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Hurricane Dorian Strengthens To Category 4 Storm

Westlake Legal Group 5d69c3aa2500008d0000de16 Hurricane Dorian Strengthens To Category 4 Storm

MIAMI, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Hurricane Dorian churned toward Florida with increasingly powerful winds and drenching rains on Friday, wreaking havoc on people’s Labor Day weekend plans in one of America’s biggest vacation destinations.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a statement at 830pm EDT (0030 GMT) on Friday that Dorianhad strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” category 4 hurricane, packing maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 km/h).

In the Bahamas, evacuations were underway, two days before Dorian is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge of as much as 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) to the northwest of the islands, the NHC said.

On Florida’s east coast, where Dorian’s winds are expected to begin hitting on Monday morning, items ranging from bottled water to plywood were being bought as quickly as they could be restocked. There were reports some gas stations had run out of fuel.

“They’re buying everything and anything that applies to a hurricane, flashlights, batteries, generators,” said Amber Hunter, 30, assistant manager at Cape Canaveral’s ACE Handiman hardware store.

The hurricane has the potential to put millions of people at risk along with big vacation parks such as Walt Disney World, the NASA launchpads along the Space Coast, and even President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

In its longer earlier bulletin at 8 pm EST (0000 GMT), the NHC said: “Additional strengthening is forecast, and Dorianis anticipated to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week.”

NHC Director Ken Graham saw a worrying, unpredictable situation for Florida with the hurricane set to hit land somewhere up its east coast.

“Slow is not our friend, the longer you keep this around the more rain we get,” said Graham in a Facebook Live video. While it was unclear where the hurricane would make landfall, the results were expected to be devastating: “Big time impacts, catastrophic events, for some areas 140 mph winds, not a good situation,” said Graham.

Mindful of that warning, Cocoa Beach Mayor Ben Malik was putting up storm shutters on his Florida home on Friday afternoon and worrying about the flooding Dorian could unleash on his barrier island town.

“It’s slowed down, we’re looking at a multiple day event, we were hoping it would just barrel through and leave,” Malik said of forecasts Dorian could sit over Florida for up to two days dumping up to 18 inches (46 cm) of water. “I’m really worried about the amount of rain we’ll be getting.”


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urged residents to have at least a week’s worth of food, water and medicine.

President Donald Trump told reporters before leaving for Camp David for the weekend: “We’re thinking about Florida evacuations, but it’s a little bit too soon. We’ll probably make that determination on Sunday.”

But Fort Pierce Mayor Linda Hudson urged its 46,000 residents who planned to evacuate to go now.

“It’s decision time now. Don’t wait until I-95 north and I-75 north and the turnpike are parking lots,” said Hudson, who lived through two devastating hurricanes in 2004.

Dorian’s course remains unpredictable. One of Florida’s last major hurricanes, 2017′s Irma, swept up the peninsula, instead of hitting the east coast.

Florida residents like Jamison Weeks, general manager at Conchy Joe’s Seafood in Port St. Lucie, planned on staying put.

“I’m planning on boarding up my house this evening,” said Weeks. “The mood is a little tense, everybody’s a little nervous and just trying to prepare as best as possible.”

In the Bahamas, Freeport’s international airport is set to close Friday night and not reopen until Sept. 3, amid worriesDorian will slam tourist hotspots Grand Bahama and Abaco on Saturday.

Dorian began on Friday over the Atlantic as a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. It is moving at 10 miles per hour, giving it more time to intensify before making landfall.

Two thousand National Guard troops will have been mobilized for the hurricane by the end of Friday, with 2,000 more joining them on Saturday, Florida National Guard Major General James Eifert said.

Florida officials also were making sure all nursing homes and assisted living facilities had generators.

Only one in five Florida nursing homes plans to rely on deliveries of temporary generators to keep their air conditioners running if Dorian knocks out power, a state agency said on Friday, short of the standard set by a law passed after a dozen people died in a sweltering nursing home after 2017′s Hurricane Irma.

North of Cape Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center’s 400-foot launch tower was dragged inside a towering vehicle assembly building to shelter it from Dorian, according to a video posted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-owned space launch center.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson in Miami, Peter Szekely and Stephanie Kelly in New York, Richard Cowan in Washington, Andrew Hay in New Mexico, Gary McWilliams in Houston and Rebekah F. Ward in Mexico City; writing by Paul Simao; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Grant McCool and Rosalba O’Brien)

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Trial for Men Accused of Plotting 9/11 Attacks Is Set for 2021

This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

WASHINGTON — Moving toward a final reckoning as the nation approaches the 20th anniversary of the day that led to the longest war in American history, a military judge on Friday set a date for the death penalty trial at Guantánamo Bay of the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The judge, Col. W. Shane Cohen of the Air Force, set Jan. 11, 2021, for the start of the selection of a military jury at Camp Justice, the war court compound at the Navy base in Cuba. It is the first time that a judge in the case actually set a start-of-trial date.

The case against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other men, should it proceed, would be the definitive trial tied to the Sept. 11 attacks. Up until now, only foot soldiers of Al Qaeda have been tried at Guantánamo, and many of their convictions have been overturned.

Mr. Mohammed and the four others face the death penalty in a conspiracy case that describes Mr. Mohammed as the architect of the plot in which 19 men hijacked four commercial passenger planes and slammed two of them into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon. The fourth, which was believed to be aimed for the Capitol, crashed into a Pennsylvania field instead. The other four men are described as helping the hijackers with training, travel or finances.

