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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 138)

Impeachment inquiry doesn’t entitle House committee to grand jury evidence in Mueller report, DOJ says

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department told a federal judge that a House committee investigating President Donald Trump is not entitled to grand jury evidence from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, saying it has failed to explain which specific testimony it needs access to or how it would help its investigation into potential obstruction by the president.

“There is this generalized notion that this is an important matter because of impeachment and, therefore, [they] should have access to everything,” Elizabeth Shapiro, an attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said during a two-hour hearing in federal court Tuesday. “It also needs to be particularized and they shouldn’t get a pass on that because of impeachment.”

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell heard arguments on whether the House Judiciary Committee should receive the underlying grand jury evidence behind Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

The panel subpoenaed the evidence as part of the wide-ranging impeachment investigation of Trump, who calls the inquiry a partisan witch hunt. The Judiciary Committee is focusing on potential obstruction of justice, as described in 10 episodes in the Mueller report. But Attorney General William Barr redacted grand jury evidence from the report and argued against disclosing it under the subpoena.

Shapiro said there first needs to be a “degree of formality” in the form of a full House vote on an impeachment inquiry before treading into  dangerous territory of “penetrating grand jury evidence.” House Democrats have argued that a full House vote isn’t necessary to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.

“I think we can look at history,” Shapiro said, citing the impeachment investigation of Richard Nixon. “Grand jury information only went to the House after there is a formal vote.”

A ruling by Howell, chief judge for the D.C. district who oversees the grand jury, could resolve a key dispute about the status of the House’s investigation of Trump.

Six committees have been conducting investigations of Trump since Democrats regained control of the chamber in January. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Sept. 24 that all of the inquiries now fall under the umbrella of a formal impeachment investigation and that no floor vote is necessary. But Republicans have argued that only the full House can authorize an impeachment inquiry.

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment inquiry doesn't entitle House committee to grand jury evidence in Mueller report, DOJ says

Mueller’s 22-month investigation found no conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia, despite that country’s sweeping and systematic effort to influence the 2016 election. But the report released in April outlined potential obstruction when Trump tried to thwart the special counsel inquiry and have Mueller removed. Mueller made no decision about whether to charge Trump with obstruction because Justice Department policy forbids charging a president while in office.

The Judiciary Committee subpoenaed grand jury evidence to explore Trump’s knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the election, the president’s knowledge of potential criminal acts by his campaign or administration, and actions taken by former White House counsel Don McGahn. The Mueller report described episodes when Trump directed McGahn to remove the special counsel, which McGahn ignored.

But Douglas Letter, counsel for the House, said the committee has “gotten nowhere near” what it thought it will be able to get as part of its investigation. He said the committee has received a “very limited” number of FD-302 forms, which are FBI documents summarizing interviews with witnesses. He said the committee has yet to receive 302 forms involving McGahn, whom the committee views as a key witness. 

“The very heart of what we need to look into … we’re getting almost nothing,” Letter said. 

“We need to find out, was he engaging in helping to fix the election? … Did he have a motive and did he obstruct justice?” Letter argued. “The only way that we were going to be able to do that is see what was in those redactions.”

The Justice Department has argued in legal filings that a “minuscule” 0.1% of the Mueller report dealing with potential obstruction of justice was redacted. And the department said releasing the evidence could hurt pending cases that grew out of the Mueller investigation.

Also at the heart of the debate is what exactly the ongoing impeachment inquiry covers.

Shapiro said the findings of the Mueller report “is not currently the basis” of the impeachment investigation and that it is narrowly focused on allegations that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate a potential presidential rival. 

But Letter said the impeachment investigation’s scope is wider than that and covers potential obstruction of justice by the president.

“We don’t just have an impeachment investigation that’s focusing on Ukraine” even though “the media is focusing on that,” Letter said. 

In legal filings, the House Judiciary included a 1974 letter from the Watergate era as an exhibit. Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.Y., who was then head of the Judiciary Committee, wrote to U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica asking for grand jury materials in the investigation of President Richard Nixon. Rodino cited a House vote of 410-4 to authorize an impeachment investigation.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, also filed an argument in the case urging the judge to reject the request. Collins said that Congress sometimes deserves access to grand jury evidence but that the Judiciary Committee shouldn’t gain access yet, for lack of a full House vote.

“The problem for the committee, however, is the House has not authorized it to conduct a formal impeachment proceeding,” Collins said in the filing. “Without an explicit delegation of authority from the House, the committee’s investigation is regular legislative oversight and does not fall within” rules governing access to grand jury evidence.

Separately, the committee filed another federal lawsuit to force McGahn to testify. The White House has opposed the move under a claim of absolute immunity, which Democrats contend doesn’t exist.

More on congressional investigations of President Donald Trump:

Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump over Ukraine scandal

‘We’re fighting all the subpoenas.’ Congress and Trump prepare to battle over wide-ranging probes

‘Slow-motion constitutional car crash’: Trump, Congress battle over investigations with no end in sight

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment inquiry doesn't entitle House committee to grand jury evidence in Mueller report, DOJ says

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California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers

The largest utility in California has warned it may cut off power for large parts of the northern part of the Golden State starting Wednesday and Thursday to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires during expected warm, windy weather.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from 5 a.m. Wednesday until 5 p.m. Thursday for the North Bay Mountains and Valleys and East Bay hills and valleys in the San Francisco Bay Area due to “extreme fire danger.”

