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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 229)

Boeing’s Crisis Grows: Tense Meetings, Falling Stock, Angry Lawmakers

Westlake Legal Group 21boeing-1-facebookJumbo Boeing’s Crisis Grows: Tense Meetings, Falling Stock, Angry Lawmakers Muilenburg, Dennis A Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019)

When Boeing’s board gathered on Monday, it confronted a grim reality. The crash of two 737 Max jets had already thrown the company into the biggest crisis in its 103-year history, and things only seemed to be getting worse.

During tense meetings at the Boeing facilities in San Antonio, where the company makes Air Force One, executives and directors spent more than five hours discussing how to manage a worrisome cascade of bad news in recent weeks.

It was revealed on Friday that before the Max was certified, a pilot who played a central role in the plane’s development had voiced concerns about an automated system that played a part in both crashes. The revelation undermined an essential part of Boeing’s defense, opened the company to more legal exposure and sent the stock price plummeting as Wall Street grew more concerned about when the plane would get back in the air.

Some at Boeing have expressed concern that the messages may have further complicated efforts to return the Max to service, according to three people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Max remains grounded seven months after the second of the two crashes, which killed 346 people. Boeing has said that any delays beyond this year could lead it to temporarily halt production of the plane, which would have enormous economic and financial consequences for the company, its employees and its suppliers.

Boeing will report its latest quarterly financial results on Wednesday, and analysts expect the Max crisis to continue to batter the company’s sales and profits. Amid all this, Dennis A. Muilenburg, the company’s chief executive, is preparing to testify before Congress next week.

The messages from the pilot, Mark Forkner, were revealed just a week after Boeing stripped Mr. Muilenburg of his additional title of chairman. That move followed a damning report from a multiagency task force that arrived at scathing conclusions about Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and the certification of the Max.

Removing Mr. Muilenburg as chairman was the first sign that the Boeing board was working with more urgency, and beginning to address the question of who, if anyone, would be held accountable for the crisis consuming the company.

Boeing has tried to minimize the fallout from Mr. Forkner’s messages. On Sunday, the company said in a statement that it understood the concern about the messages. “We especially regret the difficulties that the release of this document has presented for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators,” the company said.

Boeing said it had not yet spoken to Mr. Forkner, who now works at Southwest Airlines, about the messages. But the company said that a statement from Mr. Forkner’s lawyer suggested he was complaining about problems he had encountered with the Max in a flight simulator. Boeing also said in its statement that the simulator Mr. Forkner used that day was still undergoing testing at the time.

Wall Street analysts downgraded Boeing stock on Monday, as shares in the company continued to slide. After losing 8 percent on Friday, the stock fell another 4 percent on Monday.

Of particular concern was whether the revelations might further delay the Max’s return to service. Boeing and the F.A.A. have been suggesting that the Max could be recertified by the end of the year.

But the F.A.A. administrator, Stephen Dickson, was frustrated that the regulator learned about the messages only last week, months after the Department of Justice reviewed them, and sent Mr. Muilenburg a terse letter demanding an explanation. Boeing faces multiple lawsuits and investigations, including one by the Justice Department.

“We see increasing risk that the F.A.A. won’t follow through with a certification flight in November and lift the emergency grounding order in December,” UBS said in a note downgrading the stock. “We think a push out of the return to service could increase the likelihood of a pause on the 737 Max production system.”

Seth M. Seifman, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said the revelation of the messages “makes it more challenging for regulators to endorse the 737 Max near term.”

Shares in several major Boeing suppliers also fell on Monday, including Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the plane’s fuselage, and General Electric, which makes the Max engines through a joint venture.

“Shutting down production entirely would have a terrible impact on the supply chain and the industry,” said Scott Hamilton, managing director of the Leeham Company, an aviation consulting firm. “It would be a horrific disaster.”

Boeing has already said that the Max crisis has cost it at least $8 billion, a figure that is expected to rise.

As Boeing tries to contains the financial fallout, it is also preparing to send Mr. Muilenburg before members of Congress, who are preparing intensely for the hearings.

On Oct. 8, staff members for the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee gathered for a meeting on Capitol Hill for a briefing by Phil Barnett, who worked in Congress for years before starting a consulting firm, Co-Equal, that helps lawmakers prepare for hearings.

At the briefing, Mr. Barnett and his colleagues walked the congressional staff members through effective questioning techniques, and played video clips from past hearings demonstrating moments when lawmakers got the upper hand on executives.

Mr. Muilenburg has held several sessions with Boeing staff and outside advisers in Washington and Chicago. At times, Boeing staff have tried to create an atmosphere akin to a congressional hearing, peppering Mr. Muilenburg with questions as if they were the lawmakers.

