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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 230)

Netanyahu Fails to Form a Government, Leaving Israel as Divided as Ever

Westlake Legal Group 21israel-copy-facebookJumbo-v2 Netanyahu Fails to Form a Government, Leaving Israel as Divided as Ever Rivlin, Reuven Politics and Government Netanyahu, Benjamin Likud Party (Israel) Israel Gantz, Benny Blue and White (Israeli Political Party)

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel abandoned his latest attempt to form a government on Monday, clearing the way for his chief rival to take a shot but leaving a divided country no closer to knowing who its next leader would be.

It remained to be seen whether the move was the beginning of the end for Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, or just another twist in a political standoff that has paralyzed the government for six months.

President Reuven Rivlin said he would give Benny Gantz, the former army chief whose party won one more parliamentary seat than Mr. Netanyahu’s in last month’s election, the mandate to try to become the country’s next leader.

But Mr. Gantz, a political newcomer who has capitalized on pending corruption cases against Mr. Netanyahu, has no clear path to assembling the required 61-seat majority in Israel’s Parliament.

He has 28 days to try. If he fails, Israel could be forced into an unprecedented third election, a prospect few Israelis would relish.

Two days before his 28-day deadline was up, Mr. Netanyahu, 70, who has been prime minister since 2009, told Mr. Rivlin that he had been unable to put together a parliamentary majority.

Mr. Rivlin said he would give the mandate to Mr. Gantz, 60, “as soon as possible.”

“The time of spin is over, and it is now time for action,” Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party said in a statement. “Blue and White is determined to form the liberal unity government, led by Benny Gantz, that the people of Israel voted for a month ago.”

Mr. Gantz had resisted entreaties from Mr. Netanyahu to join him in a unity government, saying that he would not serve under a prime minister facing indictment. That left open the possibility that Mr. Netanyahu might prevail upon a few centrist lawmakers to give him a majority.

They did not, and Mr. Gantz’s gamble has paid off, so far.

Now, he will get his chance to try to assemble a majority. Arguing that 80 percent of Israelis agree on 80 percent of the issues, he has promised to seek a broad government with conservative partners by working “from the center out.”

But achieving what Mr. Netanyahu could not would be quite a feat. Mr. Gantz would need to recruit defectors from the political right, perhaps from within Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party, or persuade Avigdor Liberman, leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, to do what so far appears unthinkable: collaborate with Arab politicians.

Mr. Netanyahu, who remains prime minister until a new government is formed, is counting on Mr. Gantz to fail, forcing a new election.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Monday, shortly after the end of the Sukkot holiday in Israel, Mr. Netanyahu said he had “worked relentlessly, in the open but also in secret, in an effort to form a broad national unity government” with Mr. Gantz.

“This is what the people want,” Mr. Netanyahu wrote. “This is also what Israel needs in the face of security challenges that are growing by the day, by the hour.”

He said he had made “every effort” to negotiate a unity government with Mr. Gantz, but “to my regret, time and time again, he simply refused.”

For Mr. Netanyahu, who in July surpassed Israel’s founding leader, David Ben-Gurion, to become its longest-serving prime minister, his failure to assemble a majority was a humbling and potentially career-ending blow.

The last time an Israeli politician beside him had the chance to form a government was in 2009, when Tzipi Livni, then the foreign minister, narrowly edged Mr. Netanyahu in an election. But she failed to muster a majority and Mr. Netanyahu succeeded, completing a comeback after having served a previous term as prime minister in the late 1990s.

Mr. Gantz, a career soldier making his first run for office, tied with Mr. Netanyahu in their first contest in April, but Mr. Netanyahu had more supporters in Parliament and was given the chance to form a government. He appeared well on his way to a fourth consecutive term only to be thwarted by a surprise defection by Mr. Liberman.

Rather than let Mr. Gantz be given a chance, Mr. Netanyahu orchestrated a second election, held on Sept. 17.

Mr. Gantz narrowly edged Mr. Netanyahu in that election, but Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition of right-wing and ultrareligious parties again came away with a larger bloc in Parliament than Mr. Gantz’s alliance of center-left parties. Once more, Mr. Netanyahu was handed the first attempt at forming a government.

