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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 180)

White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas

The theme of this Christmas is patriotism at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The halls of the White House are incorporating red and blue into the traditional holiday green, adding a timeline of American design, innovation and architecture and studding a Christmas tree with the American flag.

Westlake Legal Group Christmas-WH-2 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article

A White House made of gingerbread surrounded by landmarks from around the country in the State Dining Room during the 2019 Christmas preview. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The traditional gingerbread White House is sharing its stage with American landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge.

The gingerbread White House, built from 200 pounds of gingerbread and slathered in 25 pounds of royal icing and 35 pounds of chocolate, showcases the South Portico, including a staircase made using angel hair, fettuccine and spaghetti.

The popular display also features models of some of the nation’s most famous landmarks, including Mount Rushmore, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, the Alamo, the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty, along with the Golden Gate Bridge and the Space Needle.

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The East Colonnade of the White House is lined with double rows of see-through panels etched with more than 60 examples of American design, innovation and architecture, ranging from the Woolworth Building in New York City to the Space Needle in Seattle.

A tree dedicated to Gold Star families that lost an immediate relative during military service stands at the beginning of the hallway while a tree decorated with the Trump family ornament — an American flag this year — glistens at the end of the colonnade.

Westlake Legal Group Chirstmas-WH-1 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article

The American flag decorates a tree during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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East Room decorations are inspired by the U.S. flag and feature gilded eagle Christmas tree toppers, mirrored stars and red and blue ribbons. In the State Dining Room, at the opposite end of the hallway, the decor continues to showcase American design.

The Blue Room is again commanded by a towering tree, an 18 ½-foot Douglas fir from a Pennsylvania farm, decorated with flowers representing every state and territory.

The Red Room is decorated with games, including trees made of White House playing cards bearing the president and first lady’s signatures.

Westlake Legal Group Christmas-WH-4 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article

A decorated tree stands next to the portrait of President George Washington in the East Room during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

More than 225 volunteers flew in from around the country to help decorate the White House during Thanksgiving weekend.

Decorations in the public areas of the White House include 58 Christmas trees, more than 2,500 strands of light, more than 800 feet of garland and more than 15,000 bows.

Westlake Legal Group Christmas-WH-3 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article

The official White House Christmas tree is decorated in the Blue Room seen through the Cross Hall, during the 2019 Christmas preview at the White House, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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“It is with great joy that our family welcomes you to the White House this holiday season as we celebrate the Spirit of America,” President Trump, the first lady and their son, Barron, said in the signed introduction to a souvenir book visitors will receive as a holiday keepsake. “We hope you enjoy our tribute to the traditions, customs and history that make our nation great.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Christmas-WH-4 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article   Westlake Legal Group Christmas-WH-4 White House makes patriotism theme of Christmas Frank Miles fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/first-family fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc c4e8c2a6-5ee4-57c0-bd07-2189c345ecee article

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Michael Cohen: Trump Attorney Told Me to Keep Quiet About Additional Russia Contacts in Moscow Tower Deal

Westlake Legal Group M-0UHL-mixJ9x8hVWEHKAnDt9P01YmhZ1rVccrLDWPo Michael Cohen: Trump Attorney Told Me to Keep Quiet About Additional Russia Contacts in Moscow Tower Deal r/politics

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Barr doesn’t accept key inspector general finding about FBI’s Russia investigation

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Democrats Ready Impeachment Report as Republicans Argue Trump Did Nothing Wrong

WASHINGTON — House Democrats pressed forward on Monday with the next phase of their impeachment inquiry, putting the final touches on an Intelligence Committee report expected to form the basis of their case that President Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rivals was an abuse of power that warrants his removal from office.

Lawmakers from the panel reviewed the staff-written report for the first time on Monday evening, ahead of a scheduled Tuesday evening vote to transmit it to the Judiciary Committee. It is expected to conclude that Mr. Trump, working with allies inside and outside his administration, used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to do his bidding in order to gain an advantage in the 2020 presidential race.

