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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 3)

Megathread: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says GOP Lacks Votes To Block Impeachment Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group OBOfXOERn5tWm_t7MwwZDQtRpdgVGXMzalW4UT8xCb4 Megathread: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says GOP Lacks Votes To Block Impeachment Witnesses r/politics

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators privately Tuesday he does not yet have the votes to block new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

McConnell convened a closed-door meeting of GOP senators shortly after Trump’s legal team made its closing arguments in the trial, the third and final day of defense proceedings punctuated by revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser. A Republican familiar with the meeting was not authorized to describe it by name and requested anonymity.

The GOP leader faced a handful of potential defections, but several days remained before any potential witness vote would be taken.

A decision to call more witnesses would need 51 votes to pass. With a 53-seat majority, Republicans can only afford to lose three Republicans to prevent more debate over witnesses.


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Megathread: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says GOP Lacks Votes To Block Impeachment Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group OBOfXOERn5tWm_t7MwwZDQtRpdgVGXMzalW4UT8xCb4 Megathread: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Says GOP Lacks Votes To Block Impeachment Witnesses r/politics

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told senators privately Tuesday he does not yet have the votes to block new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

McConnell convened a closed-door meeting of GOP senators shortly after Trump’s legal team made its closing arguments in the trial, the third and final day of defense proceedings punctuated by revelations from John Bolton, the former national security adviser. A Republican familiar with the meeting was not authorized to describe it by name and requested anonymity.

The GOP leader faced a handful of potential defections, but several days remained before any potential witness vote would be taken.

A decision to call more witnesses would need 51 votes to pass. With a 53-seat majority, Republicans can only afford to lose three Republicans to prevent more debate over witnesses.


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Mitch McConnell Says The GOP Can’t Block Witnesses — Yet

Westlake Legal Group 5e30c94224000018060b6378 Mitch McConnell Says The GOP Can’t Block Witnesses — Yet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders do not yet have the votes to block Democrats from summoning John Bolton or other witnesses at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded to fellow GOP senators late Tuesday. It could be a major hurdle for Trump’s hopes to end the trial with a quick acquittal.

McConnell gave the news to senators, according to a Republican familiar with a closed-door meeting of GOP senators and granted anonymity to discuss it.

McConnell convened the meeting shortly after Trump’s legal team made its closing arguments in the trial.

Democrats are demanding several witnesses, especially Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser who writes in a forthcoming book that Trump told him he wanted to withhold military aid from Ukraine until it helped with investigations into Democratic rival Joe Biden. That’s the crux of one major article of impeachment against the president.

There are still several days before any potential witness vote would be taken. A decision to call more witnesses would require 51 votes to pass. With a 53-47 majority, Republicans can only afford to lose three.

The news came as Trump’s legal team argued forcefully against the relevance of testimony from Bolton and concluded their defense as the Senate braced for debate on witnesses.

While scoffing at Bolton’s manuscript, Trump and the Republicans have strongly resisted summoning Bolton to testify in person about what he saw and heard as Trump’s top national security adviser.

Senate Republicans spent two days behind closed doors discussing ideas to satisfy those who want to hear more testimony without prolonging the proceedings -or jeopardizing the president’s expected acquittal.

Those lost steam, and Democrats showed no interest.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, called a proposal for senators to be shown the manuscript in private, keeping Bolton out of public testimony, “absurd.”

“We’re not bargaining with them. We want four witnesses, and four sets of documents, then the truth will come out,” Schumer said.

’Senators are being warned that if they agree to call Bolton to testify or try to access his book manuscript, the White House will block him, beginning a weeks-long court battle over executive privilege and national security. That had seemed to leave the few senators, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who have expressed a desire to hear new testimony without strong backing.

Also, other Republicans including Sen. Pat Toomey want reciprocity ― bring in Bolton or another Democratic witness in exchange for one from the GOP side. Some Republicans want to hear from Biden and his son, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company when his father was vice president.

A day after the defense team largely brushed past Bolton, attorney Jay Sekulow addressed the controversy head-on by dismissing his manuscript — said to contradict a key defense argument about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — as “inadmissible.”

