web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 136)

‘We Absolutely Could Not Do That’: When Seeking Foreign Help Was Out of the Question

WASHINGTON — One day in October 1992, four Republican congressmen showed up in the Oval Office with an audacious recommendation. President George Bush was losing his re-election race, and they told him the only way to win was to hammer his challenger Bill Clinton’s patriotism for protesting the Vietnam War while in London and visiting Moscow as a young man.

Mr. Bush was largely on board with that approach. But what came next crossed the line, as far as he and his team were concerned. “They wanted us to contact the Russians or the British to seek information on Bill Clinton’s trip to Moscow,” James A. Baker III, Mr. Bush’s White House chief of staff, wrote in a memo later that day. “I said we absolutely could not do that.”

President Trump insists he and his attorney general did nothing wrong by seeking damaging information about his domestic opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and Britain or by publicly calling on China to investigate his most prominent Democratic challenger. But for every other White House in the modern era, Republican and Democratic, the idea of enlisting help from foreign powers for political advantage was seen as unwise and politically dangerous, if not unprincipled.

A survey of 10 former White House chiefs of staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama found that none recalled any circumstance under which the White House had solicited or accepted political help from other countries, and all said they would have considered the very idea out of bounds.

“I served three presidents in the White House and don’t remember even hearing any speculation to consider asking for such action,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., who ran the younger Mr. Bush’s White House and was the longest-serving chief of staff in the last six decades.

William M. Daley, who served as commerce secretary under Mr. Clinton and chief of staff under Mr. Obama, said if someone had even proposed such an action, he probably would “recommend the person be escorted out of” the White House, then fired and reported to ethics officials.

Other chiefs were just as definitive. “Did not happen on Reagan’s watch. Would not have happened on Reagan’s watch,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, his last chief of staff. “I would have shut him down,” said Leon E. Panetta, who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff and Mr. Obama’s defense secretary.

Read the 1992 Memo President George Bush’s Team Sent About Seeking Foreign Help to Beat Bill Clinton

When Republican congressmen suggested Mr. Bush reach out to Russia or Britain for information that could help him win his re-election race against Bill Clinton, James A. Baker III, then the White House chief of staff, wrote this memo. (PDF, 1 page, 4.8 MB)

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail ‘We Absolutely Could Not Do That’: When Seeking Foreign Help Was Out of the Question United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reagan, Ronald Wilson Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2016 Obama, Barack Clinton, Bill Bush, George W Bush, George Burisma Holdings Ltd Baker, James A III   1 page, 4.8 MB

The sense of incredulity among White House veterans in recent days crossed party and ideological lines. “This is unprecedented,” said Samuel K. Skinner, who preceded Mr. Baker as chief of staff under Mr. Bush. Other chiefs who said they never encountered such a situation included Thomas F. McLarty III and John D. Podesta (Clinton) and Rahm Emanuel, Denis R. McDonough and Jacob J. Lew (Obama).

History has shown that foreign affairs can be treacherous for presidents, even just the suspicion of mixing politics with the national interest. As a candidate in 1968, Richard M. Nixon sought to forestall a Vietnam peace deal by President Lyndon B. Johnson just before the election.

Associates of Mr. Reagan were accused of trying to delay the release of hostages by Iran when he was a candidate in 1980 for fear that it would aid President Jimmy Carter, but a bipartisan House investigation concluded that there was no merit to the charge. Mr. Clinton faced months of investigation over 1996 campaign contributions from Chinese interests tied to the Beijing government.

In none of those cases did an incumbent president personally apply pressure to foreign powers to damage political opponents. Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president this summer to investigate involvement with Democrats in 2016 and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. while holding up $391 million in American aid. Mr. Trump has said he was simply investigating corruption, not trying to benefit himself.

“The right way to look at it is the vice president was selling our country out,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, said in an interview on Sunday. Mr. Trump was fulfilling his duty, he said. “I don’t see what the president did wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani has been leading Mr. Trump’s efforts to dig up evidence of corruption by the Democrats in Ukraine, meeting with various officials and negotiating a commitment by the newly installed government in Kiev to investigate conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election and supposed conflicts of interest by Mr. Biden.