Mr. Muilenburg has also been working with outside lawyers to prepare for the scrutiny by lawmakers. Among the challenges facing Mr. Muilenburg will be whether he can convince Congress that he has responded to the crisis with urgency and authenticity.

Even before Friday, Mr. Muilenburg was facing a steep challenge before Congress. An engineer by training who did not come up through the commercial aviation business, Mr. Muilenburg has struggled to come off as empathetic.

The messages have made his task even more complicated, and the fact that they came out just before Mr. Muilenburg is to testify “intensifies focus on potential leadership changes,” said Mr. Seifman of JPMorgan Chase.

“It goes back to this running question which is: ‘What else haven’t they told us?’” said Mr. Hamilton. “This just reinforces my view that Muilenburg should go.”

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

Boeing’s Crisis: Tense Meetings, Falling Stock, Angry Lawmakers

Westlake Legal Group 21boeing-1-facebookJumbo Boeing’s Crisis: Tense Meetings, Falling Stock, Angry Lawmakers Muilenburg, Dennis A Boeing Company Boeing 737 Max Groundings and Safety Concerns (2019)

When Boeing’s board gathered on Monday, it confronted a grim reality. The crash of two 737 Max jets had already thrown the company into the biggest crisis in its 103-year history, and things only seemed to be getting worse.

During tense meetings at the Boeing facilities in San Antonio, where the company makes Air Force One, executives and directors spent more than five hours discussing how to manage a worrisome cascade of bad news in recent weeks.

It was revealed on Friday that before the Max was certified, a pilot who played a central role in the plane’s development had voiced concerns about an automated system that played a part in both crashes. The revelation undermined an essential part of Boeing’s defense, opened the company to more legal exposure and sent the stock price plummeting as Wall Street grew more concerned about when the plane would get back in the air.

Some at Boeing have expressed concern that the messages may have further complicated efforts to return the Max to service, according to three people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The Max remains grounded seven months after the second of the two crashes, which killed 346 people. Boeing has said that any delays beyond this year could lead it to temporarily halt production of the plane, which would have enormous economic and financial consequences for the company, its employees and its suppliers.

Boeing will report its latest quarterly financial results on Wednesday, and analysts expect the Max crisis to continue to batter the company’s sales and profits. Amid all this, Dennis A. Muilenburg, the company’s chief executive, is preparing to testify before Congress next week.

The messages from the pilot, Mark Forkner, were revealed just a week after Boeing stripped Mr. Muilenburg of his additional title of chairman. That move followed a damning report from a multiagency task force that arrived at scathing conclusions about Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and the certification of the Max.

Removing Mr. Muilenburg as chairman was the first sign that the Boeing board was working with more urgency, and beginning to address the question of who, if anyone, would be held accountable for the crisis consuming the company.

Boeing has tried to minimize the fallout from Mr. Forkner’s messages. On Sunday, the company said in a statement that it understood the concern about the messages. “We especially regret the difficulties that the release of this document has presented for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators,” the company said.

Boeing said it had not yet spoken to Mr. Forkner, who now works at Southwest Airlines, about the messages. But the company said that a statement from Mr. Forkner’s lawyer suggested he was complaining about problems he had encountered with the Max in a flight simulator. Boeing also said in its statement that the simulator Mr. Forkner used that day was still undergoing testing at the time.

Wall Street analysts downgraded Boeing stock on Monday, as shares in the company continued to slide. After losing 8 percent on Friday, the stock fell another 4 percent on Monday.

Of particular concern was whether the revelations might further delay the Max’s return to service. Boeing and the F.A.A. have been suggesting that the Max could be recertified by the end of the year.

But the F.A.A. administrator, Stephen Dickson, was frustrated that the regulator learned about the messages only last week, months after the Department of Justice reviewed them, and sent Mr. Muilenburg a terse letter demanding an explanation. Boeing faces multiple lawsuits and investigations, including one by the Justice Department.

“We see increasing risk that the F.A.A. won’t follow through with a certification flight in November and lift the emergency grounding order in December,” UBS said in a note downgrading the stock. “We think a push out of the return to service could increase the likelihood of a pause on the 737 Max production system.”

Seth M. Seifman, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, said the revelation of the messages “makes it more challenging for regulators to endorse the 737 Max near term.”

Shares in several major Boeing suppliers also fell on Monday, including Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the plane’s fuselage, and General Electric, which makes the Max engines through a joint venture.