“It is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts,” Sekulow said.

The argument built on a separate one Monday night from Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, who said that nothing in the manuscript — even if true — rises to the level of an impeachable offense. Sekulow also sought to undermine the credibility of Bolton’s book by noting that Attorney General William Barr has disputed comments attributed to him by Bolton.

The legal team also delved into areas that Democrats see as outside the scope of impeachment, chastising former FBI Director James Comey and seizing on surveillance errors the FBI has acknowledged making in its Russian election interference probe.

Trump’s attorneys argued that the Founding Fathers took care to make sure that impeachment was narrowly defined, with offenses clearly enumerated.

“The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low,” Sekulow said. “Danger. Danger. Danger. These articles must be rejected. The Constitution requires it. Justice demands it.”

Before consideration of witnesses, the case now moves toward written questions, with senators on both sides getting 16 hours to pose queries. By late in the week, they are expected to hold a vote on whether or not to hear from any witnesses.

“I don’t know that the manuscript would make any difference in the outcome of the trial,” said Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of GOP leadership. And some Republicans said they simply don’t trust Bolton’s word. Rand Paul of Kentucky called Bolton “disgruntled”’ and seeking to make money off his time at the White house.

John Kelly, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, told an audience in Sarasota, Florida, that he believes Bolton.

White House officials privately acknowledge that they are essentially powerless to block the book’s publication, but could sue after the fact if they believe it violated the confidentiality agreement Bolton signed against disclosing classified information.

Trump is charged with abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine’s leader to help investigate Biden at the same time his administration was withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid. A second charge accuses Trump of obstructing Congress in its probe.

Trump and his lawyers have argued repeatedly that Democrats are using impeachment to try to undo the results of the last presidential election and drive Trump from office.

On Tuesday, as he was resting his case, Cipollone played video clips from House Democrats during the presidential impeachment of Bill Clinton — including several who are now managers of the Trump impeachment trial — in an attempt to depict them as hypocritical for sounding the alarm then about the partisan dangers of impeachment.

“What they are asking you do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election, with no basis, and in violation of the Constitution,” Cipollone said. “Why not trust the American people with this decision? Why tear up their ballots?”

Democrats, meanwhile, say Trump’s refusal to allow administration officials to testify only reinforces that the White House is hiding evidence. The White House has had Bolton’s manuscript for about a month, according to a letter from Bolton’s attorney.

No matter the vote on witness, acquittal still seems likely given that Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and conviction would require a two-thirds majority.

According to data compiled by C-SPAN, the House managers used just under 22 of their 24 hours over three days, while the White House team used almost 12 hours, or half their time.

Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Mary Clare Jalonick, Andrew Taylor, Matthew Daly, Laurie Kellman and Padmananda Rama contributed to this report.

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Plan for Venezuelan migrants to settle in Brazil sees US support

The United States and United Nations on Tuesday launched a program aimed at helping thousands of Venezuelan migrants resettle in Brazil.

The program, called the “Economic Integration of Vulnerable Nationals from Venezuela in Brazil,” aims to assist Venezuelan migrants fleeing the political and economic crises in their country by facilitating access to employment, business training and language courses, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said Tuesday it will provide $4 million to the program, launched by USAID Deputy Administrator for Latin America John Barsa and the U.S. State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Carrie Filipetti.

Westlake Legal Group John-Barsa Plan for Venezuelan migrants to settle in Brazil sees US support fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/brazil fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 2e2f42b9-6b6f-523e-9974-9ae1c57b1cb3

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, John Barsa speaks during a ceremony to announce a new Venezuelan integration program in Brazil, in Brasilia, Brazil. (Reuters)

Since 2018, nearly 900,000 Venezuelans have fled the political and economic crises in their country and crossed into Brazil, authorities say. Others have fled to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.

VENEZUELA LAWMAKERS OPPOSED TO PRESIDENT MADURO AVOID EFFORTS TO HOLD CONGRESS SESSION

The program is also expected to help Brazil’s Army and Air Force move migrants from the border state of Roraima to areas in Brazil with more job opportunities.

