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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 175)

Barr and a Top Prosecutor Cast a Wide Net in Reviewing the Russia Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group 00dc-durham1-facebookJumbo Barr and a Top Prosecutor Cast a Wide Net in Reviewing the Russia Inquiry United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Papadopoulos, George (1987- ) Mueller, Robert S III Mifsud, Joseph Justice Department Italy Great Britain Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Durham, John H Classified Information and State Secrets central intelligence agency Barr, William P Australia

WASHINGTON — After a jet carrying Attorney General William P. Barr touched down in Rome late last month, some diplomats and intelligence officials at the American Embassy were unsure why he had come to the Eternal City. They were later surprised, two officials said, to discover that he had circumvented protocols in arranging the trip, where he met with Italian political and intelligence officials.

Everything about the visit was unusual — perhaps most of all, the attorney general’s companion and his mission. Mr. Barr and a top federal prosecutor, John H. Durham, who is reviewing the origins of the Russia investigation, sought evidence that might bolster a conspiracy theory long nurtured by President Trump: that some of America’s closest allies plotted with his “deep state” enemies in 2016 to try to prevent him from winning the presidency.

Mr. Trump has embraced the theory in his interactions with world leaders since the days after the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, testified to lawmakers in July that his investigation found insufficient evidence to charge any Trump associates with conspiring with Russia to help subvert the election. An emboldened Mr. Trump — who could benefit politically if Mr. Durham were to unearth facts that undermined Mr. Mueller’s investigation — began pressing close allies to cooperate with the review.

The trip to Italy generated criticism that Mr. Barr was doing the president’s bidding and micromanaging a supposedly independent investigation. But Mr. Barr seems to have embraced his role, signaling that he has made the investigation a priority and is personally overseeing it.

Now, glimpses of the Durham review are emerging. Investigators have interviewed F.B.I. officials about their work in 2016, examined intelligence files from around that time and cast a wide net in setting up interviews with a foreign cast of characters who played disparate roles in the pre-election drama.

One of Mr. Trump’s efforts to aid the review, a discussion with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine one day after Mr. Mueller’s testimony, so unnerved White House officials that it sparked a whistle-blower complaint, as well as formal impeachment proceedings and questions about whether the president hijacked American diplomacy for political gain.

Mr. Barr has portrayed the review as an attempt to ferret out any abuse of power by law enforcement or intelligence officials. But it is also a politically charged effort that takes aim at the conclusions of the American law enforcement and intelligence communities about Russia’s election interference based on years of work by multiple agencies.

The review could fray diplomatic relations with overseas partners and affect Mr. Trump’s political fortunes. And it is testing traditional boundaries drawn to keep the powers of American law enforcement out of electoral politics.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. This article is based on documents and interviews with current and former American and foreign officials as well as others familiar with the Durham review.

The review already created a minor diplomatic dust-up when Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the president’s closest allies in Congress, fired off a letter to leaders of Britain, Italy and Australia on Wednesday, urging them to help “investigate the origins and extent of foreign influence in the 2016 election.”

All three countries play some role in a counternarrative pushed by the president’s supporters that the real story of election sabotage in 2016 was not the well-documented saga of Russian internet trolls and leaked stolen emails, but anti-Trump elements in the intelligence and law enforcement agencies working with sympathetic foreign allies to try to block Mr. Trump’s victory.

Mr. Graham asserted without evidence in his letter that an Australian former diplomat was involved in the supposed plot. Australia’s ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, responded sharply, rejecting Mr. Graham’s description of the role of the diplomat, Alexander Downer.

The president further stoked the flames on Friday, suggesting a broad foreign plot against him. “And just so you know — just so you know, I was investigated,” he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “I was investigated. O.K.? Me. Me. I was investigated. I was investigated. And they think it could have been by U.K. They think it could have been by Australia. They think it could have been by Italy.”

He did not say whom he meant by “they.”

One consequence of the president’s attempts to investigate the investigators could be that some American allies might think twice before providing politically sensitive information.

“I’m gravely concerned if our Australian intelligence colleagues believe that they are sharing information with us for domestic political purposes, that trust could erode,” said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Warner said he and his colleagues have pressed the Justice Department for information about the scope of the review but have gotten no response.

