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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 175)

Michael Goodwin: Bloomberg’s ‘stop and frisk’ remarks won’t derail him in 2020

Westlake Legal Group image Michael Goodwin: Bloomberg's 'stop and frisk' remarks won’t derail him in 2020 Michael Goodwin fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 69508f1a-9af6-555a-9ac6-d2ce5adcdf5e

Michael Bloomberg has spent as much as $500 million trying to buy the presidency and has been getting a decent return on his money. The former New York mayor is making a move in national polls, hitting 15 percent in a recent Quinnipiac survey, good enough for third place in the Democratic field.

Amid lots of buzz about his unorthodox strategy and rising chances, the poll is the first solid sign of a sweet spot. It’s timely, too, coming as Joe Biden limps out of New Hampshire and draws closer to the inevitable collapse, opening a lane for Bloomy.

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All of which made Tuesday a rotten time to have a bad day. The emergence of a 2015 recording in which Bloomberg forcefully defended stop, question and frisk is causing a political uproar.

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Most critics argue the recording will make it difficult for him to attract far-left liberals and black voters, and some think it could be fatal to his chances. I don’t think that’s true, but in the short term, the episode does prove another point: Money is no substitute for authenticity.

These days, that’s the real political gold. Bloomberg had it, and squandered it in a pander bid.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING MICHAEL GOODWIN’S COLUMN IN THE NEW YORK POST

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Westlake Legal Group image Michael Goodwin: Bloomberg's 'stop and frisk' remarks won’t derail him in 2020 Michael Goodwin fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 69508f1a-9af6-555a-9ac6-d2ce5adcdf5e   Westlake Legal Group image Michael Goodwin: Bloomberg's 'stop and frisk' remarks won’t derail him in 2020 Michael Goodwin fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 69508f1a-9af6-555a-9ac6-d2ce5adcdf5e

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Hope Hicks to Return to the White House After a Nearly Two-Year Absence

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-hicks-facebookJumbo Hope Hicks to Return to the White House After a Nearly Two-Year Absence United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Kushner, Jared Hicks, Hope C (1988- )

Hope Hicks, a close aide to President Trump who resigned nearly two years ago, will return to the White House in a new role, administration officials said Thursday.

Ms. Hicks, 31, worked on Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign from its inception and followed him to the White House after he was elected, eventually becoming communications director. Her return will come as his re-election campaign intensifies and as his advisers say the superstitious president has talked about recreating some aspects of that first race.

Ms. Hicks’s title when she left belied her influence with Mr. Trump, who felt more personal comfort with her than with almost any other adviser. But on her return, she will report to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and work with the White House political director, Brian Jack. Her title will be “counselor to the president.”

A senior administration official said that Ms. Hicks would work on projects that Mr. Kushner oversees, including the re-election campaign. She will not rejoin the communications office.

“There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump’s agenda than Hope Hicks,” Mr. Kushner said in a statement. “We are excited to have her back on the team.”

The White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, described Ms. Hicks as “one of the most talented and savvy individuals I have come across.”

“She has always impressed me with her quiet confidence, loyalty and expertise,” Ms. Grisham said, “and I am beyond thrilled to welcome Hope back to the White House.”

Since last fall, Ms. Hicks had been working as the chief communications officer at Fox, the spinoff company started by Lachlan Murdoch, the son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The White House she will return to this winter is very different from the one she left. A number of senior aides have departed, including the chief of staff John F. Kelly and his deputies. In their place are Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and a number of aides who are loyal to him.

And at the time Ms. Hicks left, the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, was still underway — and a year from wrapping up. She was among the many administration officials he interviewed for his final report, and she testified before congressional committees on some of the issues that it raised.

Ms. Hicks’s time with Mr. Trump began when she was working as an aide for his elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, on her fashion brand. He hired her for his skeleton staff when he began his campaign for president in 2015, and because the campaign was so small, Ms. Hicks, then 26, was constantly at Mr. Trump’s side.

From there, she became indispensable to Mr. Trump, and once he became president, he brought her into the West Wing. Some newer and more senior aides tried to block Ms. Hicks’s access to the president, but her relationship with him outlasted most of their tenures.

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Coronavirus evacuee in Texas diagnosed with virus, marking 15th case in US: CDC

Westlake Legal Group image Coronavirus evacuee in Texas diagnosed with virus, marking 15th case in US: CDC Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc article 2aeaa3d2-6896-551e-af1c-bbbfd23f4f5c

An American evacuee who arrived on a State Department-chartered flight last week from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak — is now the 15th confirmed case of the virus in the U.S., federal officials said on Thursday.