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The U.S. government has provided more than $656 million in humanitarian and development aid to Venezuelans within and outside their country amid the ongoing crises, Reuters reported.

Westlake Legal Group John-Barsa Plan for Venezuelan migrants to settle in Brazil sees US support fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/brazil fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 2e2f42b9-6b6f-523e-9974-9ae1c57b1cb3   Westlake Legal Group John-Barsa Plan for Venezuelan migrants to settle in Brazil sees US support fox-news/world/world-regions/latin-america fox-news/world/world-regions/brazil fox-news/topic/venezuelan-political-crisis fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 2e2f42b9-6b6f-523e-9974-9ae1c57b1cb3

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CNN’s viral video mocking Trump supporters racks up millions more viewers than original airing

Westlake Legal Group lemon-CNN CNN's viral video mocking Trump supporters racks up millions more viewers than original airing Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f01d5b0-8199-5041-b771-901bae500779

CNN received some unwanted attention on Monday night after a panel discussion that mocked Trump supporters went viral, but it appears the video clip that was shared on social media far exceeded the network’s actual viewership.

The clip, which featured CNN anchor Don Lemon, New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali, and ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson mocking Trump supporters as illiterate “credulous boomer rubes,” was shared by former CNN digital producer Steve Krakauer after the panel discussion originally aired on Saturday night following impeachment trial coverage.

However, the video that was shared on Twitter has more viewers than CNN had Saturday night.

During the 10 p.m. hour on Saturday, which was when Lemon had his laughing fit, CNN averaged only 713,000 viewers. As of Tuesday evening, the clip had nearly 10 million views on Twitter and climbing.

DON LEMON’S ASSAULT ACCUSER SAYS CNN ANCHOR A ‘LIAR AND HYPOCRITE’ WITH #METOO COVERAGE

The clip’s viewership was amplified when President Trump mocked Lemon, who he called “the dumbest man on television,” as well as his “terrible ratings,” to his own 72 million Twitter followers.

Others on social media mocked CNN as they pointed out the viewership difference between the network and the viral clip.

“The most telling thing about the Don Lemon segment is no one commented on it when it aired. No one watched it,” conservative commentator Stephen Miller tweeted.

“Underrated hilarious aspect of this is that it took 2 full days for anyone to notice. And it got more attention being tweeted from an account with 20k followers than it did when it aired on CNN,” another Twitter user pointed out.

TWITTER’S COMFORTABLY SMUG UNVEILS ‘LIBERAL HACK TOURNAMENT’ FEATURING CNN, MSNBC HOSTS

“It’s doubly awesome that this clip from a couple of days ago is just now getting attention because no one watches @CNN. These lunatics were so smug as they mocked Trump supporters, but were literally shouting into the void,” Daily Caller White House correspondent Amber Athey reacted.

The Saturday night panel was originally discussing the heated exchange Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had with an NPR reporter, in which he allegedly challenged the journalist to point out Ukraine on a blank map.

Wilson used the topic to mock President Trump as well as his supporters.

“[Pompeo] also knows deep within his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and a picture of an actual physical crane next to it,” Wilson began, causing Lemon to chuckle. “He knows that this is, you know, an administration defined by ignorance of the world. And so that’s partly him playing to the base and playing to their audience. You know, the credulous boomer rube demo that backs Donald Trump.”

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As Lemon began crying with tears of laughter, Wilson went on to depict what he thought a typical Trump supporter sounded like.

“Donald Trump’s the smart one — and y’all elitists are dumb!” Wilson said with a heavy southern accent.

“‘You elitists with your geography and your maps — and your spelling!” Ali chimed in during the mockery.

“Your math and your reading!” Wilson added. “All those lines on the map!”

The CNN anchor almost lost his breath from laughing, wiping tears from his eyes with a tissue.

“That was good,” Lemon reacted. “That was a good one. I needed that.”

Lemon and the panelists were widely blasted on social media, sparking condemnation from Trump, his children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., as well as several members of the president’s 2020 campaign.

