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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 213)

UNC basketball player Brandon Robinson injured in car crash

Westlake Legal Group Brandon-Robinson UNC basketball player Brandon Robinson injured in car crash fox-news/sports/ncaa/north-carolina-tar-heels fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 131a6ece-9ef4-5bfa-8f6e-5ad42970f601

North Carolina forward Brandon Robinson was hurt in a weekend car crash and the school says the injuries are not serious.

The other motorist was charged with driving while impaired, according to Carrboro police. An incident report said the driver of the other car early Sunday, drove into the opposite lane and hit Robinson’s car near an intersection.

It was not known when Robinson would be cleared to practice this week or play, the school said Monday. The struggling Tar Heels play at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

This is the latest problem for a team beset by injuries since before the season began.

Five Tar Heels, including Robinson, have been hurt at some point during the season. Robinson rolled his ankle in a preseason game and missed the next four games.

Anthony Harris and Sterling Manley are lost for the season because of knee injuries. Jeremiah Francis has a sore left knee that kept him out of his junior and senior years in high school.

Freshman guard Cole Anthony, who scored 34 points in his debut game against Notre Dame last November, has not played since early December after arthroscopic knee surgery. Anthony was expected to miss up to six weeks.

Westlake Legal Group Brandon-Robinson UNC basketball player Brandon Robinson injured in car crash fox-news/sports/ncaa/north-carolina-tar-heels fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 131a6ece-9ef4-5bfa-8f6e-5ad42970f601   Westlake Legal Group Brandon-Robinson UNC basketball player Brandon Robinson injured in car crash fox-news/sports/ncaa/north-carolina-tar-heels fox-news/sports/ncaa-bk fox-news/sports/ncaa fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 131a6ece-9ef4-5bfa-8f6e-5ad42970f601

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NHL extends Buffalo’s agreement to host combine through 2022

Westlake Legal Group Connor-McDavid NHL extends Buffalo's agreement to host combine through 2022 fox-news/sports/nhl/buffalo-sabres fox-news/sports/nhl fnc/sports fnc d9b4ebbc-ca4e-5f26-83a3-279caf99ad84 Associated Press article

The NHL’s top prospects will continue making their pre-draft stops in Buffalo for at least another three years.

The league on Monday announced an extension of its agreement to hold its annual scouting combine in Buffalo at the Sabres downtown practice facility, LECOM Harborcenter, through 2022. The announcement coincided with NHL Central Scouting releasing its mid-season rankings of draft-eligible prospects, with Quebec-born left wing Alexis Lafrenière topping the list of North American skaters.

Buffalo has hosted the combine since 2015, after the weeklong event spent the previous 20-plus years being held at various locations around Toronto.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Kevyn Adams, former NHL player and Sabres senior vice president of business administration. “It’s an incredible opportunity for us as an organization and city to host such a great event for the last number of years, and now that it’s moving forward.”

Each year, Central Scouting invites more than 100 of its top-ranked prospects to the combine, where they undergo physical and medical testing, and also meet with team executives. It’s considered the final major step in their pre-draft process, and traditionally held about three weeks before the draft.

The move from Toronto was prompted by the construction of the Sabres’ $200 million practice complex which includes two rinks, a hotel, restaurant and workout facility, all connected to the team’s arena.

Though the combine does not include on-ice testing, the floor of Harborcenter’s main rink provides plenty of room for prospect testing to be conducted, while also allowing team executives to watch from the stands.

Those are considered upgrades from when the combine took place inside carpeted convention centers and hotel ballrooms in suburban Toronto.

In Buffalo, teams also have the advantage of going across the street to hold in-person meetings with prospects in arena suites. That’s a switch from Toronto, where prospects had to be shuttled to various hotels, depending on where each team was based.

“It just seems to be a pretty good fit, and I do think the three-year term is indicative of that,” Adams said. “In Toronto, it was spread out a little bit and just the logistics of it. When the the players and team management get here, it’s all here.”

Central Scouting director Dan Marr referred to the setup in Buffalo as ideal and featuring a venue that meets all needs.

“The NHL’s annual scouting combine is one of the most valuable experiences in a young prospects’ draft year, and we are thrilled to continue utilizing the Sabres best-in-class facilities,” Marr said.

Lafrenière continues making a case for being the No. 1 pick in showing no signs of slowing a season after being name the Canadian Hockey League player of the year. In his third season with Rimouski, he leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 49 assists and 73 points in 34 games. He was also named the world junior championship tournament’s MVP after helping Canada to a gold-medal victory earlier this month.

U.S. Developmental team defenseman Jake Sanderson, of Whitefish, Montana, is the top-ranked American-born prospect, coming in at 11th. Forward Tim Stuetzle, who plays for Mannheim in his native Germany’s pro league, is the top-ranked European prospect.

This year’s combine was already on the NHL calendar, and scheduled to take place June 1-6.

The combine is also a boon to Buffalo by annually attracting some 250 NHL executives, scouts and media to the city and its redeveloped waterfront.

“This is exciting news for the Sabres, downtown Buffalo and our great hockey fans in the region,” Mayor Byron Brown said. “The three-year extension is the hat-trick of extensions and will allow so many visitors during the NHL combine to experience our fabulous Canalside area, waterfront development and downtown development for years to come.”

