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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 187)

Tim Elmore: College admissions scandal has lessons for parents and students

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096865055001_6096870192001-vs Tim Elmore: College admissions scandal has lessons for parents and students Tim Elmore fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee14d42f-e50d-5803-96a4-1e2cdc09d2e5 article

“I know I shouldn’t be a helicopter parent … but it just feels right to me.”

Those were the words a mother uttered to me following a parent event. I had just spoken on the damages that over-functioning parenting styles can cause to kids. She had just heard the data on how today’s parents often risk too little, rescue too quickly and rave too easily.

For the record, this new parenting style began decades ago when we decided to negotiate our children’s grades in school; to do our kids’ homework for them over a latte, and to give them trophies just for showing up.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL: MARKETING CEO GETS 3 WEEKS FOR CHEATING ON SON’S ACT EXAM

Over the years, it seems the helicopter parent has become an Apache helicopter.

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As evidence, I submit to you this year’s college admissions scandal – a conspiracy where parents paid bribes to insure their children got into their college of choice. More than 50 people have been charged in the scandal, accused of paying over $25 million between 2011 and 2018. False documents were submitted; SAT scores were adjusted and money was laundered.

Celebrities involved in the scandal include “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli, who have pleaded not guilty. Actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 14-day jail sentence and was ordered to also perform 250 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine.

LORI LOUGHLIN, MOSSIMO GIANNULLI INDICTED ON NEW FEDERAL CHARGES IN COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL

The scandal is a case study of the leadership style too many parents of Generation Z children have embraced. These parents have decided to play a more intrusive role in the lives and futures of their children. While most parents may not stoop to illegal activity, they’ve felt the need to prepare the path for the child instead of the child for the path.

I began wondering how this kind of leadership style has impacted our kids.

Our non-profit, Growing Leaders, and the Harris Poll surveyed more than 2,000 adults across America, from a variety of demographics to find out how they felt about Generation Z, the youngest population growing up today.

What we discovered confirmed my hunch. Some 66 percent of American adults have a negative emotion first when they think of kids today.

In other words, the first thing we feel is pessimism, not optimism. Before belief we feel frustration. Before hope we feel fear for them. And 64 percent of us do not believe today’s kids will be ready for adulthood in time.

This fear narrative drives us to be intrusive, especially when we feel our kid won’t be able to negotiate life for themselves. It even leads some parents to cheat to get their kids into college. And it’s had a negative net effect on how teenagers approach life.

As I reviewed how we got here, I discovered the research from Dr. Julian Rotter in 1954. Rotter created a scale to determine whether students were developing an “external locus of control” or an “internal locus of control.” Simply defined, here is the difference:

Internal Locus of Control – People who believe that they are responsible and in control of their own success.

External Locus of Control – People who believe that fate or external forces somehow determine their success.

After nine years of study, Rotter’s conclusions were that students with an “internal locus” became far more successful in life, taking better care of their health, careers and families. It makes sense. They believe they’re responsible for the outcomes.

As I reviewed the last five decades, I saw a steady rise in “external locus of control” among students.

Since 2002, U.S. kids have experienced a steep rise in this “external locus.” More of them feel their lives are out of their control.

Dr. Peter Gray, of Boston College, writes: “In fact, the shift has been so great that the average young person in 2002 was more External than were 80% of young people in the 1960s. The rise in Externality on Rotter’s scale over the 42-year period showed the same linear trend as did the rise in depression and anxiety.”

Reflect for a moment. In “Generation Z Unfiltered,” I pose the question: How do you suppose feeling “out of control of my life” affects a teen? Don’t you feel a little more anxious when someone else is in control of your life?

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When kids enter their teenage years, their brains are developing significantly, desiring to take more risks; they naturally yearn for more autonomy and responsibility. It’s how we all get ready for healthy adulthood.

When we don’t equip our children to take on that independence, life gets unhealthy. We must begin to offer our kids a greater sense of ownership by believing in them and their ability to achieve on their own.

When Felicity Huffman was sentenced for her part in the college admissions scandal, she said she felt ashamed and embarrassed. Yet, in an interview she confessed that her sentencing wasn’t the worst part of the ordeal.

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Huffman said the worst part was facing her daughter, who said with tears in her eyes: “Why didn’t you believe in me? Why didn’t you think I could do it on my own?”

May we never have a teen say those words to any of us.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096865055001_6096870192001-vs Tim Elmore: College admissions scandal has lessons for parents and students Tim Elmore fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee14d42f-e50d-5803-96a4-1e2cdc09d2e5 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096865055001_6096870192001-vs Tim Elmore: College admissions scandal has lessons for parents and students Tim Elmore fox-news/us/education fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/college-admissions-scandal fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc ee14d42f-e50d-5803-96a4-1e2cdc09d2e5 article

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Donald Trump And The Making Of A Predatory President

In the New York Military Academy’s 1964 yearbook, there is a striking photo of a young man with a young woman by his side. He stares smugly into the camera under the caption “Ladies Man.” 

This young man would go on to become president of the United States.

“The young lady in the picture, however, was not graduating senior Donald Trump’s girlfriend. Nor was she a visiting friend,” write journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy in their new book, “All The President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator.”

“The woman in the picture is 19-year-old Fran D’Agati Dunn, a secretary who worked at the school at the time and was asked to step in for the photo. Nothing more than a prop.” 

Westlake Legal Group 5db067a82100009428ad3af2 Donald Trump And The Making Of A Predatory President

Getty / Hachette Books “All The President’s Women,” a new book from Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, details a stunning breadth of allegations Donald Trump faces of misconduct and poor treatment of women.

It is this sort of narration, combined with a stunning 43 new allegations of Trump’s sexual misconduct, that makes “All The President’s Women” such an impactful read. Levine and El-Faizy painstakingly document Trump’s decadeslong history of treating women as objects and accessories, from making derogatory comments to walking into the dressing rooms of underage beauty queens to alleged rape.

We wanted to look at not just what he had done, but why and what it meant. Barry Levine

In early 2018, when adult film star Stormy Daniels was dominating the news cycle, Levine took notice. Between Daniels’ claim that Trump had paid her hush money and the accounts of 20 other women who came forward against Trump during the 2016 election, Levine knew there had to be more there.

Once he started digging, he realized he wanted to collaborate with another seasoned journalist, specifically a woman, on the project. After a couple of initial conversations, he decided he wanted to work with El-Faizy to tell a story that went beyond individual allegations of inappropriate behavior.

“I think we wanted to look at not just what he had done, but why and what it meant,” said El-Faizy. “How he came to be formed as the predator he became.”

HuffPost spoke with Levine and El-Faizy about the more than 100 interviews they conducted over the year they were writing the book, the patterns that emerged, and what the predatory behavior of the “most visible man on earth” says about our culture at large. 

Westlake Legal Group 5db0f208210000492634addc Donald Trump And The Making Of A Predatory President

HECTOR RETAMAL via Getty Images Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks to the media outside U.S. Federal Court on April 16, 2018, in New York City.

You reported 43 new allegations of misconduct against the president in this book. How did you all just go about locating the women that you spoke to? And also what made these women want to share their stories publicly?

Levine: It was extremely difficult. It was a very intensive period to cover, and that’s why I focused on the reporting while Monique was able to shape the narrative. But in terms of the women, I was fortunate ― in addition to finding Monique ― there were two other journalists that I was able to put together on my small team. One was Whitney Clegg, an investigative producer who re-interviewed some of the victims who came forward in 2016. And then I also was able to collaborate with Lucy Osborne, a producer for the BBC in London, who had done a documentary on Donald Trump and women. She had some leads on some women, particularly young models, that she had wanted to chase down. So she went off in one direction, Whitney went off in another direction, Monique was taking all the interviews as we were filing them and, under a tremendous deadline, turned the book into what I would consider a great read.

But I’ll just tell you one story, about Karen Johnson. She’s the woman who made the allegations about the night at Mar-a-Lago during a New Year’s Eve party, [during the time] when Melania Trump was dating Donald Trump. [Johnson says that] when Melania was upstairs, she was attacked [by Trump]. She said he had actually done to her [what he described doing in] the “Access Hollywood” tapes, in terms of grabbing her. She was someone who held onto this story for many, many years, and was fearful originally to come out with this story because she had been a dancer in her earlier life. And she thought, if I come out and say this, they’re going to attack me, they’re going to call me a liar because I had once been a dancer. And so she kept this secret.