Westlake Legal Group lemon-CNN CNN's viral video mocking Trump supporters racks up millions more viewers than original airing Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f01d5b0-8199-5041-b771-901bae500779   Westlake Legal Group lemon-CNN CNN's viral video mocking Trump supporters racks up millions more viewers than original airing Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 4f01d5b0-8199-5041-b771-901bae500779

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Gutfeld on cancel culture and the candidates

Westlake Legal Group image Gutfeld on cancel culture and the candidates Greg Gutfeld fox-news/shows/the-five/transcript/gregs-monologue fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 989fba8f-4354-577f-be76-841896a1d1b7

Let’s talk about the Democrats.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is picking up steam, despite not understanding how to pet a dog. No, Mikey, you do not shake the dog’s face like a human hand. I think he’s lost the PETA vote.

Meanwhile, like that tiny scar you got from a vaccine when you were a kid, Hillary Clinton never really goes away. Or heals. “I certainly feel the urge [to run], because I … feel like the 2016 election was really an odd time, an odd outcome,” Clinton said in a recent interview.

BERNIE SANDERS FACES BACKLASH FROM LEFT FOR PROMOTING ENDORSEMENT FROM JOE ROGAN

Right now, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is hot, and he has the most enthusiastic base. What will happen if Hillary or anyone else somehow knocks him aside? What do you think his voters will do?

Vote for Bloomberg? Or former Vice President Joe Biden?

They’d just as soon vote for Trump. Which would be hilarious. Almost as hilarious as anti-Sanders Democrats turning on Bernie, who are attacking him for receiving an endorsement from podcaster Joe Rogan. Rogan called Bernie “insanely consistent.”

He’s right. Bernie has been insanely, consistently wrong. While America excelled, he only embraced the world’s losers.

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But that’s not what got Rogan in trouble. It’s because Rogan is a comic, who has made a zillion jokes over his life. Some were stupid, some even awful.

In this age, that doesn’t just mean you’re primed for a canceled career. It means your own sins can “infect” others around you. Like someone you endorse, say, Bernie.

Offensiveness becomes transmissible, like a virus.

Remember the saying, “Hate the sin, love the sinner”? It was one of religion’s greatest hits.

Now the sinner is the sin, which makes forgiveness impossible, at least in this endless game of grievance whack-a-mole. It’s not hard to see where this leads.

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It happened before in 2016. A guy named Trump rode in on a political-correctness-killing horse.

If the left continues its mob behavior, he’ll do it again.

Adapted from Greg Gutfeld’s monologue on “The Five” on Jan. 28, 2020.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY GREG GUTFELD

Westlake Legal Group image Gutfeld on cancel culture and the candidates Greg Gutfeld fox-news/shows/the-five/transcript/gregs-monologue fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 989fba8f-4354-577f-be76-841896a1d1b7   Westlake Legal Group image Gutfeld on cancel culture and the candidates Greg Gutfeld fox-news/shows/the-five/transcript/gregs-monologue fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 989fba8f-4354-577f-be76-841896a1d1b7

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New iPhones Fuel Strong Profit for Apple

Westlake Legal Group 28apple-facebookJumbo New iPhones Fuel Strong Profit for Apple Wearable Computing iPhone Company Reports Apple TV Plus Apple TV Apple Inc

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple’s profit grew for the first time in a year with the help of an old friend: the iPhone.

Sales of Apple’s flagship product had fallen sharply for the past year, but on Tuesday, Apple said iPhone revenue was growing again. The company said customers spent heavily on its latest models, increasing iPhone sales by 7.7 percent to nearly $56 billion in the latest quarter from a year ago.

That growth helped lift Apple’s profit by 11.4 percent to $22.3 billion. The numbers easily beat Wall Street expectations and were welcome news to Apple investors, who had watched the company’s typically strong growth suddenly evaporate over the past year.

Before Tuesday, Apple had posted four consecutive quarters of shrinking profit, the longest such streak since 2016.

Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said in an interview that demand for Apple’s newest iPhones — the iPhone 11 series, released in September — exceeded expectations. He attributed the strong sales to new features, like a better camera and longer battery life, as well as financing options to buy a new phone and a $50 price cut for the cheapest model.

