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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 224)

Jack Keane on Iran standoff: Trump using economic pressure to bring Tehran to negotiating table

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-01-08-at-2.58.02-PM Jack Keane on Iran standoff: Trump using economic pressure to bring Tehran to negotiating table Joshua Nelson fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-daily-briefing-dana-perino fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f33d05a-52f4-5e67-b57a-3fd5cbb73e18

After President Trump declared that Iran “appears to be standing down” in the wake of Tuesday’s missile strikes on Iraqi airbases, Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane said that Trump had executed a diplomatic strategy that could enable the U.S. to negotiate with Iran without further military action.

“It changed from the strategy of appeasement under the Obama administration to confrontation using economic pressure to do that,” Keane told “The Daily Briefing” Wednesday.

“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy,” Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House the morning after the attacks. “No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime.”

TRANSCRIPT OF TRUMP’S IRAN REMARKS

While the attacks marked the latest escalation with Tehran in the precarious aftermath of a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani last week, they also appeared to open the door to reducing tensions after it became clear that no American forces were killed. Trump indicated Wednesday that he indeed considers the nature of the strikes as a sign that Tehran has taken an off-ramp.

At the same time, Trump said the U.S. continues to evaluate options and would immediately impose economic sanctions “until Iran changes its behavior.” He also called on other world powers to break away from the Iran nuclear deal and called on NATO to become more involved in the Middle East.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Keane said that Trump wants economic sanctions to bring Iranians to the negotiating table.

“He’s not using guns to do that,” he said.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-01-08-at-2.58.02-PM Jack Keane on Iran standoff: Trump using economic pressure to bring Tehran to negotiating table Joshua Nelson fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-daily-briefing-dana-perino fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f33d05a-52f4-5e67-b57a-3fd5cbb73e18   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2020-01-08-at-2.58.02-PM Jack Keane on Iran standoff: Trump using economic pressure to bring Tehran to negotiating table Joshua Nelson fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-daily-briefing-dana-perino fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 1f33d05a-52f4-5e67-b57a-3fd5cbb73e18

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Carlos Ghosn Describes ‘a Lot of Imagination’ in Accounts of His Escape

It was part corporate presentation, part legal defense, part rambling tirade.

For more than two hours on Wednesday, Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan executive who fled house arrest in Japan and surfaced in Lebanon last month, launched an impassioned defense of his decision to escape, portraying himself as the victim of a rigged justice system and a corporate coup by disloyal underlings.

By the end of the day, sitting at a conference room with his wife, Mr. Ghosn seemed less defiant than tired. In an interview with The New York Times, he acknowledged that he had regrets. The biggest: He wished he had retired before everything unraveled.

Mr. Ghosn, the former head of an auto empire that spanned continents, was arrested in late 2018 and was facing charges of financial wrongdoing. The reporters who gathered to hear him speak at a Beirut news conference had hoped for an account of his daring international escape — a dash across Japan to a chartered jet that carried him out of the country.

Instead, they were treated to a wide-ranging and sometimes hard-to-follow defense against the charges that Japanese prosecutors had leveled against him. He attacked the authorities in Tokyo as well as executives at Nissan.

Japanese prosecutors responded on Wednesday with a statement issued soon after Mr. Ghosn’s conference ended, saying that he had been deemed a flight risk, which “is obvious from the fact that he actually fled and illegally departed from the country.”

“His statements during his press conference today failed to justify his acts,” the Tokyo prosecutor’s office said.

Mr. Ghosn, speaking in English, French and Arabic during the news conference, said he was the victim of “character assassination” and “political persecution.”

In the interview with The Times, Mr. Ghosn was mum on the details of his escape, except to say that “there is a lot of imagination” in some media accounts of his brazen flight.

Mr. Ghosn expressed optimism about his future, including the odds that he will be welcomed back into elite company. Since arriving in Lebanon, he said, a number of prominent organizations, including an Ivy League university, have courted him for possible speaking engagements.

“A lot of people want to get in contact with me,” he said.

Below are highlights of Mr. Ghosn’s first day speaking to the press about his arrest and escape:

Video

transcript

‘I Was Left With No Other Choice,’ Ghosn Says of Fleeing Japan

For the first time since he fled Japan more than a week ago, Carlos Ghosn, the former auto executive, told his story to the public.

I have not experienced a moment of freedom since Nov. 19, 2018. It is impossible, it is impossible to express the depths of that deprivation, and my profound appreciation to once again be able to be reunited with my family and loved ones. I did not escape justice. I fled injustice and persecution — political persecution. Having endured more than 400 days of inhumane treatment in a system designed to break me and unwilling to provide me even minimal justice, I was left with no other choice but to protect myself and my family. It was a difficult decision, and a risk one only takes if resigned to the impossibility of a fair trial.

Westlake Legal Group 08ghosnbriefing-2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v5 Carlos Ghosn Describes ‘a Lot of Imagination’ in Accounts of His Escape Nissan Motor Co Ghosn, Carlos Beirut (Lebanon) Automobiles

For the first time since he fled Japan more than a week ago, Carlos Ghosn, the former auto executive, told his story to the public.CreditCredit…Diego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

As an international fugitive, Mr. Ghosn faces an uncertain future. He is intent on clearing his name, but it is unclear what legal route he could take.

“I am used to what you call Mission Impossible,” he said at the news conference, responding to a question from a reporter about whether he will spend the rest of his life as a fugitive. He added: “I would be willing to stand trial anywhere where I think I could have a fair trial.”

