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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 172)

PG&E Warns It Could Cut Power to California Users Again

Westlake Legal Group 21utility-1sub-facebookJumbo PG&E Warns It Could Cut Power to California Users Again Wildfires Power Failures and Blackouts Pacific Gas and Electric Co California

Pacific Gas & Electric warned that it would likely cut power temporarily to hundreds of thousands of customers in Northern California by Wednesday night for the second time in two weeks.

A growing threat of offshore winds combined with dry air and high temperatures have made 16 counties in the Sierra Foothills and the North Bay vulnerable to wildfires, the utility said on Monday. The company sent phone messages, texts and emails to those who might be affected by the shut-off, as a new fire in Southern California burned near multimillion-dollar homes.

The sole purpose of the shut-off “is to significantly reduce catastrophic wildfire risk to our customers and communities,” said Michael Lewis, PG&E’s senior vice president for electric operations, who made the decision to cut power to about two million people two weeks ago.

Bill Johnson, PG&E’s chief executive officer, said during a news conference that “we don’t want to turn off the power,” but the threat of high winds and dry conditions increased the risk that the equipment could cause fires. He said several steps have been taken to improve the power shut-off process this time, including making community resource centers with restrooms, bottled water, chargers for electronic devices and other amenities available ahead of the blackouts.

PG&E, which has been convicted of criminal negligence for its handling of its natural gas system and blamed by state authorities for a wildfire that killed scores of people, was widely criticized for its handling of the previous power shut-offs, which began Oct. 9 and lasted for four days. Millions were left in the dark, many without notice. Businesses and schools were forced to close. The utility’s website crashed twice.

Residents scrambled to purchase power generators. Those with disabilities and dire health concerns found their lives endangered.

The utility used the power shut-offs to prevent another year of devastating wildfires, modeling after San Diego Gas & Electric, which pioneered the strategy.

Guarding against wildfires caused by its equipment has become critical for PG&E. The company filed for bankruptcy in January as it faced tens of billions of dollars in liability claims. Its equipment had been blamed for causing two dozens fires in recent years.

But state regulators and Gov. Gavin Newsom railed against PG&E’s executives for their handling of the power shut-offs, saying the company had again failed at its job.

“What we saw play out with PG&E last week cannot be repeated,” Marybel Batjer, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said during an emergency hearing Friday to discuss the utility’s actions. “Unless it is executed well, shutting off power has severe health and economic consequences.”

Mr. Johnson said during Monday’s news conference that the severe weather approaching Northern California raised the possibility that the utility would have to cut power again.

PG&E’s meteorological and operations teams determined that strong and dry offshore wind gusts might exceed 55 miles per hour late Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon for portions of the Sierra Foothills. Gusts of 35 to 45 m.p.h. have been forecast for some North Bay counties, with some localized areas expected to experience 55 m.p.h. gusts.

State officials have classified more than half of PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area in Northern and Central California as posing a high fire threat due to dry grasses and numerous dead and dying trees. The state’s high-risk areas have tripled in size in seven years.

For this event, PG&E said customers visiting the pge.com website are being redirected to a special, strength-tested site that can accommodate high volumes of traffic. The temporary site provides customer information by address, community resource center locations and other shutdown-related information. Online services such as bill payments will be unavailable until after power has been restored.

Mr. Johnson said the increasingly disastrous effects of climate change will continue to make power shut-offs necessary, though less often as PG&E and other utilities harden their electric systems. But he said it will likely take a decade before PG&E no longer uses power shut-offs as a tool for preventing wildfires based on what he has seen from the experiences at San Diego Gas & Electric, which began work on its system after fires in 2007.

“I think we’re being realistic about it,” Mr. Johnson said. “There will be fewer every year.”

Time is of the essence for PG&E, California’s largest utility, to demonstrate its ability to manage its operations.

Cities like San Francisco and San Jose have increasingly called for breaking up PG&E and turning its operations into municipal utilities.

Mr. Newsom has said he wants PG&E to issue rebates of $100 to residential customers and $250 to small businesses for the impact of the power shut-offs earlier this month. Mr. Johnson said the utility is reviewing the idea but he is concerned about the precedent such a request might set.