Mr. Netanyahu may still have another path back to the premiership: If Mr. Gantz cannot form a government within his allotted time, the president can hand the task to Parliament, giving lawmakers an additional 21 days to come up with a candidate who can command a majority. Mr. Netanyahu may be hoping, at that point, that the public and political pressure to avoid a third election will persuade the half-dozen additional lawmakers whose support he needs to come to his side.

Analysts have also speculated that Mr. Netanyahu may prefer a third election, perhaps believing that the attorney general would ultimately drop the bribery indictment, the heaviest of three charges he is facing. Under such an outcome, Mr. Netanyahu could claim a degree of vindication and campaign while facing lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust, and insisting that they, too, would come to naught in court.

The gamesmanship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz since the election last month has resembled a chess match in which Mr. Netanyahu’s position was weaker than after the April election but the conclusion was hardly foregone.

With neither man finding a politically palatable way of achieving a 61-seat majority, a unity government of one sort or another appeared unavoidable, and Mr. Rivlin urged both men to agree on one.

One major stumbling block, if they agreed to rotate the premiership, was the question of who would serve first and at what point Mr. Netanyahu would step aside if charged.

Mr. Netanyahu accepted a proposal suggested by Mr. Rivlin under which Mr. Netanyahu would serve as prime minister first, but if charged, would declare himself incapacitated while he sorted out his legal troubles. Mr. Gantz would then serve as acting prime minister with full powers.

Such an arrangement left many questions, including at what point Mr. Netanyahu would step aside, and would have required legal changes that could be challenged in court.

Moreover, Mr. Netanyahu has insisted that any unity government include his longstanding allies in the right-wing and religious parties. Mr. Gantz has demanded that Likud negotiate a unity government without its allied parties.

Mr. Netanyahu repeatedly and publicly chastised Mr. Gantz for refusing to negotiate with him on terms for building a grand coalition including both their parties. Mr. Gantz said the terms proposed by Mr. Netanyahu were impossible to accept.

Most recently, Mr. Netanyahu asserted that Mr. Gantz’s plan all along was to thwart any efforts to form a unity government and instead set up a minority government with the backing of Arab parties — an unlikely move that would be deeply unpopular with many Blue and White voters, as well as with many of the party’s lawmakers.

The rise of such a minority government would only be possible with the tacit cooperation of Avigdor Liberman, which Mr. Liberman has all but ruled out.

Critics said Mr. Netanyahu had been showing signs of panic. He pressed his right-wing and religious allies to sign multiple loyalty oaths. And he proposed a Likud party primary, but then abruptly canceled the idea after a popular younger rival, Gideon Saar, declared himself ready to challenge Mr. Netanyahu for the party leadership.

Mr. Gantz, meanwhile, has been calmly seeking to strengthen his leadership credentials, issuing prime ministerial-like statements in response to local and world events. He hosted the German ambassador to Israel, Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer, in his sukkah, the temporary hut or tabernacle that Jews construct for the Sukkot holiday, and said they discussed anti-Semitism and Germany’s decision to cease weapons sales to Turkey, for which he expressed gratitude.

Last week, Mr. Gantz requested, and was granted, a meeting with the military chief of staff to update himself on security developments in the region. That meeting was held with the approval of Mr. Netanyahu.

Still, Mr. Netanyahu has far from given up.

On Monday night he posted a photo of himself and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, thanked Mr. Putin for telephoning him with birthday greetings and said they had discussed the situation in Syria, among other things.

“It is still not too late,” he declared in his video. It would still be possible to form a unity government, he said, “if Gantz comes to his senses.”

“This has always been the solution, and this remains the solution,” he said.

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Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there’s ‘no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me’

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – Sen. Elizabeth Warren is known as the candidate with the plans, but Senate colleague and presidential nomination rival Sen. Cory Booker begs to differ.

“There’s no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me. Anybody who knows me in the Senate, that’s my forte,” Booker, D-N.J., highlighted Monday in an interview with Fox News and NHTalkRadio.com.

Booker, who was interviewed aboard his campaign’s New Hampshire RV, emphasized that “there’s been 170-180 plans put out by every candidate. We’re all putting out plans. I love mine. I think in so many cases my plans are better. Heck, we are the only people to put out a plan on child poverty. How can that be?”