The president has handed Mr. Barr sweeping powers to conduct the review. It was not begun as a criminal investigation, though it is not clear whether that has changed. In conducting a review, Mr. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut and a veteran prosecutor who has broken up mafia rings and investigated C.I.A. torture, has no power to subpoena witnesses or documents and instead has the authority only to read materials the government already gathered and to request voluntary interviews from witnesses.

Typically, he would write a report at the end of his review summarizing his findings. If he finds evidence of a crime, Mr. Durham could make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.

Mr. Barr has asked Mr. Trump to help gain access to foreign officials for the inquiry, and the president has complied. Mr. Trump has called the leaders of Ukraine and Australia, and the attorney general has spoken directly to officials in Britain, Australia and Italy, according to a Justice Department official.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham traveled to Italy — the attorney general’s second trip there in weeks — where a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, met a Maltese professor in the spring of 2016. During a later meeting, Mr. Papadopoulos told investigators, the professor said that Russia had politically damaging information about Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.”

The professor, Joseph Mifsud, has effectively disappeared since the Mueller investigation revealed his discussions with Mr. Papadopoulos, and Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors suggested in a court filing that he may have served as a cutout for Russian intelligence.

Mr. Trump’s allies have asserted, without evidence, that he was actually a C.I.A. agent working as part of an Obama administration plot to spy on the Trump campaign.

“Mifsud was an Italian operative handled by the C.I.A.,” Mr. Papadopoulos wrote on Twitter on Sept. 27, the day Mr. Barr was in Italy. “Italy holds the keys to the kingdom. Right government, right time.”

On Friday, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy said he was suing Mr. Papadopoulos for slander because he told an Italian right-wing newspaper that Mr. Renzi, while in office, had taken orders from former President Barack Obama to try to derail Mr. Trump’s candidacy. “See you in court,” Mr. Renzi wrote on Facebook.

Mr. Papadopoulos served 12 days in prison last year for lying to F.B.I. agents in the Russia investigation, and investigators said his lies hindered their ability to question Mr. Mifsud. An Italian government official confirmed that Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham traveled to Rome in part to gain more information about Mr. Mifsud.

Mr. Barr opened the Justice Department review this year after he said he did not get “satisfactory” answers when he asked why law enforcement officials opened the 2016 counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. He turned to Mr. Durham to review the origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation and whether it was properly predicated.

Mr. Durham has a track record with delicate cases where the investigative focus is on F.B.I. agents and C.I.A. officers. In 1999, Attorney General Janet Reno asked him to investigate the F.B.I.’s handling of James “Whitey” Bulger, a notorious mobster whom agents used as an informant. He secured convictions and unraveled a corrupt network of law enforcement officials working with Mr. Bulger.

Almost a decade later, Mr. Durham was directed to investigate the destruction of C.I.A. videotapes depicting the torture of detainees in secret prisons run by the agency. During that investigation, he interviewed Gina Haspel, now the director of the C.I.A., about her role in the destruction of the tapes. The investigation was expanded to include abuses of C.I.A. detainees. It ended with no criminal charges.

His most recent assignment involved investigating James A. Baker, the widely respected former top lawyer at the F.B.I., over a suspected leak of classified information. Mr. Durham quietly used agents with the United States Postal Service in that case because the Justice Department had decided that the F.B.I. could not investigate itself, people familiar with the investigation said. Mr. Baker has denied wrongdoing and was never charged with a crime.

For his review, Mr. Durham has enlisted Nora R. Dannehy, a veteran federal prosecutor who worked with him in Connecticut and led a two-year inquiry into whether department officials under President George W. Bush broke the law in firing several United States attorneys.

Many of the F.B.I. and C.I.A. officials that Mr. Durham is expected to attempt to interview have left government, including Bill Priestap, the bureau’s top counterintelligence agent during the Russia inquiry. Mr. Priestap privately told Congress last year that there was no F.B.I. conspiracy against Mr. Trump or his campaign.

He was also asked whether he met Mr. Mifsud on an overseas trip, a suggestion the F.B.I. was secretly working with the professor. Mr. Priestap said no.