Westlake Legal Group Connor-McDavid NHL extends Buffalo's agreement to host combine through 2022 fox-news/sports/nhl/buffalo-sabres fox-news/sports/nhl fnc/sports fnc d9b4ebbc-ca4e-5f26-83a3-279caf99ad84 Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group Connor-McDavid NHL extends Buffalo's agreement to host combine through 2022 fox-news/sports/nhl/buffalo-sabres fox-news/sports/nhl fnc/sports fnc d9b4ebbc-ca4e-5f26-83a3-279caf99ad84 Associated Press article

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Protests in Iran: Rage Over Downed Jet, as Lawmakers Demand Accountability

Widespread anger over the Iranian government for shooting down a passenger plane and then misleading the public about it simmered for a third day on Monday, with the police and protesters facing off in at least two cities and increasing demands from lawmakers for accountability.

After days of denials, Iran acknowledged Saturday that it had mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian airliner plane, killing 176 people.

A government spokesman, Ali Rabeei, said Monday that Iranian officials had not lied to the public when it insisted the plane crashed because of mechanical problems, but was providing the limited information it had. He said that President Hassan Rouhani had learned that missiles were fired at the plane only on Friday, two days after it crashed near the Tehran airport.

Demands for government resignations spread Monday from hard-liners, who support Iran’s clerical government and called for officials to step down over the weekend, to members of the more moderate reformist parties, Mr. Rouhani’s base.

Bahram Parsaie, a prominent lawmaker from Shiraz, said that it was not enough for Mr. Rouhani and his government to issue statements and that they needed to resign. He warned that if the president and his cabinet were not transparent with the public, Parliament would take legal action against them.

Ali Shakouri Rad, the head of a reformist political party, said the growing rift between the public and the clerical government had become insurmountable. “Covering up the mistake of downing the passenger jet with missiles was throwing acid at the image of the Islamic Republic,” he said on Twitter.

In a sign of the tensions between Iran’s clerical rulers and the elected officials, the government said Monday that it had disqualified 90 current lawmakers from running for re-election, Iranian official news media reported. The lawmakers, mostly members of reformist and centrist factions, account for roughly a third of the 290-member Parliament.

Several leading reformist politicians responded by calling for a boycott of the parliamentary election next month.

The over how the plane crash was handled also spread to the official news media on Monday, with several prominent state television and radio hosts quitting their jobs, saying they could no longer lie for the government.

Gelare Jabbari, the popular host of state TV’s Channel Two programs, changed her profile picture on Instagram to black and posted a public apology.

“It was very hard for me to believe the murdering of my countrymen,” she wrote. “Forgive me for believing it too late. I apologize for lying to you on TV for 13 years.”

The journalists’ union for the province of Tehran also issued a public apology for helping spread the government’s misinformation about the cause of the crash.

“We are currently holding a funeral service for public trust,” the statement said. “The first coffins are for state broadcast company and all media and websites.”

The union called on all Iranian journalists to no longer “amplify the cover-ups of officials” and to conduct their reporting with skepticism and independent investigations.

State television, however, continued to play down the mistaken downing of the plane, with one anchor saying “it was nothing compared to the main event” — the Iranian missile attack on American forces in Iraq hours earlier.

Video

transcript

Ukrainian Flight 752: How a Plane Came Down in 7 Minutes

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We’ll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane’s takeoff to the moment it crashed. It’s the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 8. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani. Iranian defenses are on high alert, on guard for a possible U.S. attack. Four hours later, at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, Flight 752 operated by Ukraine International Airlines is getting ready for departure. At 6:12 a.m., the plane takes off. It follows its regular route, flies northwest and climbs to almost 8,000 feet in around three minutes, according to flight tracker data. Until now, the plane’s transponder has been signaling normally. But just before 6:15 a.m., it stops. We don’t yet know why. But we do know the plane keeps flying. And within 30 seconds, a missile hits it. A video filmed here captures the moment. Let’s watch it again and slow it down. Here’s the missile, and here’s the plane. Where did the missile come from? Just a few miles away are military sites equipped with Iranian defense systems. A nearby security camera films a missile being launched from one of those sites shortly after 6:15 a.m. The missile hits the plane seconds later. An Iranian military commander said a defense system operator mistook the passenger jet for a cruise missile. The missile sets the plane on fire. But the jet continues flying for several minutes. We don’t know its precise path after 6:15 a.m. But we do know that it turns back in the direction of the airport, engulfed by flames. Around 6:19 a.m., a bystander films the plane slowly going down. There appears to be a second explosion before the jetliner plummets outside Tehran about 10 miles from where the last signal was sent. Footage from a security camera shows the scene as the plane crashes toward it. Here we see the immediate aftermath of the crash. As day breaks, another witness films the smoldering wreckage. Debris is spread out over 1,500 feet along a small park, orchards and a soccer field, narrowly missing a nearby village. A large section of the plane looks badly charred. More jet parts are found here. And the plane’s tail and wheels land over 500 feet away. It is a gruesome scene. The passengers’ personal items — toys, clothes, photo albums — are scattered around. After days of denials, Iran took responsibility for the crash, blaming human error at a moment of heightened tensions.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_166953561_06e1cc97-db54-4a54-a482-c464887a1919-videoSixteenByNine3000 Protests in Iran: Rage Over Downed Jet, as Lawmakers Demand Accountability Zelensky, Volodymyr Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 Ukraine International Airlines Ukraine Trump, Donald J Tehran (Iran) Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Rouhani, Hassan Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

Iranians have taken to the streets in protest after the government admitted, after three days of denials, that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet. Here’s everything we know about that seven-minute flight.CreditCredit…Akbar Tavakoli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Iranian attack, which caused moderate damage but killed no one, was conducted in retaliation for the American killing of Iran’s top military leader in a drone attack on Jan. 3.