Mr. Ghosn is a citizen of France, Brazil and Lebanon. Asked whether he would consider going to France, Mr. Ghosn said he was content in Lebanon. “I’m very happy to be here,” he said. “I’m with my friends, I’m with my family, my kids can come visit me. I can use the phone, I can use the internet.”

In recent days, officials in France have hardened their stance on Mr. Ghosn, calling him a “defendant like any other” and saying he should face justice in a court of law.

Mr. Ghosn began his speech as if he were giving a corporate presentation, promising a point-by-point defense and projecting documents onto a screen.

He outlined the minutiae of the case against him and discussed specific emails and statements to prosecutors, complete with a presentation of documents to support his argument. But there was a problem: The text was too small for anyone in the room to read.

He noted that both of his companies had fared worse without him. “By the way, the market cap decrease of Nissan is more than $10 billion,” he said. “By the way, Renault is not better. … The market cap of Renault went down by more than $5 billion.”

“As a shareholder of Nissan, I say who is protecting me?” he said.

Mr. Ghosn pushed his theory that his arrest was the work of Nissan executives, saying he thought his arrest was motivated by the fact that Nissan’s performance had begun to decline.

And, he said, the charge of underreporting income isn’t one that should have landed him in jail.

Mr. Ghosn has also claimed the charges against him were an effort by Nissan and Japanese officials to prevent a merger with Renault.

Taking questions from reporters, he said that rather than a merger, he had proposed creating a holding company that would have had one board of directors but allowed Nissan and Renault to continue operating as separate companies.

He defended a lavish party that he held at the Palace of Versailles in 2016 that has been the subject of an investigation by French prosecutors. At question is whether the party was a misuse of company money, because it coincided with Mr. Ghosn’s wedding to his second wife, Carole, and with her 50th birthday.

Mr. Ghosn said the party emerged from a pre-existing relationship between Versailles and the auto alliance.

Still, he said, “Obviously this is not a very cheap party.”

One of the major public criticisms of Mr. Ghosn has involved houses that reports have said Nissan purchased for Mr. Ghosn’s benefit. The properties include those in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn argued that the houses were purchased with the assent of top officials at Nissan. He displayed documents that he said showed that Greg Kelly, his onetime lieutenant, and Hiroto Saikawa, his successor as chief executive and one of the company officials he blames for his downfall, signed off on the purchases.

The criminal charges against Mr. Ghosn in Japan do not include the properties. But Mr. Ghosn said the accusations were leaked as part of a Nissan smear campaign.

“This is part of the character assassination,” he said.

Since his arrest, Mr. Ghosn and his family have denounced the Japanese justice system, arguing that the former auto executive had been a victim of “injustice and political persecution.” His comments followed a similar line.

“I have not experienced a moment of freedom since Nov. 19, 2018,” he told the room of reporters. “It is impossible to express the depth of the aggravation and my profound appreciation once again to be able to be reunited with my family and loved ones.”

Mr. Ghosn defended his decision to flee Japan rather than face trial.

“I did not escape justice. I fled injustice and political persecution,” he said. “I was left with no other choice but to protect myself and my family.”

Mr. Ghosn also assailed his treatment by prosecutors.

Prosecutors in Tokyo on Wednesday issued a lengthy statement saying that Mr. Ghosn’s claim of a conspiracy between them and Nissan is “categorically false and completely contrary to fact.”

The statement said Mr. Ghosn’s treatment reflected the fact that he was a flight risk.

Earlier in the day, the authorities entered the offices of Mr. Ghosn’s lawyers in Japan with a search warrant. But the law firm of Junichiro Hironaka, Mr. Ghosn’s top lawyer in Japan, said that lawyers kept the authorities from confiscating two computers that Mr. Ghosn had used.

Mr. Ghosn walked with his wife, Carole, into a frenzy of camera operators in a plain white conference room in Beirut, with a burst of flash bulbs going off. Organizers were pleading with the camera operators to back off. A burly, bearded bodyguard stood next to Mr. Ghosn at the lectern.

Before he emerged, more than 100 journalists from across the world had jostled to get inside the conference room at the Lebanese Press Syndicate. A security team checked IDs and bags, and Lebanese reporters interviewed their Japanese counterparts about Mr. Ghosn’s escape from Tokyo.

Mr. Ghosn, 65, a celebrity in Japan and a hero to many in Lebanon, oversaw a turnaround at Nissan starting in the late 1990s and had the rare position of running two major companies simultaneously: Nissan and Renault, based in France.

Born in Brazil and raised in Lebanon, Mr. Ghosnjoined Renault as an executive in the 1990s.

But his career collapsed in late 2018, when he was arrested by the Japanese authorities and later charged with underreporting his compensation and shifting personal financial losses to Nissan. Nissan had also been indicted on charges of improperly reporting Mr. Ghosn’s income — and had said it would cooperate with prosecutors.

Mr. Ghosn was held for more than 100 days, after which he was in and out of jail. He was released after he posted bail and agreed to strict conditions: He could not leave Tokyo, and his movements would be monitored, although he was not required to wear an ankle bracelet.

After he was arrested again in April, prosecutors imposed another condition for his release: Mr. Ghosn was forbidden from communicating with his wife.

No official account of how Mr. Ghosn escaped has emerged yet. But reporting by The New York Times and the news media in multiple countries has revealed a basic outline of what likely took place.

On the afternoon of Dec. 29, he walked out of his home in Tokyo and took a bullet train to Osaka, about 340 miles southwest of the capital. Then he boarded a corporate jet at Kansai International Airport, hidden inside a box designed for concert equipment. He landed at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, switched planes and flew to Beirut.