For his part, Mr. Barr does not seem to mind that his travels in aid of the Durham review create an appearance that he is trying to protect the president. During a speech on Thursday, Mr. Barr recalled a recent episode when he was asked which country he planned to visit next. “Greenland,” he joked, a reference to one of Mr. Trump’s previous controversies.

Jason Horowitz contributed reporting from Rome, and Julian E. Barnes from Washington.

Follow Mark Mazzetti, Adam Goldman and Katie Benner on Twitter: @MarkMazzettiNYT, @adamgoldmanNYT and @ktbenner.

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Rick Perry denies discussing Bidens with Trump or Ukraine officials: reports

Energy Secretary Rick Perry denies ever mentioning the Bidens during discussions with Ukrainian officials or with President Trump, according to reports.

Perry’s name has come up in connection with the Trump-Ukraine phone call saga, after news outlet Axios reported that Trump told House Republicans he made the July phone call to the Ukrainian president based on Perry’s recommendation.

The controversy surrounding the call centers on allegations that Trump requested Ukraine officials investigate business dealings in the country by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as part of a “quid pro quo” arrangement for Ukraine to secure U.S military funding.

US AID TO UKRAINE WAS CONTINGENT ON 2016 ELECTION PROBE, GOP SENATOR SAYS US DIPLOMAT TOLD HIM

Democrats have alleged that such an arrangement could be grounds for Trump’s impeachment. But some Republicans say Capitol Hill testimony last week by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Kurt Volker nullied any “quid pro quo” claim.

Westlake Legal Group rts17ph6 Rick Perry denies discussing Bidens with Trump or Ukraine officials: reports fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/energy fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 621b2e2f-543c-5591-b7b3-7264453214b3

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry speaks at 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Oxon Hill, Maryland, June 19, 2017. (Reuters)

Although neither Biden has been charged with wrongdoing, Trump has raised questions about Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm, and Joe Biden’s later efforts, while vice president, to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the company’s founder.

In its story, Axios cited three sources who claim Trump pointed to Perry as having suggested the president call his Ukrainian counterpart.

According to one source, Trump said words to the effect of: “Not a lot of people know this but, I didn’t even want to make the call. The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquified natural gas] plant,” and the other two sources agreed with that recollection, Axios reported.

But on Friday, Perry — the Republican former governor of Texas who has served as energy secretary since March 2017 — told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an exclusive interview that his dealings in Ukraine were part of a U.S. effort to help clean up corruption there, but the Bidens’ names never came up during his discussions with Trump administration officials.

“I never heard, and I talked to the president about this,” Perry told the Christian network. “I had a conversation with – a phone call – with [Trump attorney] Rudy Guiliani about it. I’ve talked to the previous [U.S.] ambassador [to Ukraine]. I’ve talked to the current ambassador.

“I’ve talked to Kurt Volker, Gordan Sondland, the EU ambassador, every name that you’ve seen out in the media, and not once, not once as God is my witness, not once was a Biden name — not the former vice president, not his son — ever mentioned.

“Not once, as God is my witness, not once was a Biden name — not the former vice president, not his son — ever mentioned.”

— Energy Secretary Rick Perry

“Corruption was talked about in the country but it was always a relatively vague term of, you know, the oligarchs and this and that and what have you.”

In addition, Politico reported Saturday that its sources claim Perry never discussed a possible investigation of the Bidens with any Ukrainian officials. The same report disclosed that Perry’s dealing in Ukraine have been more extensive than had been publicly reported – including efforts to convince Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to add Americans to its board.

The ultimate goal of Perry’s efforts in Ukraine, the secretary told the Christian network, was to help eliminate corruption in the country so that U.S. companies could have confidence doing business there.

“This has been a very intense, a very focused push to get Ukraine to clean up the corruption,” Perry told the Christian network. “It’s a very well-known fact that this was historically a corrupt place and the message was clear: You clean up the corruption and the United States will be certainly willing to come in and help you.

“I can’t go in good faith and tell a U.S. company, ‘Go and invest here, go and be involved,’ if the corruption is ongoing,” he added.

Last week Politico reported that Perry is expected to resign from the Energy Department in November, citing information from three sources, but the Energy Department responded with a statement downplaying the story.

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“While the beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry’s departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump’s Cabinet,” department spokeswoman Shaylyn Haynes wrote. “One day the media will be right. Today is not that day.”