It took me two full months before she even felt comfortable to begin telling me the details. So, it’s been a very emotional journey in terms of getting these brave and courageous women to come forward. And I just have to say, I’m just so thankful that I was able to work with Monique and Lucy and Whitney to pull all this together. 

What patterns emerged for you as you were going through all of the reporting?

El-Faizy: To me, that was the unexpected power of the book. We’ve all heard the stories, the women would come forward one by one. But when you put it all in one space, first of all, it’s enormous, and that’s shocking in and of itself, but these patterns really do emerge. [Trump] clearly has a thing for younger women. He started talking about Ivanka being sexy when she was around the same age as these models that he was kind of staring at backstage and pursuing at parties. So that’s one of the patterns.

He likes porn stars, as we’ve seen throughout his life. And he has these habits. He’ll push somebody against the wall and try and kiss them. He’ll grab a breast or a buttock. When he’s in a property that he owns, whether it be a hotel or Mar-a-Lago, he feels that he has the right to walk in on a woman in her room.

What’s interesting is that there were very few one-offs. We only put things in [the book] that fit the pattern, because he has such well-established patterns over the years. What was powerful about that is, when we would interview the women, almost all of them in some way blamed themselves: “What kind of vibe was I putting off? What was I wearing?” And when you look at them in the context of these patterns, you realize it has almost nothing to do with that woman. If it wasn’t that woman, it would’ve been another woman wearing something else and putting off a totally different vibe.

He’ll push somebody against the wall and try and kiss them. He’ll grab a breast or a buttock. When he’s in a property that he owns, whether it be a hotel or Mar-a-Lago, he feels that he has the right to walk in on a woman in her room. Monique El-Faizy

I think that really comes across in the book, especially when you get to the end and you’re reading the appendix, which outlines every single allegation. There are stories that you’ll get to one and say, oh, that sounds exactly like that other woman’s story, down to the details. It’s very striking. 

Levine: About six months into the reporting, we were getting all these new stories, in addition to cataloging the earlier allegations that were made in 2016. And at the same time, I was also digging into research and finding stories about [Trump’s] inappropriate behavior with women that had popped up in the media but had never really been cataloged ― everything from making horrible comments to a model that was seated at a table with Graydon Carter, to incidents where he himself said that he attacked women, [like] pouring a glass of wine on a reporter in New York.

To me, [these incidents] all needed to be cataloged. I think it’s very powerful, after you go through the beautifully shaped narrative that Monique wrote, that you then get, in very black and white fashion, every single allegation of inappropriate behavior, in addition to the disparaging comments that I found he made involving so many women. I just think when you read them one after another, it is extremely impactful. And so the appendix of this book, to me, is as important as the narrative itself.

As you both alluded to earlier, you take a deep look into Trump’s early years, which is probably something that most readers will know less about. To me, it seemed like his treatment of women as objects and accessories began very early. Would you say that that’s accurate?

El-Faizy: Absolutely. That’s why I chartered the book the way I did. In his graduation photo from the military academy, the woman standing next to him is an accessory. To me, that said it all.

And I think that that comes from his father, too. His father would bring these young, pretty girls up to the academy. From what his classmates say, these were not women that Donald Trump knew or had any kind of relationship with. They were just girls that his dad would bring up for him, presumably for the image of it. So I think that he didn’t develop that attitude in a vacuum.

And how do you think those early experiences with women then impacted his relationship with women later on in his life?

El-Faizy: What’s interesting is that he never changes. We interviewed one of his classmates, Andy McIntosh, who said, “We were in an all-male academy. We learned about women and girls from Playboy magazine. But then we got out and realized, oh no, that’s not an appropriate way to look at women.”

And Trump just never made that change. To me, what’s interesting is that nothing later in his life impacted him enough to force him to reconsider his attitude.

The book also gets into Trump’s obsession with models, with Playboy, and with beauty pageants. You include a quote from a former Miss Arizona who says that she believes Trump purchased the Miss Universe organization explicitly “to utilize his power to get around beautiful women.” What did you take away from that?

El-Faizy: Trump is, at his heart, a business guy. And if that’s your mind state, you buy whatever you want in life. He had the money to do it; he wanted these women, so he just went out and bought access to women, with the beauty pageant, with the modeling agency. And I think for a lot of these men, it’s as much about being around the women as it is how it looks to other men.

There’s a story in the book from a hairstylist who used to blow-dry Marla Maples’ hair. And he told me that Trump would come into the salon and just stand by her chair and look around and see who was watching him be with Marla. So it wasn’t that much about, “Oh, I want to see my girlfriend Marla.” It was about, “I want to be seen in the presence of this young, beautiful blonde.” It’s the equivalent of driving a red Ferrari. 

Levine: I tend to take a much darker view of those years. It’s absolutely clear in the book that for Donald Trump, creating his own modeling agency and being a part of some of these other beauty pageants and contests that he would arrange parties for at the Plaza Hotel in the ’90s — that became his personal hunting ground. 

Take the story, for instance, that Heather Braden told. Heather was a model, and she told a story where Trump and these actors were in this giant Miami Beach mansion with like 50 models. It really wasn’t a party. The whole thing was an exercise for Donald Trump and these three other men to see how many of these models they could take in the private rooms, sometimes two or three women at a time.

Heather was older at the time, and she was kind of watching everything take place. She turned down Trump, but she said these younger models didn’t know any better. And they would come out disheveled; they would look very uncomfortable when they came out of the private rooms, and there was no question in her mind that these were sexual experiences taking place. Donald Trump had created this private hunting ground to allow himself access to young models. And he formed a very tight relationship with John Casablancas, the founder of the Elite modeling agency. 

For Donald Trump, creating his own modeling agency and being a part of some of these other beauty pageants and contests … that became his personal hunting ground. Levine

This book puts all of these allegations together and uncovers a lot of new information, but for years now, there has been a pretty well-documented history of Trump’s misogyny and sexual misconduct. And yet it largely has not been seen as a dealbreaker for his supporters. Why do you think that there are a lot of people who feel allegations of sexual misconduct can be dismissed or overlooked?

El-Faizy: Yeah, it’s interesting. I had written a book about evangelical Christianity years ago, so I went back to that community for this book because, of course, the evangelical community is probably what put Trump over the edge in 2016. That community is very much run by male leaders, and so it was the men who really drove that train for Trump.

One of the evangelical women I spoke to and I said, “What is it? Why are they supporting him?” She said, “I think that a lot of them think, ‘If I wasn’t a Christian, that’s what I would be doing.’” Trump is surrounded by porn stars and beautiful blondes and whatever. And so she thought there was a certain kind of male envy. 

The structure of the evangelical church, where Trump gets the bulk of his support, is very patriarchal. For them, this kind of patriarchy is what God has instructed them to do, and they find all kinds of different ways of rationalizing it. Early on, I called an old source of mine. I said, “how on earth are you supporting him?” And they said, “God uses imperfect vessels.” So they rationalize it by saying, [Trump] is being used, he’s a tool of God. He doesn’t need to be perfect, we’re all sinners. But at the very core of their support is just a comfort with patriarchy and the idea that women are supposed to be submissive to men.

And then the more cynical answer is the community supports him because he does what they want him to do. He gets them conservative judges, he’s helping roll back abortion laws, things like that. But in terms of the women being able to support him, it’s because they live within a world in which they’ve completely accepted the idea of patriarchy.

I feel like another sentiment that I hear a lot, even among people who believe that Trump is predatory, is exhaustion and frustration that these allegations don’t seem to stick to him. So, why bother? What would you say to those people?

El-Faizy: I think that’s part of the reason why it was important to put all these [allegations] in one place, because it is easier to dismiss individual behaviors. But when you look at it all in the aggregate, you realize it’s not really just about one man’s behavior; it is about systems that allow this behavior to go on for decades and decades. Trump is one of many men who has been able to be predatory with women. I would argue, right now, he’s the one we should be looking at because he’s the most visible man in the world and he sets an example. But there needs to be a look at the systems that allow this to go on.

When we brush aside or when we say we’re tired of this, we’re being complicit, we’re letting it go on. We have to get outraged about every one of these things. I’m now sort of going off-topic a little bit, but when I read the Ta-Nehisi Coates book “Between the World and Me,” that was the thing that I came away with. We can’t just say, “Oh, there’s another black kid getting shot.” We have to be outraged every time or this never ever changes. 