When he spoke on Wednesday, Mr. Ghosn was quick to tell reporters that he was not planning to talk about the escape.

“I am here to talk about why I left,” he said.

Kevin Granville, Carlos Tejada and Geneva Abdul contributed reporting.

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

Read The Wild Reactions To Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Stepping Down

Westlake Legal Group 5e1639ce24000059345a5519 Read The Wild Reactions To Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Stepping Down

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the royals wrote on Instagram, in the caption of a photo from their engagement announcement in November 2016.

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex added, noting that they will now split their time between the U.K. and North America. 

People on Twitter, naturally, lost it over the news and had all kinds of reactions to the “Meg-xit” on their hands.  

“Good for Meghan and Harry opting out of the UK tabloids staggering racism and the lack of support from the royal family,” author Roxane Gay tweeted. “They will be fine.” 

Most people were rooting for the couple’s decision — and for Meghan, of course: 

And obviously, some people wondered how long it would take for them to adjust to “normal” life: 

A lot of people were wondering what was going on with the writing staff of “The Crown”:

And of course, there were allusions Prince Andrew’s recent decision to step back from his place in the royal family after his ties to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein came to light: 

It’s unclear what the future holds for the royals ― or when exactly they’ll make the official split ― but Harry alluded to his future work in an interview in October for an ITV documentary. 

“The rest of our lives, our life’s work will be predominately focused on Africa, on conservation,” he said in “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.”

“There are 19 Commonwealth countries across this continent so there’s a lot of things to be done, but there’s also huge potential,” Harry added. 

Subscribe to HuffPost’s Watching the Royals newsletter for all things Windsor (and beyond). 

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Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

transcript

‘Iran Appears to Be Standing Down,’ Trump Says

In an address to the nation, President Trump spoke about the conflict with Iran after its retaliatory strikes on two bases housing American troops, and announced new economic sanctions against Tehran.

As long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned, and a very good thing for the world. The American people should be extremely grateful and happy. No Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime. We suffered no casualties. All of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases. The United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior.

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-prexy-sub1-videoSixteenByNine3000-v5 Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran: Live Updates United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Deaths (Fatalities) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

In an address to the nation, President Trump spoke about the conflict with Iran after its retaliatory strikes on two bases housing American troops, and announced new economic sanctions against Tehran.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump announced new economic sanctions against Tehran but did not call for more military action against the Iranians during his first formal public remarks about the conflict since ordering the drone strike of Iran’s most important general last week.

“The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it,” Mr. Trump said.

Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other military officials, the president did little to explain his reasoning for ordering the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

“He should have been terminated long ago,” Mr. Trump said.

Early Wednesday, the Iranians retaliated by launching more than 20 ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where Americans are posted. Mr. Trump said no Americans were killed.

The administration has cited vague intelligence threats against American interests to explain the decision to kill the Iranian general. But many have found its strategy and goals for Iran was conflicting and confusing. Mr. Trump was forced to walk back threats to target Iranian cultural sites after Mr. Esper made clear that such actions would be a war crime.

“As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday.

The United States already has crippling sanctions in place against Iran. In June, Mr. Trump announced a new round in response to Tehran’s actions against tankers in international waters. And in the spring of 2019, the United States cut off revenues from Iranian oil experts, hitting directly at the heart of the country’s economy.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166821168_e614f981-eeeb-42d0-b443-dd0b92cdad53-articleLarge Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran: Live Updates United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Deaths (Fatalities) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

Celebrating in Tehran with pictures of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani after Iran launched missiles at American forces in Iraq.Credit…Wana News Agency, via Reuters

Senior Iraqi defense officials who work with the United States command said that no Americans or Iraqis had been killed in the attacks. In a short statement released on Wednesday morning, the Joint Command in Baghdad, which includes both Iraqi troops and soldiers from the international coalition, said that neither force “recorded any losses.”

Without American deaths from Iran’s missiles, Mr. Trump may not have felt the same pressure to punch back that he would have confronted with high troop casualties.

In a briefing in Washington, an official said that the Pentagon “had no confirmation” that any Americans had been killed. Australia, Britain, Denmark, Poland and Sweden, whose troops are stationed in Iraq alongside American forces, also said that none of their service members had been killed.

Westlake Legal Group iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack-1578026455663-articleLarge-v11 Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran: Live Updates United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Deaths (Fatalities) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

Here’s how the situation developed over the last two weeks.

Some Iranian outlets had a different version of events. Fars, a news agency that is associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said that “at least 80 U.S. troops” had been killed in the strikes, citing an unnamed senior official from the military group.

General Suleimani was killed on Friday in Baghdad in a drone strike ordered by President Trump. American officials said the general, who led the foreign expeditionary Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, had been planning imminent attacks on American interests. One American official has since described that intelligence as thin.

“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.” Mr. Zarif wrote in his Twitter message, adding, “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

Although the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Wednesday that his country had concluded its attack, officials around the region cautioned that the statement did not mean Tehran was done maneuvering, and Iran’s leadership has reiterated its goal of forcing United States troops out of the Middle East.

The missiles, launched from Iran, struck Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq and another in Erbil, in the north of the country.

Iranian news media reported that the attacks had begun hours after the remains of General Suleimani were returned to his hometown in Iran for burial. President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday wrote on Twitter that the general “fought heroically” against a number of jihadist groups and that Europe was safer because of his efforts.

“Our final answer to his assassination will be to kick all US forces out of the region,” he posted.