Though the factual conclusions are likely to closely track public witness testimony in recent weeks, key elements of the majority report remained shrouded in mystery on Monday night. It was not yet clear, for instance, whether Democrats would use the document to call for specific impeachment charges against Mr. Trump, or whether it would simply outline evidence of presidential wrongdoing and leave it to the Judiciary Committee, the arbiter of impeachment proceedings past, to make that judgment.

Either way, the vote on Tuesday will bring to a close more than two months of investigation by the intelligence panel and shift the case against Mr. Trump into the judiciary panel, which will oversee the drafting and debate of articles of impeachment in what is likely to be a messy public spectacle suffused with partisan rancor.

As the Democrats prepared their case, House Republicans moved to seize the narrative and spin it in the president’s favor, releasing their own report arguing against impeachment based on the facts both parties have reviewed.

In a 123-page document that echoed the defiant messaging that Mr. Trump has employed in his own defense, the Republicans did not concede a single point of wrongdoing or hint of misbehavior by the president. Instead, they concluded that Mr. Trump was acting on “genuine and reasonable” skepticism of Ukraine and “valid” concerns about possible corruption involving Americans, not political self-interest, when he pressed the country for investigations of his Democratic rivals.

Mr. Trump, who spent much of the day traveling to Britain to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, appeared to be preoccupied with the coming fight. He posted on Twitter from Air Force One about the weakness of the Democrats’ case and the strength of Republican unity. Not long after landing in London, the president lavished praise on the Republicans’ report, which he said he had read, and raised the prospect of unilaterally asking the Supreme Court to stop the House impeachment proceedings, a process enshrined in the Constitution, in its tracks.

“Great job!” Mr. Trump tweeted of Republicans. “Radical Left has NO CASE. Read the Transcripts. Shouldn’t even be allowed. Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?”

The Constitution puts the chief justice of the Supreme Court in charge of overseeing any impeachment trial in the Senate, but empowers the House and the Senate to carry out the proceedings as they see fit. The Supreme Court has no purview over the process.

As Washington re-engaged in the impeachment drama after Thanksgiving, the timetable for the process remained unclear. House leaders announced they would remain in session until Dec. 20, more than a week longer than initially planned, leaving open the possibility of a vote to impeach Mr. Trump days before Christmas. But with the Judiciary Committee scheduling only one hearing for this week, Democrats were facing a calendar squeeze that could make it difficult for them to complete the intricate impeachment process before year’s end.

The Judiciary Committee unveiled the list of constitutional scholars its members plan to question on Wednesday, when they convene their first formal impeachment session to help inform the debate over whether Mr. Trump’s conduct was impeachable.

The witnesses are Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School, Pamela S. Karlan of Stanford Law School, Michael J. Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina Law School and Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School. Mr. Turley was invited by Republicans on the panel.

The Justice Department filed a brief before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, seeking to block impeachment investigators from gaining access to secret grand jury evidence gathered by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russia’s 2016 election interference and the Trump campaign.

Lawyers for the House have argued that they need to see that material in part because it could further illuminate the question of whether Mr. Trump lied to Mr. Mueller, a matter they have said is part of their impeachment inquiry. But the House is likely moving too quickly for the courts to settle the case before an impeachment vote.

In the Republicans’ dissenting views, they argued that after two months of investigation, the evidence “does not support” that Mr. Trump withheld a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president or nearly $400 million in security assistance for the country as leverage for securing the investigations.

Westlake Legal Group republican-impeachment-report-1575324892513-articleLarge-v2 Democrats Ready Impeachment Report as Republicans Argue Trump Did Nothing Wrong Zelensky, Volodymyr Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary Giuliani, Rudolph W Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Read the House Republicans’ Report on the Impeachment Inquiry

Republicans on three House committees on Monday finalized a report documenting their impeachment defense of President Trump. The Democrats are expected to release their own report in the near future.

