs company burning hundreds of millions of dollars with negative unit economics” to get funding, he said. “This is going to be a healthy reset for the tech industry.”

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Bernie Sanders says he would legalize marijuana by executive order

Westlake Legal Group SpLpWSXvqqhSwI8eXNVBH0UFhx0kTEuSrf_fvMzdD4I Bernie Sanders says he would legalize marijuana by executive order r/politics

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