An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, said on Wednesday that the crisis Iraq was experiencing had ended and called on militia groups not to carry out attacks, Reuters reported.

Mr. al-Sadr said Iraq should still seek to expel foreign troops, but appeared to be laying his hopes in a new Iraqi government. One capable of protecting the nation’s sovereignty and independence should be formed in the next 15 days, he said.

“I call on the Iraqi factions to be deliberate, patient, and not to start military actions, and to shut down the extremist voices of some rogue elements until all political, parliamentary and international methods have been exhausted,” he said.

Mr. al-Sadr’s remarks came after Iranian and American officials made statements attempting to de-escalate the conflict.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi of Iraq also released a statement on Wednesday saying his government would “continue its intense attempts to prevent escalation” in the simmering conflict.

After Iranian missiles struck bases housing American troops in Iraq on Wednesday, Mr. Abdul Mahdi objected to the violation of his country’s sovereignty. His comments echoed remarks he made after an American drone strike killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Friday, and after the United States struck an Iranian-backed militia in western Iraq in late December.

Two bases housing American troops were targeted by Iran in Wednesday’s missile strikes: Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province and another installation in Erbil, in the Kurdistan region.

In December 2018, President Trump visited American military forces at the Asad base. It was his first trip to troops stationed in a combat zone.

The base is an Iraqi installation that has long been a hub for American military operations in western Iraq, and other international coalition troops have also been stationed there in recent years.

The base in Erbil has been a Special Operations hub, home to hundreds of troops, logistics personnel and intelligence specialists. Transport aircraft, gunships and reconnaissance planes have used the airport as an anchor point for operations in both northern Iraq and deep into Syria.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of the president, declared Mr. Trump’s speech on Iran “excellent.” He said Mr. Trump had briefed him the night before.

“I said to the Iranian leadership and people: He’s giving you a pathway to peace — I hope you’ll take it,” Mr. Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, acknowledged that Mr. Trump seemed to pulling American forces off the “path to conventional war.” But pointing to the new set of sanctions the president announced against Iran, he said, “It also doesn’t seem as if we are truly de-escalating.”

“Remember, Iran started their provocations in response to our unilateral set of sanctions,” Mr. Murphy said. “Time will tell, but I’m not sure that this is going to be effective in de-escalating the crisis.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, said on Wednesday that his military had dealt the United States a “slap in the face” when it unleashed missiles at American forces stationed in Iraq.

In a televised address from the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Khamenei said incremental military actions against the United States alone were “not sufficient.”

“What matters is that the presence of America, which is a source of corruption in this region, should come to an end,” he said to a hall filled with imams and others.

“Death to America!,” the crowd chanted. “Death to Israel!”

Ayatollah Khamenei said that “sitting at the negotiating table” with American envoys would open the door to greater American intervention in the region and that such negotiations therefore must “come to an end.”

“This region,” he said, “does not accept the U.S. presence.”

The ayatollah provided no additional details about the strikes on Tuesday night, in which, American allies say, no one was killed.

He called Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, considered to have been the second-most powerful man in Iran, a “dear friend to us,” and praised him as a “great, brave warrior.”

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in his meeting with the council of ministers on Wednesday morning, detailed his country’s larger regional goal in comments directed at the Americans. “You cut off the hand of Qassim Suleimani from his body and we will cut off your feet from the region,” he said.

A 4.5-magnitude earthquake struck southern Iran just before dawn on Wednesday, the United States Geological Survey reported, in the same region as the troubled Bushehr nuclear power plant.

No casualties were immediately reported, though rescue teams were working at the site, the state-run IRNA news agency said.

The quake was reported about 30 miles from the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear plant, long seen as a safety concern by Western countries. It has been plagued by construction delays and technical problems, and is on an active fault line.

Two more reactors are planned for the same site. Construction on the first of those began in November.

The quake struck just hours after Iran launched missiles at United States forces based in Iraq and an airliner carrying more than 170 people crashed after takeoff from Tehran, killing everyone on board.

A Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 carrying at least 170 people crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing everyone aboard, according to the Iranian state news media.

The circumstances of the crash were unclear. The Iranian outlets cited technical problems with the plane, which was bound for Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The crash came at a tense time in Iran, as conflict with the United States had the country on edge.

Photographs posted by Iranian news organizations showed rescuers examining smoking rubble in a field. The state-run Iranian Students’ News Agency shared a video it said showed the predawn crash, with a distant light descending in the distance before a bright burst filled the sky upon impact.

The plane, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, departed Imam Khomeini International Airport, which serves Tehran, at 6:12 a.m. on Wednesday and lost contact at 6:14 a.m., according to a flight tracker.

Source: Flightradar24

By The New York Times

“We are aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information,” Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing has been under intense scrutiny after the crash of two 737 Max jets in less than five months, which together killed 346 people. The Max has been grounded worldwide since March, creating a crisis for the company and leading to the firing of the chief executive.

The crash on Wednesday could also touch a nerve politically in Ukraine as the airline operating the flight, Ukraine International Airlines, is partly owned through a network of offshore companies by Ihor Kolomoisky, an oligarch with close ties to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Ukrainian president expressed his condolences to the relatives and friends of the passengers and crew. Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said the victims included 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians, including nine Ukrainian crew members. Sixty-three passengers were from Canada, 10 from Sweden, four from Afghanistan, three from Britain and three from Germany, he said.

Video

transcript

Iran Retaliates Against U.S. Forces in Iraq

Iran launched missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq where American and Iraqi forces are stationed, in retaliation for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in a U.S. airstrike. American and Iraqi officials said there were no casualties.