The charge sheets lists the names of the 2,976 people who died in the attacks.

“We’ve been wanting a date for a very long time,” said Terry Strada, whose husband, Tom, a corporate bond broker and partner with Cantor Fitzgerald, was killed in the World Trade Center. “This is good news. I certainly hope nothing will happen between now and then to change this. The families have suffered long enough.”

Kathleen Vigiano, whose husband, Joseph Vigiano, a New York police detective, and brother-in-law, John Vigiano Jr., a New York firefighter, were both killed at the World Trade Center, said she was relieved after the years of delay. “People say, this is still going on?’’ she said. “No, it hasn’t started yet.”

The delay is in part a reflection of the difficulty the military has had in carrying out prosecutions in a judicial system that was created in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

It is still unclear if the trial will actually occur. A judge has yet to rule on whether crucial F.B.I. agents’ descriptions of the defendants’ confessions are admissible because the defendants were tortured in C.I.A. prisons. Defense lawyers have said they will go to federal court closer to the trial start date to try to stop the proceedings.

Another outstanding issue is the need for magnetic resonance imaging scans of the five defendants to see if they suffered brain or other physical damage from torture. Defense lawyers might use the M.R.I.s to argue against the men’s executions if they are convicted.

Guantánamo itself is not yet ready for a trial that is expected to last as long as nine months. A judge has ordered prosecutors to give him written updates throughout 2020 on how the government will provide work spaces, lodging and food for trial participants, including the judge and his staff, the jury, lawyers, paralegals, court reporters, translators and reporters at a small Navy base of about 6,000 residents in southeast Cuba. He has also ordered a plan for how to sequester the military jury and how to get participants on and off the island during judicially approved breaks in the trial. For now, reporters and other observers live in tents.

The war crimes trial by military commissions — a hybrid of federal and military courts — will be held in a special courtroom allowing people sitting behind the court in a spectator’s gallery to watch live. But because it is a national security case with the potential to inadvertently make public classified information, the proceedings will be heard on a 40-second delay. Some of the tens of thousands of people who are victims or relatives of the Sept. 11 victims will also be able to watch the proceedings through video broadcast to military bases in New York, Massachusetts and Maryland.

For now, the general public would be able to see the live proceedings only through a video feed shown at Fort Meade, Md.

Westlake Legal Group 18guantanamo-bay-photos-h-slide-V2OO-articleLarge Trial for Men Accused of Plotting 9/11 Attacks Is Set for 2021 United States Defense and Military Forces September 11 (2001) Mohammed, Khalid Shaikh

A Look Inside the Secretive World of Guantánamo Bay

Take a tour of the base and its military prison, which has been housing detainees for more than 17 years.

If the 2021 start date holds, jury selection would start eight months before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The trial date was included in a 10-page scheduling order that set deadlines toward jury selection.

[Read the order.]

Mr. Mohammed and the four other men were captured in Pakistan in 2002 and 2003. The C.I.A. then held them incommunicado in its secret prison network of black sites, where the United States tortured its prisoners with waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other abuse before delivering them to Guantánamo in 2006. That period has complicated the path to a trial.

The men were initially charged during the George W. Bush administration at Guantánamo. President Barack Obama stopped that case and suspended the military tribunals in order to add more protections for due process. The result was the hybrid war court that exists today.

The case was also delayed by an Obama administration plan to try the five men in federal court in New York City. But protests and then legislation in Congress prevented it.

Besides Mr. Mohammed, two of the other men charged are Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, described as deputies in carrying out the attacks. Prosecutors say Mr. bin al-Shibh organized a cell of hijackers in Hamburg, Germany. The final two men charged are Ammar al-Baluchi, Mr. Mohammed’s nephew, and Mustafa al Hawsawi.

All five were arraigned in May 2012. Since then, judges have held more than 30 pretrial hearing sessions to work out questions of law and evidence that would apply at the trial.

In July, a prosecutor, Ed Ryan, urged the judge to set a date saying, “Our client, this nation, deserves a reckoning.”

In a lengthy exchange with the judge, Mr. Ryan argued that “dates energize and mobilize” people to prepare.

On Friday, defense lawyers on the case said that many of the judge’s milestones toward trial were dependent on the prosecution meeting a series of deadlines.

“For a January 2021 trial date to happen, the government would have to drop its obstructionism and produce a lot of important evidence and witnesses,” said James G. Connell III, the lead defense counsel for Mr. Baluchi. Mr. Connell said he had received more than 25,000 pages of case-related documents since July and expected that many more were coming.

Selection of the jury — 12 members and four alternate members — is expected to last months, with American military officers shuttled by air to and from the base in groups, because of the limited housing at Guantánamo.

Besides conspiracy, the men are charged with committing murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians and terrorism. Should the men be convicted and sentenced to death, it is up to the secretary of defense to determine the method of execution.

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‘Modern Family’ star Sofia Vergara slammed on social media over ‘tone deaf’ pics ahead of Hurricane Dorian

Westlake Legal Group Sofia-Vergara ‘Modern Family’ star Sofia Vergara slammed on social media over ‘tone deaf’ pics ahead of Hurricane Dorian New York Post fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc dea2dd64-ceea-5158-9372-309e75b7956a Christine Burroni article

Sofia Vergara‘s glam beach photos calling out Hurricane Dorian aren’t sitting too well with fans as many are readying for the storm.