2ND CORONAVIRUS CASE CONFIRMED IN QUARANTINED SAN DIEGO PATIENT, 14TH OVERALL IN US

The patient, who was not identified, is one of the evacuees under federal quarantine at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He or she is the first person under the mandatory 14-day quarantine at the airbase to show symptoms of and test positive for the virus, now known as COVID-19, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed in a news release provided to Fox News. Signs of the novel virus have been reported to include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

“The individual is currently isolated and receiving medical care at a designated hospital nearby,” they added. No other details were immediately provided.

CDC officials reiterated that there will “likely be additional cases in the coming days and weeks, including among other people recently returned from Wuhan.” Though the first 195 evacuees were released on Tuesday, “more than 600 people who returned on chartered flights from Wuhan remain under federal quarantine and are being closely monitored to contain the spread of the virus,” officials added.

The case also marks the first in Texas. The 14 other cases have been reported across the country, the first of which occurred in a Washington State man who has since been released from the hospital. Other cases have been confirmed in California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois. No deaths have been reported in the U.S., and the large majority of cases still remain in China.

SOUTH KOREANS ‘HOARDING’ CORONAVIRUS MASKS COULD FACE JAIL TIME, HEFTY FINES

Overall, more than 60,000 people have been sickened globally while 1,370 have died.

Westlake Legal Group image Coronavirus evacuee in Texas diagnosed with virus, marking 15th case in US: CDC Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc article 2aeaa3d2-6896-551e-af1c-bbbfd23f4f5c   Westlake Legal Group image Coronavirus evacuee in Texas diagnosed with virus, marking 15th case in US: CDC Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/health/infectious-disease/outbreaks fox-news/health/infectious-disease/coronavirus fox news fnc/health fnc article 2aeaa3d2-6896-551e-af1c-bbbfd23f4f5c

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With Impeachment Over, Critics See Trump ‘Retribution Tour’

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the week since his acquittal on impeachment charges, a fully emboldened President Donald Trump is demonstrating his determination to assert an iron grip on government, pushing his Justice Department to ease up on a longtime friend while using the levers of presidential powers to exact payback on real and perceived foes.

Trump has told confidants in recent days that he felt both vindicated and strengthened by his acquittal in the Senate, believing Republicans have rallied around him in unprecedented fashion while voters were turned off by the political process, according to four White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Since then, Trump and his aides have moved with haste to clear his administration of those he sees as insufficiently loyal, reaching all the way back to the time of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Democrats and outside analysts are raising red flags that Trump is exhibiting a post-impeachment thirst for vengeance that’s gone beyond bending norms and could potentially cause lasting damage to institutions.

Some Republican senators, including Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, said they found Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy inappropriate. But they also expressed hope following his acquittal that Trump had learned a lesson from the episode.

Murkowski acknowledged Wednesday that “there haven’t been very strong indicators this week that he has.”

After Trump vented on Twitter this week about federal prosecutors recommending up to nine years in federal prison for his confidant Roger Stone, the Justice Department abruptly announced that it would reevaluate the recommended sentence. Justice officials insisted the timing was coincidental; they’d already been planning to pull the recommendation.

Stone was convicted in November of tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. The Justice Department move to back away from the sentencing recommendation prompted the four attorneys who prosecuted Stone to quit the case. One left the Justice Department altogether.

In recent days, the White House has yanked a senior Treasury Department nomination away from a former Justice Department official who supervised the prosecutions of several of Trump advisers. The administration also fired an EPA official who claims he was ousted because he was deemed too friendly with Democrats.

Trump even suggested this week that the Pentagon investigate and potentially discipline former White House aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who provided damaging testimony about the president in the impeachment inquiry.

That came after White House officials last week told Vindman and his twin brother, also an Army officer who had been detailed to the White House National Security Council, that their services were no longer needed and that they would be reassigned to new duties by the Pentagon. Security then escorted the brothers off White House grounds.

“We are witnessing a crisis in the rule of law in America — unlike one we have ever seen before,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Schumer called for the Justice Department’s independent inspector general to probe the department’s action in the Stone case. Later, House lawmakers announced Attorney General William Barr would come before them next month to answer questions.