As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-live-briefing-live-1-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Trump Announces New Sanctions Against Iran: Live Updates United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Deaths (Fatalities) Aviation Accidents, Safety and Disasters

Iran launched missile attacks on two military bases in Iraq where American and Iraqi forces are stationed, in retaliation for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in a U.S. airstrike. American and Iraqi officials said there were no casualties.CreditCredit…Nasser Nasser/Associated Press

A number of international airlines announced that flights would be avoiding the airspace over Iran and Iraq after reports of strikes on bases housing American troops in Iraq. The moves also came after the apparently unrelated news of the crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane in the early hours of Wednesday near Tehran. Other airlines have canceled flights to the region.

On Tuesday, the F.A.A. barred American airliners from flying over Iran, citing the risk of commercial planes being mistaken for military aircraft.

The Dutch airline KLM said on Wednesday that it was no longer flying in Iraqi or Iranian airspace “until further notice,” citing security risks. Air France and the Australian carrier Qantas took similar measures, news agencies reported.

The German carrier Lufthansa also announced the temporary cancellation of a daily flight between Frankfurt and Tehran because of the security situation, according to Reuters, but later said it would restart that route on Thursday.

The European Union on Wednesday condemned Iran’s rocket attacks on Iraqi bases housing American and coalition troops, urging an end to the “spiral of violence” that has gripped the region. The bloc also urged the continuation of dialogue to calm tensions in the Middle East after an American drone strike in Iraq that killed an Iranian commander on Friday.

“The latest rocket attacks on air bases in Iraq used by U.S. and coalition forces, among them European forces, are yet another example of escalation and increased confrontation,” said the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles. “It is in no one’s interest to turn up the spiral of violence even further.”

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that “the use of weapons must stop now to give space to dialogue,’’ adding, “we all are called upon to do everything possible to rekindle talks and there cannot be enough of that.’’

She also said that the bloc remained committed to trying to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reached out to all signatories, including Russia and China. The call to save the deal comes despite Tehran’s phased retreat from its obligations under the agreement after President Trump abandoned it in 2018 and reimposed harsh economic sanctions.

On Saturday, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, spoke to the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. In a letter to European Union foreign ministers, Mr. Borrell wrote that Iran remained committed to the nuclear deal, but “complained about the lack of dividends received,” which is Iran’s usual complaint.

Mr. Zarif “shared my assessment that security in the region would be further undermined if the JCPOA failed. We agreed to discuss in more detail in the near future,” Mr. Borrell wrote.

Mr. Borrell has invited Mr. Zarif, to Brussels, and European foreign ministers will meet there on Friday to discuss the Iran crisis.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, speaking in the British Parliament on Wednesday, echoed the calls for calm but said that the Iranian general killed by the United States last week had “blood on his hands.”

“Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but must instead pursue urgent de-escalation,” Mr. Johnson said.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, also condemned the strikes and said that he was in touch with “all of the parties involved to encourage restraint and responsibility.”

“The cycle of violence must stop,” Mr. Le Drian said in a statement on Wednesday. “France for its part remains determined to work toward calming tensions.”

Reporting was contributed by Alissa J. Rubin, Peter Baker, Michael D. Shear, Eileen Sullivan, Falih Hassan, Megan Specia, Ben Hubbard, Steven Erlanger, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, Daniel Victor, Anton Troianovski, Andrew Kramer, Eric Schmitt and Vivian Yee.

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‘Modern Family’ star Ariel Winter admits growing up in front of ‘millions of people is difficult’

Westlake Legal Group ariel-winter-getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter admits growing up in front of 'millions of people is difficult' Julius Young fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/modern-family fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d0a036eb-1714-5522-941e-81a193572f34 article

Ariel Winter is reflecting on her journey into adulthood ahead of the series’ final season.

The 21-year-old actress spoke to reporters on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif., and opened up in a big way about the growth she’s seen in herself over 11 seasons on “Modern Family.”

“Growing up in front of everybody, millions of people, is difficult. It’s stressful. Millions of people then think they can comment on your life and it’s a lot,” Winter shared. “But we do get to look back on all these memories and while it’s super awkward – incredibly awkward to look back on all these seasons that we’re like, ‘We are not in our prime’ – we still have those memories because it’s a little better than having photographs of what you looked like at that age. It’s basically, you have footage of what you looked like at that age.”

ARIEL WINTER TALKS SWITCHING MEDICATION AND LOSING WEIGHT: ‘I’M FEELING MORE ENERGIZED AND HEALTHIER’

When Fox News asked the former child star if living her life in the public eye helped her develop a thick skin towards criticism, Winter paused and said she had been used to public scrutiny about the way she looks or the manner she lives her life simply because she started performing at such a young age and had grown accustomed to it.

‘MODERN FAMILY’ STAR ARIEL WINTER SPOTTED GETTING COZY WITH ACTOR LUKE BENWARD

“Yeah, I mean, I started acting when I was 4 years old. So I’ve been … [receiving] criticism, judgment, rejection – since you’re a little kid, so it kind of gives you a thicker skin to begin with,” she explained. “I feel like when I got on social media, people … not that people were just starting to bully, but it was like, at a certain time 11 years ago, people were like, ‘Oh, we’ll just say what we want.’”

