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 16)

Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-impeach1-facebookJumbo Bolton Revelations Anger Republicans, Fueling Push for Impeachment Witnesses Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Romney, Mitt Murkowski, Lisa impeachment Collins, Susan M Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — The White House and Senate Republican leaders struggled on Monday to salvage their plans to push toward a quick acquittal of President Trump this week in his impeachment trial, after a new account by his former national security adviser corroborated a central piece of the case against him.

The newly disclosed revelations by John R. Bolton, whose forthcoming book details how Mr. Trump conditioned military aid for Ukraine on the country’s willingness to furnish information on his political rivals, angered key Republicans and reinvigorated a bid to call witnesses, which would prolong the trial and pose new dangers for the president.

A handful of Republicans from across the ideological spectrum appeared to be moving closer to joining Democrats in a vote to subpoena Mr. Bolton, even as their leaders insisted that doing so would only delay his inevitable acquittal.

“I think it’s increasingly likely that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, told reporters. He later told Republican colleagues at a closed-door lunch that calling witnesses would be a wise choice politically and substantively.

As they opened the second day of their defense, Mr. Trump’s lawyers ignored the revelations from Mr. Bolton, reported on Sunday by The New York Times, which bolstered the case made by the House Democratic prosecutors that the president had repeatedly tied the security assistance to investigations he wanted. The assertion is at the heart of their abuse of power charge against Mr. Trump, which accuses him of using his position to gain foreign help in his re-election campaign.

Instead, the White House team doubled down with a defense that was directly contradicted by the account in Mr. Bolton’s book, due out in March. Mr. Trump’s lawyers told senators that no evidence existed tying the president’s decision to withhold security aid from Ukraine to his insistence on the investigations, which they have claimed were requested out of a concern for corruption.

“Anyone who spoke with the president said that the president made clear that there was no linkage between security assistance and investigations,” said Michael Purpura, the deputy White House counsel.

On their second full day of oral arguments, Mr. Trump’s legal team sought to turn the Democrats’ accusations on their head. They defended and played down the role of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer who was at the center of Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign, calling him a “shiny object” Democrats were brandishing to distract from a weak case. The president’s lawyers sought to raise doubts about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son Hunter Biden, suggesting they were corrupt in an effort to bolster their claim that the president had a legitimate reason to demand that they be investigated.

And they continued to argue that Mr. Trump’s actions were far from impeachable.

Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity law professor, argued that the Constitution holds that impeachment is for “criminal-like behavior,” telling senators that the country’s founders “would have explicitly rejected such vague terms as ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of Congress’ as among the enumerated and defined criteria for impeaching the president.”

The theory has been rejected by most constitutional scholars.

But behind closed doors, Republicans were singularly focused on the revelations from Mr. Bolton, which stoked turmoil in their ranks and opened new cracks in their so far near monolithic support for the White House strategy of denying witnesses and rushing toward a final verdict, almost certain to be an acquittal.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, sought to calm his colleagues at the private lunch, telling them to “take a deep breath” and not to leap to conclusions about how to proceed.

But according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking, he was angry at having been blindsided by the White House about Mr. Bolton’s manuscript, which aides there have had since late December. The leader put out a rare statement saying that he “did not have any advance notice” of Mr. Bolton’s account.

Inside the gathering near the Senate floor, just before the trial got underway, Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, told colleagues that he might be willing to support calling witnesses as long as the roster would include someone friendlier to Mr. Trump’s case, like Hunter Biden, according to people familiar with the gathering who were not authorized to discuss it. The idea appeared to be gaining broader currency among Republicans.

“My expectation is that were there to be testimony from Mr. Bolton, there would be testimony for someone on the defense side as well,” Mr. Romney said.

Even Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and usually a reliable ally of the president’s, said that Mr. Bolton “may be a relevant witness” and that he would like to see a copy of Mr. Bolton’s manuscript.

At the White House, Mr. Trump raged throughout the morning at Mr. Bolton, accusing him of lying. Hosting Israeli leaders, the president told reporters that he had not seen the manuscript of the former adviser’s book but disputed its claims as “false.”

In a series of early-morning tweets hours before the trial resumed, the president accused Mr. Bolton of telling stories “only to sell a book” and defended his actions toward Ukraine as perfectly appropriate.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” President Trump wrote just after midnight.

But Mr. Trump later complained to associates that the presentations from his defense team were boring.

On the Senate floor, Mr. Trump’s lawyers followed the president’s lead, never mentioning Mr. Bolton’s claims and at one point appearing to suggest that they were immaterial.

“We deal with transcript evidence, we deal with publicly available information,” said Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers. “We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”

As the session progressed, Mr. Trump’s lawyers began their promised assault on Mr. Biden and his son, asserting that Mr. Trump demanded investigations of them because there was significant evidence that they were corrupt.

They methodically sought to undermine the case that House managers delivered over more than 22 hours last week. They argued that Mr. Trump said nothing wrong on a July 25 call with the president of Ukraine, never sought to leverage an Oval Office meeting, and did more to support Ukraine against Russian aggression than previous presidents.

“The managers have not met their burden, and these articles of impeachment must be rejected,” Eric Herschmann, one of the president’s lawyers, told senators.

In a somewhat improbable echo of the last presidential impeachment trial, Ken Starr, who relentlessly pursued President Bill Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair with a young aide, also appeared before the Senate to defend Mr. Trump. He argued that the president committed no impeachable offense and urged senators to “restore our constitutional and historical traditions,” in which impeachment was rare.

“Like war, impeachment is hell,” Mr. Starr told senators, casting himself as a skeptic of the constitutional remedy he enthusiastically pursued 21 years ago. “Or at least, presidential impeachment is hell.”

While it is not clear that Republicans will vote to call additional witnesses when they vote on the issue this week, the revelations from Mr. Bolton appeared to shift the dynamic that had taken hold at the end of last week’s arguments, when it appeared unlikely that Democrats would win the support of the four Republicans they need to force the issue.

On Monday, Democrats said they were newly optimistic that the momentum of the trial was pushing toward a vote for witnesses and documents, and they worked to increase the pressure on hesitant Republicans to embrace the moves.

“It boils down to one thing: we have a witness with firsthand evidence of the president’s actions for which he is on trial,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “He is ready and willing to testify. How can Senate Republicans not vote to call that witness and request his documents?”