Daniel Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush Securities, said there was pent-up demand for the new iPhones because many people had waited to upgrade their older devices. “This was a jaw-dropper in terms of how strong phone sales were,” he said. “Even more than the bulls were hoping for.”

Apple also was lifted by some of its newer products.

Apple’s services revenue, or sales from its App Store and subscription products, rose by nearly 17 percent to $12.7 billion from the prior year. And sales in its so-called wearables division, which include the Apple Watch and AirPods wireless headphones, grew by 37 percent to just over $10 billion.

The growth in services and wearables “attests to the fact that the company continues to reinvent itself,” said Daniel Flax, an analyst at the investment firm Neuberger Berman.

Apple also showed continued improvement in China, its second-largest market after the United States. A year ago, Apple had to pre-empt its earnings report with news that its sales in China would come in much lower than forecast.

The news sent its stock sliding and raised fears that the slump was a precursor to global economic decline. Apple reported that its sales in the China region fell by nearly 27 percent that quarter, contributing to a slight decline in its overall profit.

But since then, Apple’s business has rebounded, the global economy has remained largely stable, and the company’s stock has roughly doubled. On Tuesday, Apple said its sales in the China region increased for the first time in five quarters, growing 3.1 percent. Mr. Maestri, the Apple executive, attributed the company’s improving fortunes in China partly to the strengthening economy there.

Apple’s revenue rose by almost 9 percent to $91.8 billion. The company forecast that its revenue would rise 9 percent to 15 percent in the current quarter.

Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said on a call with analysts that Apple’s forecast was less precise than typical because the company was uncertain about the impact from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

In addition to its large sales presence in China, Apple also assembles most of its products there. Mr. Cook said that some Apple suppliers would remain closed into February as a precaution from the virus, and that traffic into its retail stores in the country had also fallen off.

Apple shares rose about 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Apple’s recent success on the stock market has reflected a number of good signs for its business, including easing trade tensions between China and the United States. Apple is among the companies with the most at risk in a trade war between the two countries, given its enormous manufacturing and sales presence in China.

In the latest quarter, Apple debuted one of its biggest efforts to expand its services business: Apple TV Plus, a package of exclusive TV shows produced by Apple that costs $5 a month, cheaper than most offerings from rivals.

Still, early market estimates suggest the service has not been a big draw for new paying subscribers over the first several months, in part because Apple is giving a free year subscription to the service to anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac computer.

Part of Apple’s strategy to expand its services business is to continue to increase the number of people using its devices. On Tuesday, Apple said there were more than 1.5 billion active Apple devices, including iPhones, iPads and Mac computers, up from about 1.4 billion a year ago.

Still, sales of some of Apple’s older products fell in the quarter. Mac revenue decreased 3.5 percent and, on the week of the iPad’s 10th anniversary, its sales declined 11.2 percent.

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The Essence Of The Senate Impeachment Trial In 2 Videos

Westlake Legal Group ap_20022014506158_custom-b6dc452905bc68849d33fb3724379803e75eac0d-s1100-c15 The Essence Of The Senate Impeachment Trial In 2 Videos

A sketch artist’s rendering of White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaking in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial against President Trump on Jan. 21. In the trial, senators play the role of jurors, and Chief Justice John Roberts presides. Dana Verkouteren/AP hide caption

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Dana Verkouteren/AP

Westlake Legal Group  The Essence Of The Senate Impeachment Trial In 2 Videos

A sketch artist’s rendering of White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaking in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial against President Trump on Jan. 21. In the trial, senators play the role of jurors, and Chief Justice John Roberts presides.

Dana Verkouteren/AP

Opening arguments for both sides in the Trump impeachment trial ended on Tuesday. The trial isn’t over, but the core argument in each side’s case is clear.

The Democratic impeachment managers and President Trump’s defense team each had 24 hours over three days to lay out their arguments. (Learn more about the trial process here.)

The Democrats charge Trump, who was impeached last month by the House of Representatives, with abusing the power of the presidency and with obstructing Congress — and that his actions merit conviction and removal from office. Trump’s lawyers maintain the president’s innocence and argue that none of Trump’s actions rise to the level of impeachment.