For all the criticism, Mr. Johnson has maintained that the most significant result of the power shut-off strategy has been that it prevented the utility’s equipment from causing a wildfire. Even though the execution of the power shut-offs was poor, he said he believes the scope targeting the two million people was necessary.

“We got that right,” Mr. Johnson said.

State Sen. Jerry Hill, a Bay Area Democrat, said that after numerous incidents involving the utility’s negligence that have cost the lives of scores of people throughout the company’s service area, it has become difficult to believe PG&E.

“We just don’t, we meaning the public, we can’t rely on their assessment of the need,” Mr. Hill said. “It may be necessary, but there’s no one to verify their actions and no one can trust their actions.”

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Colbert Reveals Trump’s Horrifying Impeachment Bucket List

Westlake Legal Group 5dae8bc7210000ad1e34aa17 Colbert Reveals Trump’s Horrifying Impeachment Bucket List

Stephen Colbert had some sarcastic praise for President Donald Trump for initially selecting one of his own resorts to host next year’s G-7 meeting.

As the “Late Show” host noted on Monday night, some Republican lawmakers rushed to defend Trump despite the obvious personal and financial conflict of interest in hosting the event at a property he owns.

“Yes, there’s a certain refreshing candor,” Colbert said. 

Then, he broke out his Trump impression to read off a very candid impeachment bucket list: 

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Astros respond to report of assistant GM taunting female reporters about Roberto Osuna

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Astros respond to report of assistant GM taunting female reporters about Roberto Osuna

SportsPulse: With their slogan being ‘take it back’ all season, the Astros aren’t shy discussing their past successes and failures and how it fuels them in putting together a potential dynasty. USA TODAY

The Houston Astros responded Monday night to a Sports Illustrated article alleging that assistant general manager Brandon Taubman had taunted a group of female reporters in the clubhouse after Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

Wrote SI reporter Stephanie Apstein: “Assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, ‘Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so (bleeping) glad we got Osuna!’ “

In 2018, Roberto Osuna, then with the Blue Jays, was suspended 75 games by Major League Baseball under the league’s domestic violence policy, but the Astros traded for him in July of that year.

The Astros released a statement responding to the article:

“The story posted by Sports Illustrated is misleading and completely irresponsible. An Astros player was being asked questions about a difficult outing. Our executive was supporting the player during a difficult time. His comments had everything to do about the game situation that just occurred and nothing else – they were also not directed toward any specific reporters. We are extremely disappointed in Sports Illustrated‘s attempt to fabricate a story where one does not exist.”

Osuna gave up a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth on Saturday, but the Astros won the game on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning to clinch a spot in the World Series.

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Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg mural in Canada vandalized

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-9cf5342a326c406e8bba32d9ec78818d Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg mural in Canada vandalized fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/politics/regulation/environment fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 28a62d40-0456-5eed-942f-fd33e77ffdff

A newly painted mural of 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was vandalized in Canada with a pro-oil message, and later with French slurs.

Thunberg on Friday lead a climate strike outside the Alberta legislature in the province’s capital city of Edmonton. The Province newspaper reported about 8,000 were in attendance.

Local artist AJA Louden told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he painted the mural on a free expression graffiti wall across the city at the same Thunberg spoke. While the CBC was filming footage of the mural Friday, James Bagnell sprayed “Stop the Lies. This is Oil Country!!!” over the image of the teenager’s face.

CLIMATE CHANGE PROTESTER CLIMBS BIG BEN DRESSED AS BORIS JOHNSON, DRAPES BANNERS

“This is Alberta. This is oil country. My father has worked in the oil industry. We don’t need foreigners coming in and telling us how to run our business, support our families, put food on our tables,” he told the CBC.

“I think it’s absolutely intolerant of them to tell us how to change our lives and our people. She should go back to her country and try to make her country better,” he continued. Bagnell also said Thunberg was just “doing what she’s told,” and should “just shut up until you have solutions.”

The CBC reported that by Sunday afternoon the mural had been even further defaced. Thunberg’s eyes had been blackened and crossed out, a French derogatory slur had been added and someone wrote the message “Agent provacateur out of Canada!”

The artist initially included the messages “Thank you, Greta,” and “Thank you, Beaver Hills Clan,” a reference to the grassroots group that planned Thunberg’s event. Louden told the CBC he was not upset that his mural was defaced given the wall where he painted it welcomes all forms of free expression.