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who had previously indicated she would most likely support additional witnesses, said the revelations about Mr. Bolton’s book “strengthen the case for witnesses and have prompted a number of conversations among my colleagues.” Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, said she was “curious” about what Mr. Bolton would say, but gave no hint of how she would vote on the matter.

But Republican leaders labored to play down the significance of Mr. Bolton’s account.

“The best I can tell from what’s reported in The New York Times, it is nothing different from what we have already heard,” Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, said on Fox News.

Mr. Herschmann and Pam Bondi, another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, delved deeply into Hunter Biden’s work on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, at the time his father was vice president, suggesting it was improper for him to hold the post while his father served. Ms. Bondi also noted that the elder Mr. Biden had called for the removal of prosecutor who was looking into Burisma.

“What we are saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue,” Ms. Bondi said.

But it was United States policy at the time that the prosecutor, who was widely regarded as corrupt, should be removed. In a statement on Monday, Andrew Bates, the Biden campaign’s rapid-response director, said: “Here on Planet Earth, the conspiracy theory that Bondi repeated has been conclusively refuted.”

Later, Jane Raskin, one of the president’s lawyers, called Mr. Giuliani a “colorful distraction” in the case, arguing that the House impeachment investigators did not subpoena him to testify because they did not think he would back up their claims that he was executing a shadow foreign policy.

“In this trial, in this moment, Mr. Giuliani is just a minor player — that shiny object designed to distract you,” Ms. Raskin said.

Mr. Giuliani defied a House subpoena for documents. Legal experts suggest he would have refused to disclose any of his conversations with Mr. Trump on the basis of attorney-client privilege even if called to testify. And he would surely have been a difficult witness, given his often erratic performance in televised interviews.

Reporting was contributed by Catie Edmondson, Maggie Haberman, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Patricia Mazzei.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

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

Hanukkah machete attack suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial, defense says

A psychiatrist says Grafton Thomas, the New York man accused of stabbing five Hasidic Jews during a Hanukkah celebration last month, is incompetent to stand trial on federal hate crime charges, Thomas’ attorney said Monday.

Defense attorney Michael Sussman said he has asked a federal judge to hold a competency evaluation for Thomas, 37, who was arrested hours after a Dec. 28 stabbing attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, an Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City.

Westlake Legal Group AP20027858741596 Hanukkah machete attack suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial, defense says fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox news fnc/us fnc e2f3e4d5-eec9-5eff-8a7e-09e846b302b9 Bradford Betz article

FILE: Ramapo police officers escort Grafton Thomas from Ramapo Town Hall to a police vehicle in Ramapo, N.Y. (AP)

The federal court has given the U.S. Attorney’s Office two weeks to respond to the application for a competency evaluation, Sussman said.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in Rockland County. He pleaded not guilty to 10 hate-crime charges in federal court on Jan. 13.

Investigators found anti-Semitic writings in Thomas’ journals and articles on Jews and Nazis on his cell phone, according to a complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

FRANCE SEES RASH OF ANTI-CHRISTIAN ACTS WHILE ANTI-SEMITISM RISES, OFFICIALS SAY

The journals questioned “why [people] mourned for anti-Semitism when there is Semitic genocide” and claimed the “Hebrew Israelites” took from the “powerful [people] (ebinoid Israelites).” The journals also contained references to “Adolf Hitler” and “Nazi Culture” on the same page as drawings of symbols such as the Star of David and a swastika, the complaint read.

Thomas’ mother and Sussman have said Thomas suffers from mental illness and was not responsible for his actions. Sussman has said Thomas has no history of violent acts or anti-Semitism.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

One of the victims, 72-year-old Josef Neumann, remains in a coma with a fractured skull and other injuries.

Thomas remains in federal custody without bail.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20027858741596 Hanukkah machete attack suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial, defense says fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox news fnc/us fnc e2f3e4d5-eec9-5eff-8a7e-09e846b302b9 Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group AP20027858741596 Hanukkah machete attack suspect deemed incompetent to stand trial, defense says fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/anti-semitism fox news fnc/us fnc e2f3e4d5-eec9-5eff-8a7e-09e846b302b9 Bradford Betz article

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

Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last ‘through April or May’ if new witnesses are called

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000

Senate Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy, R-La., told Fox News Monday that if Democrats have their way in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial and further witnesses and documents are called for, it could greatly lengthen the time lawmakers will be stuck holding court on the matter.

Kennedy said on “The Story” that most Republicans are satisfied with the amount of information and testimony they have available for review.

However, host Martha MacCallum noted there is speculation that Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska may join with Democrats and vote to call more witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In addition, retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado are all being watched closely to see how they may choose to vote.

JESSE WATTERS PRAISES BONDI’S ‘METICULOUS’ HUNTER BIDEN ARGUMENT: ‘DOESN’T LOOK GOOD FOR JOE’

Kennedy said he had not spoken with Alexander about his vote — nor would he ask any other lawmaker about such a decision.

“I don’t accept the proposition that some around this place have offered today that they have already made up their minds and they are going to vote for more evidence,” Kennedy told MacCallum. “They haven’t indicated that to me.”

Kennedy did note that if Democrats win the simple majority needed in a vote to call more witnesses, the impeachment proceedings may drag on through the spring.

“If we make the decision to hear from more witnesses and grant the subpoenas that our Democratic friends are asking for, I think we will be here through April or May,” he said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I’ve seen the articles that you might be referencing [indicating that] there’s been a change in momentum. I don’t sense that. I still think that, based on what I’ve seen so far, the vast majority of my colleagues, not my Democratic colleagues but Republicans have decided that we have heard enough.”

The Louisiana lawmaker added that while he has never met Bolton, who left the Trump White House in September, “you can’t deny the fact that, number one, he’s got a book coming out. And number two, he left the White House under unhappy circumstances.”

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000   Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000

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

Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last ‘through April or May’ if new witnesses are called

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000

Senate Judiciary Committee member John Kennedy, R-La., told Fox News Monday that if Democrats have their way in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial and further witnesses and documents are called for, it could greatly lengthen the time lawmakers will be stuck holding court on the matter.

Kennedy said on “The Story” that most Republicans are satisfied with the amount of information and testimony they have available for review.

However, host Martha MacCallum noted there is speculation that Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska may join with Democrats and vote to call more witnesses, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In addition, retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado are all being watched closely to see how they may choose to vote.