“Shutting down production entirely would have a terrible impact on the supply chain and the industry,” said Scott Hamilton, managing director of the Leeham Company, an aviation consulting firm. “It would be a horrific disaster.”

Boeing has already said that the Max crisis has cost it at least $8 billion, a figure that is expected to rise.

As Boeing tries to contains the financial fallout, it is also preparing to send Mr. Muilenburg before members of Congress, who are preparing intensely for the hearings.

On Oct. 8, staff members for the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee gathered for a meeting on Capitol Hill for a briefing by Phil Barnett, who worked in Congress for years before starting a consulting firm, Co-Equal, that helps lawmakers prepare for hearings.

At the briefing, Mr. Barnett and his colleagues walked the congressional staff members through effective questioning techniques, and played video clips from past hearings demonstrating moments when lawmakers got the upper hand on executives.

Mr. Muilenburg has held several sessions with Boeing staff and outside advisers in Washington and Chicago. At times, Boeing staff have tried to create an atmosphere akin to a congressional hearing, peppering Mr. Muilenburg with questions as if they were the lawmakers.

Mr. Muilenburg has also been working with outside lawyers to prepare for the scrutiny by lawmakers. Among the challenges facing Mr. Muilenburg will be whether he can convince Congress that he has responded to the crisis with urgency and authenticity.

Even before Friday, Mr. Muilenburg was facing a steep challenge before Congress. An engineer by training who did not come up through the commercial aviation business, Mr. Muilenburg has struggled to come off as empathetic.

The messages have made his task even more complicated, and the fact that they came out just before Mr. Muilenburg is to testify “intensifies focus on potential leadership changes,” said Mr. Seifman of JPMorgan Chase.

“It goes back to this running question which is: ‘What else haven’t they told us?’” said Mr. Hamilton. “This just reinforces my view that Muilenburg should go.”

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

Impeachment inquiry will stay on track after Cummings’ death, acting Oversight Committee Chair Maloney says

Westlake Legal Group AP19294663428270 Impeachment inquiry will stay on track after Cummings' death, acting Oversight Committee Chair Maloney says Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc c3577103-36e3-52d2-aa56-4634bf7bf32e article

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who was named the acting chair of the influential Committee on Oversight and Reform after the recent death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, said Monday that the panel will continue its impeachment inquiry into President Trump without delay.

“The work of the Committee on Oversight and Reform will continue uninterrupted despite our heavy hearts—as Chairman Cummings would have wanted. We will continue to pursue the impeachment inquiry with vigor in support of the investigation led by the Intelligence Committee,” Maloney said in a statement.

TRUMP UNLOADS OVER SYRIA, IMPEACHMENT, DORAL CONTROVERSIES, SAYS HE ‘SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RUN THE COUNTRY’

She added the committee will continue to keep “shining a spotlight” on the Trump administration’s actions, including the treatment of migrants detained at the southern border and the cost of prescription drugs.

Maloney is set to serve as the acting chair until Democrats find a successor. Cummings, 68, who publicly feuded with Trump over the president’s comments this past summer about living conditions in his Baltimore district, died Thursday after long-running health problems.

As the committee chair, Cummings, D-Md., was one of several Democrats leading impeachment efforts against the president.

The committee has demanded documents and subpoenaed witnesses —  including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and two business associates of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Many Democrats have accused Trump of pushing Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter over their business dealings in Ukraine.

The president has denied any wrongdoing and has continued to assail congressional Democrats for “trying to destroy the country.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19294663428270 Impeachment inquiry will stay on track after Cummings' death, acting Oversight Committee Chair Maloney says Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc c3577103-36e3-52d2-aa56-4634bf7bf32e article   Westlake Legal Group AP19294663428270 Impeachment inquiry will stay on track after Cummings' death, acting Oversight Committee Chair Maloney says Louis Casiano fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox news fnc/politics fnc c3577103-36e3-52d2-aa56-4634bf7bf32e article

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

A Push To Have Cars Say ‘No’ To Drunk Drivers

Westlake Legal Group dadss-page_wide-77128a2896fb8089e128bff88fd5836c3f0ac4cf-s1100-c15 A Push To Have Cars Say 'No' To Drunk Drivers

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, funded largely by the federal government, seeks to develop devices that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit. Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program

Westlake Legal Group  A Push To Have Cars Say 'No' To Drunk Drivers

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, funded largely by the federal government, seeks to develop devices that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit.

Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program

As cars become smarter and safer, some members of Congress want to require them to be built to prevent drunk driving.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week that would make it mandatory for all new cars and trucks to come loaded with passive, virtually unnoticeable, alcohol detection systems by 2024.