It’s not really just about one man’s behavior; it is about systems that allow this behavior to go on for decades and decades. El-Faizy

Levine: This is a man who wants another four years to be president of our country. You can’t say, ‘Who cares?’ You can’t turn away from the truth. 

Given the sheer breadth of allegations that exist against President Trump, do you think that we should be speaking about him in the same way that we speak about predatory men like Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein?

El-Faizy: I think absolutely.

Levine: The reporting shows that Donald Trump has been a predator over the course of many decades. There needs to be a reckoning here of his behavior. And we had to attempt to connect the dots to show not only the actual instances of the allegations but also to talk about how he became a predator. And I hope that the readers will get answers to that.

Why is it so essential for the American public to grapple with Trump’s predatory behavior? What does this one man’s story say about our culture at large?

El-Faizy: I think it’s his behavior, but also his policies. His behavior reveals an attitude about women, and that attitude is being held by the man who formed policy for American women and also for women around the globe. And we see the manner in which those attitudes are affecting women around the world, and the systems that are supporting these kinds of things. 

What was so hurtful about the confirmation [of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh] was that you had an accuser [Christine Blasey Ford] who came forward, she was credible, people listened to her. And yet there was very little investigation and he was confirmed anyway. So I think a lot of women felt like, we thought we made all these advances since the ’60s, but in fact, the patriarchy is alive and well and still completely in control of the system. And I think that’s important to examine. 

So now the book is out there in the world and we have this information. What should we be doing with it? What do you hope comes next?

Levine: I really think it is so important now, despite everything else going on with the impeachment inquiry, that investigative news organizations take the time to pick up these allegations and dig deeper because there are still so many stories. There is so much more material out there on Donald Trump and women.

When I was wrapping up the book, the E. Jean Carroll allegations [that Trump had attempted to rape Carroll in the mid-’90s] surfaced. And first of all, after the reporting I had done, everything that she said rang true. But beyond that, there were news organizations who were wrestling with whether they were going to present her allegations to begin with. And to me, that is the absolutely wrong thing. We need to allow these women to tell their stories. To me, that’s the most important thing. 

El-Faizy: I think that we’ve seen that women are not fully valued in society and we need massive change. And I think that the midterm elections with all these young, newly elected women, were the beginning of that. And I hope that that’s not just a one-off and that that continues, because until we reach parity in the power structures of organizations and in government, this is not going to be fully addressed and fully changed. We need to see more women getting elected and that this is not just a moment, but actually the beginning of some real change.

Levine: I hope that even if people hear these allegations and don’t even read the book, that it will make them aware that the story of Donald Trump and women, his predatory behavior, has not been fully written, and that this is something they should remember when they consider whether or not they want him to be president for another four years.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Trump Just Sent Another Big Signal He’ll Throw Pence Under The Bus, Maddow Says

Westlake Legal Group 5ce7c60e210000b40ed0f0d5 Trump Just Sent Another Big Signal He’ll Throw Pence Under The Bus, Maddow Says

Vice President Mike Pence might be getting pretty nervous because President Donald Trump’s lawyers keep bringing him up, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said on Wednesday.

“This is not a comforting pattern from the president’s lawyers,” she said, noting that for the second time this month Trump attorneys have argued in court that the president enjoys certain immunity. But the vice president, they keep saying, does not.

What makes the argument even more confounding is that Pence’s name or position wasn’t even a part of the conversation. Maddow said the president’s attorneys keep mentioning him out of the blue.  

“Nobody was asking about the vice president in that moment,” Maddow said. No one was asking about Pence in a new court filing earlier this month either, but the president’s legal team brought him up then, too. 

Trump attorney William Consovoy argued that a president enjoys protection against criminal prosecution, but a vice president does not. And “the country can persist without a vice president,” he said.

“You’re Mike Pence. That flips your wig, right?” Maddow said. “Mike Pence is like, ‘why did you guys say that?’”

She also observed that Pence might be feeling particularly nervous after The Washington Post reported that Trump sent him to deliver the message to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that expected military aid was being withheld. 

See her full analysis above. 

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Italy’s female soccer players aim to change law limiting pay

Italy’s surprise run to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup this year went a long way toward changing misconceptions about the female game in a country where the most popular sport is dominated by men.

Out of a population of 60 million, more than 20 million spectators watched Italy’s five matches on RAI state TV, setting audience records for women’s soccer game after game.

Nearly all of the big men’s clubs — Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma — have recently developed teams to play in the growing Serie A women’s league — with games shown live on Sky Italia every weekend.

A record crowd of nearly 40,000 fans showed up in Turin last March to watch Juventus play Fiorentina — the club that was at the forefront of the female game domestically.

Yet one major aspect of women’s soccer has not changed in Italy. Female players are still considered amateurs by Italian law and therefore are not permitted to earn more than 30,000 euros ($33,000) per year before taxes.

“The difference is there and we all know it,” Juventus forward Barbara Bonansea said this week when Italy’s squad was awarded the Foreign Press Association’s Invictus award for promoting and “emancipating” the female game in the country.

“Before discussing earnings I would talk about our rights. I don’t play because I want to earn as much as the men, also because that would not make sense, they earn so much I can’t even wrap my mind around it. We just want what we deserve. That’s what we’re fighting for,” added Bonansea, who is nearing an economics degree at the University of Turin. “If there’s more coverage of our games and more sponsors come in, then we deserve more, too.”

The Italian soccer federation and Vincenzo Spadafora, Italy’s new Minister for Sport and Youth Policies, both support changing the 1981 law and making the women’s league professional.

Still, new legislation remains a long way off.

“It’s the minimum they deserve,” Italian national team coach Milena Bertolini said. “We have an antiquated law. It’s shameful. If we want to be a modern, democratic and open society . we need to be treated with dignity.”

There’s a similar situation in Spain, where players in the women’s league decided to go on strike Wednesday after failing to reach a deal with clubs over working hours and minimum wages. Also, the U.S. women’s team sued its federation in March — three months before winning the World Cup — alleging gender and pay discrimination.

Bonansea’s two-goal performance in Italy’s 2-1 comeback win over Australia got the ball rolling for the Azzurre at their first World Cup in two decades. She discussed the “pyschological violence” that she and other players faced growing up in a country where girls were not expected — or even allowed — to play soccer.

Bonansea began playing on her brother’s team and didn’t join a girls’ squad until she was 13.

The 53-year-old Bertolini had to dress up as a boy to play as a kid.

“When I was 9 or 10 I had short hair and my teammates didn’t even know whether I was a boy or a girl. So I played and everyone called me ‘Mario’ and nobody noticed,” Bertolini said. “This caused a lot of (pain) which I had to bear for a long time.”

Sexism remains embedded in the Italian game’s terminology with coaches referred to as “Mister” — a term left over from when the English introduced soccer to Italy at the end of the 19th century.

“I call (Bertolini) Mister,” Bonansea said. “It’s just a matter of habit. But we can change it.”

The word “uomo” — man — is used to announce when an opposing player is coming up from behind and in “marcatura a uomo” — man-to-man defense.

“The terminology we use on the field is copied completely from male soccer. Our soccer is still in its early stages but I think it’s important that this should change,” Bertolini said. “The word used most on the field is ‘uomo.’ And I don’t like that.”

But the women’s players are changing perceptions in other ways.

Bonansea is the face of a Nike campaign aimed at young girls in Italy while Juventus and national team captain Sara Gama — the daughter of an Italian mother and a Congolese father — had a Barbie doll modeled after her.

Last week, national team defender Elena Linari became the first prominent Italian soccer player — male or female — to publicly come out as gay.

“Here in Madrid I don’t have any problems,” said Linari, who plays for Atlético Madrid. “Whereas in Italy, I’m afraid to discuss the subject because I don’t know what the reaction might be.

“My grandmother’s reaction was touching. She was happy for me but she was crying when she said she was afraid for me because we’re not protected,” Linari added to RAI.

Bertolini applauded Linari’s announcement, noting the prejudice toward homosexuals in Italy.

“Kids are afraid to express themselves,” Bertolini said. “She was very courageous and now let’s hope announcements like these help change the mentality here.”

Making the women professionals would be a big improvement, too.

Westlake Legal Group SOC-Barbara-Bonansea Italy's female soccer players aim to change law limiting pay fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/sports/soccer fnc/sports fnc f7019e29-8c73-597c-9dd1-1f4caa6ae6d9 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group SOC-Barbara-Bonansea Italy's female soccer players aim to change law limiting pay fox-news/world/world-regions/italy fox-news/sports/soccer fnc/sports fnc f7019e29-8c73-597c-9dd1-1f4caa6ae6d9 Associated Press article

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In A New Book, Journalists Uncover 43 New Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump

In the New York Military Academy’s 1964 yearbook, there is a striking photo of a young man with a young woman by his side. He stares smugly into the camera under the caption “Ladies Man.” 