“I painted the portrait over somebody else’s art work,” Louden said. “So I don’t feel upset at all about somebody going over mine. One of the goals with painting that portrait was to further the conversation.”

Critics said Thunberg’s speech—which was peppered with cries from pro-oil and gas counter-protesters—called for action on climate change but failed to propose any plans for possible solutions, the Edmonton Journal reported.

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She said wealthier “countries such as Canada and Sweden need to get down to zero emissions much faster so people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building the infrastructure we have already built,” according to Reuters.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-9cf5342a326c406e8bba32d9ec78818d Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg mural in Canada vandalized fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/politics/regulation/environment fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 28a62d40-0456-5eed-942f-fd33e77ffdff   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-9cf5342a326c406e8bba32d9ec78818d Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg mural in Canada vandalized fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/environment/climate-change fox-news/politics/regulation/environment fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 28a62d40-0456-5eed-942f-fd33e77ffdff

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Trump Just Retweeted An Account That Parodies His Butt

The president of the United States just retweeted a Twitter account about his butt.

On Monday, Donald Trump shared a tweet from the account @DJTrumpsButt, which has 318 followers (at the time of writing) and describes itself as follows: “I am @realDonaldTrump’s butt. Whatever he says, it’s really me that’s saying it. Follow me, or I will nuke you! #PutinPower #MAGA.”

The tweet contains a video from Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” showing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) discussing a Republican effort to censure House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Monday, for what he describes as an “unfair partisan process” trying to impeach the president based on an anonymous whistleblower complaint: 

Westlake Legal Group 5dae6f922100008821ad37a4 Trump Just Retweeted An Account That Parodies His Butt

Twitter/@DJTrumpsButt

The president is in the thick of an impeachment investigation for soliciting a foreign investigation of a political rival after an anonymous whistleblower complaint surfaced a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. A transcript of the call showed that Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

House Democrats blocked the censure motion against Schiff on Monday. Republicans had accused Schiff of “misleading conduct.”

Trump continued to rage against Schiff throughout the day, tweeting incessantly about the House Intelligence Committee chairman, whom he described as “shifty” and “corrupt.” 

He tweeted and retweeted at least 19 times about Schiff, and the clip he retweeted from the account about his own backside was the same as a clip he’d already retweeted from “America’s Newsroom” around 10 hours earlier.

Last month, during a similarly rage-filled tweetstorm over the impeachment inquiry, Trump retweeted a message from a bot account called “Trump But About Sharks” which replaces words in the president’s tweets with shark-related terms to mock his hatred of sharks.

The president’s retweet made him the butt of a few jokes on Twitter:

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Hungary’s Orban Gave Trump Harsh Analysis of Ukraine Before Key Meeting

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-prexy1-facebookJumbo Hungary’s Orban Gave Trump Harsh Analysis of Ukraine Before Key Meeting Volker, Kurt D United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Putin, Vladimir V Mulvaney, Mick Hungary Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Just 10 days before a key meeting on Ukraine, President Trump met, over the objections of his national security adviser, with one of the former Soviet republic’s most virulent critics, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary, and heard a sharp assessment that bolstered his hostility toward the country, according to several people informed about the situation.

Mr. Trump’s conversation with Mr. Orban on May 13 exposed him to a harsh indictment of Ukraine at a time when his personal lawyer was pressing the new government in Kiev to provide damaging information about Democrats. Mr. Trump’s suspicious view of Ukraine set the stage for events that led to the impeachment inquiry against him.

The visit by Mr. Orban, who is seen as an autocrat who has rolled back democracy, provoked a sharp dispute within the White House. John R. Bolton, then the president’s national security adviser, and Fiona Hill, then the National Security Council’s senior director for Eurasian and Russian affairs, opposed a White House invitation for the Hungarian leader, according to the people briefed on the matter. But they were outmaneuvered by Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, who supported such a meeting.

As a result, Mr. Trump at a critical moment in the Ukraine saga sat down in the Oval Office with a European leader with a fiercely negative outlook on Ukraine that fortified opinions he had heard from his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia repeatedly over the months and years.