The conclusion is at odds with sworn testimony from senior American diplomats and White House officials who said they believed Mr. Trump sought to use American influence over Ukraine to suit his domestic political purposes, repeatedly pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and an unproven claim that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election.

Rather than take those assertions at face value, the Republicans charged that they came from civil servants who dislike Mr. Trump’s agenda and style and are therefore allowing themselves to be part of a push by Democrats to undo the results of the 2016 election and thwart Mr. Trump’s re-election chances in 2020.

“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the Republicans wrote. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected president based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”

The argument mirrored one made at the White House on Monday by Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s counselor, who sought to portray Democrats’ case as flimsy.

“One out of 12 people had ever talked to the president of the United States and met him or discussed Ukraine with him — that is just mind-boggling to me,” Ms. Conway said, referring to the number of current and former government officials who testified publicly in the inquiry. “And we are supposed to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors for that reason?”

Ms. Conway also dared the chairman of the Intelligence Committee who has been leading the inquiry, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, to testify publicly during the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings about his handling of the case. If he did, she promised to “show up on behalf of the White House,” which on Sunday declined to participate in the hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Democrats are expected to argue the virtual opposite of the Republican report.

The Democrats’ case centers on a July phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and the claim that Ukraine worked with Democrats to subvert the 2016 election. It is also likely to charge that Mr. Trump conditioned the White House meeting and military assistance money on a public commitment to the investigations.

Mr. Schiff indicated as much Monday when he said that the Republican report “ignores voluminous evidence that the president used the power of his office to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rival by withholding military aid and a White House meeting the president of Ukraine desperately sought.”

He added, “In so doing, the president undermined our national security and the integrity of our elections.

The minority report was compiled by committee staff for the top three Republicans on the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees.

It essentially formalized a range of defenses Republicans road-tested last month during two weeks of public impeachment hearings in the Intelligence Committee. For members of the Judiciary Committee and the larger Republican conference in the House, it provided several alternative tacks for defending Mr. Trump or at least arguing against impeachment.

If the Democrats’ case hinges on linking actions by Mr. Trump and his agents to a unified pressure campaign, the Republican defense is staked on pulling those pieces apart and offering an alternate explanation for each.

Many of the actions in question, Republicans argue, stem from Mr. Trump’s “longstanding, deep-seated skepticism of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption.”

“Understood in this proper context, the president’s initial hesitation to meet with President Zelensky or to provide U.S. taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine without thoughtful review is entirely prudent,” the Republicans wrote.

Likewise, they argued, there was “nothing wrong with asking serious questions” about Mr. Biden and his younger son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm when his father was vice president, or about “Ukraine’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.”

Though some officials who testified before the inquiry said that Hunter Biden’s role had prompted concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest, no evidence had emerged to support any accusations of wrongdoing. And Mr. Trump’s own former national security advisers testified that the concerns he raised to Mr. Zelensky about 2016 were conspiracies promulgated by Russia to absolve its own interference campaign in 2016 and harm American democracy. They said the president had repeatedly been told as much.

Republicans also argued there was “nothing inherently improper” with Mr. Trump empowering Rudolph W. Giuliani, his private lawyer who led the push for investigations, to help steer Ukraine matters, despite testimony that there was widespread alarm at Mr. Giuliani’s involvement.

Fiona Hill, the former top Europe and Russia adviser at the White House, testified that her boss, John R. Bolton, had called Mr. Giuliani a “hand grenade.” Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also investigating whether Mr. Giuliani’s Ukraine work broke the law.

The report also repeated familiar Republican grievances about the denial of “fundamental fairness” in the investigative process put forward by Democrats. Mr. Trump’s decision to discourage participation in the inquiry, they wrote, was “a legitimate response to an unfair, abusive, and partisan process, and does not constitute obstruction of a legitimate impeachment inquiry.”

Democrats do not see it that way, and have prepared a catalog of all of the ways that Mr. Trump has obstructed their inquiry that could form the basis for its own article of impeachment.

Michael D. Shear and Charlie Savage contributed reporting.