ARIEL WINTER SAYS BEING AS CUTE AS BABY YODA IS ‘UNOBTAINABLE’ AFTER POSTING CROP TOP SELFIES

She continued: “So I think going through that over the years and learning how I wanted to respond to it because I’ve responded to it in so many different ways – I’d respond back and be salty to somebody who is salty to me or I’d respond back and try and be nice about it and hope that maybe their day goes better. But then, as I got older, I developed a thicker skin and I said to myself, ‘You know, it’s going to bother me because it never goes away, but you’re still human.’ But at the same time, you just gotta remember that these people online – what they’re saying – it’s not your opinion of yourself.”

Fox News followed up with Winter and asked if she had any regrets regarding the way she might have responded to online trolls over the years, the actress didn’t hold back – but made a point to note that she’s certainly matured a great deal in more than a decade.

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“No,” she maintained. “I mean, I’m sure I’ve said a couple of things that I regret being salty about. But I never wanted to hurt anybody. I never want to be mean to anybody. It’s just protecting myself, protecting the people I love because people also attack people, you know – it sucks. But I don’t think I regret anything I’ve said because honestly, everything for me is a learning experience. I learned from what I did and I moved on.”

Westlake Legal Group ariel-winter-getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter admits growing up in front of 'millions of people is difficult' Julius Young fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/modern-family fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d0a036eb-1714-5522-941e-81a193572f34 article   Westlake Legal Group ariel-winter-getty 'Modern Family' star Ariel Winter admits growing up in front of 'millions of people is difficult' Julius Young fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/ariel-winter fox-news/entertainment/modern-family fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc d0a036eb-1714-5522-941e-81a193572f34 article

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Fitness guru Santia Deck makes history signing multimillion-dollar deal with football team

Westlake Legal Group Santia-Deck-Getty Fitness guru Santia Deck makes history signing multimillion-dollar deal with football team Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 624b73f2-c390-5d5b-bb6e-37bcd58515e1

Santia Deck, a fitness guru and track athlete, became the first woman to sign a multimillion-dollar football contract when the newly founded Women’s Football League Association made her the face of the organization.

Deck will play for the LA Fames in what is described as an elite women’s full-tackle football league. The league is set to rival the U.S. Women’s Football League, the Women’s Football Alliance and the Women’s National Football Conference.

NFL TEAMS COME UNDER FIRE FOR FAILING TO HIRE BLACK HEAD COACHES

“I have had many ups and downs in the sports world, but to know that I’m now the highest-paid female football player to date only confirms God always has a plan,” Deck said in a statement.

Deck has amassed more than 396,000 followers on Instagram and is known as the “Queen of Abs.” Deck is the brand representative for HIGHandTIGHT training footballs used by several NFL teams.

TOM BRADY’S POTENTIAL PATRIOTS DEPARTURE DRAWS REACTIONS FROM MASSACHUSETTS POLITICIANS

The exact contract figure has yet to be disclosed.

The league boasts two conferences with 32 teams representing cities from across the U.S.

The teams include the New Orleans Melody, Nashville Honey Bees, Atlanta Amazons, Miami Jewels, Charlotte Cruise, Washington Widows, New York Stars, Boston Gypsies, Chicago Breeze, Detroit Freeze, Philadelphia Assassins, Milwaukee Queens, Baltimore Belles, Pittsburgh Vixens, Cleveland Captains, Birmingham Bombshells, Seattle Reign, San Francisco Cranes, San Diego Waves, Las Vegas Devils, Phoenix Burns, Minnesota Shield Maidens, OKC Lightning, Salt Lake Lillys, Denver Pumas, Dallas Diamondbacks, Houston Shooters, Arkansas Mockingbirds, Portland Pirates, Kansas City Red Feathers, Albuquerque Angels and the Fames.

Rapper Ja Rule is the owner of the Stars.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

The league is set to play in 2021.

Westlake Legal Group Santia-Deck-Getty Fitness guru Santia Deck makes history signing multimillion-dollar deal with football team Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 624b73f2-c390-5d5b-bb6e-37bcd58515e1   Westlake Legal Group Santia-Deck-Getty Fitness guru Santia Deck makes history signing multimillion-dollar deal with football team Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports fox news fnc/sports fnc article 624b73f2-c390-5d5b-bb6e-37bcd58515e1

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Lara Logan predicts future Iran actions against US: ‘Persians never forget’

Westlake Legal Group LARA Lara Logan predicts future Iran actions against US: 'Persians never forget' Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/shows/outnumbered fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 3d8792d7-2abd-57aa-be6e-31669643893c

Veteran war correspondent Lara Logan said Wednesday that she believes Iran will launch more attacks against the United States and American interests.

Appearing on “Outnumbered” with hosts Harris Faulkner and Melissa Francis, “One Lucky Guy” Guy Benson, and former Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland, Logan said that she “would be stunned if this was the end of Iran’s escalation.”

Iran fired as many as 15 ballistic missiles into Iraq Tuesday, officials said, in a major retaliation by the rogue regime after a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

TRUMP: IRAN MISSILES FIRED AT US WERE PAID FOR WITH MONEY RELEASED BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted Tuesday evening that Tehran had taken and “concluded proportionate measure in self-defense” and added that Tehran did “not seek escalation” but would defend itself against any aggression.

“All is well!” President Trump assured in a tweet shortly after the strikes. “Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good!”

FORMER CIA OFFICER: IRANIAN SLEEPER CELLS IN US A ‘REAL THREAT,’ BUT ATTACK ON OUR SOIL WOULD BE ‘NEW 9/11’

Logan, the host of Fox Nation’s “Lara Logan Has No Agenda,” told the “Outnumbered” couch that one of the most significant aspects of Tuesday’s action by Iran is that the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “put his face on it.”