The Politico story said Perry’s possible departure was not related to the Ukraine situation.

Meanwhile, the Axios story said Trump suggested that more information about Perry’s role in the Ukraine situation “will be coming out in the next few days.”

Fox Business’ Ken Martin contributed to this story

Westlake Legal Group rts17ph6 Rick Perry denies discussing Bidens with Trump or Ukraine officials: reports fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/energy fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 621b2e2f-543c-5591-b7b3-7264453214b3   Westlake Legal Group rts17ph6 Rick Perry denies discussing Bidens with Trump or Ukraine officials: reports fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/energy fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox-news/person/joe-biden fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 621b2e2f-543c-5591-b7b3-7264453214b3

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Larry Elder: Impeachment is just the latest Democratic attempt to take out Trump

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092419517001_6092408978001-vs Larry Elder: Impeachment is just the latest Democratic attempt to take out Trump Larry Elder fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 6c43814d-e9d1-5e1c-88c9-14f1de00fa02

The Democrats’ purported outrage about President Trump‘s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky might be taken seriously by the Republicans were it not for the Democrats’ drive to oust Trump from the moment he won the presidency.

CNN’s Van Jones, with zero proof, attributed Trump’s victory to “whitelash.” Trump received 57 percent of the white vote, actually a lower percentage of the white vote than the 59 percent received by Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate in 2012. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama received a greater percentage of the white vote than John Kerry did four years earlier. Obama also received 95 percent of the black vote. None dared call it “blacklash.”

Stunned, angry and bewildered by Trump’s win, some Democrats urged the Electoral College to refuse to certify his victory. In a Washington Post op-ed, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, said, “The [Obama] administration should brief members of the Electoral College on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19.”

NEWT GINGRICH: PELOSI’S RIGGED GAME FAR CRY FROM TRUTH-SEEKING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRIES INTO NIXON, CHINA

Nearly 70 Democratic lawmakers vowed to boycott Trump’s inauguration. Nearly a dozen Democrats refused to attend Trump’s first State of the Union address. In explaining his refusal to attend, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said, “This is a presidency that has been built on racism, stupidity and lies, which has already wasted enough of America’s time and I will not waste any more of mine.”

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Trump’s refusal to turn over his tax returns provoked claims of corruption. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said: “What’s unprecedented is [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] refusing to comply with our lawful, Article I request. What’s unprecedented is a Justice Department that again sees its role as being bodyguard to the executive and not the rule of law. What’s unprecedented is an entire federal government working in concert to shield a corrupt president from legal accountability.”

There was the bill introduced in April 2017 by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., with 67 co-sponsors, to determine whether to invoke the 25th Amendment, under which a president can be removed if “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Raskin told Vanity Fair last month: “It is still very much on my mind and the time will come. I don’t think of it as an alternative remedy for impeachment. They address different problems. The core of the concern of impeachment is high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the president. The core problem addressed by the 25th Amendment is the mental or physical incapacity of the president.”

Joe Biden’s candidacy will be irreparably harmed by all this Ukraine business, increasing the odds that hard-left Elizabeth Warren will win the Democratic nomination.

Then there was the outcry over Trump’s payments to former mistresses. About the payments, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said: “The president is a criminal. … This criminal must be brought up by the Congress of the United States for impeachment.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said from “day one” Trump committed an impeachable offense for allegedly violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits all persons holding federal office from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Last year, Ocasio-Cortez said:

“I think that there are serious grounds in violations of the emoluments clause from day one. I think that is, first and foremost, one of the basic elements and violations. And then, once again, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen over the next few months. There are one or more investigations happening.”

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In July, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, wanted Trump impeached for his “racist tweets” that attacked several Democratic freshman House members known as “the squad.” Green tweeted: “[Trump’s] racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia can no longer be tolerated or ignored. We must impeach.”

One can only marvel at how, with a straight face, Democrats call Trump “racist” while embracing as “kingmaker” the race card-hustling Rev. Al Sharpton and refusing to denounce anti-Semitic Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Of course, for 2 1/2 years, special counsel Robert Mueller investigated allegations of Russian “collusion,” and he drilled a dry hole. On the issue of obstruction of justice, he punted. Before the Mueller report came out, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., claimed there was “direct evidence [of collusion] but … also abundant circumstantial evidence.”