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, called the RIDE Act, would also allocate $10 million to continue government-funded research into new breath and touch-based sensors designed to monitor a driver’s blood alcohol level in real-time, without having the driver do anything. The measure would set aside another $25 million to install and test the technology in government-owned fleets.

The bill follows a similar effort in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan.

Udall said he’s been haunted by the pain and havoc drunk driving accidents wreak on families for decades. “When you meet with families, and when you see the devastation that this causes, it’s something that really moves you,” he said in an interview.

During the 1990s, when Udall was New Mexico’s attorney general, he agonized over how to reduce the state’s drunk driving related crashes, which at the time were the highest in the country per capita.

“We kept trying to wonder, how do we get out of this?” he recalled.

The answer, at least in part, was technology. New Mexico became one of the first states to require convicted drunk drivers to use a breathalyzer to start a car.

But in a world where driverless cars are being tested, Udall said he’s become exasperated by the lack of innovation and buy-in from the auto industry. He is urging auto manufacturers to partner and fellow lawmakers to commit to a five-year plan to develop less cumbersome and more consumer friendly devices.

Helen Witty, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also noted the auto industry’s reluctance to mandated safety improvements.

“I don’t think the industry wanted to put in airbags or seat belts,” Witty said. “Think about how those … were a fight to get through.”

But now, she said, several companies have cameras that warn drivers if they appear impaired or have taken their eyes off the road. Those types of advances have given Witty hope that automakers will be persuaded by consumers, who want more safety features.

But she is impatient for that to happen. In 2000, Witty’s 16-year-old daughter was killed by another teen who’d had too many tequila shots and was driving 65 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. According to Witty, the young driver, who was drunk and high on marijuana, “lost control of her car and spun off the road onto the bike path” where her daughter was rollerblading.

“And so my daughter, Helen Marie, looked up and saw the car coming toward her and there was nothing she could do at all but die,” Witty said.

It’s a tragic story that Witty has been telling for years to educate the public. She’s hopes the message will help spare other families the pain of her own.

“Not only did her life end, the life that we had as a family ended. … We had to figure out how to live again,” she added.

Drunk driving fatalities have declined significantly since the 1980s. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration they still account for about a third of all traffic deaths. In 2017, more than 10,800 people were killed in drunk driving incidents.

Since 2008, the federal government has spent $50 million on a project between NHTSA and an automaker group called Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to develop the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.

The endeavor is overseen by Robert Strassburger, who represents the automakers. He expects a breathalyzer-type product to be ready for licensing by next year. While the ultimate goal of the project is aimed at creating something that detects alcohol without the driver doing anything, Strassburger said, they’re not there yet. After more than a decade of work, researchers have managed to develop a more streamlined version of a breathalyzer — a small device built into the driver-side door that the driver blows into.

However, the device is can’t detect a precise blood alcohol level yet. Instead, it can only determine the presence of alcohol, Strassburger said.

So it can’t tell the difference between someone who’s had one glass of wine and someone who’s had four shots of whiskey. Still, Strassburger said, there’s already a market for the device, including trucking companies with a zero-tolerance policy for their drivers or parents with underage children.

Strassburger says there’s plenty of momentum to make vehicles with technology that keeps dangerous drivers off the road.

The question is how that will happen and when.

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

Democrats introduce ‘SWAMP’ Act to ban meetings with foreign leaders at Trump properties

Westlake Legal Group F7CA8viv5MDLgy3dV9dvkom8Eem_CGwBvdO02TdTCks Democrats introduce 'SWAMP' Act to ban meetings with foreign leaders at Trump properties r/politics

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

A Push To Have Cars Say ‘No’ To Drunk Drivers

Westlake Legal Group dadss-page_wide-77128a2896fb8089e128bff88fd5836c3f0ac4cf-s1100-c15 A Push To Have Cars Say 'No' To Drunk Drivers

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, funded largely by the federal government, seeks to develop devices that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit. Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program

Westlake Legal Group  A Push To Have Cars Say 'No' To Drunk Drivers

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, funded largely by the federal government, seeks to develop devices that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit.

Courtesy of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program

As cars become smarter and safer, some members of Congress want to require them to be built to prevent drunk driving.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week that would make it mandatory for all new cars and trucks to come loaded with passive, virtually unnoticeable, alcohol detection systems by 2024.

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, called the RIDE Act, would also allocate $10 million to continue government-funded research into new breath and touch-based sensors designed to monitor a driver’s blood alcohol level in real-time, without having the driver do anything. The measure would set aside another $25 million to install and test the technology in government-owned fleets.