Just hours later, a Ukraine International Airlines flight was taking off from Tehran before dawn on Wednesday, and Iranian forces were on high alert for an American counterattack. An Iranian crew, confusing the jet for an attacking craft, fired an antiaircraft missile at it about three minutes after it took off.

On Monday, the government closed the popular reformist news website Entekhab for publishing false rumors over the weekend that Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of National Security Council, had resigned.

Videos from inside Iran shared on social media on Monday showed university students in Isfahan and the capital, Tehran, chanting against the country’s clerical rulers while riot police officers were deployed nearby.

Thousands of students gathered at Iran’s elite technical university, Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, 14 of whose recent graduates died when the plane was shot down. Some lashed out our Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“We want transparency,” said one student, addressing the crowd. “This country has not had transparency for years. You have lied to us. the state broadcast company has lied to us. You think we are all stupid. The supreme leader must answer to us about the country’s problems. Mr. Khamenei, why are you lying?”

The crowd cheered.

A group of over 30 artists, filmmakers and actors issued a joint statement on Monday saying they would not participate in the government-sponsored Fajr competition, Iran’s equivalent of the Oscars.

One of the signatories, the well-known filmmaker Rakhshan Bani Etemad, was briefly detained and interrogated for several hours after she called for a nationwide vigil for the victims of the crash.

There were no reports of violence in the protests on Monday, as there had been over the weekend, when there were videos of protesters carrying off bleeding comrades as gunshots echoed in the background.

The authorities in Iran denied that security forces had opened fire.

Late Sunday, Mr. Trump warned Iran not to target the demonstrators. Framing himself as a supporter of the media, which in other circumstances he has frequently disparaged, Mr. Trump exhorted Iran’s leaders to allow unfettered reporting.

“To the leaders of Iran — DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!”

In addition to the domestic outrage, Iran may also face demands for compensation from nations whose citizens were killed on the plane, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko of Ukraine told Reuters on Monday in an interview in Singapore.

Foreign ministers from five nations will meet in London on Thursday to discuss legal action, he said. The participants will include Canada, which lost 57 citizens, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sweden and another country he did not identify.

Mr. Prystaiko said Tehran had agreed to hand over the jet’s black boxes for analysis, but had yet to set a date to do so.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since 2018, when Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of an international agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program and imposed the first in a series of sanctions on Iran to punish it for what his administration sees as its destabilizing activities across the Middle East.

After a number of attacks on United States assets and allies in the Middle East in recent months, Mr. Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds force. He headed Iran’s efforts to direct allied militias in the region.

Those militias include an Iraqi group that the United States accused of firing rockets at a military base in Iraq late last month, killing one American contractor. United States forces retaliated against militia bases, killing more than two dozen fighters, and militias responded by surrounding the American Embassy compound in Baghdad, breaching its perimeter wall, setting fires and throwing rocks.

The killing of General Suleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport raised fears that Iran or its network of allies across the Middle East would respond against the United States and its allies, possibly igniting a regional war.

Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

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U.S. Citizen Dies In Egyptian Prison, State Department Says

Westlake Legal Group ap_649302475988-4546b704f1e8dbaa2936560891c6321a460f013d-s1100-c15 U.S. Citizen Dies In Egyptian Prison, State Department Says

U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem was arrested amid a massive crackdown on sit-ins in Cairo in Aug. 2013. Police are shown arresting men as they clear a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Ahmed Gomaa/AP hide caption

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Ahmed Gomaa/AP

Westlake Legal Group  U.S. Citizen Dies In Egyptian Prison, State Department Says

U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem was arrested amid a massive crackdown on sit-ins in Cairo in Aug. 2013. Police are shown arresting men as they clear a sit-in by supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Ahmed Gomaa/AP

A U.S. citizen who was arrested in Egypt amid political chaos there in 2013 has died in Egyptian prison, according to a State Department official and the man’s lawyers.

Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker confirmed Moustafa Kassem’s death to reporters at a briefing, describing it as “needless, tragic and avoidable.”

According to a statement from Kassem’s lawyers at Pretrial Rights International, he died after a hunger strike that lasted more than a year. Last Thursday, he stopped taking liquids, his lawyers said.

Kassem is originally from Egypt but had emigrated to New York, where he worked selling auto parts. In the summer of 2013, he traveled back to visit family.

That summer, Egypt’s military ousted then-President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi had been democratically elected a year prior but was deeply unpopular with the wider Egyptian public. In August 2013, the military forcibly dispersed two large sit-ins of Morsi’s supporters, and rights groups say hundreds of people were killed.

Kassem’s lawyers say he happened to be changing money at a shopping center near the sit-in when he was stopped by Egypt military officials.

“After showing his US passport, the soldiers beat and detained him, later transferring him to law enforcement officials who continued this harsh treatment,” the lawyers’ statement reads. “A diabetic with a heart condition, prison officials limited access to necessary medications and medical care for the entirety of his detention.”

After more than five years of pretrial detention, Kassem was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail in a mass trial involving hundreds of defendants in 2018. The mass trial was “of people accused of murder and inciting violence,” according to Reuters. Kassem was found guilty of participating in a protest, although his lawyers say “no individualized evidence was ever presented against him.”

Kassem’s brother-in-law Mustafa Ahmed, who was with him at the time of his arrest, describes dire detention conditions. “The cells are filthy, infested with insects, rodents and snakes,” he wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times last year. “They have no ventilation, sun or light. Moustafa and other prisoners have no access to clean water, a bed, a chair or any books.”