Echoing Mr. Putin’s view, Mr. Orban has publicly accused Ukraine of oppressing its Hungarian minority and has cast his eye on a section of Ukraine with a heavy Hungarian population. His government has accused Ukraine of being “semi-fascist” and sought to block important meetings for Ukraine with the European Union and NATO.

Ten days after his meeting with Mr. Orban, Mr. Trump met on May 23 with several of his top advisers returning from the inauguration of Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. The advisers, including Rick Perry, the energy secretary; Kurt D. Volker, then the special envoy for Ukraine; and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, reassured Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky was a reformer who deserved American support. But Mr. Trump expressed deep doubt, saying that Ukrainians were “terrible people” who “tried to take me down” during the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Orban’s visit came up during testimony to House investigators last week by George P. Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine policy. The meeting with Mr. Orban and a separate May 3 phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin are of intense interest to House investigators seeking to piece together the back story that led to the president’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Mr. Kent testified behind closed doors that another government official had held the two episodes up to him as part of an explanation for Mr. Trump’s darkening views of Mr. Zelensky last spring, according to a person familiar with his testimony. A third factor cited to him was Mr. Giuliani’s influence.

Mr. Kent did not have firsthand knowledge of either discussion, and it was not clear if the person who cited them did either. But two other people briefed on the matter said in interviews that Mr. Orban used the opportunity to disparage Ukraine with the president. The Washington Post first reported on the meeting with Mr. Orban and the call with Mr. Putin.

It would not be surprising that Mr. Putin would fill Mr. Trump’s ear with negative impressions of Ukraine or Mr. Zelensky. He has long denied that Ukraine even deserved to be a separate nation, and he sent undercover forces into Crimea in 2014 to set the stage to annex the Ukrainian territory. Mr. Putin’s government has also armed Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, fomenting a civil war that has dragged on for five years.

But allowing Mr. Orban to add his voice to that chorus set off a fight inside the West Wing. Mr. Bolton and Ms. Hill believed that Mr. Orban did not deserve the honor of an Oval Office visit, which would be seen as a huge political coup for an autocratic leader ostracized by many of his peers in Europe.

Mr. Mulvaney, however, had come to respect Mr. Orban from his time as a member of Congress and his involvement with the International Catholic Legislators Network, according to an administration official close to the acting chief of staff. Mr. Orban has positioned himself as a champion of Christians in the Middle East, a position that earned him Mr. Mulvaney’s admiration, the official said.

Another official pushing for the Orban visit was David B. Cornstein, the United States ambassador to Hungary, who sidestepped the State Department to help set up a White House meeting, according to a person familiar with the matter. An 81-year-old jewelry magnate and longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, Mr. Cornstein told The Atlantic this year that the president envied Mr. Orban. “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t,” Mr. Cornstein said.

The Oval Office meeting with Mr. Trump took place just four days after Mr. Giuliani told The New York Times that he would travel to Ukraine to seek information that would be “very, very helpful to my client” and three days after Mr. Giuliani canceled the trip in response to the resulting criticism.

In moves that have disturbed democracy advocates and many American and European officials, Mr. Orban’s government has targeted nongovernmental organizations, brought most of the news media under control of his allies, undermined the independent judiciary, altered the electoral process to favor his party and sought to drive out of the country an American-chartered university founded by the billionaire George Soros.

Mr. Orban’s government has pressured Ukraine over what it says is discrimination and violence against ethnic Hungarians living in the western part of the country.

Mr. Orban’s efforts to undermine Ukraine in Europe drew enough concern among American officials that Mr. Volker, while the State Department special envoy, visited Budapest and other places to meet with Hungarian officials to encourage them to talk with their counterparts in Kiev to resolve their differences.

Mr. Mulvaney’s role in facilitating Mr. Orban’s visit adds to the picture of the acting chief of staff’s role in the Ukraine situation. It was Mr. Mulvaney who conveyed Mr. Trump’s order suspending $391 million in American assistance to Ukraine at the same time the president was trying to pressure Mr. Zelensky to investigate Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

At a briefing last week, Mr. Mulvaney denied that the aid was held up to force Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden but confirmed that one reason it was frozen was to make sure Ukraine investigated any involvement with Democrats in the 2016 presidential campaign. After a resulting furor, Mr. Mulvaney then sought to take back his comments, denying any quid pro quo.