JESSE WATTERS PRAISES BONDI’S ‘METICULOUS’ HUNTER BIDEN ARGUMENT: ‘DOESN’T LOOK GOOD FOR JOE’

Kennedy said he had not spoken with Alexander about his vote — nor would he ask any other lawmaker about such a decision.

“I don’t accept the proposition that some around this place have offered today that they have already made up their minds and they are going to vote for more evidence,” Kennedy told MacCallum. “They haven’t indicated that to me.”

Kennedy did note that if Democrats win the simple majority needed in a vote to call more witnesses, the impeachment proceedings may drag on through the spring.

“If we make the decision to hear from more witnesses and grant the subpoenas that our Democratic friends are asking for, I think we will be here through April or May,” he said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I’ve seen the articles that you might be referencing [indicating that] there’s been a change in momentum. I don’t sense that. I still think that, based on what I’ve seen so far, the vast majority of my colleagues, not my Democratic colleagues but Republicans have decided that we have heard enough.”

The Louisiana lawmaker added that while he has never met Bolton, who left the Trump White House in September, “you can’t deny the fact that, number one, he’s got a book coming out. And number two, he left the White House under unhappy circumstances.”

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000   Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132246444464220000-1 Sen. John Kennedy says Senate impeachment trial could last 'through April or May' if new witnesses are called fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/tennessee fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 343dd4a3-ca58-5671-9202-b6bcae71b000

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

Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher

Video

transcript

Fans and Friends Mourn Kobe Bryant After Helicopter Crash

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” “Tonight is for Kobe —” [singing] “Kobe, my thoughts are with you. Absolutely rest in peace, young man — this loss is, it’s just hard to comprehend.” “He was just such a wonderful kid. But more than that, has turned into a wonderful adult man.” “Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously — really close friend, and this season’s for him.” Crowd: “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.” Announcer: “The N.B.A and the game of basketball will mourn this loss together. Please join us in a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Mamba.”

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-briefing-HS-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.CreditCredit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Just before air traffic controllers lost track of the helicopter that was carrying nine people, including Kobe Bryant, on Sunday, the pilot who was at the controls said that he was trying to fly higher to avoid a cloud layer, federal investigators said Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said there was no response from the pilot after controllers asked for more information, and radar suggested that the helicopter ascended to 2,300 feet and began a descending turn to the left.

Although investigators are scrutinizing weather conditions at the time of the crash — part of Southern California was shrouded in fog on Sunday morning — they are also examining the possibility that other issues played a role in the crash.

“We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the N.T.S.B., said at a news conference in California on Monday afternoon. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”

The helicopter did not carry a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators are spending their days searching a debris field of about 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.

But asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: “It was a pretty devastating accident scene.”

The Lakers and the Clippers will not play as planned on Tuesday night, the N.B.A. said Monday, as the players and others throughout basketball grieve the death of Kobe Bryant, a star with the Lakers for two decades.

In a statement, the league said the game had been postponed to a later date, which was not immediately announced, “out of respect for the Lakers organization.”

Soon after the league’s announcement, the Lakers expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said in a statement.

The Lakers last played Saturday, when they lost at Philadelphia, and were traveling back to California when word of the helicopter crash that took Bryant’s life emerged. Staples Center, where both the Lakers and Clippers play their home games, has been the site of impromptu gatherings and tributes since Bryant’s death.

Eight other N.B.A. games scheduled for Tuesday are expected to be played as planned.

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of his instruments, which would have required an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Officially transitioning to instrument flight rules would have allowed the pilot to go on flying, even with very low visibility, but would not have allowed the flight to land except at an airport. The pilot might also have had to gain altitude in order to be fully visible on radar used by controllers.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact, under his “special” visual flight clearance.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167886834_4a12c1a5-2dd4-4a73-904c-aefa88957758-articleLarge Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The aircraft that crashed, shown here in February 2018, was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.Credit…Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

The helicopter was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and its passengers included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who played at the school.

Bryant coached her team, and Gianna, whose nickname was Gigi, was “hellbent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and in the W.N.B.A., he told The Los Angeles Times last year.

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Many of the mourners who have grieved Bryant’s death in and around Los Angeles have been Latinos with whom the Lakers star cultivated a special bond over his 20-year career.

“Latino fans are important to me because when I arrived, they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said in 2016 after his final N.B.A. game. “I told them, ‘Give me two or three years so that I can learn a little bit of Spanish.’ Now, my Spanish is not that good, but I can speak a little. They mean everything to me.”

And so as Los Angeles has reeled from the loss of one of its athletic greats, Latino fans have flocked to vigils and memorials, referring to Bryant as “compa,” slang for a friend (and short for the Spanish word “compadre”).

Bryant’s ties to Latinos also extended beyond his professional life: With his wife, Vanessa, he has raised four black Mexican-American daughters in Southern California.

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sarah Mervosh, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

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

Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Forge Ahead, Rejecting Bolton Relevance

Westlake Legal Group ap_20025777845368_wide-1c77d5d98bea3393dc5bd52e21317a6c7d550336-s1100-c15 Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Forge Ahead, Rejecting Bolton Relevance

Jane Raskin, a lawyer defending President Trump in his impeachment trial, departs the Senate following opening arguments Saturday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Forge Ahead, Rejecting Bolton Relevance

Jane Raskin, a lawyer defending President Trump in his impeachment trial, departs the Senate following opening arguments Saturday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

President Trump’s lawyers tore into Democrats’ impeachment allegations on Monday with a legal and political pageant that culminated with a rejection of the relevance of new allegations from John Bolton.

Retired law professor Alan Dershowitz closed the day’s arguments with a stemwinder about what he called the constitutional weaknesses of the case against Trump.

The framers of the Constitution intended for the foundation of the law to be precisely defined crimes that could then be precisely enforced, he said — and no such crimes are alleged in the Trump matter.

Moreover, Dershowitz argued, the framers explicitly would have rejected the phrases in the articles of impeachment passed last month in the House. Any potential testimony by former national security adviser Bolton about what Trump told him is accordingly immaterial, Dershowitz said.

“If a president, any president, were to have done what the Times reported about the content of the Bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense,” he said. “Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense.”

The former Harvard professor told senators that the revolutionary generation that constructed the Constitution was particularly wary about the kind of partisan effort, as Dershowitz described it, that has idled Washington with the impeachment proceedings.