Ahmed says his relative felt strongly about going on hunger strike. “I know I may be able to survive for only a few weeks when I go on hunger strike,” Kassem is quoted as saying by Ahmed. “But I have no other option. I would rather starve to death than rot slowly and silently here in this hell.”

Mohamed Soltan, another U.S. citizen who was detained in the same crackdown in Egypt, was at the same prison with Kassem before he was released in 2015. Now, he advocates for other political prisoners in Egypt.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Soltan told NPR’s Michele Kelemen. “He’s not politicized at all.”

He said Kassem’s family is now devastated. As Kassem’s sister and brother were on their way to Egypt after his death, Soltan adds, “they learned that the security forces were forcing the family to bury him very, very quickly, literally in the middle of the night at 2:00 a.m. — not even giving the chance for family members that are abroad to see his body and be there and have a proper funeral.”

Soltan urged the Trump administration to “do more” to bring U.S. citizens home who are imprisoned overseas. “We need to bring these Americans home.”

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McConnell Doesn’t Have the Votes to Dismiss Impeachment Articles or Block Witnesses: Reports

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U.S. Says China Is No Longer a Currency Manipulator

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-currency1-facebookJumbo U.S. Says China Is No Longer a Currency Manipulator United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Renminbi (Currency) Mnuchin, Steven T International Trade and World Market China

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration formally removed China’s designation as a currency manipulator on Monday, offering a major concession to the Chinese government as senior officials arrived in Washington to sign a trade agreement with President Trump.

The Treasury Department released its long-delayed currency report on Monday afternoon, providing its first public analysis of China’s currency practices since it designated China a manipulator in August at the direction of Mr. Trump. The report noted that China — which Mr. Trump had accused of weakening its currency, the renminbi, to make its goods cheaper to sell overseas — had made important commitments regarding the renminbi as part of the new trade agreement and that its value had appreciated since September.

“China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

As part of the trade deal that Mr. Trump plans to sign at the White House on Wednesday, China and the United States have agreed to avoid devaluing their currencies to achieve a competitive advantage for their exports. The Office of the United States Trade Representative said last month that the agreement would include a currency chapter that detailed “high-standard commitments to refrain from competitive devaluations” and targeting of exchange rates. The trade pact is expected to include an enforcement mechanism, which the office said would ensure that China could not use its currency practices to compete unfairly against American exporters.

Mr. Trump has long been critical of China’s currency practices, arguing that Beijing weakens the renminbi to make Chinese exports cheaper in the United States. Mr. Trump accused China of doing just that in August, when Beijing allowed its currency to weaken, saying it was an attempt to blunt the effect of tariffs he had imposed on Chinese imports.

It is a rare point of bipartisan agreement that China deserves to be labeled a currency manipulator, bringing together Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Republicans like Senator Rick Scott of Florida.

The decision to remove the label angered those and other lawmakers, who have argued that the president has undermined the credibility of the foreign exchange report by throwing the manipulation label around loosely.

“Just because we’re negotiating a trade deal doesn’t mean we should ignore Communist China’s bad acts,” Mr. Scott said on Twitter. “They are a currency manipulator. Period.”

Mr. Schumer, who has criticized China’s currency practices for years, accused Mr. Trump of caving to China in an attempt to score a political win.

“China is a currency manipulator — that is a fact,” Mr. Schumer said. “Unfortunately, President Trump would rather cave to President Xi than stay tough on China. When it comes to the president’s stance on China, Americans are getting a lot of show and very little results.”

The currency report released on Monday said China had agreed to “publish relevant information related to exchange rates and external balances.” China will remain on the Treasury Department’s list of countries whose currency practices warrant close attention.

The United States had last labeled China a currency manipulator in 1994. The designation, while seen as a type of public shaming, is largely symbolic. The label is supposed to prompt discussions between the United States, the International Monetary Fund and the Chinese government on how China can make its currency more fairly valued. The International Monetary Fund said in a report last year that China’s currency was fairly valued.

While most economists agreed that China had been distorting the value of its currency more than a decade ago, in recent years it has been allowing market forces to play a role in letting the renminbi fluctuate within a set range. For much of last year, Chinese officials had actually been propping up the renminbi amid a weakening economy to prevent its value from falling too quickly.

“China’s foreign exchange reserves, a key indicator of the degree of foreign exchange market intervention, has been quite stable over the last year,” said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “While China still has a sizable trade surplus with the U.S., its overall current position is near balance, further undercutting the characterization of China as a currency manipulator.”

Treasury’s currency report noted that the renminbi was trading as high as 7.18 per dollar in early September and was recently trading at 6.93 per dollar.

Mr. Trump had promised as a presidential candidate to slap the manipulator label on China. Yet Mr. Mnuchin opted not to do so in the first five reports that his department issued. The department said China did not meet the department’s criteria for currency manipulation.

As trade negotiations with China dragged on last summer, Mr. Trump grew increasingly frustrated and seized upon China’s weakening currency as another source of leverage. Despite his own resistance, Mr. Mnuchin used his discretion as Treasury secretary to impose the label at the urging of Mr. Trump.

“They did it for political reasons,” Chad P. Bown, an international trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “Clearly there was no legal basis or really an economic basis to do so.”

Mr. Bown said that removing the label made sense now that the first phase of the trade deal is complete and that China probably was unhappy with the image of being deemed a manipulator.