The bill follows a similar effort in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan.

Udall said he’s been haunted by the pain and havoc drunk driving accidents wreak on families for decades. “When you meet with families, and when you see the devastation that this causes, it’s something that really moves you,” he said in an interview.

During the 1990s, when Udall was New Mexico’s attorney general, he agonized over how to reduce the state’s drunk driving related crashes, which at the time were the highest in the country per capita.

“We kept trying to wonder, how do we get out of this?” he recalled.

The answer, at least in part, was technology. New Mexico became one of the first states to require convicted drunk drivers to use a breathalyzer to start a car.

But in a world where driverless cars are being tested, Udall said he’s become exasperated by the lack of innovation and buy-in from the auto industry. He is urging auto manufacturers to partner and fellow lawmakers to commit to a five-year plan to develop less cumbersome and more consumer friendly devices.

Helen Witty, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also noted the auto industry’s reluctance to mandated safety improvements.

“I don’t think the industry wanted to put in airbags or seat belts,” Witty said. “Think about how those … were a fight to get through.”

But now, she said, several companies have cameras that warn drivers if they appear impaired or have taken their eyes off the road. Those types of advances have given Witty hope that automakers will be persuaded by consumers, who want more safety features.

But she is impatient for that to happen. In 2000, Witty’s 16-year-old daughter was killed by another teen who’d had too many tequila shots and was driving 65 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. According to Witty, the young driver, who was drunk and high on marijuana, “lost control of her car and spun off the road onto the bike path” where her daughter was rollerblading.

“And so my daughter, Helen Marie, looked up and saw the car coming toward her and there was nothing she could do at all but die,” Witty said.

It’s a tragic story that Witty has been telling for years to educate the public. She’s hopes the message will help spare other families the pain of her own.

“Not only did her life end, the life that we had as a family ended. … We had to figure out how to live again,” she added.

Drunk driving fatalities have declined significantly since the 1980s. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration they still account for about a third of all traffic deaths. In 2017, more than 10,800 people were killed in drunk driving incidents.

Since 2008, the federal government has spent $50 million on a project between NHTSA and an automaker group called Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to develop the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.

The endeavor is overseen by Robert Strassburger, who represents the automakers. He expects a breathalyzer-type product to be ready for licensing by next year. While the ultimate goal of the project is aimed at creating something that detects alcohol without the driver doing anything, Strassburger said, they’re not there yet. After more than a decade of work, researchers have managed to develop a more streamlined version of a breathalyzer — a small device built into the driver-side door that the driver blows into.

However, the device is can’t detect a precise blood alcohol level yet. Instead, it can only determine the presence of alcohol, Strassburger said.

So it can’t tell the difference between someone who’s had one glass of wine and someone who’s had four shots of whiskey. Still, Strassburger said, there’s already a market for the device, including trucking companies with a zero-tolerance policy for their drivers or parents with underage children.

Strassburger says there’s plenty of momentum to make vehicles with technology that keeps dangerous drivers off the road.

The question is how that will happen and when.

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

Trump’s Elaborate Scheme To Get Around His Emoluments Problem Proves He Has One

WASHINGTON ― As President Donald Trump’s staff cooked up an elaborate scheme to let him award his own golf resort a multimillion-dollar contract despite his “emoluments” problem, in doing so they have admitted that he actually has a problem ― something they have refused to concede since he took office.

Trump announced late Saturday that, because of criticism from Democrats and the news media, he had decided not to hold the next Group of Seven summit at Trump National Doral near Miami’s airport. An alternative location has not yet been announced.

And though “emoluments” ― an 18th century word meaning “payments,” as used by the framers of the Constitution ― are no longer an issue for Trump for the next G-7 summit, the issue remains alive and well in lawsuits against him and as possible grounds for impeachment.

“It has never been OK,” said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is pursuing one of those lawsuits. “He’s clearly been violating that on a lot of occasions since the start of his presidency.”

Each time that government workers ― Secret Service agents or officials from the State Department or the Pentagon ― stay at a Trump property, government money flows to Trump personally in apparent violation of one of two emoluments clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

Since taking office, Trump has made 24 trips to his club in Palm Beach, Florida; 19 to Bedminster, New Jersey; and one each to Turnberry, Scotland; Doonbeg, Ireland; and Doral. Government employees who have stayed with him on-site at those locations have put hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, and possibly millions, into Trump’s cash registers, so far.

White House officials did not respond to HuffPost queries about whether the previous payments to Trump by the government have violated the Constitution.

Trump himself, meanwhile, continued to disparage those restrictions on his ability to profit from his family business while he is president.