Former Justice Department officials struggled to recall a precedent, describing it as norm-shattering turmoil that raises troubling questions about the apparent politicization of an agency meant to function independent of White House sway.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Michael Bromwich, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department inspector general who has been representing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in a criminal investigation before the same U.S. attorney’s office.

Westlake Legal Group 5e455ea0230000300019a0be With Impeachment Over, Critics See Trump ‘Retribution Tour’

Evan Vucci/Associated Press President Donald Trump claimed victory in the impeachment trial after his acquittal. 

Trump turned testy during an Oval Office appearance when reporters asked him about interfering in the Stone case and whether he learned anything from his impeachment ordeal.

He slammed the four prosecutors who recommended the stiff sentence for Stone and asserted they “ought to apologize for a lot of the people whose lives they’ve ruined.”

He described the lesson he gleaned from being just the third president to endure an impeachment trial: “Democrats are crooked. … They’re vicious, they shouldn’t have brought impeachment and that my poll numbers are 10 points higher because of fake news.”

Trump said he did not order Justice Department officials to change Stone’s recommended sentence, though he claimed he would have had the “absolute right to do it” if he had wanted to. He used Twitter early Wednesday to congratulate Barr “for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not even been brought.”

As Democrats called for an investigation, several Republican lawmakers strained to defend Trump’s actions.

“Certainly the president is entitled his opinion, and there would have been nothing wrong with the president picking up the phone, as I understand it, and talking to Justice,” said Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican. “But I think this is a situation where the tweet was very problematic.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump confidant, said he agreed the sentencing recommendation was excessive, but didn’t think the president should have tweeted about an ongoing case.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has shown he doesn’t like to wait for anything, let alone the end of a criminal case. But at moments, he has been willing to show restraint.

Early in his presidency, aides say, it took Trump an extraordinary measure of restraint to hold back on firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the months after he recused himself from the Russia investigation. The president reluctantly heeded the advice of his advisers and Republican allies not to dismiss the former Alabama senator until after the 2018 midterm elections.

But on the night of the election, as Republicans held onto the Senate but lost the House, Trump turned to those at a campaign party and said, simply, “I’m doing it now.” Sessions was asked to resign the next day.

Similarly, Trump knew that the likely outcome of his impeachment trial would be acquittal at the hands of the GOP-controlled Senate. Reluctantly, he acquiesced to the advice of his aides and agreed to wait to retaliate for the probe, which he deemed a conspiracy conjured up by Democrats and the so-called Deep State, until the official verdict was reached.

Now, though, Trump is once again unleashed.

Some of his targets are far out of the public eye. Trump this week withdrew the nomination of Jessie Liu, a former U.S. attorney who oversaw federal prosecutions in the District of Columbia, for a senior Treasury Department post.

Liu had supervised the prosecution of several cases inherited from Mueller’s probe into Russian interference into the 2016 election. Among those prosecuted under Liu’s watch were Stone, 2016 deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Last week, a spokeswoman for former national security adviser John Bolton charged that the White House was “suppressing” the publication of Bolton’s memoir about his time in the Trump administration with invalid claims that the manuscript includes classified material.

Bolton, according to excerpts of the manuscript leaked to the media during the Senate impeachment trial, says Trump told him he was conditioning the release of military aid to Ukraine on whether its government would help investigate Joe Biden and his son.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, accused Trump of being on a “retribution tour” and suggested that Senate Republicans — with the exception of Utah’s Mitt Romney, who voted with Democrats to convict Trump on the abuse of power count — encouraged the president by turning a blind eye to his conduct.

“It’s pretty clear the president of the United States did learn a lesson: the lesson he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, he can abuse his office, he’ll never ever be held accountable by this Senate,” Brown said. “

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro, Deb Riechmann, Mike Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

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Iran’s Economy Is Bleak. Its Stock Market Is Soaring.

Westlake Legal Group 13tehranstocks-1-facebookJumbo Iran’s Economy Is Bleak. Its Stock Market Is Soaring. United States Politics and Government Stocks and Bonds Maciej Wojtal Iranian Rial (Currency) Iran International Trade and World Market Embargoes and Sanctions Currency

LONDON — He looked past Iran’s cratering economy, ignored the unraveling nuclear deal and tuned out the bellicose threats of war from President Trump. Maciej Wojtal was focused on a mundane yet crucial question: Where were Iran’s people going to buy their chocolate biscuits?