Senior Chinese officials arrived in Washington on Monday to put the finishing touches on the trade agreement. In addition to the currency provision, the deal is expected to include a commitment by China to purchase more farm products and to open more of its markets, like financial services, to foreign firms. The Chinese are also expected to agree to protect American intellectual property. In exchange, the Trump administration has reduced some tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Still, while the administration offered China an olive branch on its currency, it pressed ahead on Monday with new plans to scrutinize foreign investment that were devised with China in mind. The Treasury Department issued regulations to implement the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018, including exemptions for Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom from some of the more onerous requirements of the new law.

Mr. Trump’s currency ire has not been aimed solely at China. In December, the president said on Twitter that Brazil and Argentina were currency manipulators and that he would impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum imports.

Mr. Trump has since backed down from his threat to impose tariffs on Brazil and has yet to follow through with new tariffs on Argentina. Neither country was tagged as a manipulator or placed on Treasury’s monitoring list on Monday.

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Barr Asks Apple to Unlock Pensacola Killer’s Phones, Setting Up Clash

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr declared on Monday that a deadly shooting last month at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., was an act of terrorism, and he asked Apple in an unusually high-profile request to provide access to two phones used by the gunman.

Mr. Barr’s appeal was an escalation of an ongoing fight between the Justice Department and Apple pitting personal privacy against public safety.

“This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that the public be able to get access to digital evidence,” Mr. Barr said, calling on technology companies to find a solution and complaining that Apple had provided no “substantive assistance.”

Detailing the results of the investigation into the Dec. 6 shooting that killed three sailors and wounded eight others, Mr. Barr said the gunman, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani — a Saudi air force cadet training with the American military — had displayed extremist leanings.

Mr. Alshamrani warned on last year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that “the countdown has begun” and posted other anti-American, anti-Israeli and jihadist social media messages, some within hours of attacking the base, Mr. Barr said. “The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology,” Mr. Barr said.

The government has also removed from the country some 21 Saudi students who trained with the American military, Mr. Barr said. He stressed that investigators found no connection to the shooting among the cadets but that some had ties to extremist movements or possessed child pornography. Mr. Barr said the cases were too weak to prosecute but that Saudi Arabia kicked the trainees out of the program.

Mr. Barr focused attention on the Justice Department’s fight on advanced encryption and other digital security measures by taking aim at Apple, which has long touted security as a major feature of its phones. In 2014, Apple started building encryption into iPhones that can be unlocked only with the device’s password or a fingerprint reader, and said that it cannot bypass the security.

The technology has frustrated law enforcement officials, who accuse Apple of providing a safe haven for criminals. Justice Department officials said that they need access to Mr. Alshamrani’s phones to see data and messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp to determine whether he had discussed his plans with others at the base and whether he was acting alone or with help.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. But it will not back down from its unequivocal support of encryption that is impossible to crack, people close to the company said.

Apple has argued that obtaining data from phones themselves would require it to build a backdoor, which it said would set a dangerous precedent for user privacy and cybersecurity. Cracking one phone would compromise the security of all Apple devices, company executives have warned, saying that if it were to develop a way to crack into one phone, law enforcement officials would demand they use it repeatedly.

Mr. Barr indicated that he is ready for a sharp fight. “We don’t want to get into a world where we have to spend months and even years exhausting efforts when lives are in the balance,” he said. “We should be able to get in when we have a warrant that establishes that criminal activity is underway.”

The confrontation echoed the legal standoff over an iPhone used by a gunman who killed 14 people in a terrorism attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in late 2015. Apple defied a court order to assist the F.B.I. in its efforts to search his device, setting off a fight over whether privacy enabled by impossible-to-crack encryption harmed public safety.

The San Bernardino dispute was resolved when the F.B.I. found a private company to bypass the iPhone’s encryption. Tensions between the two sides, however, remained, and Apple worked to ensure that neither the government nor private contractors could open its phones.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_148837677_1d3236be-faea-495e-826d-044bcd487a4b-articleLarge Barr Asks Apple to Unlock Pensacola Killer’s Phones, Setting Up Clash United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces San Bernardino, Calif, Shooting (2015) Privacy Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting (2019) mass shootings Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Computer Security Barr, William P Apple Inc Alshamrani, Mohammed Saeed

An Apple billboard displayed the company’s stance on privacy in Las Vegas this month.Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Justice Department officials have long pushed for a legislative solution to the problem of “going dark,” law enforcement’s term for how increasingly secure phones have made it harder to solve crimes, and the Pensacola investigation gives them a prominent chance to make their case. Mr. Barr said that Trump administration officials have again begun discussing a legislative fix.

But the F.B.I. has been bruised by Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated complaints that former officials plotted to undercut his presidency and by a major inspector general’s report last month that revealed serious errors with aspects of the Russia investigation. A broad bipartisan consensus among lawmakers allowing the bureau to broaden its surveillance authorities is most likely elusive, though some lawmakers singled out Apple for its refusal to change its stance.

“Companies shouldn’t be allowed to shield criminals and terrorists from lawful efforts to solve crimes and protect our citizens,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said in a statement. “Apple has a notorious history of siding with terrorists over law enforcement. I hope in this case they’ll change course and actually work with the F.B.I.”

Apple typically complies with court orders to turn over information on its servers and has given investigators materials from Mr. Alshamrani’s iCloud account but said that it would turn over only the data it had, implying that it would not work to unlock the phones.