WARREN SAYS SHE’LL UNVEIL HOW SHE’LL PAY FOR HER MEDICARE-FOR-ALL PLAN

And, he indirectly took aim at Warren, D-Mass., who’s soared in recent months to a tie with former Vice President Joe Biden for the top spot in the 2020 primary race.

“I stand with Elizabeth Warren. I think ‘Medicare-for-all’ is the best way to do it. But, I also actually believe that it’s going to be a process to get there,” Booker noted. “We can’t be in a situation where we’re just talking away insurance from folks.”

Warren has been a major supporter of the “Medicare-for-all” plan introduced in the Senate by 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. The government-run plan, if enacted, would eliminate private insurance.

Booker, spotlighting his pragmatism, added, “I will not be one of those folks on the stage that’s so rigid to say, ‘It’s my way or the highway and I’m going to sacrifice progress for purity. I’m going to let perfect be the enemy of the good,’ when every American needs more good.”

Asked if some of his nomination rivals were too rigid, Booker answered, “that’s what voters are going to have to decide.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Warren came under repeated attack at last week’s fourth-round primary debate over her refusal to discuss whether taxes would go up for middle-class Americans to implement her proposal for a government-run “Medicare-for-all” plan. She announced Sunday that she would soon reveal how the country would pay for it if she were president.

Booker has built up a formidable team in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to vote in the caucus and primary calendar. Analysts have called him a skilled retail campaigner and arguably the best orator in the record-setting field of presidential contenders. But, he’s yet to pop in the polls or have many viral moments.

Westlake Legal Group aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaBOOKER-RV Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there's 'no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me' Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/cory-booker fox news fnc/politics fnc article 06c0d77f-d891-56b7-872c-63bbfa353087

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey speaking with Fox News and NHTalkRadio.com aboard his campaign RV on the road from Peterborough to Keene, N.H., on Monday. (Fox News)

However, with three and a half months to go until the voting begins, that’s fine with Booker.

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“The people that usually win are the people who peak in January, February, not people who are winning in the summer or winning in the fall. We’ve just got to continue doing the work,” he noted.

And, pointing to one-time longshots who ended up winning the nomination and eventually the White House, he said, “the more people who hear my message, the more [success] and momentum we’re getting and I’m hoping that continues to rise. And, by the time we’re in next year, I hope we’ll do what Bill Clinton, the comeback kid, or Jimmy Carter – who won New Hampshire – I’ll follow in their footsteps.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095157124001_6095156624001-vs Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there's 'no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me' Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/cory-booker fox news fnc/politics fnc article 06c0d77f-d891-56b7-872c-63bbfa353087   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095157124001_6095156624001-vs Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there's 'no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me' Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/cory-booker fox news fnc/politics fnc article 06c0d77f-d891-56b7-872c-63bbfa353087

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Dennis Quaid, 65, is engaged to 26-year-old Laura Savoie; his ‘Parent Trap’ fiancée reacts

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Dennis Quaid, 65, is engaged to 26-year-old Laura Savoie; his 'Parent Trap' fiancée reacts

She said yes!

Dennis Quaid and Laura Savoie got engaged after a rather overwhelming proposal, the actor shared with Extra shortly after the sunset ask. 

“It happened on the very northernmost point of Oahu, at Turtle Bay,” Quaid said. “It was kind of spontaneous. It was very much a surprise.”

Equipped with the the ring in his pocket, Quaid said he wanted the moment “to be private,” noting his proposal was “kind of a month-and-a-half plan.” 

And Savoie, who is 26 and working on her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, according to Extra and People, was apparently stunned. According to the outlets, the pair has been together for months.

“She was actually taking a selfie of us, and I put the ring in front and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ – and then she fell down,” Quaid, 65, recalled to Extra.

His proposal even got a quip from actress Elaine Hendrix, Quaid’s onscreen fiancée from the classic 1998 romantic comedy “The Parent Trap.” 

Hendrix played Meredith Blake, a 26-year-old gold-digging publicist engaged to Quaid’s Nick Parker (but not for long, thanks to his meddling twin daughters).

“Watch out for those twins,” she tweeted, referring to identical long-lost sisters Hallie Parker and Annie James, who were both played by Lindsay Lohan.

This will be the fourth marriage for Quaid, who was previously married to Kimberly Quaid (2004-2018), Meg Ryan (1991-2001) and P.J. Soles (1978-1983).