This young man would go on to become president of the United States.

“The young lady in the picture, however, was not graduating senior Donald Trump’s girlfriend. Nor was she a visiting friend,” write journalists Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy in their new book, “All The President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator.”

“The woman in the picture is 19-year-old Fran D’Agati Dunn, a secretary who worked at the school at the time and was asked to step in for the photo. Nothing more than a prop.” 

Westlake Legal Group 5db067a82100009428ad3af2 In A New Book, Journalists Uncover 43 New Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump

Getty / Hachette Books “All The President’s Women,” a new book from Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy, details a stunning breadth of allegations Donald Trump faces of misconduct and poor treatment of women.

It is this sort of narration, combined with a stunning 43 new allegations of Trump’s sexual misconduct, that makes “All The President’s Women” such an impactful read. Levine and El-Faizy painstakingly document Trump’s decadeslong history of treating women as objects and accessories, from making derogatory comments to walking into the dressing rooms of underage beauty queens to alleged rape.

We wanted to look at not just what he had done, but why and what it meant. Monique El-Faizy

In early 2018, when adult film star Stormy Daniels was dominating the news cycle, Levine took notice. Between Daniels’ claim that Trump had paid her hush money and the accounts of 20 other women who came forward against Trump during the 2016 election, Levine knew there had to be more there.

Once he started digging, he realized he wanted to collaborate with another seasoned journalist, specifically a woman, on the project. After a couple of initial conversations, he decided he wanted to work with El-Faizy to tell a story that went beyond individual allegations of inappropriate behavior.

“I think we wanted to look at not just what he had done, but why and what it meant,” said El-Faizy. “How he came to be formed as the predator he became.”

HuffPost spoke with Levine and El-Faizy about the more than 100 interviews they conducted over the year they were writing the book, the patterns that emerged, and what the predatory behavior of the “most visible man on earth” says about our culture at large. 

Westlake Legal Group 5db0f208210000492634addc In A New Book, Journalists Uncover 43 New Sexual Assault Allegations Against Trump

HECTOR RETAMAL via Getty Images Adult film actress Stormy Daniels speaks to the media outside U.S. Federal Court on April 16, 2018, in New York City.

You reported 43 new allegations of misconduct against the president in this book. How did you all just go about locating the women that you spoke to? And also what made these women want to share their stories publicly?

Levine: It was extremely difficult. It was a very intensive period to cover, and that’s why I focused on the reporting while Monique was able to shape the narrative. But in terms of the women, I was fortunate ― in addition to finding Monique ― there were two other journalists that I was able to put together on my small team. One was Whitney Clegg, an investigative producer who re-interviewed some of the victims who came forward in 2016. And then I also was able to collaborate with Lucy Osborne, a producer for the BBC in London, who had done a documentary on Donald Trump and women. She had some leads on some women, particularly young models, that she had wanted to chase down. So she went off in one direction, Whitney went off in another direction, Monique was taking all the interviews as we were filing them and, under a tremendous deadline, turned the book into what I would consider a great read.

But I’ll just tell you one story, about Karen Johnson. She’s the woman who made the allegations about the night at Mar-a-Lago during a New Year’s Eve party, [during the time] when Melania Trump was dating Donald Trump. [Johnson says that] when Melania was upstairs, she was attacked [by Trump]. She said he had actually done to her [what he described doing in] the “Access Hollywood” tapes, in terms of grabbing her. She was someone who held onto this story for many, many years, and was fearful originally to come out with this story because she had been a dancer in her earlier life. And she thought, if I come out and say this, they’re going to attack me, they’re going to call me a liar because I had once been a dancer. And so she kept this secret.

It took me two full months before she even felt comfortable to begin telling me the details. So, it’s been a very emotional journey in terms of getting these brave and courageous women to come forward. And I just have to say, I’m just so thankful that I was able to work with Monique and Lucy and Whitney to pull all this together. 

What patterns emerged for you as you were going through all of the reporting?

El-Faizy: To me, that was the unexpected power of the book. We’ve all heard the stories, the women would come forward one by one. But when you put it all in one space, first of all, it’s enormous, and that’s shocking in and of itself, but these patterns really do emerge. [Trump] clearly has a thing for younger women. He started talking about Ivanka being sexy when she was around the same age as these models that he was kind of staring at backstage and pursuing at parties. So that’s one of the patterns.

He likes porn stars, as we’ve seen throughout his life. And he has these habits. He’ll push somebody against the wall and try and kiss them. He’ll grab a breast or a buttock. When he’s in a property that he owns, whether it be a hotel or Mar-a-Lago, he feels that he has the right to walk in on a woman in her room.

What’s interesting is that there were very few one-offs. We only put things in [the book] that fit the pattern, because he has such well-established patterns over the years. What was powerful about that is, when we would interview the women, almost all of them in some way blamed themselves: “What kind of vibe was I putting off? What was I wearing?” And when you look at them in the context of these patterns, you realize it has almost nothing to do with that woman. If it wasn’t that woman, it would’ve been another woman wearing something else and putting off a totally different vibe.

He’ll push somebody against the wall and try and kiss them. He’ll grab a breast or a buttock. When he’s in a property that he owns, whether it be a hotel or Mar-a-Lago, he feels that he has the right to walk in on a woman in her room. El-Faizy

I think that really comes across in the book, especially when you get to the end and you’re reading the appendix, which outlines every single allegation. There are stories that you’ll get to one and say, oh, that sounds exactly like that other woman’s story, down to the details. It’s very striking. 

Levine: About six months into the reporting, we were getting all these new stories, in addition to cataloging the earlier allegations that were made in 2016. And at the same time, I was also digging into research and finding stories about [Trump’s] inappropriate behavior with women that had popped up in the media but had never really been cataloged ― everything from making horrible comments to a model that was seated at a table with Graydon Carter, to incidents where he himself said that he attacked women, [like] pouring a glass of wine on a reporter in New York.

To me, [these incidents] all needed to be cataloged. I think it’s very powerful, after you go through the beautifully shaped narrative that Monique wrote, that you then get, in very black and white fashion, every single allegation of inappropriate behavior, in addition to the disparaging comments that I found he made involving so many women. I just think when you read them one after another, it is extremely impactful. And so the appendix of this book, to me, is as important as the narrative itself.

As you both alluded to earlier, you take a deep look into Trump’s early years, which is probably something that most readers will know less about. To me, it seemed like his treatment of women as objects and accessories began very early. Would you say that that’s accurate?

El-Faizy: Absolutely. That’s why I chartered the book the way I did. In his graduation photo from the military academy, the woman standing next to him is an accessory. To me, that said it all.

And I think that that comes from his father, too. His father would bring these young, pretty girls up to the academy. From what his classmates say, these were not women that Donald Trump knew or had any kind of relationship with. They were just girls that his dad would bring up for him, presumably for the image of it. So I think that he didn’t develop that attitude in a vacuum.

And how do you think those early experiences with women then impacted his relationship with women later on in his life?

El-Faizy: What’s interesting is that he never changes. We interviewed one of his classmates, Sandy McIntosh, who said, “We were in an all-male academy. We learned about women and girls from Playboy magazine. But then we got out and realized, oh no, that’s not an appropriate way to look at women.”

And Trump just never made that change. To me, what’s interesting is that nothing later in his life impacted him enough to force him to reconsider his attitude.

The book also gets into Trump’s obsession with models, with Playboy, and with beauty pageants. You include a quote from a former Miss Arizona who says that she believes Trump purchased the Miss Universe organization explicitly “to utilize his power to get around beautiful women.” What did you take away from that?

El-Faizy: Trump is, at his heart, a business guy. And if that’s your mind state, you buy whatever you want in life. He had the money to do it; he wanted these women, so he just went out and bought access to women, with the beauty pageant, with the modeling agency. And I think for a lot of these men, it’s as much about being around the women as it is how it looks to other men.

There’s a story in the book from a hairstylist who used to blow-dry Marla Maples’ hair. And he told me that Trump would come into the salon and just stand by her chair and look around and see who was watching him be with Marla. So it wasn’t that much about, “Oh, I want to see my girlfriend Marla.” It was about, “I want to be seen in the presence of this young, beautiful blonde.” It’s the equivalent of driving a red Ferrari. 