Investigators secured a court order within a day of the shooting allowing them to search the phones, Mr. Barr said. He turned up the pressure on Apple a week after the F.B.I.’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, asked the company for help searching Mr. Alshamrani’s iPhones.

Officials said that the F.B.I. is still trying to access the phones on its own and approached Apple only after asking other government agencies, foreign governments and third-party technology vendors for help, to no avail.

The devices were older models: an iPhone 7 with a fingerprint reader and an iPhone 5, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Justice Department officials said that investigators have yet to make a final determination about whether Mr. Alshamrani conspired with others. They said that Saudi government was offering “unprecedented” cooperation but that “we need to get into those phones.”

Mr. Barr and other law enforcement officials described a 15-minute shootout before security officers shot Mr. Alshamrani to death. During the firefight, Mr. Alshamrani paused at one point to shoot one of his phones once, Mr. Barr said, adding that his other phone was also damaged but that the F.B.I. was able to repair them well enough to be searched.

Mr. Alshamrani also shot at photographs of President Trump and one of his predecessors, Mr. Bowdich said. A person familiar with the investigation identified the unnamed president as George W. Bush.

His weapon was lawfully purchased in Florida under an exemption that allows nonimmigrant visa holders to purchase firearms if they have a valid hunting license or permit, officials said.

Law enforcement officials have continued to discuss Mr. Alshamrani’s phones with Apple, they said.

“We’re not trying to weaken encryption, to be clear,” David Bowdich, the deputy director of the F.B.I., said at the news conference, noting that the issue has come up with thousands of devices that investigators want to see in other cases.

“We talk about this on a daily basis,” he said. Mr. Bowdich was the bureau’s top agent overseeing the San Bernardino investigation and was part of the effort to push Apple to crack into the phone in that case.

But much has also changed for Apple in the years since Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, excoriated the Obama administration publicly and privately in 2014 for attacking strong encryption. Obama officials who were upset by Apple’s stance on privacy, along with its decision to shelter billions of dollars in offshore accounts and make its products almost exclusively in China, aired those grievances quietly.

Now Apple is fighting the Trump administration, and President Trump has shown far more willingness to publicly criticize companies and public figures. When he recently claimed falsely that Apple had opened a manufacturing plant in Texas at his behest, the company remained silent rather than correct him.

At the same time, Apple has financially benefited more under Mr. Trump than under President Barack Obama. It reaped a windfall from the Trump administration’s tax cuts, and Mr. Trump said he might shield Apple from the country’s tariff war with China.

He had said last month that finding a way for law enforcement to gain access to encrypted technology was one of the Justice Department’s “highest priorities.”

Mr. Alshamrani, who was killed at the scene of the attack, came to the United States in 2017 and soon started strike-fighter training in Florida. Investigators believe he may have been influenced by extremists as early as 2015.

Mr. Barr also refuted reports that other Saudi trainees had known of and recorded video of the shooting. Mr. Alshamrani arrived at the scene by himself and others in the area began recording the commotion only after he had opened fire, Mr. Barr said. They and other Saudi cadets cooperated with the inquiry, he added.

Jack Nicas contributed reporting from San Francisco.

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Space Force Bible Blessing At National Cathedral Sparks Outrage

Westlake Legal Group ap_19355089709746-b41adf6f9a148b4907d73db4dd9852b641ca4064-s800-c15 Space Force Bible Blessing At National Cathedral Sparks Outrage

President Trump gives the pen used to sign a copy of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 to the United States Space Force’s first Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John Raymond (left) on Dec. 20. Kevin Wolf/AP hide caption

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Kevin Wolf/AP

Westlake Legal Group  Space Force Bible Blessing At National Cathedral Sparks Outrage

President Trump gives the pen used to sign a copy of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 to the United States Space Force’s first Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John Raymond (left) on Dec. 20.

Kevin Wolf/AP

The blessing of what’s being called “the official Bible for the new U.S. Space Force” at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday is drawing an outpouring of criticism on social media and condemnation from a prominent religious freedom advocacy group.

“The Military Religious Freedom Foundation condemns, in as full throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy,” MRFF
founder and president Mikey Weinstein writes in a statement
denouncing the Bible blessing. “The utilization of a Christian bible to ‘swear in’ commanders of the new Space Force or any other [Department of Defense] branch at ANY level is completely violative of the bedrock separation of church and state mandate of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

In a tweet on Sunday, the Washington National Cathedral posted a statement describing the Bible that was blessed during a morning service as a Space Force official Bible “which will be used to swear in all commanders of America’s newest military branch.”

“Gross,” writes one Twitter respondent identifying himself as United Church of Christ pastor Seth Wispelwey of Tucson.

“Um. We don’t swear our military oaths on a Bible, or any text for that matter,” writes Gidget, a self-described veteran, in another reply. “Stand at attention, right hand up. That’s it.”

At the National Cathedral ceremony, U.S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Steven Schaik stands in full dress uniform before the congregation holding a King James Bible donated by the Museum of the Bible, a private Washington, D.C., institution whose board chairman is Hobby Lobby president Steve Green.

“Accept this Bible which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force,” intones the Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, “that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”

The blessing of the Bible also features flattering words for President Trump, who strongly advocated creating the Space Force, from the Episcopal Church’s bishop suffragan for the armed forces.

“Almighty God, who set the planets in their courses and the stars in space,” the Rev. Carl Wright implores, “look with favor, we pray you, upon the commander in chief, the 45th president of this great nation, who looked to the heavens and dared to dream of a safer future for all mankind.”