Mr. Bolton and Mr. Mulvaney also clashed when it became clear Mr. Mulvaney was facilitating Mr. Sondland’s role in pressing Ukraine. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Mr. Bolton told Ms. Hill, according to her testimony to House investigators.

Adam Goldman contributed reporting from Washington, and Matt Apuzzo from Brussels.

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Rep. Andy Biggs defends now-curbed motion to censure Adam Schiff

Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff-AP Rep. Andy Biggs defends now-curbed motion to censure Adam Schiff fox-news/us/congress fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 31813ff9-ed58-515c-be4c-c3af2ca7249a

The American people need to know congressional Republicans will continue to defend President Trump against Democrats’ actions, according to Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

Biggs said Monday on “The Ingraham Angle” the now-tabled motion to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was a key way to show that.

“I happen to know that there’s already an ethics referral out there for Mr. Schiff,” Biggs said.

“That’s kind of a closed-door thing. The American people need to know that we’re fighting for the president.

LAWMAKER LEADING CHARGE TO CENSURE ADAM SCHIFF SAYS HE’S ENGINEERING A ‘TOTAL POLITICAL HIT JOB’ ON TRUMP

“The president needs to see that, the American people need to see that, and the Republicans need to see that.”

The Democratic-led House voted to table, or set aside, the resolution to censure Schiff for his handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump on Monday evening. The vote was 218 to 185 to table the resolution. All Democrats voted to table the censure resolution, with all Republicans voting against tabling.

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In addition, Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted to table the resolution.

On “The Ingraham Angle,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. echoed Biggs’ defense of the motion.

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“When Adam Schiff is cherry-picking leaks, when he’s withholding facts, when he’s outright lying — let the American ppl know that,” he said.

Another Republican who co-sponsored the motion, Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona, said Schiff needs to be held accountable for what she considered to be the Democratic lawmaker working to engineer a “political hit job” Trump.

“I imagine that the Democrats are going to kill the bill to censure Adam Schiff because this whole thing is a political hit job against the president,” she said.

“Adam Schiff… has for two years said he had proof that the president colluded with Russians — that turned out to be false in the Mueller report. Then, made up… what President Trump said to the Ukrainian president, trying to deceive the American public.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff-AP Rep. Andy Biggs defends now-curbed motion to censure Adam Schiff fox-news/us/congress fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 31813ff9-ed58-515c-be4c-c3af2ca7249a   Westlake Legal Group Adam-Schiff-AP Rep. Andy Biggs defends now-curbed motion to censure Adam Schiff fox-news/us/congress fox-news/shows/ingraham-angle fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 31813ff9-ed58-515c-be4c-c3af2ca7249a

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Marie Osmond says she thought she was gay after being sexually abused

Westlake Legal Group Marie-Osmond-1 Marie Osmond says she thought she was gay after being sexually abused Nate Day fox-news/person/miley-cyrus fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7f3884b0-1a87-5e4d-9ddb-d0007cc3954d

Marie Osmond opened up on “The Talk” on Monday about how being sexually abused as a child caused her to question her sexuality.

While the co-hosts were discussing Miley Cyrus’ recent comments about her ill feelings towards men, Osmond, 60, spoke out about the similar thoughts she had as a child.

“When I was about eight or nine, I actually thought I was gay,” Osmond, 60, said. “The reason is because I had been sexually abused to the point that men made me sick. I didn’t trust them, I didn’t like them.”

MILEY CYRUS BASHES EX LIAM HEMSWORTH ON INSTAGRAM LIVE: ‘I THOUGHT ALL GUYS WERE EVIL

Osmond said she remembers having body image issues and constantly looking at other women’s bodies.

“I was looking at women and I thought ‘why am I looking at women? I must be gay.’ And then I realized — because I’m a thinker — why did God give me all these great brothers and why did He give me this amazing father?” Osmond said. “And truly, the changed my opinion of men, which made me feel that it was something that I was going through.”

LIAM HEMSWORTH MOVES ON FROM MILEY CYRUS WITH ‘DYNASTY’ ACTRESS

In an Instagram Live on Sunday night, Cyrus, 26 said: “You don’t have to be gay, there are good people with d–ks out there — you’ve just got to find them. You’ve got to find a d–k that’s not a d–k, you know.”