Levine: I tend to take a much darker view of those years. It’s absolutely clear in the book that for Donald Trump, creating his own modeling agency and being a part of some of these other beauty pageants and contests that he would arrange parties for at the Plaza Hotel in the ’90s — that became his personal hunting ground. 

Take the story, for instance, that Heather Braden told. Heather was a model, and she told a story where Trump and these actors were in this giant Miami Beach mansion with like 50 models. It really wasn’t a party. The whole thing was an exercise for Donald Trump and these three other men to see how many of these models they could take in the private rooms, sometimes two or three women at a time.

Heather was older at the time, and she was kind of watching everything take place. She turned down Trump, but she said these younger models didn’t know any better. And they would come out disheveled; they would look very uncomfortable when they came out of the private rooms, and there was no question in her mind that these were sexual experiences taking place. Donald Trump had created this private hunting ground to allow himself access to young models. And he formed a very tight relationship with John Casablancas, the founder of the Elite modeling agency. 

For Donald Trump, creating his own modeling agency and being a part of some of these other beauty pageants and contests … that became his personal hunting ground. Barry Levine

This book puts all of these allegations together and uncovers a lot of new information, but for years now, there has been a pretty well-documented history of Trump’s misogyny and sexual misconduct. And yet it largely has not been seen as a dealbreaker for his supporters. Why do you think that there are a lot of people who feel allegations of sexual misconduct can be dismissed or overlooked?

El-Faizy: Yeah, it’s interesting. I had written a book about evangelical Christianity years ago, so I went back to that community for this book because, of course, the evangelical community is probably what put Trump over the edge in 2016. That community is very much run by male leaders, and so it was the men who really drove that train for Trump.

One of the evangelical women I spoke to and I said, “What is it? Why are they supporting him?” She said, “I think that a lot of them think, ‘If I wasn’t a Christian, that’s what I would be doing.’” Trump is surrounded by porn stars and beautiful blondes and whatever. And so she thought there was a certain kind of male envy. 

The structure of the evangelical church, where Trump gets the bulk of his support, is very patriarchal. For them, this kind of patriarchy is what God has instructed them to do, and they find all kinds of different ways of rationalizing it. Early on, I called an old source of mine. I said, “how on earth are you supporting him?” And they said, “God uses imperfect vessels.” So they rationalize it by saying, [Trump] is being used, he’s a tool of God. He doesn’t need to be perfect, we’re all sinners. But at the very core of their support is just a comfort with patriarchy and the idea that women are supposed to be submissive to men.

And then the more cynical answer is the community supports him because he does what they want him to do. He gets them conservative judges, he’s helping roll back abortion laws, things like that. But in terms of the women being able to support him, it’s because they live within a world in which they’ve completely accepted the idea of patriarchy.

I feel like another sentiment that I hear a lot, even among people who believe that Trump is predatory, is exhaustion and frustration that these allegations don’t seem to stick to him. So, why bother? What would you say to those people?

El-Faizy: I think that’s part of the reason why it was important to put all these [allegations] in one place, because it is easier to dismiss individual behaviors. But when you look at it all in the aggregate, you realize it’s not really just about one man’s behavior; it is about systems that allow this behavior to go on for decades and decades. Trump is one of many men who has been able to be predatory with women. I would argue, right now, he’s the one we should be looking at because he’s the most visible man in the world and he sets an example. But there needs to be a look at the systems that allow this to go on.

When we brush aside or when we say we’re tired of this, we’re being complicit, we’re letting it go on. We have to get outraged about every one of these things. I’m now sort of going off-topic a little bit, but when I read the Ta-Nehisi Coates book “Between the World and Me,” that was the thing that I came away with. We can’t just say, “Oh, there’s another black kid getting shot.” We have to be outraged every time or this never ever changes. 

It’s not really just about one man’s behavior; it is about systems that allow this behavior to go on for decades and decades. El-Faizy

Levine: This is a man who wants another four years to be president of our country. You can’t say, ‘Who cares?’ You can’t turn away from the truth. 

Given the sheer breadth of allegations that exist against President Trump, do you think that we should be speaking about him in the same way that we speak about predatory men like Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein?

El-Faizy: I think absolutely.

Levine: The reporting shows that Donald Trump has been a predator over the course of many decades. There needs to be a reckoning here of his behavior. And we had to attempt to connect the dots to show not only the actual instances of the allegations but also to talk about how he became a predator. And I hope that the readers will get answers to that.

Why is it so essential for the American public to grapple with Trump’s predatory behavior? What does this one man’s story say about our culture at large?

El-Faizy: I think it’s his behavior, but also his policies. His behavior reveals an attitude about women, and that attitude is being held by the man who formed policy for American women and also for women around the globe. And we see the manner in which those attitudes are affecting women around the world, and the systems that are supporting these kinds of things. 

What was so hurtful about the confirmation [of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh] was that you had an accuser [Christine Blasey Ford] who came forward, she was credible, people listened to her. And yet there was very little investigation and he was confirmed anyway. So I think a lot of women felt like, we thought we made all these advances since the ’60s, but in fact, the patriarchy is alive and well and still completely in control of the system. And I think that’s important to examine. 

So now the book is out there in the world and we have this information. What should we be doing with it? What do you hope comes next?

Levine: I really think it is so important now, despite everything else going on with the impeachment inquiry, that investigative news organizations take the time to pick up these allegations and dig deeper because there are still so many stories. There is so much more material out there on Donald Trump and women.

When I was wrapping up the book, the E. Jean Carroll allegations [that Trump had attempted to rape Carroll in the mid-’90s] surfaced. And first of all, after the reporting I had done, everything that she said rang true. But beyond that, there were news organizations who were wrestling with whether they were going to present her allegations to begin with. And to me, that is the absolutely wrong thing. We need to allow these women to tell their stories. To me, that’s the most important thing. 

El-Faizy: I think that we’ve seen that women are not fully valued in society and we need massive change. And I think that the midterm elections with all these young, newly elected women, were the beginning of that. And I hope that that’s not just a one-off and that that continues, because until we reach parity in the power structures of organizations and in government, this is not going to be fully addressed and fully changed. We need to see more women getting elected and that this is not just a moment, but actually the beginning of some real change.

Levine: I hope that even if people hear these allegations and don’t even read the book, that it will make them aware that the story of Donald Trump and women, his predatory behavior, has not been fully written, and that this is something they should remember when they consider whether or not they want him to be president for another four years.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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A Lafite From China? This $300 Wine Is the Real Thing

PENGLAI, China — In China, the stories about Château Lafite Rothschild are as notorious as the Bordeaux wine estate is legendary.

There are the tales — often repeated, never confirmed — of wealthy Chinese businessmen chugging Lafite mixed with Sprite. Or the time a Chinese official reportedly said at least half the Lafite sold in China was fake. More recent was a government crackdown on corruption that turned up huge stashes of the wine, worth tens of thousands of dollars, in the hands of local officials.

But the latest chapter in the saga of Lafite is something quite different: The company behind the famous name, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), is now the producer of a world-class wine made entirely in China.

ImageWestlake Legal Group XXchinawine-2-articleLarge A Lafite From China? This $300 Wine Is the Real Thing Wines Shandong Province (China) Rothschild family Luxury Goods and Services Domaines Barons de Rothschild de Rothschild, Saskia China Chateau Lafite-Rothschild

Long Dai’s first vintage was released last month.CreditGiulia Marchi for The New York Times

Last month, Lafite released its first vintage from grapes grown at Domaine de Long Dai, its estate in Shandong Province. The centuries-old French winery is betting that it can ride out China’s economic slowdown and turn nationalistic headwinds to its advantage with a locally made product.

Wine has been made from grapes in China for centuries, but it was never as popular as other drinks and the country has not been known for its winemaking. It wasn’t until recently that the country’s producers began to aim for a higher quality that might appeal to oenophiles, mostly on a small scale.

“When I was starting to visit, a lot of the high-end collectors were saying, ‘We’re never going to drink Chinese wine,’” said Saskia de Rothschild, who succeeded her father to become chairwoman of Lafite last year. “That’s really the bet that we are taking: to make a high-end Chinese wine for the Chinese to be proud of.”

Still, Lafite’s winemakers have been at work during a difficult time for companies catering to China’s elite.

President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption dampened extravagant spending for years, with sales of wine — a favorite gift among the nation’s political and business leaders — hit particularly hard. Last year, China’s wine imports by volume declined for the first time in five years, according to a report by Wine Intelligence, a research firm in London.