USA TODAY has reached out to a rep for Quaid for further comment.

See our full coverage of entertainment news

Meet Jack Quaid, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid’s son, who will steal your heart this summer

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Dennis Quaid, 65, is engaged to 26-year-old Laura Savoie; his ‘Parent Trap’ fiancée reacts

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Dennis Quaid, 65, is engaged to 26-year-old Laura Savoie; his 'Parent Trap' fiancée reacts

She said yes!

Dennis Quaid and Laura Savoie got engaged after a rather overwhelming proposal, the actor shared with Extra shortly after the sunset ask. 

“It happened on the very northernmost point of Oahu, at Turtle Bay,” Quaid said. “It was kind of spontaneous. It was very much a surprise.”

Equipped with the the ring in his pocket, Quaid said he wanted the moment “to be private,” noting his proposal was “kind of a month-and-a-half plan.” 

And Savoie, who is 26 and working on her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, according to Extra and People, was apparently stunned. According to the outlets, the pair has been together for months.

“She was actually taking a selfie of us, and I put the ring in front and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ – and then she fell down,” Quaid, 65, recalled to Extra.

His proposal even got a quip from actress Elaine Hendrix, Quaid’s onscreen fiancée from the classic 1998 romantic comedy “The Parent Trap.” 

Hendrix played Meredith Blake, a 26-year-old gold-digging publicist engaged to Quaid’s Nick Parker (but not for long, thanks to his meddling twin daughters).

“Watch out for those twins,” she tweeted, referring to identical long-lost sisters Hallie Parker and Annie James, who were both played by Lindsay Lohan.

This will be the fourth marriage for Quaid, who was previously married to Kimberly Quaid (2004-2018), Meg Ryan (1991-2001) and P.J. Soles (1978-1983).

USA TODAY has reached out to a rep for Quaid for further comment.

See our full coverage of entertainment news

Meet Jack Quaid, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid’s son, who will steal your heart this summer

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Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/10/21/dennis-quaid-engaged-laura-savoie-proposal-details/4055203002/

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Trump Says Republicans Need To ‘Get Tougher And Fight’ On Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group ap_19294642776808_wide-1cd0ff1408c663403e635edd627665b39627f9a5-s1100-c15 Trump Says Republicans Need To 'Get Tougher And Fight' On Impeachment

President Trump gestures while speakings during a Cabinet meeting on Monday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Trump Says Republicans Need To 'Get Tougher And Fight' On Impeachment

President Trump gestures while speakings during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Trump is chastising Republicans for not sufficiently having his back as he tries to weather an impeachment inquiry from Democrats.

“Republicans have to get tougher and fight,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday. “We have some that are great fighters, but they have to get tougher and fight because the Democrats are trying to hurt the Republican Party for the election.”

And while the president rarely has words of praise for Democrats, he did laud them for being “vicious” and “stick[ing] together” when it comes to impeachment and other matters. And he lambasted one of his top GOP foes, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, saying they “don’t have people like that” on their side.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee is one of the few Republican senators to admit he is open to voting to remove Trump from office. Even if the House impeaches Trump, a supermajority of the Senate’s 100 members would be needed to remove him — a tough task given Republicans control 53 seats.

In an interview Sunday on Axios on HBO, Romney said that other senators do have concerns about Trump and his conduct regarding Ukraine, including asking President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. However, they’re unwilling to come forward and criticize Trump because they fear the political repercussions.

“There’s no upside in going on out and attacking the leader of your party, ’cause that’s just gonna let someone come in and primary you on the right. So people want to hang on to their job,” Romney said.

Even a loyal Trump ally, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, said he wouldn’t rule out voting against Trump in an impeachment trial if there is more evidence of wrongdoing to emerge.

“Sure, I mean show me something that is a crime,” Graham also told Axios. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

Graham broke with Trump last week over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — which made way for Turkey’s invasion of the country that has put Kurdish allies in grave danger. That’s another decision where many Republican lawmakers have questioned the president.

Trump also defended the initial choice of hosting next year’s G-7 summit at his Doral resort outside Miami, though he later withdrew that decision late Saturday amid heavy criticism of self-dealing. Though Trump blamed Democrats and the media for stoking the controversy, there was, in fact, plenty of private pushback from Republicans.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday on ABC’s This Week that picking Doral was an “unforced error” and that Trump had “no choice” but to reverse course.