Iranians were being forced to economize, trading lunch at kebab restaurants for cheap pleasures like sugary snacks. Mr. Wojtal, who runs an investment fund devoted to Iranian stocks, identified a company that was poised to benefit: Gorji Biscuit was well positioned to raise prices, given that foreign competitors were forced to steer clear of Iran because of American sanctions that restricted commerce with the country. He bought its shares and watched their value multiply more than fivefold over the course of 2019.

“You have companies that actually benefit from sanctions,” Mr. Wojtal said. “Whoever had to compete with imported goods, he’s better off.”

Born and raised in Poland, Mr. Wojtal, 36, oversees the only foreign fund that is focused on buying stocks that trade on two exchanges in Tehran. This may seem a forbidding realm of finance, a marketplace overseen by an Iranian government under siege by sanctions. To avoid American-enforced prohibitions on using the dollar to transact with Iran, Mr. Wojtal’s fund is administered in the Netherlands and operates entirely in euros.

A fund centered on Iranian equities may also seem frivolous. Who wants to buy into a country that is, by most indications, devastated by sanctions, cut off from the rest of the world economy and seething with public anger over rising prices and declining living standards?

Mr. Wojtal does. As he portrays it, obsession over sanctions misses the breadth of Iran’s economy. Sanctions have barred sales of Iranian oil, a major source of revenue for the Iranian government, though unknown volumes continue to be smuggled out of the country. Oil is such a large piece of the economy that a hit to that sector is guaranteed to produce a downturn.

But beneath that headline reality is an enticing emerging market — a nation of more than 80 million people, many highly educated, intent on transcending decades of isolation to integrate with the rest of the world. Iranians have forged fast-growing businesses in an array of industries, from petrochemicals and automotive to mining and agriculture.

These are the sorts of companies that trade on the Tehran stock market, now the bearer of an unlikely distinction: Last year, it was the best performing equity market on earth, more than doubling in dollar terms.

The run-up in Iranian equities perversely stems from the country’s status as an international pariah. With hardly any outside investment trickling into the country, and with an overall economy that has been rapidly contracting, stocks have been stuck at rock-bottom values. Even after soaring last year, many companies’ stocks still look cheap when compared with their profits.

It is worth noting that the title of world’s best performing stock market tends to be captured by nations with alarming proximity to calamity, where even tentative shifts toward normalcy can drastically alter a company’s fortunes. In 2018, the IBC Caracas exchange in Venezuela produced the world’s best returns, according to countryeconomy.com. Last year, the list of contenders included Athens.

Still, the doubling of Tehran stock prices speaks to the resourcefulness of Iranian companies in evading the bite of the Trump administration’s sanctions while, in many instances, profiting precisely because of them.

“It’s an important barometer of confidence in the private sector,” said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, publisher of Bourse & Bazaar, a news and analysis website in London that focuses on the Iranian economy and business world. “It shows you there is a lot of wealth in Iran.”

The Iranian economy is contracting at a 9.5 percent annual rate, according to the International Monetary Fund. Protests choked Iranian cities in November after an increase in fuel prices. Demonstrations exploded again last month amid anger over the government’s cover-up of its culpability in shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet.

Some say the stock market is an aberration in a story of strife, the product of Iranian leadership’s exhorting people to entrust their savings to equities in a time of scant alternatives.

“My fear is that this doesn’t end well,” said Adnan Mazarei, a former International Monetary Fund deputy director and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This thing becomes a bubble.”

Mr. Wojtal revels in telling stories that challenge conventional views about Iran. On a recent day, he went snowboarding at a mountaintop resort built in the 1960s by the later-deposed shah of Iran.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said by phone from Iran. “This will be the major destination for skiing and snowboarding in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

An unapologetic devotee to the bottom line, Mr. Wojtal betrays no squeamishness about investing in a country run by a government that imprisons political dissenters, supports an authoritarian government in Syria and fuels by proxy a brutal war in Yemen.

“We just buy and sell shares,” he said.

He rattles off the last frontiers for global capitalism — Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea. Iran is bigger and more promising, he said.

In Poland in the 1980s, as the country threw off the strictures of Communism, his father ran one of the first international-standard restaurants in Warsaw.

Mr. Wojtal’s career began in banking — first as an equity researcher at Citigroup in Warsaw and later as a trader focused on stocks and derivatives at JPMorgan Chase in London. He worked at a hedge fund, then returned to Poland to manage an investment fund.

The trigger for his interest in Iran was the nuclear deal brokered by President Barack Obama in 2015. Iran promised to restrict its nuclear development plans while submitting to international inspections in exchange for relief from years of stifling sanctions.