“I always thought I had to be gay because I thought all guys were evil, but it’s not true,” added the Disney alum.

Cyrus was referring to her new beau, Cody Simpson, who has shared headlines with Cyrus lately for their very public romance taking place a few months after Cyrus’ high-profile divorce from Liam Hemsworth and breakup from model Kaitlynn Carter.

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Cyrus took heat for her comments with one individual tweeting: “people aren’t queer because they ‘gave up’ on men. This is so insulting.” Others called the language “homophobic” and “straight up harmful.”

Following the backlash, Cyrus — who is both pansexual and gender fluid — tweeted to clear the air, saying: “It has always been my priority to protect the LGBTQ community I am a part of.”

Westlake Legal Group Marie-Osmond-1 Marie Osmond says she thought she was gay after being sexually abused Nate Day fox-news/person/miley-cyrus fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7f3884b0-1a87-5e4d-9ddb-d0007cc3954d   Westlake Legal Group Marie-Osmond-1 Marie Osmond says she thought she was gay after being sexually abused Nate Day fox-news/person/miley-cyrus fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 7f3884b0-1a87-5e4d-9ddb-d0007cc3954d

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Trump Viewed Ukraine As Adversary, Not Ally, Witnesses Say

Westlake Legal Group 5dae7ac1200000881c5065c6 Trump Viewed Ukraine As Adversary, Not Ally, Witnesses Say

WASHINGTON (AP) — Behind closed doors, President Donald Trump has made his views on Ukraine clear: “They tried to take me down.”

The president, according to people familiar with testimony in the House impeachment investigation, sees the Eastern European ally, not Russia, as responsible for the interference in the 2016 election that was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It’s a view denied by the intelligence community, at odds with U.S. foreign policy and dismissed by many of Trump’s fellow Republicans, but part of a broader skepticism of Ukraine being shared with Trump by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his key regional ally Viktor Orban of Hungary.

Trump’s embrace of an alternative view of Ukraine suggests the extent to which his approach to Kyiv — including his request, now central to the impeachment inquiry, that the Ukraine president do him a “favor” and investigate Democrats — was colored by a long-running, unproven conspiracy theory that has circulated online and in some corners of conservative media.

On Monday, Trump derided the impeachment probe anew as a “witch hunt,” insisting that he did nothing wrong in his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

But those testifying in the impeachment inquiry, now entering its fifth week, are recalling that Trump’s views on Ukraine were seen as a problem by some in the administration.

Some of those testifying recalled a May meeting at the White House when U.S. officials, just back from attending Zelenskiy’s inauguration in Kyiv, briefed Trump.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, special envoy Kurt Volker and other witnesses have described Trump as suspicious of Ukraine despite well-established American support for the fledgling democracy there. That’s according to publicly released transcripts, as well as people familiar with the private testimony to impeachment investigators. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it.

Several witnesses have testified that Trump believed Ukraine wanted to destroy his presidency.

One career State Department official, George Kent, told lawmakers that Putin and Orban had soured Trump’s attitude toward Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have been foes since Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, as Kyiv tries to align with the West, while Putin and Orban grow closer.

“President Trump was skeptical,” Sondland testified, according to his written remarks. Sondland said that only later did he understand that Trump, by connecting the Ukrainians with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was interested in probing the 2016 election as well as the family of his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden.

“It was apparent to all of us that the key to changing President Trump’s mind on Ukraine was Mr. Giuliani.”

House Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower filed a complaint that included Trump’s July call with Zelenskiy. The call was placed the day after Mueller testified to Congress and brought an end to the two-year Trump-Russia probe.

“Our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump told Zelenskiy, according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike,” Trump said. “The server, they say Ukraine has it.”

Trump was airing the conspiracy-theory view, shared by Giuliani, that the security firm CrowdStrike, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the 2016 hack of its email, may have had ties to Ukraine.

CrowdStrike determined in June 2016 that Russian agents had broken into the committee’s network and stolen emails that were subsequently published by WikiLeaks. The firm’s findings were confirmed by FBI investigators and helped lead to Mueller’s indictments of 12 individuals from Russia’s military intelligence agency.

But the loose conspiracy theory contends that the DNC email hack was a setup, bolstered by fake computer records, designed to cast blame on Russia. Even the president’s Republican allies have tried to dissuade Trump from it.