“Really extreme fire weather is what we’re looking at right now, what the weather models are showing,” Cal Fire Chief Mike Mohler told FOX40 on Monday, adding: “This is the largest, most concerning event that we’ve had in 2019.”

Cal Fire said the agency is preparing for a widespread period of conditions that could allow blazes to spread and is starting additional aircraft, ground crews, and personnel to respond if needed.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO A WICKED PROBLEM

A similar warning has been issued for the Santa Cruz Mountains from 5 p.m. Wednesday through noon on Thursday due to a combination of “gusty and potentially strong, damaging north or northeast winds” combined with low humidity.

“Strongest winds are expected in the hills, but gusty winds will develop locally in the valleys and near the coast as well,” the NWS San Francisco Bay Area office said in a forecast discussion. “These conditions will result in critical fire weather conditions from Wednesday into Thursday, especially across the  North Bay, East Bay, and Santa Cruz Mountains.”

Forecasters said the windy stretch of weather may be the strongest offshore wind event in the area since the October 2017 North Bay Fires.

In Northern California, Pacific Gas & Electric announced possible blackouts in 30 northern and central counties starting Wednesday that could affect more than 600,000 customers. The utility said that, based on the latest forecast models, the peak winds will occur from early Wednesday morning to Thursday midday and customers may be affected by a power shutoff even if they are not experiencing extreme weather conditions in their specific location.

Westlake Legal Group pge_1 California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 07d4d91d-ca05-5d8f-bb05-ad7ced348a2f

Pacific Gas & Electric said it could cut off power to a large swath of Northern California later this week to prevent its equipment from starting wildfires during hot, windy weather. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

“This is shaping up to be one of the most severe dry wind events we’ve seen in our territory in recent years and we want our customers to be prepared for an extended outage that may last several days,” Michael Lewis, senior vice president, PG&E Electric Operations, said in a statement. “We want our customers to be aware that, based on this number, it could take several days to fully restore power after the weather passes and safety inspections are completed.”

While PG&E has not confirmed any power shutoffs, the local police departments have announced that outages are likely.

The Lafayette Police Department said that 21,421 PG&E customers in the towns of Moraga, Orinda, and Lafayette in Contra Costa County could expect a shutoff beginning shortly after midnight on Wednesday and lasting through at least Thursday afternoon.

Westlake Legal Group pge_2 California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 07d4d91d-ca05-5d8f-bb05-ad7ced348a2f

Pacific Gas & Electric may shut off power in parts of 30 counties in the northern and central parts of California on Wednesday and Thursday due to increased fire danger. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Officials said area residents should plan for family and pet medical needs, in addition to having enough fuel and water for each person and pet.

“Remember, gas stations, stores and ATMs in the immediate area will be closed,” police said, adding, “Know how to use the manual release on your garage door”

DRONES THE LATEST CRITICAL TOOL TO FIGHT WILDFIRES

On Monday evening around 4:30 p.m. Napa County officials said the utility was shutting off power to customers starting Wednesday morning and may extend five days or longer, KTVU reported.

Cal Fire said the state’s top five most destructive fires in terms of structure loss have taken place between September and November, with three blazes erupting in October in weather conditions that were a mix of gusty winds and low humidity. In addition to being careful to prevent blazes during high fire danger periods, officials told FOX40 on Monday that everyone should also have an evacuation plan ready.

“Wildland fires know no boundaries,” Mohler told FOX40 on Monday. “So, that traditional, ‘Oh, I don’t live next to a hillside with brush,’ no longer exits. If you look at the Tubbs Fire, it jumped the 101 Freeway, six lanes and went into what we would consider an urban neighborhood.”

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire, the state’s most destructive wildfire ever, that killed 85 people and destroyed in excess of 18,000 structures. Power lines owned by PG&E were blamed in sparking that blaze, and the company filed for bankruptcy in January as it struggled with billions in potential liabilities.

CLICK HERE FOR THE NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Last month, PG&E shut off power to more than 48,000 customers in seven counties in wine country and the Sierra Nevada foothills as the humidity plunged, temperatures rose and winds kicked up. The outages lasted less than a day, and no major problems were reported.

In Sonoma County, PG&E cut power to 700 people in the Santa Rosa area, where the Tubbs Fire in October 2017 killed 22 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes. In January, state investigators said that blaze was sparked by a private electrical system.

Westlake Legal Group pge_3 California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 07d4d91d-ca05-5d8f-bb05-ad7ced348a2f

Southern California Edison said that more than 106,000 customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

The risk of power outages this week isn’t just limited to Northern California. In the southern part of the state, Southern California Edison’s website showed Tuesday that more than 106,000 customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts.