Told that past White House chiefs of staff said any legitimate allegations should be handled by the Justice Department, not the president, Mr. Giuliani said: “That’s if you can trust the Justice Department. My witnesses don’t trust the Justice Department, and they don’t trust the F.B.I.” He added that he would not have either until Attorney General William P. Barr took over.

Mr. Barr has contacted foreign officials for help in investigating the origin of the special counsel investigation by Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference and ties with Mr. Trump’s campaign, part of an effort to prove that the whole matter was a “hoax,” as the president has insisted.

Mr. Trump defends himself by saying that other presidents have leaned on foreign governments for help. That is true, but when other presidents have pressured counterparts and even held up American assistance to coerce cooperation, it has generally been to achieve certain policy goals — not to advance the president’s personal or political agenda.

As an example, Mr. Trump often cites Mr. Obama, who was overheard telling President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia in 2012 that he would have more “more flexibility” to negotiate missile defense after the fall election. While that may be objectionable, it is not the same thing as asking a foreign government to intervene in an American election.

“They assume everybody’s as sleazy and dirty as they are, which is not the case,” Mr. Emanuel said.

Mr. Trump points to Mr. Biden, arguing that the former vice president was the one who abused his power by threatening to withhold $1 billion in American aid to Ukraine unless it fired its prosecutor general.

Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, earning $50,000 a month. The company’s oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had been a subject of cases overseen by the prosecutor, and so Mr. Trump contends that Mr. Biden sought the prosecutor’s ouster to benefit his son.

As a matter of appearances, at least, the former vice president’s family left him open to suspicion. Even some of his defenders say it was unseemly for Hunter Biden to seemingly trade on his family name. The elder Mr. Biden has said he never discussed his son’s business dealings in Ukraine with him, but some Democrats suggest he should have if only to prevent just such a situation from arising.

For all of that, however, no evidence has emerged that Mr. Biden moved to push out the prosecutor to benefit his son. No memo or text message has become public linking the two. None of the American officials who were involved at the time have come forward alleging any connection. No whistle-blower has filed a complaint.

In pressing for the prosecutor’s ouster, Mr. Biden was carrying out Mr. Obama’s policy as developed by his national security team and coordinated with European allies and the International Monetary Fund, all of which considered the Ukrainian prosecutor to be deliberately overlooking corruption.

Indeed, at the time Mr. Biden acted, there was no public evidence that the prosecutor’s office was actively pursuing investigations of Burisma, although Mr. Zlochevsky’s allies say the prosecutor continued to use the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes from the oligarch and his team.

The 1992 episode involving Mr. Bush and Mr. Baker provides an intriguing case study in the way previous administrations have viewed seeking political help overseas. At the time, Mr. Bush was trailing in the polls and eager for any weapon to turn things around.

Representatives Robert K. Dornan, Duncan Hunter and Duke Cunningham of California and Sam Johnson of Texas urged the president to ask Russia and Britain for help.

Mr. Dornan, reached last week, said Mr. Baker offered no objections during the meeting. “Baker sat there in the Oval Office like a bump on a log,” he recalled. “He said nothing.” If Mr. Baker advised Mr. Bush not to reach out to foreign governments, then he did so after the congressmen had left, Mr. Dornan said.

Mr. Dornan said that was a mistake and that Mr. Bush should have done as Mr. Trump has. “The bottom line from me was, ‘If you don’t do this, Mr. President, leader of the free world, you will lose,’” Mr. Dornan said. “And he didn’t do it and he lost. Baker cost Bush that second term.”

As it was, Mr. Baker and some of his aides got in trouble anyway because State Department employees searched Mr. Clinton’s passport file to determine whether he had ever tried to renounce his American citizenship. They found no such evidence, but an independent counsel was appointed to investigate whether the search violated any laws.