“I’m a big fan of never underestimating anybody, and the Iranians are the masters of this game, right? They really are the masters. They have the ability to back every horse in the race,” she said. “They are not held accountable to the same kind of standards that the U.S. expects of its leaders.”

Logan urged viewers not to forget that Al Qaeda members, Usama Bin Laden, and ISIS members were all given “safe haven” in Iran.

“So, on one hand, ISIS was Iran’s enemy. On the one hand, they helped fight ISIS,” she said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“To me, I would be stunned if this was the end of Iran’s escalation. What I would expect from Iran is that they will move into a more clandestine response now,” Logan theorized.

“And, that they will take their time and they will get their revenge,” she added. “Because Persians — when you live with Persians and you are with them every day — what you learn about them is they never forget. Persians never forget.”

“But, also, what they do, what they say in public, the show of force, saving face, is very significant,” she concluded. “But, it binds them to absolutely nothing in that culture. It does not mean the same thing to Iranians as it does to us.”

Westlake Legal Group LARA Lara Logan predicts future Iran actions against US: 'Persians never forget' Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/shows/outnumbered fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 3d8792d7-2abd-57aa-be6e-31669643893c   Westlake Legal Group LARA Lara Logan predicts future Iran actions against US: 'Persians never forget' Julia Musto fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/shows/outnumbered fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/nuclear-proliferation fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 3d8792d7-2abd-57aa-be6e-31669643893c

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2 Killed, 5 Injured In Avalanche At Idaho Ski Resort

Westlake Legal Group silver_mt_avalanche_0-227cf76b815d4e3a13610d4b37e8f1276d5a6829-s1100-c15 2 Killed, 5 Injured In Avalanche At Idaho Ski Resort

Two skiers were killed when an avalanche occurred at Idaho’s Silver Mountain Resort on Tuesday. Hank Lunsford via Spokane Public Radio hide caption

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Hank Lunsford via Spokane Public Radio

Westlake Legal Group  2 Killed, 5 Injured In Avalanche At Idaho Ski Resort

Two skiers were killed when an avalanche occurred at Idaho’s Silver Mountain Resort on Tuesday.

Hank Lunsford via Spokane Public Radio

Two people were killed and five were injured in an avalanche at an Idaho ski resort on Tuesday.

The avalanche occurred at about 11 a.m. local time at the Silver Mountain Resort, in the Idaho panhandle town of Kellogg. The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the casualties.

Silver Mountain said its ski patrol and other volunteers responded as soon as they were alerted to the avalanche, and began probing the snow for bodies.

Earlier, authorities had said that one person had been killed. The second fatality was found late in the day. The victims’ names have not been released.

The mountain is closed on Wednesday, and the resort says it believes that all skiers have now been accounted for. “Thank you for your patience and understanding as we process yesterday’s events,” the resort posted on Facebook, expressing condolences to those affected.

“The slide follows wet, heavy snowfall over the past couple of days, which is also keeping avalanche danger high in the backcountry,” Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton reported. “The resort reported 26 inches of snowfall in the past couple of days, much of it wet and heavy.”

Avalanche fatalities are rare inbounds at U.S. ski resorts. (Most skiing fatalities at resorts are due to collisions.) The avalanche occurred on Silver Mountain’s Wardner Peak, an area of expert terrain that is accessed by traversing by ski or foot after exiting a chairlift.

The Spokane Spokesman-Review reported that the peak had been open less than an hour when the avalanche happened.

“I thought conditions were kind of sketchy,” mountain regular Bruce Rosenoff, 72, told the newspaper. “New snow on a hard base.”

That combination can be very unstable. The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center warns that the area continues to be in high avalanche danger, which means a high likelihood of both natural and human-triggered slides.

The Shoshone News-Press reports that the resort had just completed avalanche blasting in the area before the peak opened. Such blasts purposely trigger small avalanches in order to prevent uncontrolled avalanches that could endanger people.

Two men died in Montana last week when they were buried under an avalanche while snowmobiling.

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Meghan And Prince Harry To ‘Step Back’ As Senior Royals

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1198227095_wide-a4b11a128d4feb565f1b5d9a99c78ce9a1976cda-s1100-c15 Meghan And Prince Harry To 'Step Back' As Senior Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have announced that they will step back from certain royal duties. The couple is seen here on Tuesday in London. Chris Jackson/Getty Images hide caption

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Meghan And Prince Harry To 'Step Back' As Senior Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, have announced that they will step back from certain royal duties. The couple is seen here on Tuesday in London.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — have announced that they will step back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.

The couple, who welcomed a son in May 2019, say they intend to become financially independent. Harry is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his father Charles, his older brother William, and William’s three children.

In a statement on their website and Instagram, Harry and Meghan explained their decision.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they wrote. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

They say they plan to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America, “continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

The couple married in May 2018. Their wedding did nothing to dampen the intense public scrutiny of the pair. Meghan is an American actress, and she has repeatedly faced racist comments in some media and from online trolls.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1190290333-2b5b427fcc50d3c368da146f86d4dba9d0b5c053-s1100-c15 Meghan And Prince Harry To 'Step Back' As Senior Royals

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II posed for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message last month. Royal watchers noticed the absence of a photo of Meghan and Prince Harry amid the other family photos displayed. Steve Parsons/POOL/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Steve Parsons/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Meghan And Prince Harry To 'Step Back' As Senior Royals

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II posed for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message last month. Royal watchers noticed the absence of a photo of Meghan and Prince Harry amid the other family photos displayed.