Wright says the Bible will be entrusted to Gen. John Raymond, who last month assumed command of the U.S. Space Force.

The MRFF’s Weinstein says he’s lodging a formal complaint about the Bible blessing with Defense Secretary Mark Esper “to stop this train-wreck disaster in its stinking tracks from ever even leaving the station.”

Weinstein says the “official Bible” of the U.S. Space Force violates the Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause in Air Force Instruction 1-1, which states that leaders “must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.”

An Air Force spokesperson says in an emailed statement that while the Bible blessed at the National Cathedral will be used to swear in Gen. Raymond as Chief of Space Operations, “there is no official religious or other sacred text, nor is there any requirement for a member to use any sacred or religious text, during swearing-in ceremonies.”

Being sworn in with or without a Bible, writes Air Force press desk officer Lynn Kirby, “will remain a personal choice for each individual swearing in.”

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Barr Asks Apple to Unlock Pensacola Killer’s Phones, Setting Up Clash

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr declared on Monday that a deadly shooting last month at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., was an act of terrorism, and he asked Apple in an unusually high-profile request to provide access to two phones used by the gunman.

Mr. Barr’s appeal was an escalation of an ongoing fight between the Justice Department and Apple pitting personal privacy against public safety.

“This situation perfectly illustrates why it is critical that the public be able to get access to digital evidence,” Mr. Barr said, calling on technology companies to find a solution and complaining that Apple had provided no “substantive assistance.”

Detailing the results of the investigation into the Dec. 6 shooting that killed three sailors and wounded eight others, Mr. Barr said the gunman, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani — a Saudi air force cadet training with the American military — had displayed extremist leanings.

Mr. Alshamrani warned on last year’s anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that “the countdown has begun” and posted other anti-American, anti-Israeli and jihadist social media messages, some within hours of attacking the base, Mr. Barr said. “The evidence shows that the shooter was motivated by jihadist ideology,” Mr. Barr said.

The government has also removed from the country some 21 Saudi students who trained with the American military, Mr. Barr said. He stressed that investigators found no connection to the shooting among the cadets but that some had ties to extremist movements or possessed child pornography. Mr. Barr said the cases were too weak to prosecute but that Saudi Arabia kicked the trainees out of the program.

Mr. Barr focused attention on the Justice Department’s fight on advanced encryption and other digital security measures by taking aim at Apple, which has long touted security as a major feature of its phones. In 2014, Apple started building encryption into iPhones that can be unlocked only with the device’s password or a fingerprint reader, and said that it cannot bypass the security.

The technology has frustrated law enforcement officials, who accuse Apple of providing a safe haven for criminals. Justice Department officials said that they need access to Mr. Alshamrani’s phones to see data and messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp to determine whether he had discussed his plans with others at the base and whether he was acting alone or with help.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. But it will not back down from its unequivocal support of encryption that is impossible to crack, people close to the company said.

Apple has argued that obtaining data from phones themselves would require it to build a backdoor, which it said would set a dangerous precedent for user privacy and cybersecurity. Cracking one phone would compromise the security of all Apple devices, company executives have warned, saying that if it were to develop a way to crack into one phone, law enforcement officials would demand they use it repeatedly.

Mr. Barr indicated that he is ready for a sharp fight. “We don’t want to get into a world where we have to spend months and even years exhausting efforts when lives are in the balance,” he said. “We should be able to get in when we have a warrant that establishes that criminal activity is underway.”

The confrontation echoed the legal standoff over an iPhone used by a gunman who killed 14 people in a terrorism attack in San Bernardino, Calif., in late 2015. Apple defied a court order to assist the F.B.I. in its efforts to search his device, setting off a fight over whether privacy enabled by impossible-to-crack encryption harmed public safety.

The San Bernardino dispute was resolved when the F.B.I. found a private company to bypass the iPhone’s encryption. Tensions between the two sides, however, remained, and Apple worked to ensure that neither the government nor private contractors could open its phones.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_148837677_1d3236be-faea-495e-826d-044bcd487a4b-articleLarge Barr Asks Apple to Unlock Pensacola Killer’s Phones, Setting Up Clash United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces San Bernardino, Calif, Shooting (2015) Privacy Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting (2019) mass shootings Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Computer Security Barr, William P Apple Inc Alshamrani, Mohammed Saeed

An Apple billboard displayed the company’s stance on privacy in Las Vegas this month.Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Justice Department officials have long pushed for a legislative solution to the problem of “going dark,” law enforcement’s term for how increasingly secure phones have made it harder to solve crimes, and the Pensacola investigation gives them a prominent chance to make their case. Mr. Barr said that Trump administration officials have again begun discussing a legislative fix.

But the F.B.I. has been bruised by Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated complaints that former officials plotted to undercut his presidency and by a major inspector general’s report last month that revealed serious errors with aspects of the Russia investigation. A broad bipartisan consensus among lawmakers allowing the bureau to broaden its surveillance authorities is most likely elusive, though some lawmakers singled out Apple for its refusal to change its stance.

“Companies shouldn’t be allowed to shield criminals and terrorists from lawful efforts to solve crimes and protect our citizens,” Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said in a statement. “Apple has a notorious history of siding with terrorists over law enforcement. I hope in this case they’ll change course and actually work with the F.B.I.”

Apple typically complies with court orders to turn over information on its servers and has given investigators materials from Mr. Alshamrani’s iCloud account but said that it would turn over only the data it had, implying that it would not work to unlock the phones.