With an anticipated surge of international investment, Mr. Wojtal flew to Tehran to have a look. He found a stock market that had been operating for more than two decades. Its two exchanges included some 600 companies, among them makers of everyday staples like food and cleaning products.

Many companies were recording revenue growth of 30 and 40 percent per year, but their stock prices were not reflecting this. The market was full of bargains.

“It had the lowest valuations in the world,” he said.

Mr. Wojtal started his fund, Amtelon Capital — which stands for Amsterdam, Tehran, London — in July 2017, stocking it with money drawn from friends and relatives. He operates out of a glass-enclosed cubicle inside a WeWork space in central London. He travels every other month to Iran, where he has another office.

Among his first buys was a glass producer. With abundant energy and seemingly endless supplies of sand — the key raw material — Iran beckoned as the best place on earth to make glass. He heard stories about Iranian producers trucking glass bottles through Turkey and on to Italy, still undercutting the price of competing products sold there. He took a stake in a company that made glass bottles for the pharmaceutical industry and was exporting them across Europe.

He bought shares in a software producer that was making inventory management systems for Iranian companies, replacing the crude spreadsheets many were using. He bought into an Iranian copper miner.

Then, in May 2018, President Trump revoked American participation in the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions. Mr. Wojtal was forced to sell his largest holding, a utility that had a monopoly on selling water and natural gas in southwestern Iran. It appeared on the sanctions list.

Ordinary Iranians raced to exchange the domestic currency, the rial, into dollars, pushing its value down by about 70 percent in 2018.

For Iranian exporters, a weak currency was good news. They used rials to pay their workers and buy materials, but earned dollars on their sales. Their profits skyrocketed. So did their stock prices.

Mr. Wojtal bought shares in petrochemical companies that exported urea, an element in agricultural fertilizer, and methanol, which is used in fuel and antifreeze. He bought into companies that mined zinc and iron ore. They sold their wares in dollars to domestic producers of steel.

After losing 20 percent in 2018, Mr. Wojtal’s portfolio soared by nearly 170 percent last year.

Mr. Wojtal bought shares in an Iranian company that makes toothpaste and soap. He took a stake in a manufacturer of dishwashing liquid. Both had previously competed against Chinese brands. Their earnings grew fourfold.

His most successful bet was Gorji Biscuit. Not only were Iranians snapping up its snacks, but the company was exporting one-fourth of its wares to Iraq, earning dollars.

The roughly nine million euros (close to $10 million) he now manages comes from 20 wealthy individuals from Britain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and Poland. He aims to increase the fund 10 times over “as soon as possible,” he said.

Realizing that goal will entail much evangelizing about Iran.

It may also require continued adjustment to circumstances beyond his control.

“The risks are obvious,” he said. “It’s geopolitics.”

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The Trailer For Maisie Williams’ First Post-‘Game Of Thrones’ Show Is Intense

The trailer for Maisie Williams’ first TV project since “Game of Thrones” was released online Thursday.

And it’s as intense as it is funny.

Williams as Kim Noakes curses, projectile vomits, handles guns and has other firearms pointed at her head in the 67-second teaser for the Sky-produced comedy series “Two Weeks to Live.”

Check out the trailer below:

The show revolves around Williams’ character escaping from her controlling mother, Tina (Sian Clifford from “Fleabag”), to find the person who killed her father some years earlier. His death had prompted the pair to flee to rural Scotland.

A drunken prank then goes “spectacularly wrong,” per a press release sent to HuffPost, and Noakes must “reunite with her overbearing mum” if they are to survive being hunted by murderous gangsters.

Jason Flemyng (of “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”), Thalissa Teixeira (of “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”) and Sean Pertwee (of “Doctor Who”) also star in the series that Sky announced is “coming soon.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e4547a5230000520019a097 The Trailer For Maisie Williams’ First Post-‘Game Of Thrones’ Show Is Intense

The trailer for Maisie Williams’ first TV project since “Game of Thrones” was released online Thursday.

Williams, 22, portrayed Arya Stark in “Thrones,” a role that propelled her to global stardom while still in her teens ― and led to other roles in the BBC’s long-running sci-fi series “Doctor Who” and Netflix’s tech-thriller “iBoy.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e45518f230000300019a0ae The Trailer For Maisie Williams’ First Post-‘Game Of Thrones’ Show Is Intense

The show revolves around Williams’ character Kim, pictured, escaping from her controlling mother to find the person who killed her father — but it goes awry.