The largest numbers of potentially affected SoCal Edison customers are in Los Angeles County and to the east in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Also under consideration are areas to the west in Ventura County and to the north in Kern, Tulare, Inyo, and Mono counties.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Samuel Chamberlain, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group pge_1 California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 07d4d91d-ca05-5d8f-bb05-ad7ced348a2f   Westlake Legal Group pge_1 California wildfire risk may cause power outages in 30 counties for more than 600,000 customers Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters/fires fox-news/us/disasters/disaster-response fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 07d4d91d-ca05-5d8f-bb05-ad7ced348a2f

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Whoopi Goldberg accuses Trump admin of trying to ‘dismantle our system of law’ with Sondland decision

Westlake Legal Group Trump-Goldberg-AP-Getty Whoopi Goldberg accuses Trump admin of trying to 'dismantle our system of law' with Sondland decision Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/whoopi-goldberg fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6461b4c1-b41a-598e-91da-da304c32b6c8

“The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg accused President Trump of trying to break down the United States’ legal norms by blocking an ambassador from testifying Tuesday about the Ukraine controversy.

She and her co-hosts were discussing the State Department’s decision to prevent Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, from testifying during a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee. President Trump defended the decision on Tuesday, tweeting that the committee was a “totally compromised kangaroo court.”

“Stop trying to dismantle our system of law,” Goldberg said on Tuesday. “This is how we do it. It’s not perfect. It’s not great to some people but we have a whole set of laws that you have to follow and sometimes it works in your favor … and sometimes it doesn’t,” she said.

More from Media

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS AMBASSADOR FROM TESTIFYING IN HOUSE IMPEACHMENT DEPOSITION

She added that the committee wasn’t a “kangaroo court.”

“These are your peers,” she added in an apparent message for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. Co-host Joy Behar criticized Jordan, who defended the administration’s decision to block Sondland’s testimony.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“He’s in the cover-up,” Behar said. “That’s what he does for a living, Jim Jordan. He covers up crimes.”

When co-host Meghan McCain chimed in, she favored not allowing the testimony because a closed-door session would reinforce the air of “secrecy” surrounding the Ukraine controversy.

She also pushed back on the “kangaroo court” descriptor but argued that Schiff was making the impeachment inquiry process unnecessarily “partisan.”

Westlake Legal Group Trump-Goldberg-AP-Getty Whoopi Goldberg accuses Trump admin of trying to 'dismantle our system of law' with Sondland decision Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/whoopi-goldberg fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6461b4c1-b41a-598e-91da-da304c32b6c8   Westlake Legal Group Trump-Goldberg-AP-Getty Whoopi Goldberg accuses Trump admin of trying to 'dismantle our system of law' with Sondland decision Sam Dorman fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/whoopi-goldberg fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 6461b4c1-b41a-598e-91da-da304c32b6c8

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White House Blocks Sondland Testimony, Signaling Plan to Stonewall Impeachment Inquiry

WASHINGTON — The White House all but declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, intervening for the first time to block the testimony of a key witness as President Trump signaled his administration would try to starve investigators of more witnesses and documents.

The decision to block Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, from speaking with investigators for three House committees came just hours before he was to appear on Capitol Hill, provoking an immediate conflict with potentially profound consequences for the inquiry and for the president himself.

Mr. Trump, defiant as investigators dig further into his efforts to pressure Ukraine to find dirt on his political rivals, declared the inquiry illegitimate in a signal that he plans to stonewall Congress, an act that could itself build the case for charging him in an impeachment proceeding with obstruction.

“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning around the time Mr. Sondland was to appear, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away.”

[Catch up on all the day’s news here.]

House Democrats quickly said they would regard the president’s stance as amounting to obstruction. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the administration’s refusal to allow Mr. Sondland to appear was “strong evidence” of “obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government.”

Mr. Schiff told reporters that the State Department was also withholding text messages Mr. Sondland had sent on a private device that were “deeply relevant” to the inquiry.

“The American people have the right to know if the president is acting in their interests, in the nation’s interests with an eye toward our national security, and not in his narrow personal, political interests,” Mr. Schiff told reporters. “By preventing us from hearing from this witness and obtaining these documents, the president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nation’s security.”

In a statement, Mr. Schiff and the chairmen of the two other committees leading the investigation said they would promptly issue a subpoena for Mr. Sondland’s testimony and documents.

The decision to block Mr. Sondland from being interviewed was delivered at the last minute, after the ambassador had already flown to Washington from Europe, and lawmakers had returned from a two-week recess to observe the questioning.

Trump administration lawyers and aides have spent days puzzling over how to respond to the impeachment inquiry, and the abrupt move suggested that the president’s team has calculated that he is better off risking the House’s ire — and even an impeachment article focused on the obstruction — than setting a precedent for cooperation with an investigation they have strenuously argued is illegitimate.

The strategy, if it holds, carries substantial risk to the White House. Privately, some Republicans had urged the White House to allow witnesses like Mr. Sondland to appear, in order to deflate Democratic accusations of a cover-up and offer a public rationale for the president’s actions toward Ukraine. Now, some Republicans worry, Democrats have more fodder to argue publicly that Mr. Trump has something to hide.

Mr. Schiff said the Intelligence Committee, working with both the Foreign Affairs and the Oversight and Reform panels, would continue its work regardless. But the chairman did not detail how he might seek to crank up pressure on the White House to comply, and the standoff may create a quandary for Democrats who had hoped to move quickly in extracting crucial evidence and decide in short order whether to push forward on impeaching Mr. Trump.

Mr. Sondland has become enmeshed in the burgeoning saga of how the president sought to push the Ukrainians to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his son and Democrats. Although Ukraine is not in the European Union, Mr. Trump instructed Mr. Sondland — a wealthy hotelier and contributor to his campaign — to take a lead in his administration’s dealings with the country.