The attorney general who requested the investigation? Mr. Barr, in his first tour running the Justice Department. The independent counsel who was appointed? Joseph diGenova, a lawyer now helping Mr. Giuliani look for information in Ukraine. In the passport case, Mr. diGenova concluded that no laws had been broken and that he should never have been appointed in first place.

As for seeking help from Russia and Britain, Mr. Baker declined to comment last week, but his peers said he did exactly as they would have. “It would have been ludicrous at that stage to do anything,” Mr. Skinner said. “Baker’s decision was obviously the right one.”

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

‘We Absolutely Could Not Do That’: When Seeking Foreign Help Was Out of the Question

WASHINGTON — One day in October 1992, four Republican congressmen showed up in the Oval Office with an audacious recommendation. President George Bush was losing his re-election race, and they told him the only way to win was to hammer his challenger Bill Clinton’s patriotism for protesting the Vietnam War while in London and visiting Moscow as a young man.

Mr. Bush was largely on board with that approach. But what came next crossed the line, as far as he and his team were concerned. “They wanted us to contact the Russians or the British to seek information on Bill Clinton’s trip to Moscow,” James A. Baker III, Mr. Bush’s White House chief of staff, wrote in a memo later that day. “I said we absolutely could not do that.”

President Trump insists he and his attorney general did nothing wrong by seeking damaging information about his domestic opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and Britain or by publicly calling on China to investigate his most prominent Democratic challenger. But for every other White House in the modern era, Republican and Democratic, the idea of enlisting help from foreign powers for political advantage was seen as unwise and politically dangerous, if not unprincipled.

A survey of 10 former White House chiefs of staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama found that none recalled any circumstance under which the White House had solicited or accepted political help from other countries, and all said they would have considered the very idea out of bounds.

“I served three presidents in the White House and don’t remember even hearing any speculation to consider asking for such action,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., who ran the younger Mr. Bush’s White House and was the longest-serving chief of staff in the last six decades.

William M. Daley, who served as commerce secretary under Mr. Clinton and chief of staff under Mr. Obama, said if someone had even proposed such an action, he probably would “recommend the person be escorted out of” the White House, then fired and reported to ethics officials.

Other chiefs were just as definitive. “Did not happen on Reagan’s watch. Would not have happened on Reagan’s watch,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, his last chief of staff. “I would have shut him down,” said Leon E. Panetta, who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff and Mr. Obama’s defense secretary.

Read the 1992 Memo President George Bush’s Team Sent About Seeking Foreign Help to Beat Bill Clinton

When Republican congressmen suggested Mr. Bush reach out to Russia or Britain for information that could help him win his re-election race against Bill Clinton, James A. Baker III, then the White House chief of staff, wrote this memo. (PDF, 1 page, 4.8 MB)

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail ‘We Absolutely Could Not Do That’: When Seeking Foreign Help Was Out of the Question United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reagan, Ronald Wilson Presidents and Presidency (US) Presidential Election of 2016 Obama, Barack Clinton, Bill Bush, George W Bush, George Burisma Holdings Ltd Baker, James A III   1 page, 4.8 MB

The sense of incredulity among White House veterans in recent days crossed party and ideological lines. “This is unprecedented,” said Samuel K. Skinner, who preceded Mr. Baker as chief of staff under Mr. Bush. Other chiefs who said they never encountered such a situation included Thomas F. McLarty III and John D. Podesta (Clinton) and Rahm Emanuel, Denis R. McDonough and Jacob J. Lew (Obama).

History has shown that foreign affairs can be treacherous for presidents, even just the suspicion of mixing politics with the national interest. As a candidate in 1968, Richard M. Nixon sought to forestall a Vietnam peace deal by President Lyndon B. Johnson just before the election.

Associates of Mr. Reagan were accused of trying to delay the release of hostages by Iran when he was a candidate in 1980 for fear that it would aid President Jimmy Carter, but a bipartisan House investigation concluded that there was no merit to the charge. Mr. Clinton faced months of investigation over 1996 campaign contributions from Chinese interests tied to the Beijing government.