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Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events

Westlake Legal Group 02trumpbloomberg01-facebookJumbo Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) News and News Media Bloomberg, Michael R Bloomberg News

President Trump’s re-election campaign said on Monday that it would bar Bloomberg News journalists from attending its rallies and political events, an attempt to retaliate against the news organization’s decision to cease investigating Democratic candidates in the wake of its billionaire owner’s entry into the 2020 presidential race.

The Trump campaign broke from years of precedent in 2016 by revoking the press credentials of journalists from outlets like The Washington Post, Politico and BuzzFeed News, an early sign of the efforts to demonize the news media that have become a hallmark of the Trump presidency.

But Bloomberg News is facing a fraught situation, too. After the company’s owner, Michael R. Bloomberg, decided last month to pursue the Democratic nomination, editors at the news outlet instructed their reporters to avoid “in-depth investigations” of Mr. Bloomberg or any other Democratic candidate. It was an attempt at fairness that some journalists called stifling.

On Monday, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, called it something else: biased.

“Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump,” Mr. Parscale wrote in a statement, calling the decision “troubling and wrong.”

“Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events,” Mr. Parscale wrote. The campaign said it would decide “on a case-by-case basis” whether to respond to inquiries from individual reporters on stories.

The editor in chief of Bloomberg News, John Micklethwait, quickly fired back.

“The accusation of bias couldn’t be further from the truth,” Mr. Micklethwait wrote in a statement. “We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign.”

Howard Wolfson, a top campaign adviser to Mr. Bloomberg, also weighed in, pithily. “One week in and Mike is already under Trump’s skin,” Mr. Wolfson wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump and his senior aides routinely disparage individual reporters and entire news organizations for coverage they deem unfavorable. Press advocacy groups say the president’s attacks have contributed to one of the more hostile domestic environments for journalists in recent memory.

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, criticized the Trump campaign’s move in a statement on Monday. “We condemn any action that keeps quality news media from reporting fairly and accurately on the presidency and the leadership of the country,” Mr. Baquet wrote.

At the same time, Bloomberg News’s approach to covering its owner’s candidacy has proved divisive.

Roughly 2,700 journalists work at Bloomberg L.P., the financial data company that is the wellspring of Mr. Bloomberg’s fortune, and this is not the first time that Mr. Bloomberg’s ambitions have placed his employees in an awkward spot. During Mr. Bloomberg’s 12 years as mayor of New York City, coverage of the billionaire’s wealth and personal life were considered off limits at Bloomberg News.

In a memo last month, Mr. Micklethwait acknowledged that “there is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy,” but added that the newsroom would continue to investigate Mr. Trump’s administration “as the government of the day.”

On Monday night, Mr. Trump, who had flown to London for a conference, added his own thoughts on the matter, deriding Mr. Bloomberg in a Twitter post as “Mini Mike Bloomberg” and describing Bloomberg News as a “third rate news organization.” (He also accused The Times of “hatred & bias.”) The president wrote that “It’s not O.K.!” for Bloomberg News to skip investigations of Democratic candidates.

While Bloomberg News has pledged to continue covering polls, policies and “who is winning and who is losing” the 2020 race, the prohibition against investigative reporting — considered among the most valuable forms of campaign journalism — has caused some uproar.

Megan Murphy, a former Washington bureau chief at Bloomberg News, wrote on Twitter that it was “staggering” for the news outlet to prevent “an army of unbelievably talented reporters and editors from covering massive, crucial aspects of one of the defining elections of our time.”

Marc Tracy contributed reporting.

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House Republicans Show They Don’t Care If Trump Withheld Ukraine Aid

Westlake Legal Group 5de5a58d250000b03cd2ee84 House Republicans Show They Don’t Care If Trump Withheld Ukraine Aid

Top congressional Republicans have unveiled their defense strategy as the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump moves into a new phase: In a 123-page document released Monday, they demonstrated that they understand the president held up nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine — and they simply don’t care.