Westlake Legal Group impeachment-investigation-tracker-promo-1570214529724-articleLarge-v3 White House Blocks Sondland Testimony, Signaling Plan to Stonewall Impeachment Inquiry United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

The Evidence Collected So Far in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Democrats consider him a key witness to what transpired, including whether the president sought to use a $391 million package of security assistance and the promise of a White House meeting as bargaining chips to essentially bully President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine into digging up dirt on the Bidens and other Democrats.

Mr. Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill rushed to his defense on Tuesday and condemned Mr. Schiff and the Democrats for running what they described as an unfair process, though they made clear they thought Mr. Sondland would have been a helpful witness for the president’s case.

“We were looking forward to hearing from Ambassador Sondland,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the Oversight and Reform Committee, adding that Republicans believed Mr. Sondland would “reinforce exactly” what lawmakers and aides heard least week from Kurt D. Volker, the former American special envoy to Ukraine. Mr. Volker told investigators he knew of nothing improper between the two countries, although he turned over a trove of documents that raised further questions.

“But we understand exactly why the administration, exactly why the State Department has chosen to say, ‘Look if it’s going to be this kind of process …,’ ” Mr. Jordan added.

And in the Senate, Mr. Trump’s allies shifted into high gear to orchestrate a counteroffensive on his behalf. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would invite Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer who was deeply involved in the pressure campaign on Ukraine, to testify before his panel. Mr. Giuliani led the push to enlist the Ukrainians to help investigate the business dealings of the Bidens and a conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

“Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine,” Mr. Graham said.

It was unclear what the Trump administration’s position would mean for other witnesses expected to testify in the House investigation. Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, is currently scheduled to appear on Friday. The State Department has also missed a subpoena deadline to hand over documents the House has demanded related to Ukraine.

Mr. Sondland interacted directly with Mr. Trump, speaking with the president several times around key moments that House Democrats are now investigating, including before and after Mr. Trump’s July call with Mr. Zelensky. The president asked Mr. Zelensky in that conversation to do him “a favor” and investigate the Bidens and matters related to 2016.

Text messages provided to Congress last week showed that Mr. Sondland and another senior diplomat had worked on language for a statement they wanted the Ukrainian president to put out in August that would have committed him to the investigations sought by Mr. Trump. The diplomats consulted with Mr. Giuliani about the statement, believing they needed to pacify him in order to allow the United States to normalize relations with the Ukrainians.

Mr. Sondland was also involved in a back-and-forth with top American diplomats to Ukraine over text last month that suggests some senior State Department officials believed that Mr. Trump may have been holding up the security aid as leverage for getting its leaders to conduct the investigations Mr. Trump wanted.

“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” William B. Taylor Jr., a top American official in Ukraine, wrote in one exchange in early September.

After receiving the text, Mr. Sondland called Mr. Trump, who asserted it was false.

“Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions,” Mr. Sondland wrote in the messages. “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.”

Mr. Sondland added: “I suggest we stop the back and forth by text.”

There have been conflicting accounts of Mr. Sondland’s views, however. Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, told The Wall Street Journal last week that Mr. Sondland had told him in August that the release of the aid was contingent upon Ukraine opening the investigations. Mr. Johnson said he was alarmed and asked Mr. Trump if there was a quid pro quo involved. The president adamantly denied it, he said.

Robert D. Luskin, Mr. Sondland’s lawyer, said in a statement that as a State Department employee, his client had no choice but to comply with the administration’s direction. He said Mr. Sondland was “profoundly disappointed” he was not able to testify, and would do so in the future if allowed.

“Ambassador Sondland believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the United States, and he stands ready to answer the committee’s questions fully and truthfully,” Mr. Luskin said.

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‘Not One Drop Of Blood’: Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon

Westlake Legal Group mysterious-bull-deaths__ak__3_custom-b95b20bd3fc836fe6eb9b50ba0459bab6198287f-s1100-c15 'Not One Drop Of Blood': Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon

The crumpled carcass of a bull lies on Forest Service ground. It was among several killed and mutilated this summer in eastern Oregon. Anna King/Northwest News Network hide caption

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Anna King/Northwest News Network

Westlake Legal Group  'Not One Drop Of Blood': Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon

The crumpled carcass of a bull lies on Forest Service ground. It was among several killed and mutilated this summer in eastern Oregon.

Anna King/Northwest News Network

In early morning light, dust from hooves creates a fog at Silvies Valley Ranch in remote eastern Oregon. Cowboys whistle and talk low to their eager herding dogs. They’re moving the cattle from one vast, sage-studded range to another.

Five young purebred bulls mysteriously showed up dead on the ranch this past summer, drained of blood and with body parts precisely removed.

The ranch’s vice president Colby Marshall, drives his truck down a U.S. Forest Service road.

“Then we’ll get out and take a little walk to where one of the bulls was found. And the carcass is still there,” Marshall says.

Coming upon one of the dead bulls is an eerie scene. The forest is hot and still, apart from a raven’s repeating caw. The bull looks like a giant, deflated plush toy. It smells. Weirdly, there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes or other scavengers. His red coat is as shiny as if he was going to the fair, but it’s bloodless and its tongue and genitals have been surgically cut out.