For foreign businesses, a second challenge has been rising nationalist sentiment among Chinese consumers. The National Basketball Association recently found itself at the center of a firestorm after the general manager of the Houston Rockets posted support on Twitter for the Hong Kong protests, which the Chinese widely see as a separatist movement. Coach, Givenchy and Versace each apologized after drawing fierce criticism for T-shirts that were seen as having undermined China’s sovereignty by identifying the semiautonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries.

But Lafite is seeking to tap into that patriotic sentiment by offering a wine made in China by a mostly Chinese team.

“Throughout the years, we have seen the Chinese consumer change, and ‘Made in China’ has actually become something that people are proud of,” said Ms. Rothschild, a former journalist who has written for The New York Times.

Ms. Rothschild spoke at the new estate, which is nestled among vineyards and apple orchards in Shandong, a coastal province. On a visit in mid-September ahead of the official launch, bright red signs extolling the Chinese Communist Party dotted the drive through terraced vineyards up to the estate.

The 2017 vintage from Domaine de Long Dai is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and marselan grapes. Marselan is a cross between cabernet sauvignon and grenache that is popular among Chinese wine drinkers.

In a July review of the first vintage, Jancis Robinson, a British wine writer, called it a “very good debut effort indeed.”

“As for the wine, it is suitably Lafite-like,” she wrote on her website, adding that it was “as bone dry as the Bordeaux first growth, utterly correct if not absolutely stunning.”

With 74 acres of vineyards, production at the new estate is modest. Only 2,500 cases of the 2017 vintage will be sold, mostly in China, compared with the 16,000 that Château Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux produces on average.

Each bottle is equipped with a special chip technology to guard against counterfeiting, which has been a major problem for Lafite in China over the years.

Bottles of the 2017 Long Dai are priced at 2,388 renminbi, or about $335. That is comparable to a bottle of high-end baijiu, a grain liquor known as China’s national drink, though far less than some older vintages of Château Lafite Rothschild, which can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

On a recent blue-skied afternoon in Mulangou, a village just steps away from Long Dai, residents heaped praise on the Lafite estate for bringing jobs and distributing gifts during the holidays.

But when asked if he would be drinking the Long Dai wine, Huang Chuanjun, 70, a regular beer drinker, shook his head.

“It’s more expensive than gold!” said Mr. Huang, who was carrying a jug of soy sauce. “I wouldn’t even spend 100 renminbi on it. I can’t tell the difference anyway.”

The 2017 wine is the culmination of a project that began 10 years ago, when the Lafite brand was at the peak of its popularity in China. “Lafite” has been used in the names of Chinese apartment complexes and even barbecue restaurants, said Jim Boyce, founder of Grape Wall of China, an English-language blog about Chinese wine.

“It’s attached to the idea of the quality of a lifestyle,” Mr. Boyce said.

But a number of high-end Chinese wines have emerged in the last decade, including Legacy Peak in Ningxia and Ao Yun, made from grapes grown in the Tibetan foothills and owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group.

“The timing feels weird to me,” Mr. Boyce said of the Long Dai launch. “It feels like part of a trend that’s already had its moment.”

For Lafite, though, the estate in Shandong also offers a foothold into China’s growing market for pricey wines. It features a visitor center and a so-called classroom for wine education, a first for a Lafite estate and a way to promote sales of the company’s other wines and overcome competition from Chinese competitors.

References to the Rothschild family, which has owned Lafite for more than 150 years, appear throughout. A video of Ms. Rothschild in conversation with her father, Baron Éric de Rothschild, plays in the visitor center. Paintings by her mother, the artist Maria-Beatrice Caracciolo Di Forino, and copies of oil portraits of 19th-century Rothschilds adorn the walls of the buildings.

The company chose Shandong for its temperate winters and proximity to transportation hubs, bucking a trend among other wine producers that gravitated toward China’s western regions.

But the site came with challenges. The winemakers have had to find a balance between the heavy monsoon rains in the summer and the dry spring seasons. There have also been recurring thefts of grapes by locals. Now, five guards watch over the vineyards at night.

And, as is often the case for foreign companies in China, managing relations with the government was tricky at times. Patience and precision, both crucial in making great wine, can be anathema to local officials who often have short-term growth targets.

In Penglai, hopes are high that the winery will spur the development of a tourism area similar to Napa Valley in California. Already, a medley of projects, including a Roman Colosseum look-alike, a development called Napa Village and a French-inspired chateau have sprung up in the area surrounding Domaine de Long Dai.

“We had a lot of pressure from local officials to open,” said Olivier Trégoat, technical director of Lafite’s properties outside Bordeaux. “I would definitely have waited.”

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Feds detain ex Russian Olympic official in South Florida

A former Russian Olympic Committee official who claimed his office was poisoned after being criticized by Russian President Vladimir Putin over preparations for the 2014 Winter Games has been arrested in Florida for an alleged immigration violation.

Real estate developer Akhmed Bilalov, 48, had fled his country after facing abuse of office charges in connection to his work as chairman of a state company that was building ski resorts in southern Russia.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Tammy Spicer announced Wednesday that Bilalov was arrested at his condo in Sunny Isles Beach on Tuesday. He was taken to the Krome detention facility in Miami to face deportation and remained in custody Wednesday.

The agency’s statement says Bilalov had arrived in the United States for a temporary stay on May 2, 2016, but “failed to depart in accordance with the terms of his admission.”

The Miami Herald first reported the story and said Bilalov had been living in Florida with his wife and newborn in an upscale suburb of Miami Beach, nicknamed “Little Moscow” for its number of Russian emigres. ICE’s records don’t list defense attorneys, and it wasn’t immediately clear who may be representing the real estate tycoon.

Bilalov was a rising star in Russian business and sports circles until his sudden downfall in February 2013, when Putin publicly disgraced him for delays and cost overruns during his tenure overseeing a ski jump complex being built for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Soon after, Bilalov resigned as a vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee. Two months later, Russian prosecutors opened a criminal case against him in connection with alleged misuse of funds intended for developing tourism resorts and overclaiming expenses for a visit to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Russian state news agencies reported Wednesday that the case against Bilalov remained open and that he was on a wanted list.

Facing up to four years in prison if convicted, Bilalov left Russia for Germany, where he alleged that doctors found elevated levels of mercury in his blood. In comments to the Russian news agency Interfax, Bilalov claimed his Moscow office had been contaminated.

Before his downfall, Bilalov also led the Russian Golf Federation and had a seat on the International Olympic Committee’s marketing commission in 2011 and 2012.

Westlake Legal Group OLY-Akhmed-Bilalov Feds detain ex Russian Olympic official in South Florida fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/sports/olympics fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 0733d37f-4732-5642-aca6-1eea17a86eb7   Westlake Legal Group OLY-Akhmed-Bilalov Feds detain ex Russian Olympic official in South Florida fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/sports/olympics fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 0733d37f-4732-5642-aca6-1eea17a86eb7

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Elijah Cummings to lie in state at US Capitol Thursday

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Elijah Cummings to lie in state at US Capitol Thursday

Democratic and Republican leaders in Washington expressed their condolences following the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. He died early Thursday at age 68. (Oct. 17) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – Rep. Elijah Cummings will lie in state on Thursday within the U.s. Capitol where he served for 23 years as a congressman, becoming one of the few African-Americans to be so honored. 

Cummings, a Democrat whose district included large sections of Baltimore, died last week at age 68 from complications related to longstanding health issues. 

He underwent a medical procedure in September that had kept him from returning to work.

A day after his death, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that Cummings would lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. A memorial service with Cummings’ family and members of Congress will be held Thursday morning before a public viewing, according to the speaker’s office

“In the House, Elijah was our North Star,” Pelosi said after Cummings’ death. “He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose.”

Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore: ‘Everybody’s crushed’: Baltimore mourns the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings

Cummings would be the first black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol, according to the Congressional Black Caucus. Two African-Americans who were not elected officials have lain in honor in the Capitol rotunda – civil rights icon Rosa Parks and Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut.  

Lying in state in the Capitol is a rare honor reserved for the nation’s “most eminent citizens,” according to the Architect of the Capitol. Just 31 people have been granted that honor, including 12 former presidents.

Last year, preacher Billy Graham was laid in honor, and former President George H.W. Bush and Sen. John McCain were laid in state. Those three were the first to be so honored since Sen. Daniel Inouye in 2012. 