“You people with this phony emoluments clause,” he told reporters Monday at the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

Neither emoluments clause, though, is phony. Both were written into the nation’s founding document in 1787.

One prohibits any federal officer from receiving payments from a foreign entity: “No person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

The other prohibits the president from getting payment outside of his salary from either the federal government or any state government: “The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

Westlake Legal Group 5dae267c210000ad1e34a9da Trump’s Elaborate Scheme To Get Around His Emoluments Problem Proves He Has One

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ASSOCIATED PRESS President Donald Trump at a Cabinet meeting Monday at the White House.  on the right is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

From the time Trump took office in January 2017, his position has been to deny that payments to his hotels could be considered “emoluments” and to claim instead that they should be seen as ordinary commercial transactions.

But the White House shifted gears in defending Trump’s insistence on holding the G-7 summit at his own property. They decided to acknowledge the emoluments clauses and came up with a plan they believed would let Trump give his own family business the contract to hold next year’s G-7 conference for the leaders of the world’s largest democratic economies.

The White House thought it could avoid the foreign payments problem by having U.S. taxpayers pick up the Doral lodging costs for the delegations from the six other countries. And it would avoid the domestic payment problem by creating a “host committee” ― similar to what is used to pay for the presidential inauguration ― to solicit private donations to pay for the U.S. delegation’s rooms.

In both cases, the money would continue to flow directly to Doral and, therefore, Trump’s own pocket.

Bookbinder said he cannot understand how having the U.S. government pick up the costs for the foreign delegations does not instead create a domestic emoluments issue for Trump. And soliciting donors to pay for the U.S. delegation brings a whole new set of “pay-to-play” problems, Bookbinder said.

“Lord knows that having a committee of wealthy donors creates its own massive conflict-of-interest risk,” Bookbinder said.

Trump on Monday made new statements that belie his January 2017 promise that he would separate himself from his family business, the Trump Organization, which operates the resorts and hotels that he continues to own through a trust he created after winning the 2016 election.

“I was going to do it at no cost or give it for free,” he said at the Cabinet meeting, echoing his Saturday night statement on Twitter that “I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA.”

Trump later on in the Cabinet meeting, though, backtracked, claiming that he would have asked his family to reduce the prices to be charged the government “because I don’t run the business, because they run my business now.”

How much of a price break Trump actually would have given is unclear. During a 2017 visit to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, the resort charged the maximum rate the government would pay ($546 a night) for rooms as well as nearly $20 per shot of liquor when White House staff ran up a $1,000, taxpayer-paid bar tab, according to a ProPublica report.

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

Despite Vow to End ‘Endless Wars,’ Here’s Where About 200,000 Troops Remain

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-military-facebookJumbo Despite Vow to End ‘Endless Wars,’ Here’s Where About 200,000 Troops Remain United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Syrian Democratic Forces Syria South Korea North Atlantic Treaty Organization Miller, Austin Scott (1961- ) Middle East Japan Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq Europe Africa Afghanistan

President Trump has repeatedly promised to end what he calls America’s “endless wars,” fulfilling a promise he made during the campaign.

No wars have ended, though, and more troops have deployed to the Middle East in recent months than have come home. Mr. Trump is not so much ending wars, as he is moving troops from one conflict to another.

Tens of thousands of American troops remain deployed all over the world, some in war zones such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and — even still — Syria. And the United States maintains even more troops overseas in large legacy missions far from the wars following the Sept. 11 attacks, in such allied lands as Germany, South Korea and Japan.

Although deployment numbers fluctuate daily, based on the needs of commanders, shifting missions and the military’s ability to shift large numbers of personnel by transport planes and warships, a rough estimate is that 200,000 troops are deployed overseas today.

At the height of the war, in 2010 and 2011, there were more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. When Mr. Trump took office, that number was hovering around 10,000. A new strategy, announced in August 2017, added thousands more.

Mr. Trump has long bemoaned the length of the 18-year conflict, with Pentagon officials worried that, at a moment’s notice, one tweet could end the mission.

The current commander, Gen. Austin S. Miller, has slowly dropped troop numbers to between 12,000 and 13,000 over the past year.

American and Afghan officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the plan, said the eventual American force size could drop to 8,600 — roughly the initial reduction envisioned in a draft agreement with the Taliban before Mr. Trump halted peace talks last month. Rather than a formal withdrawal order, they are reducing the force through a gradual process of not replacing troops as they cycle out.

What started as 50 Special Operations soldiers in late 2015 ballooned to more than 2,000 in 2017 when American troops and Kurdish and Arabic local fighters, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, were battling the Islamic State in Raqqa, its de facto capital.