On Tuesday, Williams shattered the rumor that HBO had filmed multiple endings of “Thrones” to prevent key plotlines from being leaked ahead of broadcast.

“We didn’t,” she told Britain’s Metro newspaper. “It costs so much money and the schedule was way too tight. We were spending all the money on dragons.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e45515021000033002697e4 The Trailer For Maisie Williams’ First Post-‘Game Of Thrones’ Show Is Intense

“Fleabag” actor Sian Clifford also stars in the new show.

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John Kelly’s deepest shiv: People who rely on Fox News ‘are not informed citizens’

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Biden Needs Black Voters to Lift His Campaign. But He Has Competition.

Westlake Legal Group 12Biden-blackvoters-facebookJumbo Biden Needs Black Voters to Lift His Campaign. But He Has Competition. south carolina Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Democratic Party Black People Biden, Joseph R Jr

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Even before the final results from New Hampshire showed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. finishing a distant fifth, Mr. Biden had flown to the warm embrace of South Carolina on Tuesday night, appearing at a party that had all the markings of a victory celebration. A gospel choir was on hand to sing about salvation, a fitting choice for a candidate who is counting on this state and its large black electorate to save his third try for the White House.

“Up to now, we haven’t heard from the most committed constituency of the Democratic Party, the African-American community,” Mr. Biden told about 200 enthusiastic supporters, many of them black. He added: “99.9 percent. That’s the percentage of African-American voters that have not yet had a chance to vote in America.”

The ability to mobilize black support in South Carolina, which holds its primary on Feb. 29, and across the South has long been the foundation of Mr. Biden’s candidacy — a presumed advantage that would highlight his capacity to forge a diverse coalition to take down President Trump.

Yet as Mr. Biden looks to black voters to resurrect his candidacy after defeats in both Iowa and New Hampshire, cracks have appeared in that support, in some polls and among influential local and national Democrats, who are saying out loud what many have privately believed all along: that he was a safe, familiar political harbor for them as much as an object of affection.

While Mr. Biden remains the favorite among many state party leaders, several South Carolina Democrats say that another candidate, Tom Steyer, has become a significant factor in the primary race here. Mr. Steyer, a billionaire from California, has been aggressively courting black voters, spending heavily on advertising and lavishing money on businesses across the state.

Political advantages that once seemed a formality for Mr. Biden’s campaign — like the endorsement of the state’s most powerful Democrat, Representative James E. Clyburn — are now uncertain; two people familiar with Mr. Clyburn’s thinking say he is increasingly worried about endorsing a candidate who is not guaranteed to win the state.

Two other black Democratic officials in the state on Wednesday endorsed one of Mr. Biden’s rivals, Pete Buttigieg, who had struggled for most of the campaign to attract any African-American support.

And a new poll this week showed Mr. Biden’s support among black voters nationally had fallen from 49 percent last month to 27 percent this month.

“The thing about it is, I don’t know how much real solid support he ever had,” said JA Moore, a state representative from Charleston, S.C., who had come to Mr. Biden’s party Tuesday to listen but was not convinced. Mr. Moore was one of the Democrats who endorsed Mr. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who finished well ahead of the former vice president in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Black voters make up about 60 percent of the Democratic electorate here, and the Biden campaign expressed confidence they will buoy his candidacy in the primary in a little over two weeks.

“Relationships matter, relationships count, and your history counts,” said Kendall Corley, Mr. Biden’s state director, nodding at the former vice president’s deep connection to a state he has been visiting for decades.

State Senator Marlon Kimpson, a Democrat who has endorsed Mr. Biden, insisted that voters of color in his Charleston-area district would not take cues from the heavily white states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Many, quite frankly, want to send a message contrary to what we’ve seen in Iowa and New Hampshire,” he said. “Because people are disappointed that those two states are viewed as speaking for the rest of the Democratic Party.”

Mr. Biden’s campaign, in turn, is making clear that South Carolina counts: Even as they face a financial strain following his lackluster early performances, Biden officials are pouring money into a state they hope can revive his candidacy.

On Wednesday, they placed nearly $825,000 worth of advertising on South Carolina’s airwaves.

Still, for Mr. Biden, it is difficult to run on a message of electability after opening the primary season with fourth- and fifth-place finishes. Those weak performances have sent him tumbling in the polls and underscored longstanding rules of political gravity in presidential primaries: Candidates cannot assume that their momentary strength in states voting later in the calendar can withstand early struggles.