In none of those cases did an incumbent president personally apply pressure to foreign powers to damage political opponents. Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine’s president this summer to investigate involvement with Democrats in 2016 and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. while holding up $391 million in American aid. Mr. Trump has said he was simply investigating corruption, not trying to benefit himself.

“The right way to look at it is the vice president was selling our country out,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, said in an interview on Sunday. Mr. Trump was fulfilling his duty, he said. “I don’t see what the president did wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani has been leading Mr. Trump’s efforts to dig up evidence of corruption by the Democrats in Ukraine, meeting with various officials and negotiating a commitment by the newly installed government in Kiev to investigate conspiracy theories about Ukrainian involvement in the 2016 election and supposed conflicts of interest by Mr. Biden.

Told that past White House chiefs of staff said any legitimate allegations should be handled by the Justice Department, not the president, Mr. Giuliani said: “That’s if you can trust the Justice Department. My witnesses don’t trust the Justice Department, and they don’t trust the F.B.I.” He added that he would not have either until Attorney General William P. Barr took over.

Mr. Barr has contacted foreign officials for help in investigating the origin of the special counsel investigation by Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference and ties with Mr. Trump’s campaign, part of an effort to prove that the whole matter was a “hoax,” as the president has insisted.

Mr. Trump defends himself by saying that other presidents have leaned on foreign governments for help. That is true, but when other presidents have pressured counterparts and even held up American assistance to coerce cooperation, it has generally been to achieve certain policy goals — not to advance the president’s personal or political agenda.

As an example, Mr. Trump often cites Mr. Obama, who was overheard telling President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia in 2012 that he would have more “more flexibility” to negotiate missile defense after the fall election. While that may be objectionable, it is not the same thing as asking a foreign government to intervene in an American election.

“They assume everybody’s as sleazy and dirty as they are, which is not the case,” Mr. Emanuel said.

Mr. Trump points to Mr. Biden, arguing that the former vice president was the one who abused his power by threatening to withhold $1 billion in American aid to Ukraine unless it fired its prosecutor general.

Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, earning $50,000 a month. The company’s oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had been a subject of cases overseen by the prosecutor, and so Mr. Trump contends that Mr. Biden sought the prosecutor’s ouster to benefit his son.

As a matter of appearances, at least, the former vice president’s family left him open to suspicion. Even some of his defenders say it was unseemly for Hunter Biden to seemingly trade on his family name. The elder Mr. Biden has said he never discussed his son’s business dealings in Ukraine with him, but some Democrats suggest he should have if only to prevent just such a situation from arising.

For all of that, however, no evidence has emerged that Mr. Biden moved to push out the prosecutor to benefit his son. No memo or text message has become public linking the two. None of the American officials who were involved at the time have come forward alleging any connection. No whistle-blower has filed a complaint.

In pressing for the prosecutor’s ouster, Mr. Biden was carrying out Mr. Obama’s policy as developed by his national security team and coordinated with European allies and the International Monetary Fund, all of which considered the Ukrainian prosecutor to be deliberately overlooking corruption.

Indeed, at the time Mr. Biden acted, there was no public evidence that the prosecutor’s office was actively pursuing investigations of Burisma, although Mr. Zlochevsky’s allies say the prosecutor continued to use the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes from the oligarch and his team.

The 1992 episode involving Mr. Bush and Mr. Baker provides an intriguing case study in the way previous administrations have viewed seeking political help overseas. At the time, Mr. Bush was trailing in the polls and eager for any weapon to turn things around.

Representatives Robert K. Dornan, Duncan Hunter and Duke Cunningham of California and Sam Johnson of Texas urged the president to ask Russia and Britain for help.

Mr. Dornan, reached last week, said Mr. Baker offered no objections during the meeting. “Baker sat there in the Oval Office like a bump on a log,” he recalled. “He said nothing.” If Mr. Baker advised Mr. Bush not to reach out to foreign governments, then he did so after the congressmen had left, Mr. Dornan said.

Mr. Dornan said that was a mistake and that Mr. Bush should have done as Mr. Trump has. “The bottom line from me was, ‘If you don’t do this, Mr. President, leader of the free world, you will lose,’” Mr. Dornan said. “And he didn’t do it and he lost. Baker cost Bush that second term.”