“Esperando a Dorian,” she captioned photos on Wednesday, (which translates to “waiting for Dorian”) as her and girlfriends posed in beachy white ensembles with a tropical backdrop — each with a drink in hand. The second photo in the post was complete with her taking a big sip from her drink.


The photo garnered mix reactions from fans as some fawned over the “Modern Family” star’s beauty, but others took offense to her lack of compassion for Floridians who are prepping for the hurricane.

“This is not funny at all,” wrote one commenter.

“I am a fan. But the waiting for Dorian comment was not funny,” wrote another.

Hurricane Dorian strengthened into an “extremely dangerous” Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph on Friday.

Although she doesn’t specifically state where she is, she uses the hashtag “#Casachipichipi” which she’s used before while at her Caribbean island vacation house where she’s brought co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband.


Despite any backlash from followers, the 47-year-old actress continued to post carefree photos in the ocean with her friends.

In the last of her documenting her trip, she and her girlfriends were aboard a private plane.

“Bye bye Dorian!!” she wrote of the group photo, which wasn’t received too well by fans.

“Must be nice here I sit wondering if I will have to evacuate and will my pets be safe will I have electricity soon after the storm and will everything in my fridge have to be thrown away and I have to spend my money to replace,” one commenter wrote.


“Como se dice ‘tone deaf’ en Espanol?” another chimed in.

President Donald Trump has declared a national state of emergency in Florida ahead of the storm’s landfall.

This article originally appeared in Page Six.

Westlake Legal Group Sofia-Vergara ‘Modern Family’ star Sofia Vergara slammed on social media over ‘tone deaf’ pics ahead of Hurricane Dorian New York Post fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc dea2dd64-ceea-5158-9372-309e75b7956a Christine Burroni article   Westlake Legal Group Sofia-Vergara ‘Modern Family’ star Sofia Vergara slammed on social media over ‘tone deaf’ pics ahead of Hurricane Dorian New York Post fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fnc/entertainment fnc dea2dd64-ceea-5158-9372-309e75b7956a Christine Burroni article

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MSNBC’s Chris Matthews blasts Biden over war story errors: ‘A reporter would be fired for this stuff’

Westlake Legal Group chris-matthews-MSNBC MSNBC's Chris Matthews blasts Biden over war story errors: 'A reporter would be fired for this stuff' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 70d1d1e7-c793-540d-a217-707dedc3e035

MSNBC host Chris Matthews blasted former Vice President Joe Biden over a military story he told on the campaign trail that has been called into question, insisting that a “reporter would be fired” for making such errors.

“He never seems to hurt anybody, really, with these gaffes,” Matthews began the panel discussion on Friday. “The trouble is you don’t know whether there ever was a conversation between the former vice president and the four-star general where he said, ‘We could lose a vice president.'”

“I mean, he’s not Ernest Hemingway. You don’t get to make it up based upon facts. You have to have the facts.”

The “Hardball” host praised The Washington Post’s reporting, calling its critique of Biden’s account a “beautiful story” that debunked the remarks “point by point.”

“A reporter would be fired for this stuff,” Matthews added.


The Democratic frontrunner’s blunder took place earlier this month when Biden recounted a story he claimed to be “God’s truth” at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

Biden offered an emotional account of his decision to travel to Afghanistan, despite concerns about visiting a war-torn area, in order to honor a Navy captain for retrieving the body of his dead comrade during battle.

According to Biden, he brushed off concerns about the risk of him traveling to the deadly area. “We can lose a vice president,” he said, recounting his words to a crowd during an event on Friday. “We can’t lose many more of these kids. Not a joke.” His story involved the captain dramatically telling Biden he didn’t want the medal because his comrade ended up dying.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the event “never happened,” after speaking with a dozen military and campaign sources.

“It appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story,” The Post’s Matt Viser and Greg Jaffe wrote. “In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.”

During an interview on Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart’s “Cape Up” podcast, Biden acknowledged that he had not read the report but stood firm against the criticism.


“I have not read the article but my response is similar to a story you had about the fact that, you know, ‘Joe Biden, you know talked about the assassination of Barack Obama.’ Well, everybody understood the context. It was a totally different context that it was all about. Later, everybody clarified it,” Biden began. “There was no gaffe there. I was making the point to a group of young people that imagine if your generation were confronted with the things that happened in mine.”

“I was making the point about how courageous these people are, how incredible they are, this generation of warriors, these fallen angels we lost. And I don’t know what the problem is. I mean, what is it that I said wrong?”

Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group chris-matthews-MSNBC MSNBC's Chris Matthews blasts Biden over war story errors: 'A reporter would be fired for this stuff' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 70d1d1e7-c793-540d-a217-707dedc3e035   Westlake Legal Group chris-matthews-MSNBC MSNBC's Chris Matthews blasts Biden over war story errors: 'A reporter would be fired for this stuff' Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 70d1d1e7-c793-540d-a217-707dedc3e035

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Trump Denies U.S. Responsibility in Iranian Missile Base Explosion

Westlake Legal Group 30dc-missile-facebookJumbo Trump Denies U.S. Responsibility in Iranian Missile Base Explosion Trump, Donald J Satellites Rouhani, Hassan Missiles and Missile Defense Systems Iran Group of Seven Espionage and Intelligence Services Classified Information and State Secrets

A mysterious explosion on Thursday at an Iranian space center prompted speculation that it was American sabotage, rather than an accident, that was responsible for the third successive failure of Tehran’s efforts to show it could loft satellites into orbit.