“Let’s be honest; he was the vice president under the first African-American president so his early name recognition was really high and that lifted his numbers,” said John King, a state lawmaker who recently endorsed Mr. Steyer

The heightened stakes have made other challenges more apparent, including the sometimes awkward fit between Mr. Biden and a new generation of young, black elected officials who are sweeping the South. Compared with Mr. Clyburn’s generation, this group is less moved by arguments of deference and the chummy collegiality of beltway politics. Instead, they view themselves as ambitious insurgents.

One of the up-and-comers, Mr. Moore, ticked off a list of what he views as blemishes on Mr. Biden’s record that should be barriers for black voters: Mr. Biden’s past support for crime bills that some experts argue resulted in harsh sentences for black offenders; his treatment of Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing; and his eulogy for Strom Thurmond, the state’s onetime Dixiecrat senator.

“Joe Biden wasn’t selected as a running mate for Barack Obama because he was a civil rights activist,” said Mr. Moore, who had supported Senator Kamala Harris before she withdrew. “It was because he was a safe white choice.”

Mr. Biden has caused some of his own problems. During a private meeting with prominent black mayors in Georgia last year, according to three people with direct knowledge of the gathering, he caused a stir when answering a question about education reform. Mr. Biden said one problem black communities face is that the “parents can’t read or write themselves,” a remark that shocked and frustrated many in the close-knit group.

In a statement, Mr. Biden’s campaign said he was seeking to reference his own experience.

“The Vice President regularly talks about how his father’s experience has shaped the way he feels about and views the relationship between parents and their children’s learning,” the statement said.

As he works to shore up his support here, Mr. Biden must rely on components of his campaign that were never the strongest. Mr. Biden’s fund-raising organization, for instance, was never robust in South Carolina and throughout areas of the South with heavy black populations.

There have also been hints in recent polls that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is making inroads, and several black voters interviewed Wednesday said they liked Mr. Sanders for different reasons.

“He just seems genuine about what he is saying,” said Lashawndra Thompson, a 41-year-old house cleaner, as she waited at a downtown bus stop. Ms. Thompson said that Mr. Biden would be her second choice.

Alexis Davis, an 18-year-old from Greenville who is a student at the University of South Carolina, said she was attracted to Mr. Sanders’s policy agenda. “He’s trying to make it cheaper for people to go to college,” she said as she walked to class.

Mr. Sanders has also picked up the endorsements of several key African-American lawmakers.

“The things Sanders talked about four years ago — education, health care, and $15 an hour — the Democratic Party has now gravitated toward his issues,” said Representative Terry Alexander of Columbia, who is also serving as a consultant to Mr. Sanders’s campaign.

Outside of South Carolina, Mr. Biden must contend with the expanding efforts of Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, who is not competing here but is spending heavily across the South and is expected to be a major player in Super Tuesday states such as Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Mr. Bloomberg’s support from black voters rose significantly in the Quinnipiac national poll that showed Mr. Biden declining.

The mayor of Columbia, Stephen Benjamin, who shocked many when he became one of Mr. Bloomberg’s first endorsers, said he chose not to endorse Mr. Biden because “he couldn’t raise money, he didn’t have grass-roots energy, and he didn’t have a strong and consistent message.”

“The polls are accurate, the V.P.’s support is eroding very fast and eroding what was supposed to be his firewall,” Mr. Benjamin said.

The biggest beneficiary of Mr. Biden’s softened support here appears to be Mr. Steyer. A Fox News poll in January found Mr. Steyer’s support in South Carolina increasing to 15 percent, putting him in second place behind Mr. Biden.

Jalen Elrod, a vice chair of the Greenville County Democratic Party, who also endorsed Mr. Buttigieg on Wednesday, said that in the last month he had changed his characterization of Mr. Biden from a “strong front-runner to a weak front-runner,” with his decline being compounded by the rise of Mr. Steyer.

“I was in the barbershop,” he said, “and everyone was like, ‘I’m kind of interested in this Tom Steyer guy. He seems pretty cool.’”

Much of Mr. Steyer’s strength is tied to his heavy spending in South Carolina, where he has dominated advertising on television, Facebook and in printed fliers distributed to homes.

But in addition to his wave of advertising, and payments to some leaders he has retained as advisers, Mr. Steyer has gained strength in the black community by speaking bluntly about racial injustice, some Democrats said.