These clips show the leaders of each side, explaining the essence of their arguments:

White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Tuesday the leader of Trump’s team, Pat Cipollone, argued that if senators vote to remove Trump from office, they would deny Americans’ right to choose their president. “Why tear up their ballots?” he asked senators. Watch a clip of his remarks.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

On the final day of his remarks, last Friday, lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff declared Trump a “threat to the integrity of our democracy,” who puts his own interests over the nation’s. Watch a clip of his remarks.

The senators, who act as jurors in the trial, will now consider these arguments, among others, as they decide on their next steps.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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Eugene Kontorovich: Palestinians wrong to reject Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan – It’s fair and just

Westlake Legal Group image Eugene Kontorovich: Palestinians wrong to reject Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan – It's fair and just fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Eugene Kontorovich article 27d71b85-53e6-573a-939e-4b344303409f

The Israeli-Palestinian peace plan unveiled Tuesday by President Trump is an important and well-crafted effort that would benefit both sides by breaking the deadlock between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors, which began with Israeli independence from Britain in 1948.

The almost immediate rejection of the plan by Palestinian leaders – and their progressive supporters in the U.S. – reveals more about the dangerousness of their vision than about the Trump plan.

Critics are already indicting the Trump plan for not meeting all Palestinians demands. That is certainly true, but the plan also does not meet all Israeli demands. It is a compromise, requiring concessions from both sides.

PALESTINIANS SAY ‘A THOUSAND NOES’ TO TRUMP-NETANYAHU MIDEAST PEACE PLAN

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside President Trump and pledged support for the U.S. plan as Trump unveiled it at the White House, there was a notable absence of any Palestinian representative.

Even before the Trump plan was announced, Palestinian leaders said it would be dead on arrival. Upon the release of the plan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded at a news conference: “After the nonsense we heard today we say a thousand noes to the Deal of the Century. We will not kneel and we will not surrender.”

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Abbas’ rejection was a hyped-up echo of the infamous “three noes,” when the Arab world in 1968 rejected any dealings with Israel – even in return of all territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, which began when the armies of neighboring Arab states invaded the Jewish state with the goal of ending its existence.

To no one’s surprise, the Hamas terrorist regime that rules the Gaza Strip also angrily denounced the Trump plan Tuesday.

President Trump has given Palestinians four years to consider his peace plan because their reluctance was expected, but at a rate of 1,000 no’s a day, Abbas may fill four years or rejection in six months.

The Palestinians are perhaps the only national independence movement in the modern era that has ever rejected a genuine offer of internationally recognized statehood, even if it falls short of all the territory they had sought.

Hundreds of groups seek statehood, and some – like the Kurds – seem to deserve it. But almost none get it. Statehood is by far the exception rather than the norm for separatist groups.

For Palestinian leaders to reject such an offer of statehood from a U.S. administration best poised to deliver it – along with $50 billion in promised international investment in a new Palestinian state – shows that the Palestinians and their allies still see undermining Israel as their primary goal.

The conduct of the Palestinians must be compared to that of the Jewish leadership in British-ruled Palestine in 1947, as Britain was preparing to end its colonial rule. Jewish leaders were willing to accept a discontinuous, vulnerable state with no part of Jerusalem. This is evidence that those who truly need a state jump on even the most imperfect opportunities.

The Trump administration may suspect that Palestinian officials are unserious about their professed desire for statehood. Other innovative components of the peace plan reflect this.

A principal folly of past efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian agreement was that peace itself was not their goal. Instead, they proceeded from a starting assumption that Israel “illegally occupied” territory it captured in the Six-Day War 53 years ago.

Based on the assumption that Israel had no right to land captured in the war, past negotiations worked ineluctably to their goal of forcing Israeli concessions. While the Palestinians rejected generous statehood offers at least four times – holding out for unrealistic demands like the “right of return” for the descendants of Palestinians who left the newly declared Jewish state in 1948 – they suffered no diplomatic penalty.