As it was, Mr. Baker and some of his aides got in trouble anyway because State Department employees searched Mr. Clinton’s passport file to determine whether he had ever tried to renounce his American citizenship. They found no such evidence, but an independent counsel was appointed to investigate whether the search violated any laws.

The attorney general who requested the investigation? Mr. Barr, in his first tour running the Justice Department. The independent counsel who was appointed? Joseph diGenova, a lawyer now helping Mr. Giuliani look for information in Ukraine. In the passport case, Mr. diGenova concluded that no laws had been broken and that he should never have been appointed in first place.

As for seeking help from Russia and Britain, Mr. Baker declined to comment last week, but his peers said he did exactly as they would have. “It would have been ludicrous at that stage to do anything,” Mr. Skinner said. “Baker’s decision was obviously the right one.”

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

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You

Westlake Legal Group bC75Tsk-P-fkRzcIrOsrUe3cZC-eCKKRIV8RZJ8LjsY The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You r/politics

I think most people don’t understand how marginal tax brackets work, but basic math can help: (example using 22% tax bracket and 37%)

REMEMBER you are taxed on a margin. So you pay a fixed amount and then a percentage on a margin above the lower number on your tax bracket. Hence marginal taxation 🙂

22% $38,701 to $82,500 $4,453.50 plus 22% of the amount over $38,700

So at 50k income one will pay $4,453.50 + ($50,000 – $38,700)*.22 = $4,453.50 + $2,486 = $6,939.5

$6,939.5/$50,000= .138 or roughly ~14%

So someone making 50k per year is only paying roughly 14 percent OVERALL.

sparing the analytics, using the highest tax bracket (37%) with 1,000,000 income

$150,689.50 + $500,000*.37 = $335,689.5

$335,689.5/1,000,000= ~33%

TLDR;

Someone making 50k per year is only paying 14% per year in taxes whereas someone making 1 million is paying 33% taxes. So technically, when you use what people pay overall vs the marginal tax rate (and then forget the margins) data can be twisted to make it look like those in the higher tax brackets are paying less of a percentage than “most redditors”. I can assure you though, with simple maths, it can be shown that this isn’t true.

(I did this all using single filing from 2018. I’m just a normal person who crunched some #s, DON’T MURDER ME)

Source: quicken loan tax brackets

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

Car plunges into Delaware canal; at least 3 dead, 1 missing, police say

An 18-year-old driver and two boys — ages 12 and 16 — died after their car plunged into a Delaware canal Sunday morning, investigators said.

The driver helped a 16-year-old girl to safety before he died in an attempt to rescue three boys, two of whom were found dead after the car was pulled from the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Delaware State Police said.

Emergency responders found the driver’s body in the waters a short time later and the two boys’ bodies were still in the vehicle when it was pulled from the canal shortly after 5 p.m., state police said.

Westlake Legal Group Delaware-CD-canal Car plunges into Delaware canal; at least 3 dead, 1 missing, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 72a3a98f-3402-5447-9466-2c4b470a6422

A car plunged into a Delaware canal Sunday morning, killing at least three people with another remaining missing. (Google Maps)

They said a 6-year-old boy also riding in the car wasn’t found inside when it was removed and the child remained missing.

None of the victims was immediately identified, pending notification of relatives. State police said the search for the missing 6-year-old was continuing.

A state police collision reconstruction unit was continuing to investigate how the car went into the canal about a mile west of a State Route 1 bridge, officials said.

A state police spokesman, Master Cpl. Michael Austin, praised the driver, who was found dead in the canal, for trying to rescue the others.

“He was a hero,” Austin said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. “He tried to do everything he could to help the remaining passengers in that vehicle.”

The man worked to free the girl, whom first responders later found sitting on the banks of the canal after a bystander called 911, the Delaware News Journal reported.

MICHIGAN BOY, 12, BURNED IN ‘FIRE CHALLENGE’ GAME, MOM SAYS

Austin said the driver and the boys were related and that the girl was an acquaintance. All lived in Delaware.