In December 2018, before the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed, Mr. Trump issued his first of several orders to pull all American troops from the country. In turn, the Pentagon tried to shore up a plan to withdraw roughly 1,000 troops while keeping the rest spread out across the country’s northeastern corner.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump ordered those remaining troops out, leaving a small detachment of around 200 in southern Syria — at a small outpost on the Jordanian border. Mr. Trump is also said to be in favor of leaving about 200 Special Operation forces in eastern Syria to help combat Islamic State guerrilla fighters and to block Syrian government forces and their Russian advisers from seizing several coveted oil fields in the east.

The other troops who left northern Syria in the past several days did not return to the United States, as Mr. Trump said they would. They are now based in western Iraq.

The war that began as Operation Iraqi Freedom and lasted from 2003 to 2011 peaked at about 150,000 troops. Only a small detachment remained when American troops left altogether in 2011. In 2014, the Islamic State poured over the Syria-Iraq border and routed the Iraqi Army from Mosul, once the country’s second-largest city, and pressed south to the outskirts of Baghdad, the capital, before being repelled.

With ISIS fighters closing on Erbil, President Barack Obama started his campaign against the terrorist group, which would come to be known as Operation Inherent Resolve. The small contingent of ground troops, helping hunt terrorist targets and advise the morale-stricken Iraqi Army, grew to around 5,000 in 2016.

That number has only increased, to roughly 6,000, as American troops move from northern Syria to western Iraq.

In response to Iranian attacks and provocations since May, the Pentagon has deployed about 14,000 additional troops to the Persian Gulf region, including roughly 3,500 to Saudi Arabia in recent weeks. Those forces include airborne early warning aircraft, maritime patrol planes, Patriot air and missile defense batteries, B-52 bombers, a carrier strike group, armed Reaper drones and other engineering and support personnel.

But, at any given time, between 45,000 and 65,000 American troops are in the region, spread out between Jordan and Oman, assigned to operate airfields, run key headquarters, sail warships and fly warplanes, and stage for deployments to places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers change substantially depending on the presence of an aircraft carrier strike group or two in the region, and whether a large group of Marines is afloat in those waters.

There are between 6,000 and 7,000 American troops spread across Africa, with the largest numbers concentrated in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. In Somalia, there are about 500 Special Operations troops, fighting the Qaeda-linked terrorist group, the Shabab, from small outposts alongside local troops.

In the Sahel, in countries like Niger, Chad and Mali, there are several hundred. The Air Force recently built a large drone base, known as Air Base 201, near the city of Agadez, Niger. Last year, Jim Mattis, the defense secretary at the time, ordered the military command that oversees troops on the continent, known as Africom, to shrink its forces by several hundred Special Operations troops as part of the Pentagon’s strategy to focus more on threats from Russian and China around the world.

The current commander of Africom, Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, is completing a sweeping review that will probably mean the reduction of more troops.

Since the end of World War II and the Korean War, the United States has maintained a large military presence in Asia. More than 28,000 United States troops are stationed in South Korea, many living with their families. The United States and South Korea have suspended major training exercises over the past year as a concession to North Korea, but the two militaries continue to carry out smaller drills.

In Japan, the Pentagon maintains about 50,000 troops at roughly two dozen bases across the country. About 25,000 of those troops are stationed on Okinawa. Violence committed by American service members or related personnel on the island has long caused friction between Washington and Tokyo.

The Cold War put as many as 300,000 American troops across Europe to defend against the Soviet Union. That presence eventually plummeted to about 30,000 soldiers after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.

Over the past year, the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization completed positioning about 4,500 additional soldiers in the three Baltic States and Poland, and they have stationed several thousand other armored troops mostly in Eastern Europe as a deterrent to Russian aggression.

Despite recent tensions with Turkey over its offensive into northern Syria, the United States flies combat and support aircraft from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The Pentagon also stores about 50 tactical nuclear weapons at Incirlik.

The Pentagon has deployed troops to other locations around the world. There are about 250 troops, mostly Special Forces, in the Philippines in part to help with counterterrorism operations. In the past six years, about 2,000 Marines have regularly deployed to northern Australia to act as a response force for the Pacific region.

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ISIS using TikTok to spread propaganda, emojis and all, report says

The Islamic State has been using the social media video platform TikTok as a recruitment tool, according to a bombshell report.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the terrorist group placed videos of Islamic State anthems and footage of corpses and ISIS fighters to the carefree app popular with teenagers and known for videos of dancing high-school students, harmless pranks and lip-synching with special effects.