“It is inconceivable that the framers would have intended so politically loaded and promiscuously deployed a term as ‘abuse of power’ to be weaponized as a tool of impeachment,” he said. “It is precisely the kind of vague, open-ended and subjective term that the framers feared and rejected.”

Day two for the defense

Dershowitz’s remarks followed hours of presentations that mostly had avoided the topic agitating much of Washington outside the gilded walls of the Senate chamber.

A mustachio’d specter loomed over the Capitol dome — and the question senators are expected to face later this week about whether to admit new witnesses or evidence into the proceedings.

Bolton’s forthcoming book reportedly includes an account of Trump telling him that he intended to keep military assistance for Ukraine frozen until President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed to announce investigations that Trump wanted.

NPR has not reviewed the manuscript.

Democrats argue that Bolton’s account could bring vital new evidence of what they call Trump’s abuse of power, the basis for the ongoing impeachment proceedings.

Bolton has said he’d be willing to appear in the Senate trial if he receives a subpoena.

Four Republican senators would need to join with all the chamber’s Democrats in a vote, perhaps Friday, in order to authorize witnesses and identify which ones.

It isn’t clear whether sufficient support exists and if so, what witnesses Republicans might request if Democrats were to seek Bolton or others such as White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Until Dershowitz’s comments, Trump’s attorneys had focused closely on a legal defense of the president and then shifted into an impeachment of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Judge Starr

Lawyer Jay Sekulow underscored one of the Trump team’s themes: The real motive driving Democrats’ impeachment is simple partisan animus.

He played TV footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handing out the pens she’d used to sign the articles of impeachment to lawmakers including some of the managers presenting them to the Senate.

Former Justice Department independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, also took the dais.

In a lengthy address that combined history, legal theory and, ultimately, recent events, Starr told senators that what he called the precedents forming the “common law” of impeachment show how short the current proceedings fall relative to past practices.

Starr blamed a “runaway House” that he said had been warned all along: “Don’t do it. Don’t do it that way.”

The Biden impeachment

As the hours wore on, Trump’s defense team moved further afield from a defense of the president.

They put on a separate defense of another lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and as they’d hinted, broadened their presentations into the family Biden.

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi recapitulated a story line that has embarrassed Biden: His son, Hunter, was paid by a Ukrainian gas company at the time when the then-vice president was handling Ukrainian affairs for the U.S. government.

Although the Bidens haven’t been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, their situation was the subject of one of the investigations Trump wanted from Ukraine’s government.

Bondi and another lawyer, Eric Herschmann, outlined the reasons why they argued such an investigation might be appropriate.

“There’s no question that any rational person would like to understand what happened,” Herschmann said.

At least one Republican welcomed the airing of the Biden-Ukraine story on the stage provided by the impeachment trial: Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa reminded reporters about the first primary votes that are expected to be cast soon.

“The Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening,” she said. “And I’m really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, the Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?”

Bolton from the blue

The impeachment proceedings were jangled by a report in The New York Times on Sunday that Bolton’s forthcoming book would strengthen Democrats’ case. The Times followed with another story on Monday even as Dershowitz was speaking.

The coverage revived discussions about whether Bolton or other witnesses might appear in the proceedings — something Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans batted down early but which is set to come up again later this week.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the House impeachment managers called for Bolton to appear. But Trump’s defenders outside the Senate, including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that even if that were to happen, it wouldn’t hurt Trump.

“The facts don’t change,” Meadows said.

Trump released the military assistance frozen for Ukraine in 2019 and got no announcement of an investigation, and nothing Bolton could say would alter that, Meadows said.

When the whip comes down

Republicans’ majority likely means Trump faces no danger of being removed from office.

But the small number of Republicans who’d need to join Democrats to authorize witnesses — four — may make that, at least, potentially more likely. That would give Democrats a fact witness and Republicans the ability to say they’d had a meaningful trial for Trump.

So a whirlpool of speculation now churns over who might join that notional gang of four.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has said he wants Bolton to testify. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, are seen as other possible joiners.

Are there others? The Washington Post reported on Monday that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has proposed a “one-for-one” trade in which Republicans might agree to Bolton in exchange for someone else. That suggests Toomey’s vote might also be in play.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told reporters a notional swap “was discussed” during Monday’s Republican lunch “but there didn’t seem to be much support for it. Not at this point.”

Maine’s other senator, Independent Angus King, views the situation from outside because he caucuses with Democrats. But King told NPR on Monday that he thought there could be from 5 to 10 Republicans who’d ultimately go along with a vote for witnesses.

“There’s some indication that [Bolton] has information that bears directly on the heart of the case,” King said. “To willfully say, ‘We don’t want to hear that,’ to me, basically just undermines the idea that this is a real trial.”

NPR reporters Brakkton Booker and Lexie Schapitl contributed to this report.

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

Coronavirus outbreak: US urges Americans to ‘reconsider’ China travel, plans to move personnel out of Wuhan

Westlake Legal Group AP20027535020561 Coronavirus outbreak: US urges Americans to 'reconsider' China travel, plans to move personnel out of Wuhan Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc d2b95f05-6cd1-5695-a84a-c6c01b5f3765 article

The State Department on Monday urged Americans to reconsider traveling to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus, and said it ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their families out of the country.

The travel advisory increase from Level 2 to Level 3 comes as Chinese authorities continue to impose quarantines and travel restrictions in and around Wuhan, where the virus was first reported last year.

HOW DANGEROUS IS CORONAVIRUS?

At least 80 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been infected. The warning said travelers should avoid non-essential travel to China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued a Level 3 warning to avoid all travel to China.

The agency said it has chartered a flight for American government personnel in Wuhan for Wednesday morning. The flight will depart Wuhan Tianhe International Airport and ultimately arrive in Ontario, Calif., a State Department officials said.

Passengers will be screened for symptoms at the airport in Wuhan before leaving. Some U.S. citizens will be offered space on the flight but will have to reimburse the government.

SILICON VALLEY SCRAMBLES TO STOP CORONAVIRUS MISINFORMATION

The government has limited ability to provide “emergency services” to American citizens in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located and at least 76 people have died, the State Department said.

China authorities have been grappling with how to contain the pneumonia-like virus, known as 2019-nCoV. The government has banned the trade of wild animals, restricted travel in and around Wuhan and locked down 17 cities — impacting 50 million people.