Crews from multiple law enforcement agencies worked for hours to remove the car from the water Sunday in what was being described as a recovery operation.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The canal is about 35 feet deep, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Police, fire, maritime units and a dive team and paramedics all took part in the recovery operation.

Westlake Legal Group Delaware-CD-canal Car plunges into Delaware canal; at least 3 dead, 1 missing, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 72a3a98f-3402-5447-9466-2c4b470a6422   Westlake Legal Group Delaware-CD-canal Car plunges into Delaware canal; at least 3 dead, 1 missing, police say fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 72a3a98f-3402-5447-9466-2c4b470a6422

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

Trump praises Bob Woodward with rare compliments, slams ‘Face the Nation,’ ‘Meet the Press’ hosts

Westlake Legal Group 48842904801_425c2a5fa3_o Trump praises Bob Woodward with rare compliments, slams 'Face the Nation,' 'Meet the Press' hosts Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc efa27ab7-b0df-5355-b002-86faa771a031 article

President Trump issued rare compliments to award-winning journalist Bob Woodward while slamming the “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press” hosts on Sunday.

Woodward, an associate editor at The Washington Post who famously helped break news during the Watergate scandal, appeared on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” alongside The New York Times’ chief White House correspondent Peter Baker to discuss House Democrats‘ impeachment inquiry into Trump.

The president applauded Woodward for his appearance on what he referred to as “Deface the Nation.”

“The CBS no name host(ess), and another guest, Peter Baker of The Failing New York Times, were totally biased, boring and wrong (as usual), but Woodward was cool, calm and interesting,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you Bob!”

Woodward told host Margaret Brennan that “the Democrats need to really be careful about how they let this play out,” later adding: “Let’s hope it’s not a bloody 2020.”

The president then took aim at “Sleepy Eyes” Chuck Todd, who hosted Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Johnson engaged Todd in a heated debate over impeachment efforts and intelligence community abuses. He said former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan corrupted the intelligence agencies they once led, and that he didn’t “trust any of these guys in the Obama administration.”

SEN. RON JOHNSON: JAMES COMEY, JOHN BRENNAN HAVE CORRUPTED FBI AND CIA

Todd accused the senator of avoiding his question and ignoring the facts, instead opting to attack the media.

“Senator, I don’t know why you just came on here to personally attack the press and avoid answering questions about what’s happened here,” the host later said.

Trump called Todd’s responses “a total meltdown.”

“Seems that a not very bright Chuck just wasn’t getting the answers he was looking for in order to make me look as bad as possible,” Trump wrote. “I did NOTHING wrong!”

Trump last year questioned whether Woodward was a “Dem operative” and criticized his book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” saying quotes in the tell-all were “made-up frauds, a con on the public.”

The president went on to tweet about the unemployment rate on Sunday, which the White House said fell to a 50-year low this week.

“Is that an impeachable event for your President?” Trump asked.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 48842904801_425c2a5fa3_o Trump praises Bob Woodward with rare compliments, slams 'Face the Nation,' 'Meet the Press' hosts Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc efa27ab7-b0df-5355-b002-86faa771a031 article   Westlake Legal Group 48842904801_425c2a5fa3_o Trump praises Bob Woodward with rare compliments, slams 'Face the Nation,' 'Meet the Press' hosts Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/media fnc efa27ab7-b0df-5355-b002-86faa771a031 article

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

Oregon Taco Bell customer who slashed man’s throat sentenced to 7 years in prison, report says

A knife-wielding Maryland woman who slashed a man’s throat at a Taco Bell in Oregon this past July — after he told her to “zip it” for berating the staff — was sentenced Thursday to 7 years in prison, according to a report.

Caley Mason, 22, pleaded guilty in Clackamas County in September to second-degree assault in the knife attack that gave 48-year-old Jason Luczkow an 8-inch gash across his face and throat and required 100 stitches.

On July 9, Luczkow said he walked into a Taco Bell in Sandy – about 30 miles east of Portland – and saw Mason, clad in a blonde wig, yelling at the employees for taking too long.