As pictures from commercial satellites of a rocket’s smoking remains began to circulate, President Trump denied Friday on Twitter that the United States was involved. It was an unusual message because the Iranian government had neither acknowledged the accident nor blamed the United States. His tweet ended with an apparent taunt: “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened” in the fiery accident.

But Mr. Trump also included in his tweet a high-resolution image of the disaster, immediately raising questions about whether he had plucked a classified image from his morning intelligence briefing to troll the Iranians. The president seemed to resolve the question on Friday night on his way to Camp David when he told reporters, “We had a photo and I released it, which I have the absolute right to do.”

There is no denying that, even if it runs the risk of alerting adversaries to American abilities to spy from high over foreign territory. And there is precedent for doing so in more calculated scenarios: President John F. Kennedy declassified photographs of Soviet missile sites during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and President George W. Bush declassified pictures of Iraq in 2003 to support the faulty case that Saddam Hussein was producing nuclear and chemical weapons.

It was unclear if Mr. Trump was using the explosion and the lurking suspicions among Iranians that the United States was again deep inside their nuclear and missile programs to force a negotiation or to undermine one.

Mr. Trump’s comments came days after a Group of 7 summit at which France tried to organize talks between Mr. Trump and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran. Both Washington and Tehran seem to be maneuvering to restart some kind of contact, and perhaps reopen negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. At the same time, the United States is ratcheting up sanctions and Iran is resuming nuclear activities it had suspended under a 2015 agreement with the Obama administration.

Commercial satellite photographs and the far more detailed image that Mr. Trump released showed devastating damage at the Imam Khomeini Space Center. The rocket itself appeared to have disintegrated. White House and intelligence officials declined to say whether the image Mr. Trump tweeted came from his morning intelligence briefing, but other officials conceded it bore all of the markings of a spy-satellite image.

American officials have often accused Iran of conducting the launches, under the guise of its space program, to simulate the technology involved in deploying a conventional or nuclear warhead — an effort American officials have vowed to stop. In February, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration had accelerated a secret American program to sabotage both Iran’s missiles and its rockets.

Two previous attempts at launching satellites — on Jan. 15 and on Feb. 5 — failed. More than two-thirds of Iran’s satellite launches have failed over the past 11 years, a remarkably high number compared with the 5 percent failure rate worldwide.

Mr. Trump’s denial and the satellite image he released seemed meant to maximize Iran’s embarrassment over the episode.

“The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran,” he tweeted. “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.”

If the accident was linked to a covert action by the United States — one that Mr. Trump would have been required to authorize in a presidential “finding” — he and other American officials would be required by law to deny involvement.

The laws governing covert actions, which stretch back to the Truman administration, focus on obscuring who was responsible for the act, not covering up the action itself. Most American presidents have fulfilled that requirement by staying silent about such episodes, but Mr. Trump does not operate by ordinary rules — and may have decided that an outright denial was his best course.

Alternatively, the president may have been trying signal to the Iranians that the United States was not involved in order to keep the episode from derailing the odd dance underway between Tehran and Washington more than a year after Mr. Trump abandoned the nuclear deal. While in public, Iranian officials insist they would negotiate only if the United States re-enters the Obama-era agreement and lifts sanctions. In private, many Iranian elites now appear to be coalescing around a strategy of continued provocations, but also an openness to talks with Mr. Trump.

Many in Iran will suspect American involvement in the string of unexplained disasters striking the country’s space program. A decade ago, the United States and Israel were the prime players in a covert action, code-named “Olympic Games,” to sabotage Iran’s nuclear centrifuges using a hard-to-detect cyberattack at the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant. Changes in computer code being fed to the centrifuges caused them to speed up or slow down, and to spin out of control.

In 2011, a huge explosion destroyed a major missile-testing site near Tehran, killing the military officer who oversaw the Iranian program. Initially, the Iranians described that as an accident, but they later linked it to an Israeli program to assassinate nuclear scientists. Israeli officials have since hinted they were involved.

That explosion destroyed buildings at a vast development site; the explosion on Thursday appeared more isolated, limited to the launchpad, which was shown smoldering in satellite photographs released by Planet Labs.

But it was Mr. Trump’s release of a satellite photograph that attracted the most discussion among intelligence officials. Several former officials noted that the upper right-hand corner, where the level of classification of the photograph would normally be denoted, was blacked out before Mr. Trump tweeted the image. That suggested a rushed effort by the United States to declassify it, presumably at Mr. Trump’s command. A glare on the photograph suggested someone may have used a cellphone to take a picture of the image as it was displayed on a tablet computer, which is how classified images are often shown to the president during security briefings.

Daryl G. Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the image posted by Mr. Trump looked “far better than any commercial imagery” that has been released about the launch. Revealing the abilities of American satellite surveillance, he argued, does not advance American interests.

“This tweet is an excellent example of Trump’s aimless, impulsive thinking about many national security issues,” Mr. Kimball said. “Why tweet that the United States was not involved when it may have been? Why, apparently sarcastically, wish them good luck in finding the cause for the accident?”

Commercial satellite images by Planet Labs and Maxar Technologies showed a thick plume of black smoke rising from the launching pad on Thursday, as well as what appeared to be the burned remains of the launching tower.

It was the third disaster to befall a rocket launching attempt this year at the Iranian space center, a desert complex east of Tehran named for the nation’s first supreme leader. The site specializes in rocket launchings meant put satellites into orbit.