“It shouldn’t have been done in the first place and it’s a good move to get out of it and get that out of the papers and off the news,” Christie said.

Christie also hinted that many lawmakers may be growing exasperated with having to constantly defend Trump, and that they could do better at outreach, telling ABC that he told Trump he needs “to be in friend-making mode.”

In a sign the White House is working to shore up GOP unity, it held two days of meetings with Republican House members over the weekend at Camp David.

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Lawmaker leading charge to censure Adam Schiff says he’s engineering ‘total political hit job’ on Trump

Westlake Legal Group Schiff-Lesko_AP-FOX Lawmaker leading charge to censure Adam Schiff says he's engineering 'total political hit job' on Trump fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 48acc87a-8a1c-539b-86ec-3dc0caea3064

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is leading a “total political hit job” on President Trump, according to a Republican lawmaker co-sponsoring a bill to censure the California Democrat.

The American people have had the most to lose amid the Trump impeachment inquiry Schiff is leading, Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., claimed Monday on “Your World.”

“I imagine that the Democrats are going to kill the bill to censure Adam Schiff because this whole thing is a political hit job against the president,” she said.

“Adam Schiff… has for two years said he had proof that the president colluded with Russians — that turned out to be false in the Mueller report. Then, made up… what President Trump said to the Ukrainian president, trying to deceive the American public.”

HOUSE REPUBLICANS TRY TO FORCE A VOTE ON CENSURING ADAM SCHIFF

Lesko claimed Schiff continues to try to mislead the public about alleged wrongdoing or unethical behavior on the part of the president, and added she believed his personal bias is hurting Congress’ ability to work on issues constituents care about.

She said congressional Democrats are instead engaged in a baseless “witch hunt” to try to tar Trump and ruin his presidency.

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“Nothing is getting done around here except all these closed-door impeachment inquiries,” she told host Neil Cavuto from inside the U.S. Capitol.

Later in the interview, she mentioned other issues she had with Schiff, and reiterated he is engaged in a “total political hit job.”

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She said Schiff repeatedly claimed publicly he had no contact with the Ukraine phone call whistleblower, despite later reporting by Fox News the yet unnamed individual failed to disclose contact with the lawmaker’s committee staff.

“He’s so biased, and on multiple occasions has said falsities,” she said, adding Trump, to date, has been offered “no due process.”

To that extent, she said former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were allowed more access to the process of their impeachment inquiries. In Nixon’s case, he resigned before he could be formally impeached.

Last week, Lesko’s Grand Canyon State colleague, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., took steps in hopes of forcing a vote on the censure motion within two legislative days, as Republicans do not have the majority required call a vote outright.

Westlake Legal Group Schiff-Lesko_AP-FOX Lawmaker leading charge to censure Adam Schiff says he's engineering 'total political hit job' on Trump fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 48acc87a-8a1c-539b-86ec-3dc0caea3064   Westlake Legal Group Schiff-Lesko_AP-FOX Lawmaker leading charge to censure Adam Schiff says he's engineering 'total political hit job' on Trump fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 48acc87a-8a1c-539b-86ec-3dc0caea3064

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WeWork Considers Rescue Plans From SoftBank and JPMorgan

Westlake Legal Group 14WEWORK-HFO-facebookJumbo WeWork Considers Rescue Plans From SoftBank and JPMorgan WeWork Companies Inc SoftBank Capital Real Estate (Commercial) Neumann, Adam JPMorgan Chase&Company Initial Public Offerings Co-Working Boards of Directors

The board of WeWork, the cash-starved purveyor of shared office space, is weighing competing financial rescue packages from SoftBank and a financial consortium led by JPMorgan Chase, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

SoftBank, a Japanese technology giant that is already the largest outside shareholder in WeWork, is offering to take a controlling stake in the company by accelerating a $1.5 billion investment it had planned to make next year and by buying up to $3 billion in shares held by other investors, the people said. SoftBank is also offering to put together loans totaling $5 billion from a consortium of financial institutions, including SoftBank.

The JPMorgan proposal consists of several parts, including new bonds, some of which would carry high interest rates, according to people with knowledge of its plans.