One terror video earned 68 likes, and some ISIS-related accounts had around 1,000 followers.

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The videos seemed designed to attract a young audience.

Westlake Legal Group IS-tiktok ISIS using TikTok to spread propaganda, emojis and all, report says Frank Miles fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/tech fnc article 7cbe0726-c906-5cab-bd46-5bafec03d1b6

The Islamic State has been using the social media video platform TikTok as a propaganda tool, according to a bombshell report.  (File)

“The rhyme, beat, evocative lyrics and punchy delivery are especially appealing to youth,” Elisabeth Kendall, an Oxford University expert on extremism, told the newspaper. “This catchy sing-along method for propagating ISIS ideology means it spreads quickly and sticks in the collective memory. It tends to be far more effective than sermons or theological debate and treatises.”

Social-media intelligence company Storyful identified around two dozen ISIS-related accounts, all of which have been removed.

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“This is an industry-wide challenge complicated by bad actors who actively seek to circumvent protective measures, but we have a team dedicated to aggressively protecting against malicious behavior on TikTok,” a spokeswoman for TikTok told the Journal.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Westlake Legal Group IS-tiktok ISIS using TikTok to spread propaganda, emojis and all, report says Frank Miles fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/tech fnc article 7cbe0726-c906-5cab-bd46-5bafec03d1b6   Westlake Legal Group IS-tiktok ISIS using TikTok to spread propaganda, emojis and all, report says Frank Miles fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox news fnc/tech fnc article 7cbe0726-c906-5cab-bd46-5bafec03d1b6

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Watch: Elizabeth Warren dodges question on how she would fund ‘Medicare-for-all’

Westlake Legal Group AP19294670506241 Watch: Elizabeth Warren dodges question on how she would fund 'Medicare-for-all' Liam Quinn fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0977153c-110f-54a9-8b23-df2a2c98ef4d

Elizabeth Warren boasts she has a “plan for that” — but it turns out she doesn’t always have an answer for questions at the core of her White House bid.

Warren, one of the leading Democrats seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020, spoke to reporters Monday after an event at Roosevelt High school in Des Moines, Iowa, when the topic of “Medicare-for-all” was raised.

During the media gaggle, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Warren: “How should caucus-goers be confident it is possible to pay for ‘Medicare-for-all’ at all if the leading Democratic candidate still needs a few more weeks to tell them how it is going to get paid for?”

In response, Warren replied: “Well, why don’t you ask me that when the plan is out.”

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She did not give any further details.

Warren has been criticized in recent weeks for not explaining exactly how she would cover the costs for her ambitious plan, with two fellow 2020 contenders taking issue with her during last week’s debate.

After being asked by the moderators early at the fourth-round debate in Ohio last Tuesday whether middle-class taxes would rise under her health0care proposal, the progressive senator didn’t specifically answer, instead pledging, “I will not sign a bill into law that does not cut costs for middle-class families.”

Moments later, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg took aim at Warren, who’s soared in polling in recent months and has been considered a frontrunner for the party’s presidential nomination alongside former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Accusing Warren of being evasive, Buttigieg argued, “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything— except for this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multitrillion-dollar hole in this ‘Medicare-for-all’ plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”

Warren, firing back at Buttigieg, said: “Let’s be clear, whenever someone hears the term ‘Medicare for all who want it,’ understand what that means: It’s ‘Medicare for all who can afford it,’ and that’s the problem we’ve got. ‘Medicare-for-all’ is the gold standard.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar then joined Buttigieg in calling out Warren.

The Minnesota Democrat said, “At least [Bernie Sanders is] being honest here in saying how he’s going to pay for this and that taxes will go up, and I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we’re going to send the invoice.”

Suggesting that Warren would never be able to pass her ‘Medicare-for-all’ plan through Congress, Klobuchar said: “The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done.”

Biden also chimed in, jabbing at Warren without naming her, accusing her of not being straightforward.

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“On the single most important thing facing the American public, I think it’s awfully important to be straightforward with them,” Biden noted. “The plan is going to cost at least $30 trillion over 10 years. That is more on a yearly basis than the entire federal budget.”

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19294670506241 Watch: Elizabeth Warren dodges question on how she would fund 'Medicare-for-all' Liam Quinn fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0977153c-110f-54a9-8b23-df2a2c98ef4d   Westlake Legal Group AP19294670506241 Watch: Elizabeth Warren dodges question on how she would fund 'Medicare-for-all' Liam Quinn fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 0977153c-110f-54a9-8b23-df2a2c98ef4d

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