The GOP report, which signals how Republicans plan to defend the president amid the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine, does not directly question any claims of misbehavior raised by the whistleblower who first set the impeachment probe in motion. But the lawmakers said the evidence thus far shows there was “nothing wrong” with Trump’s decision to withhold the aid to Ukraine, claiming that the president held a “deep-seated, genuine, and reasonable skepticism” of the country that made his actions “entirely prudent.”

“The Democrats nonetheless tell a story of an illicit pressure campaign run by President Trump through his personal attorney, Mayor Giuliani, to coerce Ukraine to investigate the President’s political rival by withholding a meeting and security assistance,” the document reads. “There is, however, no direct, firsthand evidence of any such scheme.”

Trump’s conduct in office has been described in detail by a parade of current and former administration officials. During public and private hearings, the officials testified that the president waged an explicit campaign to pressure a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.

But the ranking Republican members of the House committees conducting the inquiry remain defiant in the face of those accounts, saying the “evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor.”

“Democrats in the House of Representatives have been working to impeach President Trump since his election,” reads the report, prepared for Republican Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee; Jim Jordan (Ohio), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee; and Michael McCaul (Texas), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system.”

Democrats plan to release their own report on the inquiry so far later this week, and lawmakers have already begun to review its contents behind closed doors.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) slammed the GOP document on Monday, saying it ignored “voluminous evidence Trump used his office to press Ukraine into investigating Biden.”

“They say this is just Trump’s ‘outside the beltway’ thinking,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “It’s more accurately outside the law and Constitution.”

The House Judiciary Committee is set to hold its first hearings this week on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president. Top Democrats are investigating whether the president acted improperly during that call when he requested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Biden’s son Hunter shortly after holding up nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

The White House said Sunday it would not take part in the committee’s first hearing, claiming the probe “does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair process” and slamming the proceedings as “highly partisan.”

“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a five-page letter to House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). “Under the current circumstances, we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.”

Nadler had invited the president or his attorneys to participate in the hearings, saying Trump has the right to review the evidence against him or call his own witnesses.

View the GOP report below.

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Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events

Westlake Legal Group 02trumpbloomberg01-facebookJumbo Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) News and News Media Bloomberg, Michael R Bloomberg News

President Trump’s re-election campaign said on Monday that it would bar Bloomberg News journalists from attending its rallies and political events, an attempt to retaliate against the news organization’s decision to cease investigating Democratic candidates in the wake of its billionaire owner’s entry into the 2020 presidential race.

The Trump campaign broke from years of precedent in 2016 by revoking the press credentials of journalists from outlets like The Washington Post, Politico and BuzzFeed News, an early sign of the efforts to demonize the news media that have become a hallmark of the Trump presidency.

But Bloomberg News is facing a fraught situation, too. After the company’s owner, Michael R. Bloomberg, decided last month to pursue the Democratic nomination, editors at the news outlet instructed their reporters to avoid “in-depth investigations” of Mr. Bloomberg or any other Democratic candidate. It was an attempt at fairness that some journalists called stifling.

On Monday, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, called it something else: biased.

“Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump,” Mr. Parscale wrote in a statement, calling the decision “troubling and wrong.”

“Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events,” Mr. Parscale wrote. The campaign said it would decide “on a case-by-case basis” whether to respond to inquiries from individual reporters on stories.

The editor in chief of Bloomberg News, John Micklethwait, quickly fired back.

“The accusation of bias couldn’t be further from the truth,” Mr. Micklethwait wrote in a statement. “We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign.”

Howard Wolfson, a top campaign adviser to Mr. Bloomberg, also weighed in, pithily. “One week in and Mike is already under Trump’s skin,” Mr. Wolfson wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump and his senior aides routinely disparage individual reporters and entire news organizations for coverage they deem unfavorable. Press advocacy groups say the president’s attacks have contributed to one of the more hostile domestic environments for journalists in recent memory.