“I’ve never been a CrowdStrike fan; I mean this whole thing of a server,” said Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina last week.

Meadows, a confidant of Trump, said he’s sure Ukraine had some role in the U.S. election. But he views the search for the email server as farfetched. “I would not, on my dime, send a private attorney looking for some server in a foreign country,” Meadows told reporters.

Perhaps contributing to the conspiracy theories surrounding CrowdStrike and the DNC is the fact that the FBI never took possession of the actual computer server that would have held the hacked emails.

Instead, the FBI relied on the forensics provided by CrowdStrike.

The FBI had “repeatedly stressed” to the DNC its desire to have access to servers, former FBI Director James Comey testified at a March 2017 hearing before a House panel. But he acknowledged it is not unusual for the FBI to use such forensics in place of the actual hard drive during cyber investigations.

Other Republicans have also tried to convince Trump it was not Ukraine that was involved.

Trump’s former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, said Giuliani had done Trump a disservice by pushing the false story.

“I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president,” Bossert said in September on ABC. “It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again,” said Bossert, who also was an adviser to President George W. Bush. “That conspiracy theory has got to go. They have to stop with that. It cannot continue to be repeated.”

On the call, Trump went on to ask Zelenskiy to also look into Burisma, the Ukraine gas company with links to Biden’s family. Biden’s son Hunter served on the board when the former vice president was the Obama administration’s main emissary to Ukraine.

Last week, Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acknowledged that Trump essentially engaged in a quid pro quo in seeking Zelenskiy’s help in exchange for military aid the White House was withholding from Ukraine.

Mulvaney said the request was not improper because Trump wanted help with the 2016 investigation rather than looking ahead to 2020. It is against the law to seek or receive help of value from a foreign entity in U.S. elections.

Mulvaney later clarified his comments, saying, “The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server.”

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this story.

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

Jennifer Aniston gives nod to Julia Roberts in ‘Notting Hill’ with a pantsless Instagram picture: ‘I’m just a girl’

Westlake Legal Group Aniston Jennifer Aniston gives nod to Julia Roberts in ‘Notting Hill’ with a pantsless Instagram picture: 'I'm just a girl' Nate Day fox-news/person/jennifer-aniston fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c286dcf-5d97-5b7e-829c-518474359893

Jennifer Aniston took to Instagram to showcase how much work goes into making her look camera-ready.

The Instagram newbie posted a photo of herself — sans pants and a grumpy look on her face — alongside two stylists, with one working on her hair and the other adjusting her sock.

The second photo features Aniston, 50, all glammed up for a cover shoot for Variety.

Aniston completed her post with a caption that gave a nod to the classic Julia Roberts’ quote from “Notting Hill,” but of course, with a twist.

“I’m just a girl….standing with hair and makeup. A stylist. A photographer. A lighting crew, wind machine, props, and a computer …. asking you to think I woke up like this,” she wrote.

JENNIFER ANISTON REIGNITES ‘FRIENDS’ DEBATE ABOUT ROSS’ AND RACHEL’S RELATIONSHIP

Aniston joined Instagram less than a week ago, sharing a selfie with her “Friends” co-stars. The actress gained a million followers in just 16 minutes and now boasts 15.4 million.

The actress wasn’t the only one to post a photo of the “Friends” cast reunion. Courteney Cox posted a pic of herself with Aniston and Matt LeBlanc during a dinner she hosted.

JENNIFER ANISTON POSTS FIRST #TBT ON INSTAGRAM

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Aniston also recently revealed that she and her co-stars are always looking for new ways to work together and that she once turned down a spot on “Saturday Night Live.”

Westlake Legal Group Aniston Jennifer Aniston gives nod to Julia Roberts in ‘Notting Hill’ with a pantsless Instagram picture: 'I'm just a girl' Nate Day fox-news/person/jennifer-aniston fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c286dcf-5d97-5b7e-829c-518474359893   Westlake Legal Group Aniston Jennifer Aniston gives nod to Julia Roberts in ‘Notting Hill’ with a pantsless Instagram picture: 'I'm just a girl' Nate Day fox-news/person/jennifer-aniston fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 2c286dcf-5d97-5b7e-829c-518474359893

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