Marshall says these young livestock were just reaching their top value as breeding bulls. The animals are worth around $6,000 each. And since these are breeding bulls, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of future calves are lost, too.

Finding these young Herefords in this remote country can sometimes take the ranch’s experienced cowboys days. Ranch staff are now required to ride in pairs and encouraged to carry arms.

“It’s rugged,” Marshall says. “I mean this is the frontier. If some person, or persons, has the ability to take down a 2,000-pound range bull, you know, it’s not inconceivable that they wouldn’t have a lot of problems dealing with a 180-pound cowboy.”

Theories abound

Harney County Sheriff Deputy Dan Jenkins has been working the cattle cases, and has gotten dozens of calls from all over offering tips and suggestions.

“A lot of people lean toward the aliens,” Jenkins says. “One caller had told us to look for basically a depression under the carcass. ‘Cause he said that the alien ships will kinda beam the cow up and do whatever they are going to do with it. Then they just drop them from a great height.”

Westlake Legal Group mysterious-bull-deaths__ak__7_custom-5461189e06fb571bf6f77e68d6840f0e085cc64f-s800-c15 'Not One Drop Of Blood': Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon

Dan Jenkins, with the Harney County Sheriff’s Office, has been investigating the killings of several cattle on Silvies Valley Ranch. Anna King/Northwest News Network hide caption

toggle caption

Anna King/Northwest News Network

Jenkins says the cases have been tough, with little evidence and no credible leads.

He has a running list on his white board scrawled with green marker with the top theories. What’s clear: is it isn’t bears, wolves, cougars or poisonous plants. Nor were the animals shot.

The FBI won’t confirm or deny it’s looking into the multiple slaughters.

Two years ago and 200 miles south near Princeton, Ore., one of Andie Davies’ cows was also found cut up and bloodless.

She and her husband drove concentric circles around the corpse, but they never found any tracks.

And in this dusty country, “everything you do leaves tracks,” Davies says.

Back in the 1980s, one of Terry Anderson’s mother cows was mysteriously killed overnight. Standing on his ranch near Pendleton, Ore., Anderson points to the exact spot where he found her on top of a mountain.

He remembers his cow lying dead, her udder removed with something razor sharp.

“And not one drop of blood anywhere,” Anderson says.

He’s never gotten over it.

“It’s just left a really strange feeling with me since that day. You can’t explain it,” Anderson says. “And, you know, no one else has been able to explain it.”

The Harney County Sheriff’s office continues to field calls on the killings. And Silvies Ranch has put up a $25,000 reward for information that could solve the case.

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G.M. Strike’s Economic Toll Is Showing: ‘I Might Lose the Business’

Westlake Legal Group 08impact8-facebookJumbo G.M. Strike’s Economic Toll Is Showing: ‘I Might Lose the Business’ United Automobile Workers Strikes Organized Labor Michigan Layoffs and Job Reductions Labor and Jobs General Motors Economic Conditions and Trends Automobiles

The truck drivers at Phoenix Transit & Logistics in Dearborn, Mich., are long gone. Around three dozen of the trailers they once ferried between auto plants — packed with dashboards, engine components, lights and other parts for General Motors — are sitting in a lot with nowhere to go.

It’s an increasingly familiar scene as the strike against G.M. by the United Auto Workers enters its fourth week. From suppliers to shippers to restaurants, the impact of the work stoppage is spreading through the web of businesses whose fates are tied to the biggest American automaker.

Wael Tlaib, the owner of Phoenix Transit & Logistics, said he had laid off nearly his entire staff, including 80 drivers, and had dipped into his personal savings to keep his company afloat. “I might lose the business next week,” Mr. Tlaib said.

The most intense economic pain is being felt in the industrial Midwest, where G.M.’s network of plants and suppliers is thickest. It is a difficult time for the region’s manufacturing industry, which even before the strike was contending with slowing auto sales, a weakening global economy and the trade war.

An economic blow to the Midwest would have broad consequences in part because the region is an important political battleground that will help determine who wins the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, President Trump’s narrow victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin put him over the top in the Electoral College tally.

The state of the auto industry “usually has political ramifications that are beyond its direct economic influence,” said Matt Grossmann, a political-science professor at Michigan State University. “A lot of Democrats here are running on the promise to help the factory workers and the working class, and saying Trump hasn’t done it.”

Nearly 50,000 U.A.W. members walked off the job on Sept. 16, the largest stoppage since G.M. workers went on strike in 2007. The union is pressing for more job security as well as the reopening of plants in the United States that the company has recently idled. For its part, G.M. wants to limit wage increases, slow the growth of health care costs, and gain flexibility in how plants are staffed and operated.

After signs of progress over the last week, the two sides hit a roadblock this weekend on how production might be moved to the United States from Mexico. Terry Dittes, the U.A.W.’s lead negotiator, said on Sunday that the talks had taken a “turn for the worse.”

The impact of the strike stretches from Mexico to Canada, where G.M. plants that depend on American factories have been shuttered, putting thousands out of work. Analysts estimate that G.M. has lost $600 million as a result of the strike.

In the United States, 34 G.M. plants have gone dark. And striking workers are making do with a $250-a-week subsidy from the union.

[Watch “The Weekly,” The Times’s new TV show, report on GM and its workers’ fight to survive in Lordstown, Ohio.]