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, criticized the Trump campaign’s move in a statement on Monday. “We condemn any action that keeps quality news media from reporting fairly and accurately on the presidency and the leadership of the country,” Mr. Baquet wrote.

At the same time, Bloomberg News’s approach to covering its owner’s candidacy has proved divisive.

Roughly 2,700 journalists work at Bloomberg L.P., the financial data company that is the wellspring of Mr. Bloomberg’s fortune, and this is not the first time that Mr. Bloomberg’s ambitions have placed his employees in an awkward spot. During Mr. Bloomberg’s 12 years as mayor of New York City, coverage of the billionaire’s wealth and personal life were considered off limits at Bloomberg News.

In a memo last month, Mr. Micklethwait acknowledged that “there is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy,” but added that the newsroom would continue to investigate Mr. Trump’s administration “as the government of the day.”

On Monday night, Mr. Trump, who had flown to London for a conference, added his own thoughts on the matter, deriding Mr. Bloomberg in a Twitter post as “Mini Mike Bloomberg” and describing Bloomberg News as a “third rate news organization.” (He also accused The Times of “hatred & bias.”) The president wrote that “It’s not O.K.!” for Bloomberg News to skip investigations of Democratic candidates.

While Bloomberg News has pledged to continue covering polls, policies and “who is winning and who is losing” the 2020 race, the prohibition against investigative reporting — considered among the most valuable forms of campaign journalism — has caused some uproar.

Megan Murphy, a former Washington bureau chief at Bloomberg News, wrote on Twitter that it was “staggering” for the news outlet to prevent “an army of unbelievably talented reporters and editors from covering massive, crucial aspects of one of the defining elections of our time.”

Marc Tracy contributed reporting.

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Former ‘RHOC’ star Alexis Bellino fires back at critics after shaming ‘maids’: ‘It was a joke’

Alexis Bellino has doubled down on her decision to admonish her housekeepers on social media for not thoroughly cleaning her living room, in spite of the intense vitriol she received.

“I can and will post whatever I want on my IG,” Bellino, 42, wrote in a lengthy Instagram post on Sunday. “My maids are well paid for and I love them. It was a joke.”

The “Real Housewives of Orange County” alum was taken to task on Friday after she shared an image to her Instagram account that showed pillow feathers, paper cutouts of ‘peace’ signs and a blue mechanical pencil on the floor by her leather sofa.

‘RHOC’ ALUM ALEXIS BELLINO’S HUSBAND FILES FOR DIVORCE

“When your couch accidentally disconnects and you realize your maids aren’t doing deep cleaning. Found 2 socks too…  😂🤦🏼‍♀️🤔,” Bellino, 42, captioned the interior photo.

Bellino continued her diatribe on Sunday, urging her followers to “Get over yourselves, stop trolling, find happiness and please unfollow me ASAP as I’m not looking for your approval on my IG and I don’t need followers.”

FORMER ‘RHOC’ STAR ALEXIS BELLINO SLAMMED FOR CALLING OUT ‘MAIDS’ IN INSTAGRAM POST: ‘STOP BEING LAZY’

She maintained: “I will continue to be myself on my own social media platform. Life is good. Find the happiness and peace in my life and just know you will be blocked cuz I don’t have Instagram for your acceptance, not for any of your to spread hate. Thanks!!! Have a great day! Love and light!”

Seemingly unaware of, or perhaps unfazed by, the brewing backlash, Bellino added in an additional post that she was actively blocking those who didn’t like her way of criticizing her employees.

Westlake Legal Group bellino- Former ‘RHOC’ star Alexis Bellino fires back at critics after shaming ‘maids’: ‘It was a joke' Julius Young fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc bb6c2520-6d15-5cac-a87b-ac681384f25a article

Former “Real Housewives of Orange County” star Alexis Bellino in Las Vegas. (Courtesy of EBC)

“I’m actually enjoying blocking all of you haters,” she wrote in a separate post. “I’ve always left hateful comments up because I don’t really care what you think of me. But now that I have a son on IG I’m different. HATERS/TROLLS don’t matter.”