Wuhan also banned most vehicle use, including private cars, in downtown areas.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Other countries are also taking precautions. Mongolia has closed its border with China and Malaysia has halted the issue of visas to people visiting from Whan.

Five confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in the U.S. Health officials said there are 110 cases under investigation.  The CDC said in an update on Monday that five of the cases in the U.S. tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, and 32 so far had produced negative results.

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP20027535020561 Coronavirus outbreak: US urges Americans to 'reconsider' China travel, plans to move personnel out of Wuhan Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc d2b95f05-6cd1-5695-a84a-c6c01b5f3765 article   Westlake Legal Group AP20027535020561 Coronavirus outbreak: US urges Americans to 'reconsider' China travel, plans to move personnel out of Wuhan Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc d2b95f05-6cd1-5695-a84a-c6c01b5f3765 article

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

Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher

Video

transcript

Fans and Friends Mourn Kobe Bryant After Helicopter Crash

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.

“We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero, and we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.” “Tonight is for Kobe —” [singing] “Kobe, my thoughts are with you. Absolutely rest in peace, young man — this loss is, it’s just hard to comprehend.” “He was just such a wonderful kid. But more than that, has turned into a wonderful adult man.” “Everything I do, I do it for him, obviously — really close friend, and this season’s for him.” Crowd: “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe, Kobe.” Announcer: “The N.B.A and the game of basketball will mourn this loss together. Please join us in a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. Rest in peace, Mamba.”

Westlake Legal Group 27kobe-briefing-HS-videoSixteenByNine3000 Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The retired N.B.A. star, 41, was among the passengers in a helicopter that went down in Calabasas, Calif.CreditCredit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

Just before air traffic controllers lost track of the helicopter that was carrying nine people, including Kobe Bryant, on Sunday, the pilot who was at the controls said that he was trying to fly higher to avoid a cloud layer, federal investigators said Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said there was no response from the pilot after controllers asked for more information, and radar suggested that the helicopter ascended to 2,300 feet and began a descending turn to the left.

Although investigators are scrutinizing weather conditions at the time of the crash — part of Southern California was shrouded in fog on Sunday morning — they are also examining the possibility that other issues played a role in the crash.

“We take a broad look at everything around an investigation, around an accident,” Jennifer Homendy, a member of the N.T.S.B., said at a news conference in California on Monday afternoon. “We look at man, machine and the environment, and weather is just a small portion of that.”

The helicopter did not carry a cockpit voice recorder, and investigators are spending their days searching a debris field of about 500 to 600 feet, trying to recover perishable evidence. Federal officials are not expected to reach a conclusion about the cause of the accident for months.

But asked Monday whether the crash had been survivable, Ms. Homendy replied: “It was a pretty devastating accident scene.”

The Lakers and the Clippers will not play as planned on Tuesday night, the N.B.A. said Monday, as the players and others throughout basketball grieve the death of Kobe Bryant, a star with the Lakers for two decades.

In a statement, the league said the game had been postponed to a later date, which was not immediately announced, “out of respect for the Lakers organization.”

Soon after the league’s announcement, the Lakers expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us,” the team said in a statement.

The Lakers last played Saturday, when they lost at Philadelphia, and were traveling back to California when word of the helicopter crash that took Bryant’s life emerged. Staples Center, where both the Lakers and Clippers play their home games, has been the site of impromptu gatherings and tributes since Bryant’s death.

Eight other N.B.A. games scheduled for Tuesday are expected to be played as planned.

The helicopter that crashed on Sunday with Kobe Bryant and eight other people on board, killing everyone, had received approval to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank even though weather conditions were worse than usual standards for flying.

The helicopter flew north from Orange County after takeoff on Sunday morning and circled near Burbank, waiting for clearance to keep going. According to audio records between the helicopter’s pilot and air traffic control at Burbank Airport, the helicopter was given what is known as Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, meaning they could proceed through Burbank’s airspace on a foggy morning in Southern California.

Whether the pilot made the right decision — to continue flying on despite low fog in the hillsides of Calabasas, where the aircraft crashed — will likely be at the center of the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Any special clearance from air traffic controllers would have allowed the pilot to fly through the controlled airspace around Burbank and Van Nuys, but would not give the flight “blanket clearance” to continue on from there to Calabasas, according to a Federal Aviation Administration official.

“A pilot is responsible for determining whether it is safe to fly in current and expected conditions, and a pilot is also responsible for determining flight visibility,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the investigation.

Once the pilot left Burbank’s control zone, the official added, it would have been up to him to either make sure there were appropriate visual flight conditions, or transition to flying solely with the use of his instruments, which would have required an additional F.A.A. clearance.

According to F.A.A. records, the pilot was not only certified to fly under instrument conditions, but to teach other pilots seeking to obtain their instrument ratings. His commercial pilot’s license was issued in 2007.

Officially transitioning to instrument flight rules would have allowed the pilot to go on flying, even with very low visibility, but would not have allowed the flight to land except at an airport. The pilot might also have had to gain altitude in order to be fully visible on radar used by controllers.

Just before losing radio contact, the pilot had asked for “flight following,” which allows controllers to track the flight and be in regular contact, under his “special” visual flight clearance.

The controller responded that the helicopter was “too low level for flight following at this time.”

Sergeant Yvette Tuning, who was the watch commander for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Air Support Division on the morning of the crash, said that most of the Los Angeles basin was so cloudy that flights could be conducted only under instrument rules, on Sunday morning.

L.A.P.D. helicopters do not generally fly under those conditions because officers need to be able to see while doing air patrols. The visibility was less than two and a half miles from the department’s heliport near Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, she said.

She said these conditions occur more often in the winter and early in the summer, when fog along the coast is commonplace.

Tuning said the weather this winter, as it was on Monday morning, has been fairly clear, allowing helicopters to operate normally.

“But yesterday when I came to work I immediately saw it as I came down into the valley, that it was just socked in,” Tuning said. “So I already knew we” — meaning L.A.P.D. Air Support — “weren’t going to be flying unless it burned off quick. And it did not burn off quick.”

Scott Daehlin, 61, said the fog had been “as thick as swimming in a pool of milk” when he walked out of Church in the Canyon at 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

He had come out of the Presbyterian church, which is across the street from the crash site, to get sound equipment for the Sunday service, when the sound of a helicopter coming low and loud through the thick marine layer prompted him to look up.