If Congress impeaches Trump, the Senate will not convict.

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Meanwhile, all this Ukraine business just places attention on Joe’s Biden’s son. Hunter Biden received a lucrative monthly fee to sit on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company, despite his lack of energy expertise or his inability to speak the local language.

Joe Biden’s candidacy will be irreparably harmed, increasing the odds that hard-left Elizabeth Warren will win the Democratic nomination. Trump, post-impeachment, can credibly call himself a victim of a political vendetta and ride that narrative to victory in 2020.

Well played, Speaker Pelosi.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY LARRY ELDER

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092419517001_6092408978001-vs Larry Elder: Impeachment is just the latest Democratic attempt to take out Trump Larry Elder fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 6c43814d-e9d1-5e1c-88c9-14f1de00fa02   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6092419517001_6092408978001-vs Larry Elder: Impeachment is just the latest Democratic attempt to take out Trump Larry Elder fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fnc/opinion fnc Creators Syndicate article 6c43814d-e9d1-5e1c-88c9-14f1de00fa02

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Babies can’t have honey for this health reason

Protecting your little one means knowing what’s safe. So why can’t babies have honey? The answer is in bacteria—and how an immature digestive system handles it.

If it’s so high in antioxidants and packed with health benefits, then why can’t babies have honey? This natural sweetener is normally a great choice—but not for little ones. In fact, for infants under the age of one, it is an absolute no-no. Here’s why.

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The Problem with Honey

The main reason honey can be dangerous for babies is because of a certain type of bacteria, clostridium, that has potential to lurk inside. Known for thriving in dust and soil, clostridium has the power to contaminate honey. In cases where it does, the honey is dangerous for a baby’s digestive system because it isn’t strong enough to fend off the bacteria. This can cause infant botulism, with serious results. Typical symptoms from this type of food poisoning include poor sucking, lethargy, a weak cry, constipation and decreased muscle tone, for example.

Food poisoning experts avoid these foods, too.

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How a Baby’s Developing Digestive System Reacts

The main reason infants can’t handle the clostridium bacteria and adults can is because of digestive system maturity. During the first year of life, a baby’s digestive system is still developing. While an adult’s body is able to move bacteria through the body before it can cause harm, an infant’s isn’t yet strong enough. So, to protect your little one, it’s important that you avoid feeding your child any honey. Don’t forget to check food labels, too.

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Better Foods to Feed Your Baby

While any and all forms of honey are completely off the table until your child is at least 12 months old, plenty of other nutritious, yet sweet foods are fair game. Whether you’re looking for first food ideas or options to expand your infant’s palate, you can’t go wrong with banana or cooked sweet potatoes, for a start.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-887517012 Babies can't have honey for this health reason Taste of Home Shanna Mallon fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fnc/food-drink fnc article 6daea660-ddd4-5361-9bdb-5ab8b894b10b   Westlake Legal Group iStock-887517012 Babies can't have honey for this health reason Taste of Home Shanna Mallon fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fnc/food-drink fnc article 6daea660-ddd4-5361-9bdb-5ab8b894b10b

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Disney World’s new Skyliner cable-car system strands passengers

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Disney World’s new Skyliner cable-car system strands passengers

Firefighters have responded to help Walt Disney World park-goers who have been stuck aboard the resort’s newly launched aerial cable car system.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Firefighters have responded to help Walt Disney World park-goers who have been stuck aboard the Florida resort’s newly launched aerial cable car system.

Social media posts showed nighttime pictures or video including a crane raised to a presumably stationary gondola car and a group of cars stacked against each other in a station, some of the cars titled as if tightly packed together.

News outlets report that Disney Skyliner cable cars became stuck in the air Saturday night. A Disney spokeswoman tells the Orlando Sentinel that there have been no reported injuries.

Passengers reported on social media that they had been stuck on the enclosed cable cars for more than an hour. It was not immediately clear what caused the incident.

The Skyliner air gondolas opened to visitors last week. The cable cars whisk visitors from hotels to theme parks three stories above the ground while going 11 mph (18 kph). No more than 10 people are allowed in each cable car.

The Associated Press contributed.