Steve Parsons/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A step back from royal duties has been anticipated since the couple returned from a six-week sojourn in Canada earlier this month. The speculation grew when Queen Elizabeth gave her Christmas address with family photos prominently displayed on her desk — but no such photo of Harry and Meghan and their son, Archie.

In recent years, there has been a narrowing of the royals who appear in official capacities. As The Guardian noted, at the queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations, extended family members were on a separate boat from the queen and Prince Charles and their immediate families.

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Soleimani killing

WASHINGTON—When a Senate investigation revealed the CIA’s plans to execute Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and other leaders, President Gerald Ford moved to ban political assassinations.

Nearly a half-century later, Republican and Democratic administrations have taken advantage of controversial exceptions to Ford’s 1976 executive order. Those exceptions give presidents extraordinary authority to exercise lethal force abroad, testing the limits of international law.

Yet the preemptive strategy now known as “targeted killing” has never found more currency than in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump have killed leaders of terrorist groups in order to guard against assaults on the homeland and to protect U.S. interests abroad.

But not even the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda and the architect of the 9/11 attacks, unleashed the barrage of legal questions and global angst that has followed the deadly drone strike against Qasem Soleimani, the once-feared leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

As Iran launched more than a dozen missiles against two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces Tuesday night, the act that ignited this confrontation remains the subject of fierce legal debate: Was Soleimani’s killing an illegal assassination or a legitimate act in America’s long war on terrorism?

‘An act of war’:Lawmakers react to Iran’s missile strike on US military bases

How we got here:What you need to know about the conflict between the U.S. and Iran after Soleimani killing

The Trump administration has defended the strike as an act of self-defense, claiming Soleimani was engaged in a continuing campaign of terror that placed U.S. interests at “imminent” risk at the moment he was killed in Baghdad.

Nearly a week after the operation, however, national security analysts are at odds, with some asserting Soleimani’s death represented a break with international law that threatens a broad conflagration in the Middle East. 

“The United States had no justification to carry out this strike,” said University of Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, who specializes in international law and the use of force.

The strike was especially problematic, O’Connell said, because it was launched without the consent of the Iraqi government.

“We don’t have any right to attack on Iraqi soil,” she said.

Indiana University professor David Bosco said international law does provide for countries to act in self-defense from a future attack, provided the threat is imminent.

“If an attack is about to happen, you have authority to hit back, but it’s got to be really urgent,” Bosco said. “We don’t yet know what evidence of imminence had been gathered, but whatever it is, I don’t think it’s going to persuade Iran.”

Soleimani dead:Trump defends Soleimani killing in formal notice to Congress, warns Iran against retaliation

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Pompeo points to attacks leading up to Soleimani killing

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to downplay earlier assertions that urgent threats justified the strike on Soleimani. Instead he focused on the Iranian general’s history of attacks on Americans.

“There’s been much made about this question of intelligence and imminence,” Pompeo told reporters. “You need to look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against us,” he said, referring to a rocket attack by Iranian-backed militias on an Iraqi base in Kirkuk on Dec. 27 that killed an American contractor.

That attack led to the assault on the American embassy in Baghdad.

How imminent? Pompeo sidesteps questions about threat posed by Iran’s Soleimani

Westlake Legal Group  Soleimani killing

But Pompeo has also maintained that the Soleimani operation was properly vetted by legal authorities, saying such a review was standard for “activity of this nature.”

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, defended the decision to kill Soleimani at a White House briefing on Tuesday, though he declined to specify the intelligence that gave officials reason to believe Soleimani was plotting an attack against American forces.

“It was strong evidence and strong intelligence, and unfortunately we’re not going to be able to get into sources and methods at this time, but I can tell you it … was very strong,” O’Brien said.

Trump, too, made no apologies for taking the action.

“We had tremendous information,” the president said Tuesday, declining to elaborate. “Right now, that’s classified. … We saved a lot of lives.”

Westlake Legal Group  Soleimani killing

U.S. law gives broad authority for such strikes

John Bellinger, a former adviser to the State Department and the National Security Council, said Trump had ample authority under domestic law. He cited the president’s broad constitutional authority as commander-in-chief to take action in defense of American interests.

Trump’s national security adviser has said Congress’ 2002 authorization for war in Iraq provided justification for the strike, but Bellinger said that’s an “exceptional legal stretch.” Relying on an 18-year-old authorization for military force, he said, could be “very politically provocative.”

Bellinger said international law may pose the biggest concern. That became more murky Tuesday, he said, when Pompeo appeared to walk back the urgency previously ascribed to Soleimani’s threat.

“There was clear authority under domestic law,” Bellinger said. “The debate is about international law, and the questions about that — based on the administration’s own statements — seem to mount day by day.”

While international law does allow countries to act in self-defense to counter an anticipated attack, Bellinger said the threat must be imminent. In other words, it’s about to happen, not something that could occur soon.

“Secretary Pompeo seems to walk that back,” Bellinger said. “If the threat posed is not imminent, it is not lawful under international law. … One thing we don’t know yet, is what information (the administration) is relying on.”

On Wednesday, administration officials are scheduled to brief lawmakers behind closed doors on their justification for taking an action that has the Middle East boiling over. 

“Now, it is up to Congress to press the president to disclose his legal basis for this action and the plan for how our nation manages the fallout,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. “I doubt there is congressional authority for this strike, and I doubt the president has a plan for what comes next. But these are questions Congress must now ask.”

Contributing: Deidre Shesgreen, David Jackson and Nicholas Wu

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