In the first three weeks of the strike, $412 million in wages were lost, according to Patrick Anderson, chief executive of Anderson Economic Group. “Each week the damage grows geometrically,” Mr. Anderson said. “First you lose your U.A.W. workers, then the immediate suppliers, then the next tiers.”

Michigan has the most exposure to the auto sector, with roughly 8 percent of the state’s economy linked to the industry. Even after factory closures decimated employment in the car industry in recent decades, the state remains dotted with auto plants and suppliers.

Gabriel Ehrlich, director of the University of Michigan’s Research Seminar in Qualitative Economics, estimates that the Michigan economy is growing at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. Without the strike, he said, that number could be 0.1 to 0.2 points higher.

Even before the strike, manufacturing employment in Michigan fell by 1,300 jobs in the first eight months of the year. By comparison, manufacturers added 43,000 jobs nationally in the same period.

“There’s been real damage to the economy,” said Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State. “It hasn’t been huge yet but the ripple effects will get bigger the longer this goes on.”

In Flint, at least 1,200 truckers and production workers from suppliers have lost their jobs because of the strike. That includes hundreds from a supplier of seats to G.M., Lear Corporation, according to Duane Ballard, the financial secretary for U.A.W. Local 659, which represents employees at that factory.

A Lear spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Many of those workers are new hires who have not worked at the Lear plant long enough to qualify for state unemployment insurance, Mr. Ballard said.

On a rainy night last week, more than two dozen people affected by the strike showed up at the Martus Luna Food Pantry in Flint, said Art Luna, who runs the pantry.

They “are the ones that are really hurting,” he said. “They’re anxious to go back to work.”

The fallout has extended beyond the auto industry, disrupting local businesses that serve autoworkers.

On a typical Saturday night, Luigi’s Restaurant, an Italian eatery a short drive from the Lear factory, sees around 350 customers. But in recent weeks, that number has fallen by as many as 60 people, according to Tom Beaubien, who runs the restaurant.

“After one week without pay, everybody starts to suffer, from McDonald’s all the way to Luigi’s Restaurant,” Mr. Beaubien said.

It’s unclear just how many workers have been laid off by G.M.’s suppliers. Magna International, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, has idled “a few” plants, according to a spokeswoman, Tracy Fuerst. “We attempted to keep our employees at these impacted plants working as long as possible through training, maintenance and inventory,” she said.

Some G.M. suppliers are finding creative ways to keep workers occupied, whether repairing machines or building an inventory of auto components to ship later.

“Your smarter suppliers are being very careful about how they lay people off,” said Michael Robinet, an expert on the auto industry at IHS Markit. “They don’t want to lose their better employees to a competitor or to another occupation.”

Of course, Michigan’s economy is not as dependent on the auto sector as it was even two decades ago. Lansing has two G.M. plants but their economic weight is counterbalanced by the state government and the city’s hospital system, said Andy Schor, the city’s mayor. Another large employer, Michigan State University, is nearby.

“The sooner they resolve this the better but I wouldn’t say everything has shut down in Lansing,” Mr. Schor said. Over all, G.M. and its suppliers account for 6,600 jobs with $250 million in annual wages in the city, which has roughly 118,000 residents.

Mr. Schor said autoworkers had been asking the city-owned utility for more time to pay their electric and water bills.

Yet even at companies that are not highly dependent on G.M., the effect of the strike was immediate. Pridgeon & Clay, a component maker that sells to G.M.’s suppliers, froze hiring right away.

“We heard from our customers within hours,” said R. Kevin Clay, the company’s president. Business had already been a little soft at Pridgeon and Clay, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., when the strike began.

G.M. suppliers account for about $13 million of the company’s $300 million in annual revenue. Now parts destined for the automaker are piled up in corners of the company’s distribution center.

Mr. Clay said he was determined to avoid layoffs. “It’s certainly eating into profitability but rather than cut people, you pinch every penny,” he said.

Other manufacturers, like Stripmatic in Cleveland, say manpower has been tight recently, and the strike has freed workers for other tasks.

But Bill Adler, the company’s president, said business could suffer if G.M.’s plants don’t resume production soon. “If the strike goes on much longer, what started out as a very good year could turn into a mediocre year,” he said.

Around the country, G.M. dealers said inventories had grown somewhat tighter.

“We had a pretty deep shelf when the strike started and are at about average inventory right now,” said Mark Scarpelli, president of Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Ill.

G.M. said last week that its American dealers had 760,000 vehicles at the end of September, down 5 percent from a year ago. That’s enough to last several weeks, but dealers are nearing the time when they place orders for the brisk sales they usually see around the end of the year.

Back in Dearborn, Mr. Tlaib of Phoenix Transit & Logistics is doing what he can to get trucks back on the road. He emptied five of his trailers into a warehouse, freeing them to carry parts for other companies. But that has made barely a dent in the G.M. inventory in his yard.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen next,” he said. “We just sit down and smoke and watch the news.”

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Sen. Blackburn calls out Dems’ divisive impeachment push: It is ‘Rules for Radicals’ in action

Westlake Legal Group blackburn-FOX Sen. Blackburn calls out Dems' divisive impeachment push: It is 'Rules for Radicals' in action Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e5ae3567-cc7a-59cd-afe7-8aa5b935a445 article

House Democrats are using their impeachment inquiry to “bring chaos” and sow division, Sen. Marsha Blackburn said Tuesday.

Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” with co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith, Blackburn, R-Tenn., expressed her frustration with the process after the State Department announced it would block European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying before Democrats on the Ukraine controversy.

President Trump dismissed the deposition as a “kangaroo court” as he defended the decision to block Sondland from appearing at the closed-door session on Capitol Hill.

GREGG JARREtT: UKRAINE PROBE HAS MORPHED INTO THE ‘NANCY PELOSI-ADAM SCHIFF WITCH HUNT’

“What we do know is that the Democrats want this to be a Kavanaugh circus all over again. They want to rush the process, have people come forward before they’re ready, or before they’re prepared so that they can try to discredit witnesses. You’re seeing that today,” she explained.

Sondland’s lawyers said that the ambassador traveled from Brussels to appear and was standing ready to testify on short notice.

Text messages show the ambassador working in accordance with the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as he pushed for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family.

Additionally, they revealed a conversation wherein the top American official in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine texted that it would be crazy to withhold security assistance to Ukraine to help a political campaign. Sondland denied that was the case, then said he wanted to take the conversation off text.

HOUSE DEMS SUBPOENA PENTAGON, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET OFFICE IN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

Sondland’s Counsel Robert Luskin said in a statement on Tuesday: “Ambassador Sondland is profoundly disappointed that he will not be able to testify today…(and) believes strongly that he acted at all times in the best interests of the United States, and he stands ready to answer the Committee’s questions fully and truthfully.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters that he considered the failure to produce this witness “yet additional strong evidence of obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress.”

Blackburn said the State Department “is going to abide by the Constitution, comply with the law, and protect the interest of this nation, and the executive branch.”

“What the House is doing is another part of their continuation to discredit President Donald Trump, and to try to undo the results of the election,” the senator said. “I mean, we know what they’re doing and what we want to do is make certain that due process is provided and that the rule of law is followed.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“This is truly ‘Rules for Radicals’ in action,” said Blackburn, referring to the 1971 book by liberal activist Saul Alinsky.

“They want to bring chaos. They want to bring division. This is the type [of] behavior that is going to continue to foster harsh attitudes and hateful rhetoric and it is time to bring this to an end and focus on what is good for the country.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Chad Pergram, Rich Edson, Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group blackburn-FOX Sen. Blackburn calls out Dems' divisive impeachment push: It is 'Rules for Radicals' in action Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e5ae3567-cc7a-59cd-afe7-8aa5b935a445 article   Westlake Legal Group blackburn-FOX Sen. Blackburn calls out Dems' divisive impeachment push: It is 'Rules for Radicals' in action Julia Musto fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc e5ae3567-cc7a-59cd-afe7-8aa5b935a445 article

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I’m Heather Boushey, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and author of the forthcoming book, Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It. AMA!

Westlake Legal Group QZDbUeod7MsckB5wQ5pIziz1mVqd6nu77z--k-Dwihk I’m Heather Boushey, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and author of the forthcoming book, Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It. AMA! r/politics

Hey Heather. I love this. This is what I notice and observe as well. Inequality since birth puts citizens at a disadvantage to develop their full entrepreneurship DNA as well as political will and the enforcement of the laws against discrimination.

Lately however I notice that labor has been abused, suppressed and even undervalued and manipulated so wages do not increase with the value that it merits and deserves and it is here that the economy gets constricted from freely growing and the cycle supporting higher wages consistently.

Leaderships of corporations aggregate manipulate and even have republicans elected to suppress any sort of wage increase to the minimum wage. Productivity charts, profits charts and even CEO pay increases all contradict that there is no money etc etc.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/lincoln-congress-speech-_b_1127058 Even Lincoln gave a speech regarding labor before capital.

The other big equation to the way we calculate GDP is adding the value of labor or talent that makes up these organizations of enterprise that increase overall in value based on the number of sales, profits, management etc but little value is given and reflected in our GDP is the growth of human talent (ideas, entrepreneurship, problem solving efficiencies) When a business is about to be sold, calculations are made to come up with a value number (price).

Labor is viewed as a cost that is why it is being suppressed from increasing. A house cost money too, it is an investment yet it is a mature market because it was well established and planned by governements and private sector to reflect our values that based on demand in a certain area price increases based on that value of demand.

My proposal is to change labor into investment that grows and that should be reflected in companies overall value and worth, this will stop people from manipulating what someone’s value is worth and it will be reflected in the earnings and spending in the economy.

I would love to keep in touch, please add me on linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/livewebengine/

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China Is a Minefield, and Foreign Firms Keep Hitting New Tripwires

BEIJING — For international companies looking to do business in China, the rules were once simple. Don’t talk about the 3 T’s: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

No longer. Fast-changing geopolitical tensions, growing nationalism and the rise of social media in China have made it increasingly difficult for multinationals to navigate commerce in the Communist country. As the National Basketball Association has discovered with a tweet about the Hong Kong protests, tripwires abound. Take the “wrong” stance on one of any number of issues — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, for instance — and you risk upsetting a country of 1.4 billion consumers and losing access to a hugely profitable market.

Now, multinational companies are increasingly struggling with one question: how to be apolitical in an increasingly politicized and punitive China.