Normally, the remains are placed in the Capitol rotunda, which the Architect of the Capitol says “has been considered the most suitable place for the nation to pay final tribute,” and members of the public wait in long lines that extend outside the Capitol to pay their respects. 

It is unclear if National Statuary Hall has been used previously for those lying in state within the Capitol. Statuary Hall is located just south of the rotunda, and it is also a large space with a domed roof. The room served as the chamber where the House of Representatives gathered from 1819 to 1857. It contains 35 of the 100 statues submitted by the states for display in the Capitol. 

Cummings’ funeral will be held Friday at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, where he worshipped for nearly 40 years

On Wednesday, mourners paid respects to Cummings as his body lay in repose at Morgan State University, a historically black college in Cummings’ district. Cummings served on the school’s Board of Regents for 19 years. 

Enough is enough’: The moments that defined the career of Rep. Elijah Cummings

Before his death, the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman had been leading several investigations into President Donald Trump and his administration.

Cummings drew Trump’s ire as his committee prepared to subpoena the communications of the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. He also sparred with Trump after Cummings sharply criticized the administration’s handling of detained migrants. In response, Trump called the congressman a “brutal bully” and denounced Baltimore as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”

At a National Press Club luncheon in August, Cummings said he wished Trump would visit Baltimore and denounced the president’s use of inflammatory rhetoric. 

“Those in the highest levels of government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” he said. “It only creates more division among us and severely limits our ability to work together for the common good. As a country, we finally must say that enough is enough.” 

Contributing: The Associated Press 

More: How Elijah Cummings’ unexpected death could affect the impeachment inquiry

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C.E.O. Confidence Is Collapsing. That Could Hurt Stocks.

Westlake Legal Group buybacks-1-facebookJumbo C.E.O. Confidence Is Collapsing. That Could Hurt Stocks. United States Economy Stocks and Bonds Stock Buybacks Company Reports

American companies spent more than $800 billion on their own shares last year, taking a windfall from deep corporate tax cuts to try to bolster their share prices and improve the look of their quarterly earnings reports.

This year, as the economy’s worsening prospects rattle executives, those buybacks are slowing down. The mood among corporate bosses is likely to stay subdued in the face of the trade war, the broadening impeachment inquiry of President Trump and the 2020 presidential election.

“If you’re at a point where trade and politics are stymieing the ability to plan for the future, I think that that’s another huge factor in terms of how companies are going to spend cash or if they will spend as much cash as they have been,” said Savita Subramanian, head of United States equity strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Confidence among chief executives fell to its lowest level in a decade in the third quarter, according to survey data collected by the Conference Board, a nonprofit research group. The last time the survey came close to showing these levels of gloom, businesses were still shedding about 800,000 jobs a month because of the recession.

Things are nowhere near as bad as they were in 2009. Unemployment is lower than it has been in about 50 years. But the economy’s growth has slowed from a 2.9 percent pace in 2018. The economy is expected to grow 2.3 percent this year and could slow to 1.7 percent next year, which would be the slowest rate since 2016, a period that many now view as something of a mini-recession.

In addition, the chief financial officers who control a company’s spending are also far less optimistic than they were two years ago, according to a quarterly survey by Duke University.

If companies hold back spending, including stepping in to buy up stocks when the market swoons, stock trading could be bumpier.

In the normal course of business, companies use their cash to build a new plant, raise wages or acquire a competitor. When they feel they have more cash than they need, they often hand it back to shareholders.

One way to do that is by paying a dividend. The other is to repurchase shares in the stock market, adding to demand and lifting their price. Either move at best serves only to reward shareholders, rather than bolstering the fundamentals of a business.

Buybacks can also make a company’s results look better, even if the fundamentals have not changed. And they have their critics, who say that buybacks are not a productive use of cash, that they put a priority on shareholders over other stakeholders like employees and customers, and that they amount to financial engineering aimed at making things look better than they are.

And a company’s willingness to spend money on this kind of reward tends to move in step with executive confidence. If executives are worried about the future, they might hang on to cash in case of a rainy day.

When corporate leaders were more bullish about the economy, and had more cash to throw around, they snapped up shares. Last year, 30 percent of the cash spent by S&P 500 companies was used to repurchase stock, outpacing even the amount they put into long-term capital expenditures, such as investments in plants, equipment and buildings, according to Goldman Sachs.

The pace of buybacks this year has declined from last year’s record of more than $800 billion. That’s partly because the surge was fueled by the large tax cut, which left companies with high levels of cash.

But waning confidence could mean the drop continues into next year. Goldman Sachs analysts expect buybacks will fall 15 percent in 2019, to a bit more than $700 billion, and then 5 percent in 2020 to $675 billion.

That could have repercussions for the stock market.

Over the last few years, companies have often stepped in to buy stock when the market was tumbling. For instance, trading data from Goldman Sachs shows that when stocks suffered a 10 percent drop that began in January 2018, they bottomed out after a burst of corporate buying. A sharp tumble in stocks last fall was also blunted by the surge in buybacks, which stabilized the market temporarily.

“The corporate buyer has been willing to step in, and I think that’s definitely supported share prices in a significant way,” said Lori Calvasina, head of United States equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

So back to what this all means to stock prices. A drop in share buybacks has important implications for one of the key metrics on which stocks are judged: earnings per share.

Share repurchases improve this gauge of profitability because when a company buys back shares, it shrinks the number of shares outstanding. In other words, a company’s profit is spread over the smaller number of shares. That can bolster a company’s earnings-per-share number even if a company’s profit stays the same, or even falls.

This is where the financial engineering claims come up. Analysts say this technical effect of share buybacks has been a top reason that earnings-per-share growth has kept climbing even when profits have dropped.

That was the case in 2016, when earnings per share rose 1.3 percent even as net income, or profit, at S&P 500 companies fell 1.8 percent.

Profit expectations this year are similarly modest, with Wall Street analysts expecting S&P 500 companies to see their earnings per share grow 1.4 percent.

“If you didn’t have buybacks coming in and supporting the earnings-per-share growth, you’d probably be looking at some slight declines,” Ms. Calvasina said. “It’s sort of kept you in slightly positive territory on earnings growth, and it’s also just supported share prices when they’ve been willing to step in and buy.”

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How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Westlake Legal Group ap_19296476817009-81ad3114e40bbd71d8ff74dc39d1909fcd29f562-s1100-c15 How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced last week that he will leave his position by the end of the year. Perry urged President Trump to make the July phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that’s at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Westlake Legal Group  How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced last week that he will leave his position by the end of the year. Perry urged President Trump to make the July phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that’s at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Among the key figures embroiled in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who announced last week that he will be resigning later this year.

It was Perry who led the U.S. delegation to Ukraine when newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was inaugurated back in May. And it was Perry who urged Trump to make that now-infamous July phone call to Zelenskiy — a phone call that’s at the heart of the inquiry.

In that call, Trump asked the Ukrainians to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 presidential campaign. The call triggered the whistleblower complaint from an intelligence officer and led to allegations that Trump abused his power for personal political gain.

So how did Perry, who just a few years ago was attempting to cha-cha his way through Dancing With the Stars, become a major figure in the impeachment probe?

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Perry’s roots go back to tiny Paint Creek, Texas, in rural Haskell County.

“They used to call him ‘the rascal from Haskell,’ ” says Scott Braddock, who’s editor of the Texas political newsletter Quorum Report and has covered Perry for many years. “He grew up not exactly dirt poor but not far from it.”

The son of tenant farmers, Perry would become a master politician, an expert at cultivating relationships.

After winning a seat in the Texas House of Representatives, Perry went on to be elected state agriculture commissioner and lieutenant governor. He assumed the Texas governorship midway through George W. Bush’s second term as governor, when Bush won the presidency. Perry was then elected governor three times, serving for 14 years and making him the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

“He took being a wheeler-dealer basically to the level of an art form,” Braddock says. “Perry was somebody who would always figure out the way to get what he wanted.”

At first, it might have seemed absurd that what Perry wanted was to join the Trump administration.

After all, in 2015, during his second presidential run, Perry scorched Trump in a speech, calling his Republican opponent’s candidacy a “cancer on conservatism” and “a barking carnival act.” Trumpism, Perry warned, was “a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.”

But apparently, all was forgiven after the 2016 election, when Trump picked Perry to head the Energy Department.