Tehran announced its January rocket failure but said nothing the one in February that was picked up by American intelligence officials. It has also said nothing officially about Thursday’s blast. Like many closed societies, Iran tends to hide its failures and exaggerate its successes.

While Tehran says the launchings are for peaceful purposes, American officials say the advancement of orbital rocketry can aid the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles — the kind that might one day threaten the United States with nuclear strikes.

David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, who closely examined the satellite imagery of Thursday’s blast, said there was no way to know if it was accidental or intentional.

“Something went wrong and it ignited the fuel,” he said. “It could be sabotage or an accident. There’s no way to tell.”

Mr. Schmerler added that the first images on Thursday seemed to imply the launching pad had suffered a catastrophic explosion associated with a failed launching. But later imagery and analysis, he said, suggested the billowing smoke and debris were the result of a fueling accident.

In an interview, Mr. Schmerler said the image in Mr. Trump’s tweet revealed many details that reinforced the idea of a fueling or final-preparations disaster. For instance, Mr. Schmerler said, the launching tower was clearly still in the middle of the launching pad rather than having been pulled back — the standard Iranian practice.

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Amid Recession Worries, Trump Points Finger at American Businesses

WASHINGTON — President Trump wants Americans to understand that the economy is doing great, thanks to him. But if in fact the economy sours, then it is someone else’s fault.

Mr. Trump’s Blame List is long. On top, of course, is Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve — never mind that Mr. Trump was the one who appointed him. Then there are the Democrats, and not to mention the news media.

And on Friday, the president added American businesses to the list, arguing that struggling companies have only themselves to blame and are rationalizing their own mistakes by pointing to, just to name an example, Mr. Trump’s multibillion-dollar tariffs and America’s biggest trade war in generations.

“Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management…and who can really blame them for doing that?” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Excuses!”

He repeated his point later with reporters. “A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs,” he said. “In other words, they’re running badly and they’re having a bad quarter or they’re just unlucky in some way. They’re trying to blame the tariffs. It’s not the tariffs. It’s called bad management.”

The president’s search for economic villains comes amid signs of a slowdown, exacerbated by uncertainty from his showdown with China over the future of the relationship between the two largest economies in the world.

Consumer confidence, which increased significantly on Mr. Trump’s watch, fell by 8.6 percent in August, its largest monthly decline since 2012 when the government was on the edge of a so-called fiscal cliff. The University of Michigan, which measures confidence, attributed it to the trade war, reporting that one in three consumers cited Mr. Trump’s tariffs without being prompted.

The concern appears to be bleeding into the presidential race. For the first time since Mr. Trump was elected, more voters responding to a Quinnipiac University poll said the national economy is getting worse than better. Altogether, 37 percent saw the economy heading downward compared with 31 percent who thought it was improving and 30 percent who said it was the same.

To Mr. Trump’s benefit, most voters in the poll still rated the economy good or excellent, but the number of those detecting dark clouds was up by 14 percentage points since June.

The economy is crucial to any president seeking a second term, but few have wrapped themselves in the issue as tightly as Mr. Trump. Polls have shown that the economy has been his strongest asset going into next year’s election.

He has a politically compelling story to tell, with unemployment at nearly a 50-year low at 3.7 percent, average wages now rising and the Dow Jones stock index about 32 percent higher than when he took office. But overall growth has been much slower than he predicted, deficit spending is increasing and various signs point to trouble ahead.

“The historical lesson is whatever happens, the sitting president gets credit or blame,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the president of the American Action Forum, a center-right economic group, and an adviser to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. “That’s always been true regardless of the merits. He is clearly trying to make sure he has some fingers to point.”

The president has increasingly expressed anxiety to advisers that a downturn would harm his re-election chances. He has lashed out repeatedly at Mr. Powell for not lowering interest rates further and faster, even calling him an “enemy,” and he has complained that his opponents and journalists are cheerleading for a recession to take him down.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159896784_26b40d25-1ebe-49f3-89c8-835698959de9-articleLarge Amid Recession Worries, Trump Points Finger at American Businesses White House Council of Economic Advisers United States Politics and Government United States Economy United States Chamber of Commerce Trump, Donald J Powell, Jerome H International Trade and World Market Holtz-Eakin, Douglas Furman, Jason Economic Conditions and Trends China

“We don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem,” President Trump tweeted on Friday. “They don’t have a clue!”CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“We don’t have a Tariff problem (we are reigning in bad and/or unfair players), we have a Fed problem,” he wrote on Friday. “They don’t have a clue!”

But his attack on American businesses takes the blame game to a new level, faulting the very sector that he has sought to court with his moves to lower corporate taxes and lift the burden of regulations.

“Blaming businesses for the economic situation is silly since they respond to incentives and uncertainty,” said Jason Furman, who was chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under Barack Obama. “The job of a policymaker is to help create an environment for businesses to fuel economic growth, not to preemptively blame them for the potential lack of growth.”

Thomas J. Collamore, a former executive vice president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, said he would advise Mr. Trump “to charge his very able trade negotiators” to strike the best deal possible with China, which would allow businesses to expand and stimulate the economy.

“The uncertainty created by additional tariffs or threats of more is causing business to pause and sit on their hands, which could unwittingly lead to an economic version of Hurricane Dorian,” Mr. Collamore said.