The potential cash infusion comes at a critical time for WeWork, which scrapped an initial public offering and ousted its charismatic chief executive last month after Wall Street balked at its huge losses and unconventional corporate governance structure.

WeWork, once considered one of the world’s most celebrated start-ups, was valued by SoftBank at $47 billion in January but had considered selling shares in its initial public offering at a valuation as low as $15 billion. SoftBank’s latest offer to the company values it at a little less than $8 billion.

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Romney calls Obama, Biden ‘honorable,’ refrains from calling Trump the same

Westlake Legal Group Romney-Trump Romney calls Obama, Biden 'honorable,' refrains from calling Trump the same Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c769939-fcea-536c-b23f-359413c48ef6

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, offered kind words to President Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden by calling them “honorable,” but in an awkward exchange refrained to make the same compliment about President Trump.

In a recent interview with Axios, Romney was asked if his 2012 competitor was an “honorable man.”

“I believe he’s an honorable man, yes,” Romney answered. “A good family man and he made a lot of mistakes. Most presidents do.”

“Is Joe Biden an honorable man?” Axios executive editor Mike Allen asked.

“You know, I don’t know Joe Biden terribly well, but from everything I’ve seen and the interactions I’ve had with him, he seems to me like a man of honor,” Romney responded.

Allen then posed the same question about Trump, which drew some criticism from the Utah senator.

ROMNEY TAKES SHOTS AT TRUMP OVER RACE, SAYS HE’S ABANDONING KURDS IN SYRIA

“I knew where you were going, but I’m not going to let you catch me in a corner,” Romney said. “He has elements, I’m sure, of honor in his life and there are things that I think are not honorable. And, I mention that because of the payment to a porn star for sexual relations outside of marriage.

“Look, I’m one of those who believes we have a responsibility to be honorable and faithful to our wives and the president made a failing in that regard.”

The former Massachusetts governor was widely critical of Trump throughout the interview.

“People will recognize that character really is important in our leaders and that it’s important for our leaders to do things that unify us, that welcome people who come here legally as immigrants, that in no way signal to anybody in America that they’re less of an American because of where they came from or their sexual orientation or their race or their religion,” he said.

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The senator added that the future will not be kind to Trump’s legacy, including his recent move to withdraw troops from northern Syria, which analysts claimed could be seen as abandoning U.S.-allied Kurdish forces. As Romney put it, “We should never abandon our friends.”

He also said, “Clearly, the world watches and people who potentially could be our allies at a critical time say perhaps the U.S. won’t stay with us. Perhaps they’ll cut and run if they think it’s in their best interest. And, walking away from the Kurds in a corner of Syria at a critical time when the troops coming from Turkey are intent upon doing them harm is something which I think would be a very dark spot in American history.”

Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this story.

Westlake Legal Group Romney-Trump Romney calls Obama, Biden 'honorable,' refrains from calling Trump the same Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c769939-fcea-536c-b23f-359413c48ef6   Westlake Legal Group Romney-Trump Romney calls Obama, Biden 'honorable,' refrains from calling Trump the same Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc article 6c769939-fcea-536c-b23f-359413c48ef6

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Facebook Lays On the Charm for Its Libra Cryptocurrency Plan

WASHINGTON — Facebook’s ambitious plan to create a cryptocurrency that would replace traditional money all over the world appears to be on life support. Regulators and lawmakers have mocked it. Key partners like Visa and Mastercard have stepped away from it.

But the company isn’t backing down. Facebook executives fanned out in the capital last week to court lawmakers and regulators to the cryptocurrency project, called Libra. And on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, is expected to testify about Libra at a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee.

Company executives are expending a surprising amount of energy and time defending their cryptocurrency plan, even though it is not central to Facebook’s business, advertising. The company also faces a variety of seemingly more pressing issues in Washington, including questions about antitrust and privacy violations and election security and disinformation.

The Libra project was secretly incubated inside Facebook for over a year. Though many questioned why Facebook needed to create a cryptocurrency, Mr. Zuckerberg has long been fascinated by digital coins like Bitcoin. The company initially brought on 27 partners that it hoped would help give the cryptocurrency legitimacy and spread it. Twenty-one remain.