“I may end up with zero followers in the end, but guess what … I have strong kids who know y’all are just miserable folks. Social media is clearly becoming a huge trouble for young children,” Bellino added. “I will make this my life’s mission to stop all of you as I have kids coming into social media.”

‘RHOC’ ALUMS ALEXIS AND JIM BELLINO SAY THERE IS ‘NO ILL WILL OR BAD BLOOD’ FOLLOWING DIVORCE NEWS

“And by the way … you were never invited to be my friend! Remember that YOU are following ME. Not vice versa. God bless you all. Find your true purpose in life. I promise you that God doesn’t want you hating on social media,” concluded the reality star.

Instagram users continued dragging Bellino on Monday, with one fan responding to her explanation for her actions.

“Have you at all reflected and thought about why people are calling you out instead of immediately getting defensive?” the user inquired to Bellino. “Maybe you should think about what your children see and hear when you’re referring to the people who take care of your home, clean up after you & your family and do the jobs that you won’t do.”

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The comment has received more than 138 likes and the user bonded with other commenters who took exception to Bellino’s overall use of the term “maids.”

“Maybe a good lesson for [your kids] would be to show them how an adult handles themself when they’re in the wrong,” continued the commenter. “And more importantly, how to treat other people, especially the ones that you view as a different class than you.”

Westlake Legal Group Alexis-Bellino Former ‘RHOC’ star Alexis Bellino fires back at critics after shaming ‘maids’: ‘It was a joke' Julius Young fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc bb6c2520-6d15-5cac-a87b-ac681384f25a article   Westlake Legal Group Alexis-Bellino Former ‘RHOC’ star Alexis Bellino fires back at critics after shaming ‘maids’: ‘It was a joke' Julius Young fox-news/shows/the-real-housewives fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc bb6c2520-6d15-5cac-a87b-ac681384f25a article

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Toxic fog blamed for dangerously high mercury levels in mountain lions

A surprising culprit has been fingered for very high mercury levels found in mountain lions living near the California coast — marine fog.

According to research published this week in Scientific Reports, pumas living in the so-called “fog belt” of the Santa Cruz Mountains have three times the amount of mercury in their systems as those living outside of the fog zone.

The study, which was led by environmental toxicologist Peter Weiss-Penzias, collected and analyzed fur and whisker samples from 94 coastal mountain lions and 18 noncoastal lions. Scientists found that mercury concentrations in the coastal samples averaged about 1,500 parts per billion (ppb), compared to nearly 500 ppb in the noncoastal group. In addition, at least one lion had mercury levels known to be toxic to species like mink and otters, while two others had “sublethal” levels that reduce fertility and reproductive success.

“Lichen don’t have any roots so the presence of elevated methylmercury in lichen must come from the atmosphere,” said Weiss-Penzias in a statement. “Mercury becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms higher up the food chain.”

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Westlake Legal Group mountain-lion-getty Toxic fog blamed for dangerously high mercury levels in mountain lions fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1c3cd489-8497-51de-9446-df8dd6818ea5

Mountain Lions in the mountains of Montana, United States (Getty Images)

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The elevated mercury levels are an additional threat to the predator, which is already battling habitat loss and other risks from humans, according to researchers.

“These mercury levels might compound the impacts of trying to make it in an environment like the Santa Cruz Mountains, where there is already so much human influence, but we don’t really know,” said senior author Chris Wilmers, a professor of environmental studies and the director of the Puma Project. “Levels will be higher 100 years from now, when the Earth’s mercury budget is higher because of all the coal we’re pumping into the atmosphere.”

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In a press release accompanying the study, scientists note that high levels of methylmercury can cause neurological damage, including memory loss and reduced motor coordination.

“We need to protect the top predators in the environment,” explained Weiss-Penzias. “They’re keystone species. They perform ecosystem services. When you change one thing, it has cascading effects through the system.”