The Palestinian Authority pivoted from the Oslo peace accords in 1993 to fomenting a horrific campaign of murderous terrorism in the Second Intifada. It institutionalized terror and anti-Semitism with pay-for-slay – rewarding Palestinian terrorists and their families with large payments for murdering Jews – and criminalizing the sale of land to Jews.

Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was rewarded with the rise of the Hamas terrorist regime, and a permanent drizzle of rockets on Israeli towns. The Oslo promise of a peaceful state in the West Bank and Gaza is long forgotten. Israel is now told to at best satisfy itself with a partial and tenuous peace in the West Bank.

In the meantime, the Palestinians’ gains from the Oslo accords are seen as permanently locked in – including the creation of a Palestinian government that governs almost all Palestinians and enjoys broad international recognition. Israel’s prior territorial offers only become the baseline for further rounds of Israeli concessions, while Israel has no locked-in gains to show.

The Trump plan flips these failed assumptions on their head. If the Palestinians truly want a state to live peacefully with Israel, they must meet some basic conditions indicating their commitment to peace.

These conditions are rudimentary – the end of the Hamas terrorist regime, Palestinian disarmament, an end to pay-for-slay, and a recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. That such conditions are regarded as “unrealistic” underscores how unmoored the “peace process” has become from any quest for peace. Instead, it has become a vehicle for demonizing Israel.

The Trump plan also crucially inverts the paradigm in which the Palestinians keep getting offered more for saying “no.” In Trump’s plan, if the Palestinians do not agree to the peace deal – and do not meet minimal conditions – Israel can proceed to secure its interests without them.

This gives the Palestinians a much-needed incentive to deal. That incentive may be inadequate, but again, that shows that independence may not be the real aim of Palestinian leaders.

Moreover, the Trump plan ends the failed paradigm where the future of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is held hostage indefinitely to Palestinian intransigence.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already made clear that the U.S. does not regard the Jewish settlements as illegal. Now Israel will finally be able to regularize their status, immediately – a historic victory for Jewish rights to their heartland.

Unlike earlier peace plans, the Trump peace plan is based on justice and realism at the same time. The mass expulsion of people from their homes has never been part of peace agreements with separatist groups, nor is it a decent thing to ask for.

Claims that the plan’s release was timed to impact either President Trump’s domestic difficulties or Netanyahu’s reelection are demonstrably false. Democrats have had Trump under investigation since his first days in office, and Israel has been in an unprecedented series of failed elections for a year, with no clear end in sight.

There is nothing specific about this timing of the release of the peace plan. It is no secret that the U.S. has been working on this plan since near the start of Trump’s term. The Trump administration had hoped to release it much earlier, but then the Israeli election drama kicked in.

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Forced to choose between abandoning its efforts and pressing on, the Trump administration eventually chose the latter.

Finally, the Trump plan must be compared to prior diplomatic initiatives, all of which failed to deliver peace and instead mainstreamed Palestinian terrorism. Trump’s proposal is unlikely to do worse.

But to avoid falling into past mistakes, the Trump plan and its implementation must make clear that its contemplation of possible Palestinian statehood is not something Palestinian Authority President Abbas can bank on if he rejects everything else.

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For this plan to be fundamentally different, Trump must make clear that Palestinian rejection of the plan means rejecting Palestinian statehood itself.

If Palestinians are unwilling to make needed compromises – as Netanyahu has already agreed to do – the Palestinians must get nothing.

Westlake Legal Group image Eugene Kontorovich: Palestinians wrong to reject Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan – It's fair and just fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Eugene Kontorovich article 27d71b85-53e6-573a-939e-4b344303409f   Westlake Legal Group image Eugene Kontorovich: Palestinians wrong to reject Trump Israeli-Palestinian peace plan – It's fair and just fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Eugene Kontorovich article 27d71b85-53e6-573a-939e-4b344303409f

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Impeachment Recap: As Defense Rests, Focus Shifts To Witnesses Fight

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1202561331-4d1118878a43344baf1057160ffb4c9af0d52bc3-s1100-c15 Impeachment Recap: As Defense Rests, Focus Shifts To Witnesses Fight

President Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow rides an elevator to the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial Tuesday. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Impeachment Recap: As Defense Rests, Focus Shifts To Witnesses Fight

President Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow rides an elevator to the Senate chamber for the impeachment trial Tuesday.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The admission of new witnesses into President Trump’s impeachment trial began to look less likely on Tuesday as defense attorneys and the White House signaled opposition in hopes of persuading Republicans to block them.