Westlake Legal Group Oregon Oregon Taco Bell customer who slashed man's throat sentenced to 7 years in prison, report says fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz bbd7a8ad-f140-5289-b023-bcc6520f5f90 article

Caley Mason had been on state supervision for an armed robbery conviction in Maryland at the time of the knife attack in Oregon, investigators said. (Clackamas County Sheriff)

“Apparently the management had already told her to leave,” Luczkow said. “As she continued to rant and rave, I told her to be quiet. Told her to zip it.”

Mason left the restaurant but returned moments later with a knife and attacked Luczkow, Det. Sam Craven told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

Mason then sped off in a silver Kia Soul, nearly running over his wife in the process, Luczkow said. Police said they pulled her over with her boyfriend and two young children – ages 2 and 4 – in the car, according to Clackamas County prosecutor Matt Semritc.

4 FATALLY INJURED IN STABBING SPREE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, SUSPECT NABBED

Craven said police found Mason’s blonde wig “in the boyfriend’s pants.”

Mason was arrested and indicted on multiple criminal counts, including attempted murder, first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon, according to records cited by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Mason’s boyfriend, Phillip Thomas, was arrested for tampering with physical evidence but his case later was dismissed, the records showed.

Prosecutors said Mason was on state supervision for an armed robbery of a pizza deliveryman in Maryland. Her children, meanwhile, have been sent back to Maryland with a relative, investigators added.

Westlake Legal Group Oregon Oregon Taco Bell customer who slashed man's throat sentenced to 7 years in prison, report says fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz bbd7a8ad-f140-5289-b023-bcc6520f5f90 article   Westlake Legal Group Oregon Oregon Taco Bell customer who slashed man's throat sentenced to 7 years in prison, report says fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/maryland fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz bbd7a8ad-f140-5289-b023-bcc6520f5f90 article

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

Trump Allies Pressed Ukraine Over Gas Firm

Westlake Legal Group 5d9a7d072100002a043284e4 Trump Allies Pressed Ukraine Over Gas Firm

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.

It’s unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.

But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president’s personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”

While it’s unclear whether Trump’s remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone’s personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country’s energy sector and create an environment where Western companies can do business.

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogazt, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government’s plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.

THE BUSINESSMEN

Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party — including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country’s dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.

Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.

These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.

A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.

He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani’s presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a “government relations, public affairs and business development practice group.”

This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.

This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

“I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don’t know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously,” said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. “There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn’t do it.”

During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.

“The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced,” he said. “I did play a role in that.”

But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner’s 45 Energy Group.

Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: “While I won’t comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner.”

Sargeant did not respond to a voice message left at a number listed for him at an address in Boca Raton.

John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. He says they then met with Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.

“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” Dowd said. “They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

“It wasn’t a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn’t work out.”

THE ENERGY SECRETARY

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Robert Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government “as having a higher ethical standard.”

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president’s Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.

U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine’s business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.

“What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company,” Hynes said Saturday. “That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist.”

Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.

Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.

As a former Texas governor, Perry has always had close ties to the oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.

Zelenskiy’s office declined to comment on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that “as God as my witness” he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani.

“This has been a very intense, a very focused push to get Ukraine to clean up the corruption,” Perry said in the interview. “I can’t go in good faith and tell a U.S. company, go and invest here, go and be involved if the corruption is ongoing.”

He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.

Biesecker and Lardner reported from Washington.

Follow Associated Press investigative reporters Desmond Butler at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler, Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck, and Richard Lardner at http://twitter.com/rplardner

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

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

John Brennan: CIA Would Call U.S. ‘Very Corrupt’ If It Were Another Country

Westlake Legal Group xc2QBwEtEOw_LGILkeo5BJPYJGbg5HlCg95lpgFwb08 John Brennan: CIA Would Call U.S. ‘Very Corrupt’ If It Were Another Country r/politics

What my country considers as bribery, ie enough to get a prison sentence, is not only entirely legal in the US, but it’s literally what allows their political campaigns to function.