Mr. King, who had initially backed Senator Cory Booker, said he had not planned to pick another candidate before the primary until he attended a meeting in his district with the California billionaire this week.

“I was in a room where most of the folks there were white, and Tom Steyer didn’t shy away from conversation about racism and reparations and how we heal the country,” Mr. King recalled.

Clay Middleton, a well-known South Carolina operative and a former senior adviser to Mr. Booker’s campaign, said most of Mr. Biden’s South Carolina supporters had expected a top-three finish in the first two states. It was not just that the campaign has struggled, he said, but that it has failed to meet even those lowered expectations.

“They’ve ceded ground,” Mr. Middleton said. “If they finished top three in Iowa and it didn’t linger, I think they could have turned the page and moved on.”

“I don’t know if the V.P. has the infrastructure,” he added. “A win in South Carolina would help in other Southern states — but he has to win.’’

Katie Glueck contributed reporting from New York.

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Judge Napolitano: Roger Stone should get new trial in light of juror’s anti-Trump tweets

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-13-at-8.43.54-AM Judge Napolitano: Roger Stone should get new trial in light of juror's anti-Trump tweets Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc dfaf9ce8-52db-5227-8edb-dc4ef11e3bbc article

Judge Andrew Napolitano said on Thursday that former Trump adviser Roger Stone deserves a new trial in light of resurfaced tweets that indicate partisanship and “inherent bias” from a jury member against Stone.

Former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart revealed Wednesday that she was the foreperson of the jury that convicted Stone on obstruction charges last year — and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light.

“[Stone is] absolutely entitled to a new trial with a member of a jury making these types of revelations about the politics involved in the decisions to prosecute him,” Napolitano told “Fox & Friends.”

ROGER STONE JURY FOREPERSON’S ANTI-TRUMP SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS SURFACE AFTER SHE DEFENDS DOJ PROSECUTORS

Hart even posted specifically about the Stone case before she voted to convict, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone’s dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force. She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone’s prosecution.

Independent journalist Mike Cernovich, not CNN, then first reported that a slew of Hart’s other publicly available Twitter and Facebook posts readily suggested a strong political bias. Some of Hart’s posts were written as Stone’s trial was in progress.

Hart, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, quoted someone in an August 2017 tweet referring to Trump as a member of the KKK.

In January 2019, she retweeted a post by pundit Bakari Sellers, who noted that “Roger Stone has y’all talking about reviewing use of force guidelines,” before suggesting that racism was the reason for all the attention Stone’s arrest had received from conservatives.

Napolitano said that he presided over 150 jury trials and “most were criminal.”

“It is the duty of the judge to ensure that both the government and defendant get a fair trial and if the judge discovers afterward that there was a built-in inherent bias on the part of a member of a jury against the defendant, that is an automatic trigger for a new trial,” he explained.

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“She’s going to have to call those jurors back in and interrogate them or make a decision on the spot,” Napolitano said.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report. 

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Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-13-at-8.43.54-AM Judge Napolitano: Roger Stone should get new trial in light of juror's anti-Trump tweets Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc dfaf9ce8-52db-5227-8edb-dc4ef11e3bbc article   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-02-13-at-8.43.54-AM Judge Napolitano: Roger Stone should get new trial in light of juror's anti-Trump tweets Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc dfaf9ce8-52db-5227-8edb-dc4ef11e3bbc article

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Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias

Westlake Legal Group defaultPromoCrop Trump Claims Roger Stone’s Jury Was Tainted by Bias United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Justice Department Jackson, Amy Berman Fox News Channel Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Citing a report from Fox News, President Trump said Thursday the jury that convicted his friend Roger J. Stone Jr. had a biased member — a claim by the defense team that had been dismissed by a federal judge a day earlier.

It was not immediately clear why Mr. Trump put the word “justice” in quotes, as he praised the leader of the Justice Department, Attorney General William P. Barr, on Wednesday for a decision to override a sentencing recommendation for Mr. Stone.

In a previously sealed filing, Mr. Stone argued that one of the jurors was biased against Mr. Trump and therefore he deserved a new trial. On Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled against that motion in the U.S. District Court in Washington. Mr. Stone’s sentencing is set for later this month.

Mr. Stone was convicted last year of seven felonies for obstructing a congressional inquiry, lying to investigators and trying to block testimony from a witness. He faces time in prison, though how long he should serve has been the source of a dispute between the prosecutors on the case and leaders in the department.

Calling out juror bias is Mr. Trump’s latest criticism of the case against Mr. Stone.

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