“I couldn’t see anything, not even a silhouette,” he said as he looked across the street where the steep mountainside rose, the grassy slope now littered with wreckage. “My first thought was what in the world is a helicopter doing out here in this fog?”

Low cloud layers are common in the area, but on Sunday the fog was so thick it came nearly to the ground and made visibility so low, church members said, that they had trouble driving.

For about 20 seconds on Sunday morning, Daehlin followed the sound of the helicopter as it swept over the church parking lot and south toward the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. It sounded even and normal, but, he said, “it sounded too low.”

“It sounded almost like the pilot was hovering, trying to find his way,” said Daehlin, who said his father was a pilot. He added “I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and I was saying, ‘Get some altitude.’”

Then he heard a loud thump and the crack of what sounded like fiberglass, and all sound from the engines stopped.

He called 911 and directed fire crews to the hillside. He could not see the crash because of the fog, but saw some smoke and heard several pops as the wreckage burned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167886834_4a12c1a5-2dd4-4a73-904c-aefa88957758-articleLarge Live Updates on Death of Kobe Bryant: Pilot Was Trying to Fly Higher Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles (Calif) Deaths (Fatalities) California CALABASAS, Calif. Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gianna (2006-20) basketball Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

The aircraft that crashed, shown here in February 2018, was a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.Credit…Matt Hartman/Associated Press

The retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday, along with seven other victims.

The helicopter was flying from Orange County, Calif., where the Bryant family lives, and crashed in foggy conditions about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles as it was en route to Bryant’s youth basketball academy.

The other passengers included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; the college baseball coach John Altobelli and Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach; and Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County said the helicopter went down in an area with “very rough terrain,” and that even emergency crews had found it dangerous trying to get there during daylight on Sunday. The debris field, he said, was roughly 100 yards in each direction.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would look at the history of the pilot and any crew on board.

“We’ll be looking at maintenance records of the helicopter,” said Jennifer Homendy, a member of the board. “We will be looking at records of the owner and operator of the helicopter and a number of other things.”

It was not immediately clear how many passengers the helicopter was approved to transport, or whether the helicopter was overloaded.

The chief medical examiner for Los Angeles County, Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, said it could take several days to recover the bodies from the crash site.

“We will be doing our work thoroughly, quickly and with the utmost compassion,” Lucas said. “We’re doing everything we can to confirm identifications and give closure to the families involved.”

The helicopter was traveling to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and its passengers included Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who played at the school.

Bryant coached her team, and Gianna, whose nickname was Gigi, was “hellbent” on playing for the University of Connecticut and in the W.N.B.A., he told The Los Angeles Times last year.

At a UConn game last year, the father and daughter sat courtside and Bryant was asked about his daughter picking up the game by SNY. “I watch the game through my daughter’s eyes,” he said.

John Altobelli, 56, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa. Calif., was also on the helicopter with his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa, according to a college spokesman.

“This is a tremendous loss for our campus community,” said Angelica Suarez, the president of Orange Coast College, in a statement.

Last year, Altobelli led the Pirates to the California Community College baseball state championship, their fourth state title with the coach, and he was named one of the American Baseball Coaches Association coaches of the year.

Jeff McNeil, a Mets All-Star infielder, had been coached by Altobelli, and told ESPN, “Him taking that chance on me, having me on his team, got me drafted.”

Although the California authorities have not publicly identified the victims, their relatives, friends and employers announced and grieved the deaths. The other victims are:

  • Sarah and Payton Chester, a mother and daughter who lived in Orange County

  • Christina Mauser, a California basketball coach who had worked with Gianna Bryant

  • Ara Zobayan, a pilot

Many of the mourners who have grieved Bryant’s death in and around Los Angeles have been Latinos with whom the Lakers star cultivated a special bond over his 20-year career.

“Latino fans are important to me because when I arrived, they were the fans who most passionately embraced me,” he said in 2016 after his final N.B.A. game. “I told them, ‘Give me two or three years so that I can learn a little bit of Spanish.’ Now, my Spanish is not that good, but I can speak a little. They mean everything to me.”

And so as Los Angeles has reeled from the loss of one of its athletic greats, Latino fans have flocked to vigils and memorials, referring to Bryant as “compa,” slang for a friend (and short for the Spanish word “compadre”).

Bryant’s ties to Latinos also extended beyond his professional life: With his wife, Vanessa, he has raised four black Mexican-American daughters in Southern California.

Bryant’s company spent years applying for trademarks.

There was Black Mamba, Bryant’s nickname. There was Mamba Mentality. And, more recently, there was Mambacita, Gianna’s nickname.

Bryant’s company applied for the trademark in December, seeking to safeguard a burgeoning brand that seemed poised to become more valuable as Gianna’s basketball stock soared.

Her ambitions included playing in the W.N.B.A., and in a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, her father’s company suggested it wanted to protect the use of the name Mambacita on athletic shirts and shorts, jerseys, sweatpants and sweatshirts, among other items.

Bryant used the nickname on his Instagram account as recently as Jan. 14, when he posted a video from a gymnasium and said his daughter was “getting better every day.”

Bryant had posted another video with the nickname in November, when he slyly noted “a familiar looking fade.”

Bryant was drafted to the N.B.A. directly out of high school in 1996, helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships, and was named an All-Star in 18 of his 20 seasons for the team. His hypercompetitive nature could lead to drama among coaches and teammates — which sometimes spilled over into public — but his commitment to winning was never questioned.

Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, hailed Bryant as “one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game.”

“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” Silver said, adding that Bryant would “be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability.”

Bryant’s tenacity and intensity won him respect from rivals and inspired those who followed him into the game. Tributes from other athletes rolled in on Sunday, as Bryant’s friends and rivals shared what he meant to them. His former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, said he would hug Bryant’s children “like they were my own.”

Michael Jordan said in a statement that he spoke to Bryant often and that he was “like a little brother to me.” Dwyane Wade, the former Miami Heat star, said on Instagram that Bryant “was who I chased” and that it was “one of the saddest days in my lifetime.”

Bryant’s résumé included the N.B.A.’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2007-8 season, the finals M.V.P. in both 2009 and 2010, an 81-point game in 2006 that is the second-highest single-game total in N.B.A. history and a sterling pedigree on the international stage, where he won gold medals for U.S.A. Basketball in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

In 2016, after various injuries had taken their toll on the longtime superstar, he ended his career by scoring 60 points in his final game.