People made fun of us a few years back when we had a huge corruption scandal, even calling us one of the most corrupt places in the world, but they failed to mention that what we consider illegal and prosecute people for is legal in most places around the world.

Businesses contributing to political campaign is absolute nonsense, unlimited political contributions through PACs is a very thinly veiled corruption, and lobbyists straight up giving money to politicians is literal corruption.

The US not only is one of the most corrupt places on earth, but it legitimizes corruption and defends it as “free speech”. If you look at what people who are actual free speech advocates in autocratic countries are being jailed for, calling unlimited monetary political contributions “free speech” is a fucking slap in the face.

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

Rip Taylor, confetti-throwing comic and TV host, dead at 84, publicist says

Rip Taylor, the zany comedian who was a television and nightclub mainstay for over six decades, has died, according to his publicist. Taylor was 84.

Publicist Harlan Boll said Taylor died Sunday in Beverly Hills. The cause of death was unclear.

Born Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. in Washington, D.C., he first worked as a congressional page before serving in the Army during the Korean War. His showbiz ascent started with spots on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where he was known as the “crying comedian.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19279835166149 Rip Taylor, confetti-throwing comic and TV host, dead at 84, publicist says fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe26b558-07cc-5b7f-aa82-5e99e7730c34 Bradford Betz article

Comedian Rip Taylor, seen here in Hollywood in an undated photo, has died at age 84, his publicist said. (AP, File)

“I sat on a stool telling jokes, and nobody was laughing,” he told UPI in 1992. “In desperation, I pretended to cry as I begged them to laugh. That killed ’em.”

He’d go on to make over 2,000 guest appearances on shows including “Hollywood Squares” and “The Gong Show,” and host the beauty pageant spoof “The $1.98 Beauty Show.”

He was known for his over-the-top persona with a fondness for throwing confetti at the audience.

LEGENDARY CREAM DRUMMER DEAD AT 80

He also played himself in “Wayne’s World 2” and the “Jackass” movies, appeared on stage in “Sugar Babies” and “Oliver!” and performed an autobiographical one-man play, “It Ain’t All Confetti.”

With his bushy blonde toupee, exaggerated eyebrows and walrus-like mustache, Taylor was a striking presence. He apparently was so proud of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that he’d regularly schedule trips to buff and clean the square.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Taylor was survived by his longtime partner, Robert Fortney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19279835166149 Rip Taylor, confetti-throwing comic and TV host, dead at 84, publicist says fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe26b558-07cc-5b7f-aa82-5e99e7730c34 Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group AP19279835166149 Rip Taylor, confetti-throwing comic and TV host, dead at 84, publicist says fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fe26b558-07cc-5b7f-aa82-5e99e7730c34 Bradford Betz article

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

Rip Taylor, wacky comedian and game-show regular, dead at 84

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Rip Taylor, wacky comedian and game-show regular, dead at 84

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Exuberant comedian Rip Taylor, best known for his many energetic game-show appearances and self-described as the “King of Confetti,” has died at 84.

Taylor died Sunday in Beverly Hills, publicist Harlan Boll confirmed to USA TODAY. 

Taylor’s showbiz ascent started with spots on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where he was known as the “crying comedian.”

The comedian in the spiky blond toupee and bushy mustache made a name for himself by being outrageous. He was a favorite on everything from variety shows to talk shows to sitcoms, and had more than 2,000 small-screen credits during his career, according to RipTaylor.com.

In the 1970s, Taylor teamed with Chuck Barris to host “The $1.98 Beauty Show.” The campy “beauty and talent contest” featured winners who received a tacky plastic crown, a bouquet of rotten vegetables and $1.98 from a coin holder on Taylor’s belt. 

In later years, the comedian appeared as himself in “Wayne’s World 2” and on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” 

Charles Elmer Taylor was born on Jan. 13, 1935, in Washington, D.C. He was a Congressional page as a teenager, and served in the Army during the Korean War. 

Taylor is survived by longtime partner, Robert Fortney.

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2019/10/06/comedian-actor-rip-taylor-dead-at-84/3893711002/

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