“Well, you know, feelings change about people all the time,” says Deirdre Delisi, who served as chief of staff to then-governor Perry. She worked on four of his campaigns and remains a confidante. “He was asked to serve his country, and as he has done so many other times, he agreed to serve his country, and he did a great job.”

Many noted the irony that Perry was assuming control of a federal department that he had vowed to eliminate when he was running for president — a promise that led to Perry’s notorious “oops” moment during a presidential debate when he couldn’t remember which department he had promised to ax.

“I would do away with the Education,” Perry said haltingly. “Uh, the um … Commerce. And … let’s see … I can’t. The third one. Sorry. Oops.”

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As energy secretary, Perry has pretty much flown under the radar up until now, avoiding scandal.

He has focused heavily on opening global markets to U.S. oil and gas. At a news conference this month in Lithuania, he described his dealings this way: “I’m a Texas governor, former governor, and I know how to sell stuff. And my job is to go sell, first off, American product.”

That’s the Perry trademark, says Braddock of the Quorum Report. “He was always real good at selling Texas,” he says. “Governor Perry’s slogan was ‘Texas is open for business.’ And I think that he wanted to bring that to the national stage and to the international stage — that we’re open for business.”

Specifically: the business of liquefied natural gas, or — as Perry’s Energy Department has dubbed it — “freedom gas.” It’s a growing U.S. export, and Ukraine is a potentially huge market.

Historically, Ukraine has depended heavily on natural gas from Russia. So, the thinking goes, if the U.S. could replace Russian gas with U.S. gas, it would be a big win for American companies and for U.S. foreign policy. Ukraine is a critical counterweight to Russian influence in the region.

But the country has also been notorious for corruption, especially in the energy sector, and that has stifled Western investment. So, for years, U.S. administrations have pressed Ukraine to root out corruption.

It was in this context that Perry headed to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in May, leading the U.S. delegation to the inauguration of the newly elected president, Zelenskiy.

According to the whistleblower’s complaint, Vice President Pence was supposed to head that delegation, but Trump instructed Pence to cancel his trip and Perry went in his place.

Also with Perry were Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, then the U.S. special representative for Ukraine. The trio called themselves the “three amigos.”

Westlake Legal Group ap_19140646634595_custom-f786dadd4b94ea874ce092d3f608ecc87cb15863-s1100-c15 How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry share a joke during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, this past May. Mykola Lazarenko/AP hide caption

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Mykola Lazarenko/AP

Westlake Legal Group  How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry share a joke during a meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, this past May.

Mykola Lazarenko/AP

Within days of leaving Kyiv, those “three amigos” were back in the Oval Office, meeting with the president. They told Trump that Zelenskiy was a reformer, and they wanted the president to call him.

Perry was asked about this meeting during his visit to Lithuania this month.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I asked the president, multiple times, ‘Mr. President, we think it is in the United States’ and in Ukraine’s best interest that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations and discuss the options that are there.’ So, absolutely yes.”

But Trump wasn’t having it. Here’s how Perry described what happened next, in an interview on the podcast The Journal, which is produced by Gimlet Media and The Wall Street Journal.

“[The] president’s like ‘Ehhhhhhh, until I’m comfortable that these guys have straightened up their act.’ And so, what does ‘straighten up their act’ mean? And the president said, ‘Visit with Rudy.’ “

That would be Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, who had been on a crusade for months, alleging that Ukraine colluded with Democrats in the 2016 election.

As Perry told Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Puko, he did what Trump told him to do. He called Giuliani.

“And I called, and we had never had a conversation before,” Perry said. “I called Mayor Giuliani and said, ‘OK, tell me what’s goin’ on here. We’re tryin’ to get these folks in to meet so that we can move forward with some good economic development — sell ’em gas. And the president just ain’t interested in talkin’!’ And as I recall the conversation, [Giuliani] said, ‘Look. The president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him in his presidential election. He thinks they’re corrupt.’ “

As Perry recounted that phone call, Giuliani insisted that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election and that it did so to hurt Trump.

That’s a conspiracy theory that has been debunked.

One thing that was not mentioned, Perry told The Wall Street Journal, was the name Biden.

“Never,” Perry said emphatically, as he pounded the table in the interview. “Not in one conversation. Not from the president. Not from Gordon Sondland. Not from Kurt Volker. Not from anybody on the Zelenskiy team did I ever hear the name Biden. Never. Not once.”

Westlake Legal Group ap_19294306142583-7ba890af6da503b982fbe08f95e14346701fba35-s1100-c15 How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union (right), traveled to Kyiv with Energy Secretary Rick Perry in May. Above, they attend the high-level forum on small modular reactors at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday. Virginia Mayo/AP hide caption

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Virginia Mayo/AP

Westlake Legal Group  How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union (right), traveled to Kyiv with Energy Secretary Rick Perry in May. Above, they attend the high-level forum on small modular reactors at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday.

Virginia Mayo/AP

Remember, that’s at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

Democrats want to know whether Trump tried to force a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 election.

In effect, was Trump telling the Ukrainians, “Unless you agree to dig up dirt on my opponent Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, you won’t get your invitation to the White House, and we’ll hold your military aid hostage?”

Perry has said repeatedly that he didn’t know of any such quid pro quo. But Democrats in Congress aren’t convinced.

“First of all, can we please see your emails and your texts so that we can know if what you just said is true?” says Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, which is leading the impeachment inquiry.

“That’s the core question,” Himes says. “And of course since Rick Perry was very much at the center of the communication with the Ukrainians and presumably with the president, all of our questions would pertain to the extent that he observed U.S. policy being sidelined in favor of the president’s personal political agenda.”

House Democrats have subpoenaed a raft of documents and communications from Perry about the Ukraine affair. The Energy Department has refused to comply with that subpoena.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19283777314023_custom-25862744a882bca0adac7553d776cbba3ddec7b2-s1100-c15 How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

The subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee to Perry. House Democrats have subpoenaed the energy secretary as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Jon Elswick/AP hide caption

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Jon Elswick/AP

Westlake Legal Group  How Rick Perry Became A Key Figure In The Trump Impeachment Probe

The subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee to Perry. House Democrats have subpoenaed the energy secretary as part of their impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Jon Elswick/AP

Speaking outside the White House on Wednesday, Perry called the impeachment investigation a “charade.”

“I’m not gonna participate,” Perry told reporters. “The White House has advised us not to participate. My general counsel has told me not to participate in what they consider to be an unprecedented effort to try to use an inquiry in an unlawful way.”

There’s another wrinkle to all this, and it has to do with Ukraine’s state-controlled behemoth oil and gas company, Naftogaz, which has widely been seen as a playground for Ukraine’s oligarchs, rife with corruption.

The company seems intent on challenging that reputation: In a Naftogaz corporate video, the words “transparency” and “new rules [to] tackle corruption” flash on the screen in English.

We know now that two Republican donors who are business associates of Giuliani were trying to install new management at Naftogaz, as they were trying to get lucrative gas contracts funneled their way.

Their names? Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. They’ve been arrested and have pleaded not guilty to charges of campaign finance violations.

One question is, was Perry also trying to engineer a shake-up of Naftogaz senior leadership to benefit private interests in the U.S.?

When he was asked about this by reporters in Lithuania, Perry answered, “The government of Ukraine did in fact ask us for, you know, ‘Who are the people that can help come and modernize?’ “

But Perry disputed a detailed report by The Associated Press that said he was trying to force an overhaul of the Naftogaz board and install a “friendlier management team.” Perry said he simply gave the Ukrainians the names of American energy experts who could advise them.

“That was a totally dreamed-up story, the best I can tell,” Perry said. “We gave recommendations at the request of the Ukrainian government and will continue to.”

So, where does all of this leave Perry as he heads for the exit at the Energy Department?

Delisi, the longtime Perry aide, believes he’s leaving the administration unscathed.

“I don’t think he’s in trouble, and I don’t think he’s troubled,” she says, “and certainly no conversation I’ve had with him has made me believe that.”

But Braddock of the Quorum Report sees things differently: “Interesting that Perry, who had done such a good job, was there from the beginning with Trump, a member of the Trump administration who had kept his nose clean all the way until now with no even whiff of a scandal, and now he’s caught up in the thing — the thing that is leading to this impeachment movement in Washington. Very, very ironic.”

For his part, Perry’s swan song to his colleagues at the Energy Department came in the form of a highly produced, four-minute-long farewell video titled “The Coolest Job I’ve Ever Had.”

Perry ends the video by saying, “I thank President Trump for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m so glad that I said yes.”

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