“You used to know what would get everyone fired up,” said James McGregor, chairman of the greater China region for the consulting firm APCO Worldwide. “And now you don’t know. You just wake up and discover something new.”

Until recently, the issues that made China angry were fairly predictable. Earlier this year, the German company Leica Camera created a stir with a promotional video featuring the “Tank Man,” the unknown person who boldly confronted a convoy of tanks during the bloody 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. (Leica says it did not commission the film.)

Around the same time, eagle-eyed Chinese internet users began calling out companies for not clearly indicating on websites, customer surveys and products that certain territories claimed by China, like Tibet and the self-governing island of Taiwan, were part of the country. Gap, Marriott, United Airlines and others were forced to make internal adjustments and, in some cases, apologize.

This summer, when antigovernment protests in Hong Kong began to heat up, such sensitivities reached new heights. And China lashed out more aggressively, in part because it was playing defense against growing global support for the demonstrators.

The N.B.A. has been in damage-control mode over the issue for days. On Friday, Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a message on Twitter that said: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Not long after, Mr. Morey’s tweet was deleted and the league quickly began damage control.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08china-biz2-articleLarge China Is a Minefield, and Foreign Firms Keep Hitting New Tripwires Social Media Politics and Government National Basketball Assn Morey, Daryl Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China basketball

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, expressed support for the protesters in Hong Kong with a post on Twitter.CreditMichael Stravato for The New York Times

But anger still simmered. Social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo were flooded with messages declaring a boycott against the N.B.A., which has a huge fan base in China. On Tuesday afternoon, CCTV, the state broadcaster, canceled plans to broadcast preseason N.B.A. games. Previously, Tencent Sports, a popular sports broadcaster, had announced that it would stop all live streaming and coverage of the Houston Rockets.

“The N.B.A. has been in cooperation with China for many years,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday. “It knows clearly in its heart what to say and what to do.”

The league has also been getting flak in the United States for appearing to kowtow to China, prompting a longer, more reflective statement on Tuesday. While the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, continued to express the league’s “affinity” for China, he also said that it couldn’t regulate its employees’ speech.

For businesses, China’s national ire has tended to focus on a single issue, despite the changing targets: the country’s sovereignty.

Earlier this summer, Givenchy, Coach and Versace each apologized to China for producing T-shirts that seemed to identify Hong Kong, along with other places claimed by Beijing, as an independent country. They all stopped selling the clothes.

Navigating the potential for backlash in China’s commercial landscape now involves managing not just products, but employees and anyone else affiliated with a company.

As the pro-democracy movement took hold in Hong Kong this summer, Cathay Pacific Airways, the city’s flagship airline, came under immense pressure from Beijing to discipline employees who were sympathetic to the protesters. In a matter of days, Cathay’s chief executive was replaced and several employees, including a pilot, were fired.

On Tuesday, the American video game company Blizzard suspended a Hong Kong player and rescinded his prize money after he donned goggles and a respirator — items that have come to symbolize the protests — and called for the liberation of the city in a post-match interview. Blizzard is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, which is partially owned by the Chinese company Tencent.

In a statement on Tuesday, Blizzard said the player had violated a competition rule barring any act that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”

“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our e-sports competitions must abide by the official competition rules,” the company said.

The political land mines aren’t always easy to see.

The upscale jeweler Tiffany found itself at the center of a social media firestorm on Monday after posting an image of a model covering her eye with her right hand. To many Chinese internet users, the gesture evoked another symbol of the Hong Kong protests: a woman shot in the eye with a police beanbag round during a demonstration, whose image later appeared in countless posters and memes.

The photo posted by Tiffany had been taken in May, before the protests started. But it was a no-win situation for the company, which had already warned investors that it would be hurt by the drop in tourism amid the protests in Hong Kong, its fourth-largest market by sales. Mainland China is a much larger market, and the company has been rapidly expanding its presence there.

The photo “was in no way intended to be a political statement of any kind,” a spokesman for Tiffany said in an emailed statement, after the offending tweet was deleted. “We regret that it may be perceived as such, and in turn have removed the image from our digital and social media channels and will discontinue its use effective immediately.”

The backlash can go both ways.

In an effort not to run afoul of the mainland, Vans recently removed several entries from its annual sneaker design contest that alluded to the protests in Hong Kong. After that, several streetwear stores in Hong Kong pulled all Vans products from their shelves.

“Creativity is one of the keys to solving our social problems,” said Second Kill, a streetwear store in the Mong Kok district, in an Instagram post announcing its decision to stop selling Vans products. “Neither creativity nor public opinion can be erased.”

The N.B.A. on Tuesday appeared to temper its earlier apology over Mr. Morey’s tweet, seemingly to respond to criticism in both China and the United States.

For those “who question our motivation, this is about more than growing our business,” Mr. Silver, the league’s commissioner, said in a statement. He said basketball could be “an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties” but noted that the two countries had different political systems.

“It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the N.B.A. to adjudicate those issues,” Mr. Silver said in the statement.

“However,” he added, “the N.B.A. will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on those issues.”

Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Beijing. Claire Fu and Zoe Mou contributed research from Beijing.

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Justice Department asks judge to block House from getting Mueller grand jury materials, says Watergate decision was wrong

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