The president’s outburst at businesses came a day after Americans for Free Trade, a coalition of industry groups, released a letter signed by more than 160 business associations asking him to postpone further tariff increases.

“Tariffs are taxes that cost American jobs and hurt consumers, creating a problem for the entire U.S. economy,” the group said in response to the president on Friday. “The fact that companies find extra taxes as high as 30 percent challenging is not an excuse, it’s an economic reality.”

A number of large American companies have struggled with life under Mr. Trump’s trade war and in recent days several have reported or projected slowing sales and profits that they attributed to the tariffs.

Deere & Co., which manufactures agricultural equipment, said last week that it was cutting its profit forecast for the second time this year, attributing it to farmers delaying purchases for fear that they will not have as much access to foreign markets.

Best Buy lowered its revenue forecast for the year on Thursday, with its chief executive noting that major products like televisions and smartwatches will be subject to new 15 percent tariffs ordered by Mr. Trump. Clothing retailers like J. Jill and Chico’s have also said they expect lower sales in the third quarter as the next round of tariffs go into effect on Sunday.

“He’s got a substantive problem,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin said of Mr. Trump. “He’s proud of his fulfilling campaign promises — that is a centerpiece of his re-elect and what he’s got with China is higher tariff walls on both sides, damage to both economies and the global economy and nothing to show for it.”

By hammering away at Mr. Powell, his opponents and now American businesses, aides say Mr. Trump wants Americans to know the impediments hindering the economy even as he continues to make the case that the country is still in good shape.

“The economy is doing great,” he said on Friday. “The economy is amazing actually.”

After wild fluctuations in recent days, the markets took his latest comments relatively calmly. The S&P and Nasdaq indexes were essentially flat on Friday, and the Dow Jones closed for the day up by about 1.5 percent.

But as tariffs continue to rise and the election year approaches, Mr. Trump will soon be left to make a calculation about how far he can go in staring down China before it puts his political future in jeopardy, no matter who else he plans to blame. The Chinese know that and they do not have an election to worry about.

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Before Hurricane Dorian’s Arrival Comes a Question: Stay or Evacuate?

MIAMI — The Stovalls are staying put for Hurricane Dorian.

On Friday afternoon, they installed hurricane shutters and sterilized three 10-gallon jugs that they will fill with water before they settle in to ride out what could become a ferocious Category 4 storm.

But, just in case, they have also restocked their evacuation kit this week with sheets, towels, coffee, bug spray, batteries and wine. It stands by the door of their Coconut Grove home in the event they decide that maybe riding out the storm at home isn’t such a great idea.

“We want to make an informed decision,” said Colleen Stovall, 59. “We’re just monitoring everything.”

With Dorian expected to make landfall on Tuesday, Florida residents are engaged in a complex, high-stakes set of financial, logistical and psychological calculations of whether to stay or go.

And while residents follow the weather and gauge their own tolerance for risk, local and state officials are having to balance a mix of technical, meteorological and political considerations in deciding whether to order evacuations that carry risks no matter what the decision.

“Here’s the dilemma with evacuation: He who orders it, owns it,” said Russel L. Honore, a retired Army lieutenant general who earned acclaim for leading the military response to Hurricane Katrina.

For many households, the cost of evacuation and finding a place to stay is a major factor. Others must weigh the mobility of aging family members, pets and children, and the type of structure they call home. In 2019, given the flood of news, storm-track projections, information and misinformation on the internet, there is also the challenge of making sense of Too Much Information, from breathless social media updates to relatives with an opinion.

Ms. Stovall, for one, disapproves of her sister’s plan to evacuate from the Boca Raton area to the Florida Keys, a strategy many are contemplating with a forecast that, for the moment, predicts a more northern landfall.

“If it slips south, you’re stranded there!” Ms. Stovall, a theater director, told her.

And in South Florida, many Jewish families were trying to determine if they were allowed to work on boarding up their house or prepare to leave it over the Sabbath, which began at 7:25 Friday night. In Hollywood, Fla., Rabbi Gideon Goldenholz of Temple Sinai of Hollywood said they could.

“A hurricane is life-threatening,” he said, “so you have to do everything you can.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida said shoulders on Interstate 95 had been cleared for traffic and would be open when local evacuation orders were issued. The state, he said, would largely advise rather than direct local officials on whether to tell residents to flee.

“You will see evacuations. I’m confident of that,” he said, adding, “But we’re not going to be telling every county, ‘Tell everybody to leave,’ because that may create some problems as well.”

That dilemma has a long history. In Texas, nearly 100 people died in vehicles while trying to evacuate from Hurricane Rita in 2005. But tens of thousands of people who did not evacuate during Hurricane Harvey required rescue. Officials were criticized for their decision to evacuate or not to evacuate in both storms.

For Floridians watching as Dorian gathers strength off shore, it does not help that this particular storm has such a large “cone of uncertainty,” as the meteorologists say.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 30evacuate-rita-articleLarge Before Hurricane Dorian’s Arrival Comes a Question: Stay or Evacuate? Miami (Fla) Hurricanes and Tropical Storms Hurricane Dorian evacuation DeSantis, Ron

Thousands of cars trying to evacuate Houston in 2005, before Hurricane Rita struck.CreditCarlos Barria/Reuters

“The forecasts are so iffy,” lamented Terry Gellin, 69, a retired high school English and social studies teacher. “They say the storm has slowed down. What does that mean? There are just a lot of unknowns.”