Off the court, Bryant’s legacy was far more complicated. He was arrested in 2003 after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him in Colorado. A 19-year-old hotel employee claimed that Bryant, who was working to rehabilitate his knee following surgery, had raped her. The legal case against Bryant was eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled privately out of court, but Bryant publicly apologized for the incident.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” he said in his statement. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”

In retirement, Bryant expanded his purview, winning an Academy Award in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” while also creating the web series “Detail” for ESPN in which he analyzed current players. He was scheduled to headline the 2020 N.B.A. Hall of Fame nominees.

Kobe Bryant may not have been the driver of the N.B.A.’s extraordinary growth abroad, but he was a core vehicle for it, acting as an ambassador for basketball throughout his career, both for the league’s interests and his own. He played on two Olympic teams, winning gold medals in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). In 2018, Bryant was named, along with Yao Ming, a global ambassador for last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup.

“Stern’s vision was always to make the N.B.A. a global sport and certainly, he was a commissioner who embraced that,” Michael Veley, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, said. “But he needed players to also buy into that. It started with the Olympic team — The Dream Team — but after some of the superstars like Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan, the baton had to be passed on to other people who not only were going to be great players, but were going to represent the sport and talk about it on an international stage.”

Matteo Zuretti, the head of international relations for the N.B.A. players union, said in an interview that Bryant’s dominant play alone helped the league encourage more people outside the United States to take up the sport.

“When you are an international player and you stay up until 4 a.m. to watch your idol play, you’re so much removed from him that you develop a special connection,” Zuretti said. “Kobe had been super relevant for people in Los Angeles. But for a generation of international players, he was the winner and idol.”

Three American presidents and athletes, celebrities and fans around the world grieved for Bryant, who became a superstar as basketball grew into an international sensation.

President Trump said that Bryant was “just getting started in life,” even after a career that forever marked him as one of basketball’s greats.

“He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future,” the president wrote on Twitter. “The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Former President Barack Obama, who once welcomed the Lakers to the White House, posted on Twitter that Bryant was “a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.”

The death of Bryant’s daughter, the former president added, “is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.”

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in the White House when Bryant ascended to the N.B.A., and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, extolled how Bryant “brought excitement and joy to basketball fans not just in Los Angeles, but all over the U.S. and around the world.”

The Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr. paid tribute to Bryant, as did the tennis player Naomi Osaka, who thanked him “for caring and checking up on me after my hard losses.”

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”

The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.

Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”

Los Angeles woke up Monday grappling with the loss of a global superstar who was, to Southern California, still a local hero. On Sunday, spontaneous shrines and vigils cropped up around the region, including outside Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, the team he played with for 20 seasons.

“He was not a perfect man, but we all have our faults,” Joe Rivas, a 28-year-old registered nurse, said on Sunday. “It’s beyond basketball.”

Los Angeles County officials have been worried by the number of people who tried to visit the crash site, which they said is located amid challenging terrain.

“We’re now faced with, I guess, well-wishers and people mourning who have descended on the area, on the residential community and even the crash site itself,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said on Sunday evening. “We have to reiterate that it is off-limits to everybody except the first responders and investigators.”

Mourners, he said, could gather at a nearby park.

Tuesday promises to be a challenging day in Los Angeles, where the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant’s death. Their opponent? The Los Angeles Clippers.

The Washington Post suspended one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, after she published a series of tweets about Bryant in the hours after his death.

Sonmez initially tweeted a link to a Daily Beast article about sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 — a missive that stood out in the general outpouring of appreciation for Bryant and drew a swift backlash.

She followed up with a post about the negative responses she had received, including a screenshot of an email she had received that used offensive language, called her a lewd name and displayed the sender’s full name.

It was not immediately clear if any specific tweet prompted the suspension, and The Post said it was reviewing “whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.”

Separately, as the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, gave one of his first official update on the investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims and offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news.

“It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”

TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.

Reporting was contributed by Louis Keene, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Sopan Deb, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Sarah Mervosh, Marc Stein, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.

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

Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Charge Ahead — But Eschew Bolton Issue

Westlake Legal Group ap_20025777845368_wide-1c77d5d98bea3393dc5bd52e21317a6c7d550336-s1100-c15 Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Charge Ahead — But Eschew Bolton Issue

Jane Raskin, a lawyer defending President Trump in his impeachment trial, departs the Senate following opening arguments Saturday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

toggle caption

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Trial Recap: Trump Lawyers Charge Ahead — But Eschew Bolton Issue

Jane Raskin, a lawyer defending President Trump in his impeachment trial, departs the Senate following opening arguments Saturday.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

President Trump’s lawyers tore into the impeachment allegations on Monday with a legal and political pageant that touched a broad swath of topics but eschewed the one agitating much of Washington outside the gilded Senate chamber: John Bolton.

Lawyer Jay Sekulow alluded indirectly to the revelations about Bolton’s forthcoming book in opening the Trump defense on Monday afternoon but told senators that he and his colleagues would confine themselves to the existing record.

On they charged, but the mustachio’d Bolton loomed over the proceedings — and the question senators are expected to face later this week over whether to admit new witnesses or evidence into the proceedings.

Bolton’s forthcoming book reportedly includes an account of Trump telling him that he intended to keep military assistance for Ukraine frozen until President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed to announce investigations that Trump wanted. NPR has not reviewed the manuscript.

Democrats argue that Bolton’s account could bring vital new evidence of what they call Trump’s abuse of power, the basis for the ongoing impeachment proceedings.

Bolton has said he’d be willing to appear in the Senate trial if he receives a subpoena.

Four Republican senators would need to join with all the chamber’s Democrats in a vote, perhaps Friday, in order to authorize witnesses and identify which ones.

It isn’t clear whether sufficient support exists and if so, what witnesses Republicans might request if Democrats were to seek Bolton and, perhaps, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

All that drama and uncertainty, however, did not figure into the official events in the Senate chamber on Monday, where Trump’s attorneys opened with another defense of the president and then shifted into an impeachment of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Judge Starr

Sekulow underscored one of the Trump team’s themes: The real motives driving Democrats’ impeachment is simple partisan animus.

He played TV footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handing out the pens she’d used to sign the articles of impeachment to lawmakers including some of the managers presenting them to the Senate.