Westlake Legal Group mountain-lion-getty Toxic fog blamed for dangerously high mercury levels in mountain lions fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1c3cd489-8497-51de-9446-df8dd6818ea5   Westlake Legal Group mountain-lion-getty Toxic fog blamed for dangerously high mercury levels in mountain lions fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/science fnc Christopher Carbone article 1c3cd489-8497-51de-9446-df8dd6818ea5

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Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events

Westlake Legal Group 02trumpbloomberg01-facebookJumbo Trump Bars Bloomberg News Journalists From Campaign Events Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) News and News Media Bloomberg, Michael R Bloomberg News

President Trump’s re-election campaign said on Monday that it would bar Bloomberg News journalists from attending its rallies and political events, an attempt to retaliate against the news organization’s decision to cease investigating Democratic candidates in the wake of its billionaire owner’s entry into the 2020 presidential race.

The Trump campaign broke from years of precedent in 2016 by revoking the press credentials of journalists from outlets like The Washington Post, Politico and BuzzFeed News, an early sign of the efforts to demonize the news media that have become a hallmark of the Trump presidency.

But Bloomberg News is facing a fraught situation, too. After the company’s owner, Michael R. Bloomberg, decided last month to pursue the Democratic nomination, editors at the news outlet instructed their reporters to avoid “in-depth investigations” of Mr. Bloomberg or any other Democratic candidate. It was an attempt at fairness that some journalists called stifling.

On Monday, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, called it something else: biased.

“Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump,” Mr. Parscale wrote in a statement, calling the decision “troubling and wrong.”

“Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events,” Mr. Parscale wrote. The campaign said it would decide “on a case-by-case basis” whether to respond to inquiries from individual reporters on stories.

The editor in chief of Bloomberg News, John Micklethwait, quickly fired back.

“The accusation of bias couldn’t be further from the truth,” Mr. Micklethwait wrote in a statement. “We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign.”

Howard Wolfson, a top campaign adviser to Mr. Bloomberg, also weighed in, pithily. “One week in and Mike is already under Trump’s skin,” Mr. Wolfson wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump and his senior aides routinely disparage individual reporters and entire news organizations for coverage they deem unfavorable. Press advocacy groups say the president’s attacks have contributed to one of the more hostile domestic environments for journalists in recent memory.

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, criticized the Trump campaign’s move in a statement on Monday. “We condemn any action that keeps quality news media from reporting fairly and accurately on the presidency and the leadership of the country,” Mr. Baquet wrote.

At the same time, Bloomberg News’s approach to covering its owner’s candidacy has proved divisive.

Roughly 2,700 journalists work at Bloomberg L.P., the financial data company that is the wellspring of Mr. Bloomberg’s fortune, and this is not the first time that Mr. Bloomberg’s ambitions have placed his employees in an awkward spot. During Mr. Bloomberg’s 12 years as mayor of New York City, coverage of the billionaire’s wealth and personal life were considered off limits at Bloomberg News.

In a memo last month, Mr. Micklethwait acknowledged that “there is no point in trying to claim that covering this presidential campaign will be easy,” but added that the newsroom would continue to investigate Mr. Trump’s administration “as the government of the day.”

On Monday night, Mr. Trump, who had flown to London for a conference, added his own thoughts on the matter, deriding Mr. Bloomberg in a Twitter post as “Mini Mike Bloomberg” and describing Bloomberg News as a “third rate news organization.” (He also accused The Times of “hatred & bias.”) The president wrote that “It’s not O.K.!” for Bloomberg News to skip investigations of Democratic candidates.

While Bloomberg News has pledged to continue covering polls, policies and “who is winning and who is losing” the 2020 race, the prohibition against investigative reporting — considered among the most valuable forms of campaign journalism — has caused some uproar.

Megan Murphy, a former Washington bureau chief at Bloomberg News, wrote on Twitter that it was “staggering” for the news outlet to prevent “an army of unbelievably talented reporters and editors from covering massive, crucial aspects of one of the defining elections of our time.”

Marc Tracy contributed reporting.

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