In Miami, Ms. Gellin and her husband, Samuel Schrager, 70, a corporate lawyer, live in a condo apartment a few yards from the water on Key Biscayne, an island minutes from downtown.

“There’s a lot of anxiety,” Mr. Schrager said. “You feel it throughout the city. People in my gym. In my condo. My friends. It’s everywhere.”

The couple are evacuating. They think. But they are only going as far as a sturdy motel inland, on the edge of Miami International Airport. “I’m the president of my condo,” Mr. Schrager said. “I want to stay close.”

The recent memory of Hurricane Irma, which in 2017 chased residents trying to evacuate to safety across the state as it shifted directions, has tipped some in the direction of waiting it out.

Valerie Preziosi, a retired nurse on Big Pine Key was among those stuck in traffic for many hours two years ago as she and her husband obeyed the mandatory evacuation order. Barred from returning home for nearly a week, they found their home filled with mold that they might have prevented had they stayed, she said.

“Unless we hear it’s a direct hit of Category 4 or 5 we’re staying put, no matter what they say,” Ms. Preziosi said on Friday. “And I’m not alone. There’s a ton of people that feel the same way.”

Hurricanes can be particularly deadly for people who live on boats and ignore evacuation orders.

“I don’t know anybody who tried to ride out a hurricane and is still alive,” said Larry Krug, who grew up in Queens and the Bronx and worked as a yacht captain in Miami for more than 30 years. “There were two guys who decided to do that in Hurricane Andrew. The rescue people found the boats. A few days later they found the bodies.”

Shortly after daybreak Friday, live-aboard sloops and big power boats began pulling away from the docks on the edge of Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove. Mr. Krug said he often took boats to shelter in the Miami River. He never hesitated when evacuation orders were issued.

“The second they said, ‘Go, evacuate. Get out of here,’ I got out of there,” he said.

Along the coast from Florida to South Carolina, people were warily considering their options — if they have them. The Atlanta Motor Speedway, which is one 850 acres 45 minutes south of Atlanta has opened its gates for those fleeing the storm.

But many people figure they don’t have a choice.

On a farm just south of Charleston, S.C., on the mostly rural Johns Island, Thomas Legare, 55, said that with over 150 cattle, and a couple of hundred pigs and chickens to care for, evacuation would not be an option for him and his two sisters. “Our biggest worry living on an island is evacuating and not being able to get back to make sure the animals are O.K.,” he said.

In downtown Charleston on Friday afternoon, the city’s Emergency Management director, Shannon Scaff, cringed at the notion of people refusing to follow an evacuation order. During Hurricane Floyd in 1999, he worked as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer along the coast of North Carolina — airlifting residents who chose not to evacuate.

“Every single person I put in a rescue basket hanging out of a helicopter had the same shocked look on their faces,” he said. “They couldn’t believe they’d gotten into that position.”

But in Miami, Jaime Gonzalez, 65, a custodian at a high school, said he would have evacuated to North Carolina where his daughters live. However, the trip would have been too much for his 99-year-old mother, who lives with him and his wife. Instead, he shuttered his house and tested his 400-watt gasoline generator. He is prepared, he said, for when the electricity goes out.

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California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death

Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31

A California state appeals court Friday overturned the lone conviction against an undocumented immigrant who shot and killed Kate Steinle on the San Francisco waterfront in 2015, a case which drew national attention and became a flashpoint in the debate over illegal immigration.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, who was in the U.S. illegally had been deported to his native Mexico five times, was acquitted in November 2017 of first and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was convicted of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Friday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned that conviction because the judge failed to instruct the jury on one of Garcia-Zarate’s defenses. Garcia-Zarate remains in custody and is facing federal gun charges.

Steinle, 32, died on July 1, 2015, after she was struck by a bullet while walking with her father and a family friend. Garcia-Zarate claimed he unwittingly picked up the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt, and it fired accidentally.

The gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier.

Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Steinle’s parents against San Francisco. The lawsuit maintained that the city’s so-called sanctuary policy and San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi bore responsibility for Steinle’s death.

Three months before the killing, Garcia-Zarate was released from custody after a drug case against him was dropped. The sheriff’s office, which had ended contact between jail employees and immigration officials, ignored a request by federal authorities to hold Garcia-Zarate until they could assume custody and did not inform them that he was being released.

Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31   Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31

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‘The Five’ react to James Comey asking for apology after release of damning IG report

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6081333765001_6081428372001-vs 'The Five' react to James Comey asking for apology after release of damning IG report Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9b8cdfc8-02dc-5d8a-a775-b1c92381e53c

The Five” discussed former FBI Director James Comey’s reaction to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report chiding him over memos of conversations with President Trump.

“James Comey shows you what happens with people in power — when they have the power and they lose their power, how they react,” co-host Lawrence Jones said on Friday. “The fact that he did all of this, leaking and to harbor information just to get a special counsel is the most concerning.”

The IG report, released Thursday morning, said Comey violated bureau policies by drafting, disseminating and retaining memos documenting discussions with Trump. But it also noted investigators “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media.”


“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” Comey tweeted in response to the report.

More from Fox News Media

Jones blasted Comey for his hypocrisy.

“The fact that he sold us this entire time, ‘be careful that the institutions are going to be destroyed’ but … he destroyed the FBI,” Jones said.


Co-host Greg Gutfeld accused Comey of “chasing the spotlight” and blasted the media for painting him as a hero.