Former Justice Department independent counsel Ken Starr, who investigated President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, also took the dais.

In a lengthy address that combined history, legal theory and, ultimately, recent events, Starr told senators that what he called the precedents forming the “common law” of impeachment show how short the current proceedings fall relative to past practices.

“Here we have … a runaway House,” Starr said. “House Democrats chose to conduct a wholly unprecedented process in this case and they did so knowingly and deliberately, even though they were warned at every turn, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it that way,'” Starr said.

Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura then reprised a few of his arguments from Saturday about what he called the evidentiary weakness of Democrats’ case — specifically that no witness heard directly from Trump that he wished to leverage concessions out of Ukraine’s leadership.

Purpura also rejected the idea, as outlined by Democrats, that Trump hadn’t paid attention to other cases of foreign assistance or that he didn’t care about Ukraine beyond his ability to exploit it for his own political purposes.

Not only are there many other examples of interruptions and conditions associated with U.S. foreign aid, Purpura said, he and other attorneys underscored Trump’s authorization of weapons for Ukraine.

President Obama had supplied assistance to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion in 2014 but not systems such as the Javelin anti-tank missiles which have been at the center of the Ukraine affair.

Why would Trump do that unless he were serious, attorney Purpura asked.

“They are attributing views to President Trump that are contrary to his actions,” he said.

The Biden impeachment

As the hours wore on, Trump’s defense team moved further afield of a closely constructed defense of the president.

They put on a separate defense of another lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and as they’d hinted, broadened their presentations into the family Biden.

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi recapitulated a storyline that has embarrassed Biden: His son, Hunter, was paid by a Ukrainian gas company at the time when the then-vice president was handling Ukrainian affairs for the U.S. government.

Although the Bidens haven’t been charged with any criminal wrongdoing, their situation was the subject of one of the investigations Trump wanted from Ukraine’s government.

Bondi and another lawyer, Eric Herschmann, outlined the reasons why they argued such an investigation might be appropriate.

Bondi played TV interviews in which Hunter Biden acknowledged that it might have been possible that he received the Burisma board seat because of his last name. Bondi also showed clips from the House impeachment hearings in which witnesses discussed the sensitivities about the Biden connection within the State Department.

“There’s no question that any rational person would like to understand what happened,” Herschmann said.

Bolton from the blue

The impeachment proceedings were jangled by a report in The New York Times on Sunday that Bolton’s forthcoming book would strengthen Democrats’ case.

That revived discussion about whether Bolton or other witnesses might appear in the proceedings — something Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Republicans batted down early but which is set to come up again later this week.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the House impeachment managers called for Bolton to appear. But Trump’s defenders outside the Senate, including Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that even if it were to happen it wouldn’t hurt Trump.

“The facts don’t change,” Meadows said.

Trump released the military assistance frozen for Ukraine in 2019 and got no announcement of an investigation, and nothing Bolton could say would alter that, Meadows said.

When the whip comes down

Republicans’ majority likely means Trump faces no danger of being removed from office.

But the small number of Republicans who’d need to join Democrats to authorize witnesses — four — may make that, at least, potentially more likely. That would give Democrats a fact witness and Republicans the ability to say they’d had a meaningful trial for Trump.

So a whirlpool of speculation now churns over who might join that notional gang of four.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has said he wants Bolton to testify. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, are seen as other possible joiners.

Are there others? The Washington Post reported on Monday that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has proposed a “one-for-one” trade in which Republicans might agree to Bolton in exchange for someone else. That suggests Toomey’s vote might also be in play.

Maine’s other senator, Independent Angus King, views the situation from outside because he caucuses with Democrats. But King told NPR on Monday that he thought there could be from 5 to 10 Republicans who’d ultimately go along with a vote for witnesses.

“There’s some indication that [Bolton] has information that bears directly on the heart of the case,” King said. “To willfully say, ‘We don’t want to hear that,’ to me, basically just undermines the idea that this is a real trial.”

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

Joy Behar links migrants at US-Mexico border to Holocaust during interview with Holocaust survivors

Westlake Legal Group Joy20Behar Joy Behar links migrants at US-Mexico border to Holocaust during interview with Holocaust survivors Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/holocaust fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc c490043c-1131-5c47-bb71-fe0a455a5465 article

“The View” co-host Joy Behar invoked the migrants who are in detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border during an interview with a pair of Holocaust survivors.

Commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, the ABC daytime talk show welcomed Mikhil and Millie Baran, a husband and wife who met after surviving the Holocaust. In a pre-taped interview, Millie Baran said it took her years to be granted access to the United States, which was something Behar asked her about during the live interview.

“You had to wait over four years before you could come into this country,” a somber Behar said.

“Four and a half years,” Baran specified.

“Four and a half years,” Behar responded. “You know, some people are experiencing that right now in our country. These children are at the border and they’re not letting people in. And it’s just tragic to me and to you, I’m sure. Would you like to speak to that at all?”

ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE CONDEMNS RASHIDA TLAIB FOR ‘BLOOD LIBEL’ RETWEET FALSELY ACCUSING ISRAELIS OF KILLING PALESTINIAN BOY

Baran told the daytime host that she “couldn’t believe it” when she saw the news coverage of the migrant crisis on television and that her “heart was aching as a mother” seeing children separated from the parents. But then she quickly pivoted to how great the country is to be in.

“I realized who doesn’t want to come to America, the best land in the world?” Baran asked. “A land of opportunity, of freedom. To us, it was a dream to get here. Naturally, it was worth it to wait because when we came here, I practically kissed the earth.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Baran acknowledged that the United States is a “land of laws.”

“Naturally, it’s a land of laws. You cannot just come when you want to come in,” the Holocaust survivor continued, “but I’m sure that the United States will find a way how to accommodate people who want freedom, who want a good life.”

“We need to protect that,” Behar added.

Westlake Legal Group Joy20Behar Joy Behar links migrants at US-Mexico border to Holocaust during interview with Holocaust survivors Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/holocaust fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc c490043c-1131-5c47-bb71-fe0a455a5465 article   Westlake Legal Group Joy20Behar Joy Behar links migrants at US-Mexico border to Holocaust during interview with Holocaust survivors Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/holocaust fox-news/person/joy-behar fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/media fnc c490043c-1131-5c47-bb71-fe0a455a5465 article

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