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, met with the House Financial Services Committee’s Democratic chairwoman, Representative Maxine Waters of California, and its ranking Republican, Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina. While in Washington, Mr. Zuckerberg also gave a speech defending the company in a separate controversy — its hands-off stance toward dishonesty in political advertising.

David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s cryptocurrency effort, ran a parallel track of meetings. He gave speeches defending Libra to global leaders meeting at the World Bank and a meeting of the Group of 30, an international organization of financiers and academics. Mr. Marcus also met with staff for Democratic and Republican members of the House committee.

All told, Facebook has dedicated at least eight lobbyists to Libra since the project was publicly introduced in June, according to regulatory filings.

But it’s not clear that the charm offensive is having much of an impact. While executives were knocking on doors in Washington, the Group of 7, representing some of the most powerful governments in the world, issued a highly critical report that warned about the potential dangers of cryptocurrencies.

Even Republicans, who have been generally more open to the cryptocurrency plan since it was announced in June, have expressed concern about how it has been organized.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 21libra3-articleLarge Facebook Lays On the Charm for Its Libra Cryptocurrency Plan Zuckerberg, Mark E Virtual Currency Social Media Libra (Currency) House Committee on Financial Services Facebook Inc

Facebook has dedicated at least eight lobbyists to Libra since it was announced.CreditLibra

Representative Lance Gooden, a Republican from Texas, criticized the decision by the Libra Association, the Facebook-led coalition behind the cryptocurrency, to base itself in Geneva.

“There is an impression that perhaps Facebook wants a clean start somewhere else because they haven’t enjoyed criticism to their social media platform, but Democrats and Republicans agree that criticism of the social network is entirely justified,” Mr. Gooden, a member of the Financial Services Committee, said in a phone interview last week.

One evening last week, Mr. Marcus swirled a glass of bourbon in a downtown, nouveau-Southern restaurant in Washington. Despite a flurry of bad news about his project, Mr. Marcus said he was unfazed.

“Look, change of this magnitude was going to be hard all along,” he said.

When Facebook announced the project, it had only a rough draft of what Libra would look like. The plan was for the final designs to be done by all the partners as part of the Libra Association, in which Facebook would have only one vote. But that lack of detail has made it hard to explain how Libra would deal with problems like money laundering and cybersecurity.

The basic description that Facebook did put forward was enough to bring out the knives from politicians and regulators all over the world. In the United States, President Trump and his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, harshly criticized Libra, as did politicians from both parties.

Mr. Marcus, over a dinner of fried green tomato arugula salad and spicy fried chicken, said he had no regrets about how Facebook had introduced the project. He brushed aside criticism that Facebook should have done more to get regulators on board ahead of time.

“Even if we spent 10 years outreaching, you’d still hear the same thing,” Mr. Marcus told a small group of reporters who had been invited to speak with him.

He offered the defense he repeatedly gave the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee during testimony in July: Facebook was far from officially offering Libra, and it was working with regulators around the world.

“We didn’t launch anything,” Mr. Marcus said. “We opened up the idea that maybe it was a good thing to try to do something new to advance the state of access to digital money in general.”

The head of policy at the Libra Association, Dante Disparte, defiantly said in a separate interview last week that the problem was not Facebook. The problem, he said, is a political system in the United States that seems so willing to turn its back on technological innovation.

“It is an indictment of the state of play, for a country like the U.S., which is the greatest beneficiary of free markets and the rule of law, to have inspired such political animus for a project like this,” Mr. Disparte said.

Mr. Marcus said that while politicians had been negative about the project, he had gotten a much more open reception from regulators in private meetings.

But regulators have also sounded off on Libra. After the Libra Association formalized its list of partners last week — a list that notably did not include any major banking or finance companies — a steady stream of regulators went public with their concerns.

On Wednesday, Lael Brainard, the Federal Reserve official responsible for overseeing cryptocurrency policy, said in a speech that private currencies like Libra could weaken the power of central banks and create dangers for large economies “by increasing market volatility and by transmitting shocks across borders.”

A day later, the finance minister of France, Bruno Le Maire, wrote in the Financial Times that Libra was “unacceptable for both economic and political reasons.”

Later that day, a 37-page report from the G7 said “stablecoins” like Libra could have “significant adverse effects.”