“The real jackasses in all of this are the media who painted him as a cross between Jimmy Stewart and Paul Revere when really he was just a conniving Forrest Gump chasing the spotlight,” Gutfeld said. “The media pinned their hopes on him undoing an election and he was their tool, literally.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6081333765001_6081428372001-vs 'The Five' react to James Comey asking for apology after release of damning IG report Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9b8cdfc8-02dc-5d8a-a775-b1c92381e53c   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6081333765001_6081428372001-vs 'The Five' react to James Comey asking for apology after release of damning IG report Victor Garcia fox-news/shows/the-five fox-news/person/james-comey fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 9b8cdfc8-02dc-5d8a-a775-b1c92381e53c

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Valerie Harper, star of “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” dies at 80

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Valerie Harper, star of "Mary Tyler Moore Show," dies at 80

Valerie Harper, who thought she would die from cancer years ago but survived to ply her madcap comic style for a new generation of audiences, has died. She was 80.

Her husband, producer/actor Tony Cacciotti, confirmed her death Friday to ABC and The New York Times. Longtime family friend Dan Watt confirmed her death to the Associated Press but said the family would not immediately release further details. 

She died just eight days after her birthday. She had been battling cancer for years, and her husband said recently he had been advised to put her in hospice care.

Harper, best known for roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Rhoda,” had overcome multiple medical crises over the years, including surviving after being told she was terminal, but the bills were mounting. 

In July, a family friend created a GoFundMe campaign, shared to Harper’s official Facebook page, for Cacciotti.

The last 10 years have been up and down health-wise for Harper. In 2009, she survived lung cancer. Four years later, in 2013, she announced she had been diagnosed with a rare – and terminal – kind of brain cancer, with only months to live. 

In multiple media interviews, she explained she had leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a rare condition that occurs when cancer cells spread into the fluid-filled membrane surrounding the brain. 

But Harper survived. In 2014, she told the media that her cancer was in a kind of remission. 

In 2015, she was rushed to a hospital after feeling unwell before an evening performance of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine, and was reported to be in a coma and failing. 

She wrote on Facebook that she is “happy to report I am not, nor have I been, in a coma.” 

In September 2016, People magazine interviewed her, reporting that the cancer of the brain membrane was back and her condition was terminal.

As of Jan. 24, 2017, Harper was tweeting again, promoting her latest role in an indie film, “My Mom and The Girl.”

Harper trod Broadway stages and sparkled on the big screen, but it was on sitcom TV where she made her memorable mark, as zany/spunky, man-crazy, independent/single girl and upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

As much as the show’s eponymous star, Harper entertained millions and “turned the world on with her smile,” as the theme song went. “We all looked up to Mary but we identified with Rhoda,” Harper used to say. 


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But Harper also made a memorable mark at the end of her life, because hers was a death delayed: In 2013, she told People magazine, and soon everybody else in an emotional round of print and talk-show interviews, that she was dying. And this after she had already beaten lung cancer. 

Harper said her doctors suggested she may have only have three months left to live. “I don’t think of dying. I think of being here now,” she said at the time, openly talking, crying and joking about what she was facing. 

“Being here” turned out to last two years. “I’m the poster child for not believing everything I’m told,” Harper joked a year after her diagnosis. 

She was not “cancer-free,” but she was in a kind of remission, responding well to treatment, taking loads of pills and acing her scans.

“I want to live,” she told everyone, “and as long as I’m here, every single moment is going to be as good as I can have it be.”

And she was working. A year after the months-to-live prediction, she appeared in a Hallmark Channel series, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” In fact, her IMDb profile lists a total of six roles in 2014 and 2015, including an appearance on a contemporary sit-com, “2 Broke Girls.” She even appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” in September 2013.

In a 2006 interview with The Advocate, she talked about how Rhoda became a gay icon, after she goes on a date with the brother of her nosy landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). Phyllis is horrified her brother might fall for Rhoda, until Rhoda ends up breaking the news to her that he’s gay. 

“When I tell Phyllis, she says, ‘Oh, what a relief!’ ” she recalled, which got a laugh. But that wasn’t all. 

“Do you know, when I said that line ‘He’s gay,’ we got the biggest laugh ever on the show? I mean, this was the ’70s, long before “Will & Grace” or “Ellen;” there really weren’t gay characters on television back then. The audience laughed and cheered for over a minute. They had to take most of the audience response out for the broadcast cut. It was amazing.”

Harper’s resume of roles dates back to the 1960s but her long run as Rhoda began in 1970 with “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later with her own show, “Rhoda,” which was on until 1978. (Later, in 1986-87, she had another series, “Valerie.”)

She collected four Emmys and a Golden Globe for her work as Rhoda. She also won Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, and her “Rhoda’s Wedding” episode in 1974 set that year’s ratings record. 

In the 21st century, she was still making TV appearances, on series such as “Desperate Housewives,” “The Office” and “Drop Dead Diva.”

Harper was known as a passionate advocate for women’s rights and the unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment. Since the 1980s she had been making a film with second husband, Cacciotti, on the subject of domestic violence, based on a true story.

Harper was born in Suffern, N.Y. — “I was born to suffer” — and began as a dancer at Radio City Hall during its heyday. She moved into acting, working in industrial shows, regional theater and the Second City comedy troupe of Chicago. Eventually, she made it to Broadway and feature films, until landing the part of Rhoda. 

Her first marriage, to Richard Schaal, lasted from 1964 to 1978. She and her second husband married in 1987. 


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