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Newt Gingrich: Even I get overwhelmed by politics – here’s what I do when I need a break

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091354158001_6091351250001-vs Newt Gingrich: Even I get overwhelmed by politics – here's what I do when I need a break Newt Gingrich fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/opinion fnc f6f5f8f6-7688-5f2a-a155-390fb2f72952 article

Most any person who keeps up with American politics today – and wants to keep his or her sanity – must, from time to time, step away from the news-social media idea storm and engage a diversion.

For me, the ideal diversion is watching movies. I have always loved film and I’ve often found that really good movies help me understand and appreciate life and other perspectives in unique ways. This has been true since I was a child growing up around Army bases across the world – and it’s still true today.

As I travel back and forth from Rome, Italy, to Washington, D.C., I often watch two or three movies on the flight. It helps clear my head so I can be effective once I land. This is the topic of this week’s “Newt’s World” episode. I share my favorite movies of all time – and recommend some of the classics I encourage you to check out. I hope you will listen.

This may seem like a lark, but I think movies are a defining part of our American culture. Movies allow us to travel the world, experience tragedy, love, anger and nearly every other emotion. They help us understand a world of good vs. evil — and the necessity that good must act to defeat evil. And sometimes they reflect a moment in time, so we can gain a better understanding of history.

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For example, when you watch “On the Waterfront,” it’s the story of a guy who is forced to stand up to the mob so he can earn an honest living free of corruption. It conceptually came out of real events on the docks in Hoboken, N.J., in the late 1940s. In the movie, the mob controls the union, which controls the port where the man wants to work as a longshoreman. The trouble is, if he wants a job, he has to give in to the union, pay money to the union, and accept the domination of the union.

Movies help us understand a world of good vs. evil — and the necessity that good must act to defeat evil.

Marlon Brando — in one of his greatest roles — plays this guy who is unwilling to give in. Toward the end of the movie, there is a scene in which he has been badly beaten up and still trudges all the way up the pier to go to work. His act of defiance begins to break the power of the union (and therefore the mob). The sequence is among the most powerful ever shot.

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In addition to being inspiring, watching the movie when it came out in 1954 told you something that was very real then — and is still real today. That is: Corruption is real, and corruption often involves exploiting the weak or the poor. It takes somebody of enormous courage to stand up to that corruption and insist on defeating it. This is all incredibly relevant today.

I hope you will listen to this week’s episode of Newt’s World. It might lead you look at a few more movies on your own and realize that there’s an extraordinary world of important art, storytelling and commentary out there (which has been growing now for about 120 years, starting with early a silent film and coming up through to where we are today). It’s going to continue to evolve and expand into virtual reality, enhanced reality, interactive games and other formats we haven’t yet imagined.

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As much as Republicans complain about modern Hollywood (and vice versa), the Silver Screen is one of America’s great contributions to the world. Our shared artistic achievements are something of which we should be very, very proud.

I hope you will listen this week – and then go watch a great movie.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091354158001_6091351250001-vs Newt Gingrich: Even I get overwhelmed by politics – here's what I do when I need a break Newt Gingrich fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/opinion fnc f6f5f8f6-7688-5f2a-a155-390fb2f72952 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6091354158001_6091351250001-vs Newt Gingrich: Even I get overwhelmed by politics – here's what I do when I need a break Newt Gingrich fox-news/opinion fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/opinion fnc f6f5f8f6-7688-5f2a-a155-390fb2f72952 article

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Phoebe Waller-Bridge Goes Full ‘Fleabag’ On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Westlake Legal Group 5d9992d0200000d3024da815 Phoebe Waller-Bridge Goes Full ‘Fleabag’ On ‘Saturday Night Live’

In fact, she pretty much admitted during her monologue that she is her character: “sexually depraved, foul-mouthed, dangerous.”

She quipped: “I’m not a sex addict because I wrote ‘Fleabag,’ but I did write ‘Killing Eve’ because I’m a psychopath. My most exciting ex-boyfriend wrote nothing, but was both.”

Waller-Bridge noted it’s a “great time to be a psychopath right now; they’re really having a moment.” 