The G7, like many other organizations, suggested that the ideas proposed by Facebook could make sense if they were pursued by a government instead of a company. And in recent months, several central banks, including the People’s Bank of China, have said Libra has revived their efforts to create national digital currencies.

Mr. Marcus framed this as something of a victory.

“We’ve advanced the dialogue on the fact that the status quo was not and should not be an option and that we need to move forward with a better system to enable more people to participate in the financial system,” he said.

Mr. Marcus said the pushback wasn’t at all surprising. Facebook’s brand, after all, comes with “baggage.” His biggest job, he said, is correcting misperceptions held by politicians, regulators and the public.

But other than the online music service Spotify, Mr. Marcus hasn’t had much help from the 21 remaining partners, which have said little publicly about Libra. Even PayPal, the company he ran before joining Facebook, dropped its support for the project.

When asked if Mr. Zuckerberg had doubts about the project because of the recent setbacks, Mr. Marcus added: “If you think about this over the long run, if it works, then it’s going to be a very good thing for Facebook. And a very good thing for the world.”

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Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there’s ‘no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me’

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. – Sen. Elizabeth Warren is known as the candidate with the plans, but Senate colleague and presidential nomination rival Sen. Cory Booker begs to differ.

“There’s no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me. Anybody who knows me in the Senate, that’s my forte,” Booker, D-N.J., highlighted Monday in an interview with Fox News and NHTalkRadio.com.

Booker, who was interviewed aboard his campaign’s New Hampshire RV, emphasized that “there’s been 170-180 plans put out by every candidate. We’re all putting out plans. I love mine. I think in so many cases my plans are better. Heck, we are the only people to put out a plan on child poverty. How can that be?”

WARREN SAYS SHE’LL UNVEIL HOW SHE’LL PAY FOR HER MEDICARE-FOR-ALL PLAN

And, he indirectly took aim at Warren, D-Mass., who’s soared in recent months to a tie with former Vice President Joe Biden for the top spot in the 2020 primary race.

“I stand with Elizabeth Warren. I think ‘Medicare-for-all’ is the best way to do it. But, I also actually believe that it’s going to be a process to get there,” Booker noted. “We can’t be in a situation where we’re just talking away insurance from folks.”

Warren has been a major supporter of the “Medicare-for-all” plan introduced in the Senate by 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. The government-run plan, if enacted, would eliminate private insurance.

Booker, spotlighting his pragmatism, added, “I will not be one of those folks on the stage that’s so rigid to say, ‘It’s my way or the highway and I’m going to sacrifice progress for purity. I’m going to let perfect be the enemy of the good,’ when every American needs more good.”

Asked if some of his nomination rivals were too rigid, Booker answered, “that’s what voters are going to have to decide.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Warren came under repeated attack at last week’s fourth-round primary debate over her refusal to discuss whether taxes would go up for middle-class Americans to implement her proposal for a government-run “Medicare-for-all” plan. She announced Sunday that she would soon reveal how the country would pay for it if she were president.

Booker has built up a formidable team in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to vote in the caucus and primary calendar. Analysts have called him a skilled retail campaigner and arguably the best orator in the record-setting field of presidential contenders. But, he’s yet to pop in the polls or have many viral moments.

Westlake Legal Group aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaBOOKER-RV Booker, in thinly veiled Warren dig, touts there's 'no bigger policy wonk nerd in this race than me' Paul Steinhauser fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-hampshire fox-news/politics/elections/presidential fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections/campaigning fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/cory-booker fox news fnc/politics fnc article 06c0d77f-d891-56b7-872c-63bbfa353087

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey speaking with Fox News and NHTalkRadio.com aboard his campaign RV on the road from Peterborough to Keene, N.H., on Monday. (Fox News)

However, with three and a half months to go until the voting begins, that’s fine with Booker.

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“The people that usually win are the people who peak in January, February, not people who are winning in the summer or winning in the fall. We’ve just got to continue doing the work,” he noted.

And, pointing to one-time longshots who ended up winning the nomination and eventually the White House, he said, “the more people who hear my message, the more [success] and momentum we’re getting and I’m hoping that continues to rise. And, by the time we’re in next year, I hope we’ll do what Bill Clinton, the comeback kid, or Jimmy Carter – who won New Hampshire – I’ll follow in their footsteps.”

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