Investigators secured a court order within a day of the shooting allowing them to search the phones, Mr. Barr said. He turned up the pressure on Apple a week after the F.B.I.’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, asked the company for help searching Mr. Alshamrani’s iPhones.

Officials said that the F.B.I. is still trying to access the phones on its own and approached Apple only after asking other government agencies, foreign governments and third-party technology vendors for help, to no avail.

The devices were older models: an iPhone 7 with a fingerprint reader and an iPhone 5, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Justice Department officials said that investigators have yet to make a final determination about whether Mr. Alshamrani conspired with others. They said that Saudi government was offering “unprecedented” cooperation but that “we need to get into those phones.”

Mr. Barr and other law enforcement officials described a 15-minute shootout before security officers shot Mr. Alshamrani to death. During the firefight, Mr. Alshamrani paused at one point to shoot one of his phones once, Mr. Barr said, adding that his other phone was also damaged but that the F.B.I. was able to repair them well enough to be searched.

Mr. Alshamrani also shot at photographs of President Trump and one of his predecessors, Mr. Bowdich said. A person familiar with the investigation identified the unnamed president as George W. Bush.

His weapon was lawfully purchased in Florida under an exemption that allows nonimmigrant visa holders to purchase firearms if they have a valid hunting license or permit, officials said.

Law enforcement officials have continued to discuss Mr. Alshamrani’s phones with Apple, they said.

“We’re not trying to weaken encryption, to be clear,” David Bowdich, the deputy director of the F.B.I., said at the news conference, noting that the issue has come up with thousands of devices that investigators want to see in other cases.

“We talk about this on a daily basis,” he said. Mr. Bowdich was the bureau’s top agent overseeing the San Bernardino investigation and was part of the effort to push Apple to crack into the phone in that case.

But much has also changed for Apple in the years since Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, excoriated the Obama administration publicly and privately in 2014 for attacking strong encryption. Obama officials who were upset by Apple’s stance on privacy, along with its decision to shelter billions of dollars in offshore accounts and make its products almost exclusively in China, aired those grievances quietly.

Now Apple is fighting the Trump administration, and President Trump has shown far more willingness to publicly criticize companies and public figures. When he recently claimed falsely that Apple had opened a manufacturing plant in Texas at his behest, the company remained silent rather than correct him.

At the same time, Apple has financially benefited more under Mr. Trump than under President Barack Obama. It reaped a windfall from the Trump administration’s tax cuts, and Mr. Trump said he might shield Apple from the country’s tariff war with China.

He had said last month that finding a way for law enforcement to gain access to encrypted technology was one of the Justice Department’s “highest priorities.”

Mr. Alshamrani, who was killed at the scene of the attack, came to the United States in 2017 and soon started strike-fighter training in Florida. Investigators believe he may have been influenced by extremists as early as 2015.

Mr. Barr also refuted reports that other Saudi trainees had known of and recorded video of the shooting. Mr. Alshamrani arrived at the scene by himself and others in the area began recording the commotion only after he had opened fire, Mr. Barr said. They and other Saudi cadets cooperated with the inquiry, he added.

Jack Nicas contributed reporting from San Francisco.

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

Video surfaces of Sanders saying ‘a woman could be elected president,’ contradicting CNN report

Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d

An old video clip surfaced on social media on Monday showing Bernie Sanders claiming that a woman “could be elected president,” which contradicts a CNN report alleging that he had told his Senate colleague Elizabeth Warren the opposite.

CNN reported on Monday that according to multiple sources close to Warren and familiar with the encounter, Sanders had told the Massachusetts Democrat during a December 2018 meeting prior to either of them launching their presidential bids and after learning that she was running, Sanders “responded that he did not believe a woman could win.”

Since that report was published, a Twitter user shared a clip from 1988 of Sanders, who at the time was expressing his support for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign.

“The real issue is not whether you’re black or white, whether you’re a woman or a man — in my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States,” Sanders said. “The real issue is whose side are you on? Are you on the side of workers and poor people or are you on the side of big money and the corporations?”

SANDERS COMPARES TRUMP TAKING OUT SOLEIMANI TO PUTIN ‘ASSASSINATING DISSIDENTS’

The Warren campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News for comment. It also did not comment on CNN’s story.

Sanders, however, offered a strong denial against the claims that were made about him.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders told Fox News. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Supporters and surrogates of Sanders have also been circulating a report from The New York Times about the same meeting that was published around the time it happened, citing unnamed officials who told the paper that neither Sanders nor Warren “sought support from the other or tried to dissuade the other from running.”

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Others slammed the CNN for running the report without anyone alleging the claims going on record.

This “reporting” + self promotion @CNN is reprehensible. @BernieSanders has categorically denied saying this. So, you @mj_lee should name your sources publicly, retract the story, or change the lede. You do not know what was said. You weren’t there + have no recording. #bias,” former MSNBC anchor David Shuster reacted.

“This is a case in which journalists should demand people go on record or otherwise not run the story. Four sources, none in the room, all anonymous (and I’m willing to wager, all with a certain political motivation),” Daily Caller editor in chief Geoffrey Ingersoll wrote.

“None of the sources were in the meeting. How can CNN publish this?” The Young Turks’ Emma Vigeland asked.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Andrew Craft contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d   Westlake Legal Group Bernie-Sanders-Elizabeth-Warren-AP Video surfaces of Sanders saying 'a woman could be elected president,' contradicting CNN report Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 44d892d7-c502-57d4-a02b-05814d92f02d

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