The writer-actor said thankfully women can now “speak openly about their desires without being burned at the stake, which is nice. Love that,” she added. “Back in the day, horny women were to be feared — and now they’re given Emmys.” Waller-Bridge grabbed three Emmys this year for Outstanding Lead Actress and Writing in a Comedy Series, and for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Check out what she has to say about the “hot priest” from “Fleabag” in the video above.

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

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Goes Full ‘Fleabag’ On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Westlake Legal Group 5d9992d0200000d3024da815 Phoebe Waller-Bridge Goes Full ‘Fleabag’ On ‘Saturday Night Live’

In fact, she pretty much admitted during her monologue that she is her character: “sexually depraved, foul-mouthed, dangerous.”

She quipped: “I’m not a sex addict because I wrote ‘Fleabag,’ but I did write ‘Killing Eve’ because I’m a psychopath. My most exciting ex-boyfriend wrote nothing, but was both.”

Waller-Bridge noted it’s a “great time to be a psychopath right now; they’re really having a moment.” 

The writer-actor said thankfully women can now “speak openly about their desires without being burned at the stake, which is nice. Love that,” she added. “Back in the day, horny women were to be feared — and now they’re given Emmys.” Waller-Bridge grabbed three Emmys this year for Outstanding Lead Actress and Writing in a Comedy Series, and for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Check out what she has to say about the “hot priest” from “Fleabag” in the video above.

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

Transformer explosion at Southern California Oktoberfest celebration injures 4

Westlake Legal Group explosion Transformer explosion at Southern California Oktoberfest celebration injures 4 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4406f227-771d-5226-bcfc-2b0156ae6079

A transformer reportedly exploded at a Southern California Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday night, resulting in injuries to two firefighters and two civilians, according to reports.

A fireball could be seen ballooning near the Old World Village restaurant in Huntington Beach around 8 p.m.

Witnesses reported hearing at least three explosions, according to The Los Angeles Times.

EXPLOSION AT RUSSIAN RESEARCH LAB THAT STORES SMALLPOX VIRUS: OFFICIALS

The restaurant was evacuated.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department said all of the injuries were minor.

Officials said an underground electrical vault exploded, but they were still investigating the cause.

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Hundreds of customers were left without power after the explosion, The Times reported.

Huntington Beach is about 37 miles south of Los Angeles.

Westlake Legal Group explosion Transformer explosion at Southern California Oktoberfest celebration injures 4 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4406f227-771d-5226-bcfc-2b0156ae6079   Westlake Legal Group explosion Transformer explosion at Southern California Oktoberfest celebration injures 4 fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 4406f227-771d-5226-bcfc-2b0156ae6079

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Is the suspect black or white? ‘SNL’ offers laugh-out-loud social commentary on race

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Westlake Legal Group  Is the suspect black or white? 'SNL' offers laugh-out-loud social commentary on race

Is the suspect black or white? ‘SNL’ offers laugh-out-loud social commentary on race

When Phoebe Waller Bridge served as “SNL” host, two of the funniest sketches of the night were focused on race: “Mid-Day News” and “Royal Romance.”

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Though the topics “President Trump” and “impeachment” loomed large during host Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s episode of “Saturday Night Live,” two of the funniest sketches were about something else entirely.

Their common theme: Race relations. 

Musical guest: Taylor Swift shows off her voice with performances of ‘Lover’ and ‘False God’

In “Mid-Day News,” Waller-Bridge and her other news co-anchors (Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim, Alex Moffat and Chris Redd) learn that a suspected robber of a gas station is white. As a result, the black anchors high five and cheer on-air, celebrating the fact that they’re “just glad that he ain’t one of us.” The white anchors are aghast over “this petty game,” until they find out that a man assaulted someone for stepping on his Air Jordans. “That’s black, for sure,” says Moffat, who proceeds to dab.

The WANU news reading of crime stories becomes an intra-office battle of black v. white, with perp descriptions that subvert expectations of race, and reactions (particularly from Nwodim) that are laugh-out-loud funny.

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In the sketch “Royal Romance,” the premise is race-focused, as well: Before Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, there was another biracial royal couple. Who?

Duchess of Clerkenwell (Waller-Bridge) and Jimmy Jay Robinson, aka blaxploitation street poet Thunderstick (Thompson). Documentary footage includes Thunderstick “knighting” Sir Mix-A-lot.

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