Lawyer Jay Sekulow called the claims in John Bolton’s forthcoming book “inadmissible” as he delivered closing arguments and separately, White House aides reportedly began warning senators that a legal fight over witnesses could drag on for months.

Democrats have continued the calls they’ve made all along for new witnesses, including Bolton and others, but it remained unclear whether four Republicans might spurn Trump’s wishes and join with all the Democrats to vote to authorize new testimony.

The Senate is expected to reach that crossroads on Friday.

If the chamber voted to admit witnesses, that would begin a new sub-debate over which ones and under which conditions they might appear.

If the chamber does not vote to admit them, it could move onto a vote as to Trump’s guilt with respect to the two articles of impeachment. The Republican-controlled chamber is expected to permit Trump to keep his office.

Between now and then, senators are scheduled to spend Wednesday and Thursday submitting written questions for the House impeachment managers and Trump’s lawyers.

So if the door isn’t shut to new testimony, it also wasn’t clear how the Senate might get from the state of play on Tuesday to a clear picture about the votes within the Republican conference given the increased show of displeasure from Trump’s camp.

Horse trading, arm twisting, log rolling

One borderline senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, told reporters on Tuesday that discussion was still ongoing about Bolton’s testimony.

“We’ll figure out how we’re going to learn more,” she said.

A close ally of Trump’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters that he’d had enough of impeachment and that he was contented with the idea of moving on with the evidentiary record as it stands.

Graham also said that if Democrats open the door to admitting witnesses, they might not like where that leads.

Graham said he was sure there are 51 Republican votes today to call former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and other prospective witnesses whom Graham suggested might embarrass Democrats.

So be it, riposted Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., later in the day: “They can call who they want.”

The minority leader has ruled out the idea of a partisan trade in which, for example, Republicans would call Hunter Biden if Democrats may call Bolton.

Schumer said if there are to be witnesses there must be a full-scale effort to bring in witnesses and their documents and support what he called a real trial for Trump.

Schumer wants to hear from Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and others he says can verify Democrats’ allegations in the articles of impeachment. He appealed to Republicans to make that happen.

“All we need is four who rise to the occasion,” he said. “Let the chips fall where they may. Get the truth.”

Closing statements

The negotiations over witnesses followed even after the end of closing statements by Trump’s defense team, which elected not to use several of the hours it still had available under the rules.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone said that he and his colleagues considered their case proved and that they did not consider it a difficult problem for senators to unravel.

“All you need in this case is the Constitution and your common sense,” he said.

His summation followed a longer recapitulation by Trump’s personal lawyer, Sekulow, which included his declaration that Bolton’s evidence was “inadmissible” but also the assertion that, even if it were accurate and admitted, it wouldn’t matter.

Trump’s authority over foreign affairs is significant, the lawyers argued, he released military assistance for Ukraine before the expiration of the fiscal year and nothing alleged was illegal or even improper, Sekulow argued.

“There’s no violation of the law. There’s no violation of the constitution. There’s a disagreement over policy decisions,” he said.

That’s what elections are for, he argued, like the one this November in which voters must decide whether to reward or punish Trump for his actions — not the Senate, Sekulow argued.

If members remove Trump based on the actions in the Ukraine affair, the attorney said, they’ll not only spurn voters but also weaken the presidency forever by making every subsequent chief executive subject to what defense lawyers said would be the equivalent of a partisan vote of no confidence, like that used in parliamentary systems.

“Danger!” Sekulow blared. “Danger! Danger!”

In the Trump defense team’s telling, the Democrats’ impeachment case boils down to partisan animus and a disagreement with the president over his foreign policy.

“If that becomes the new normal, future presidents — Democrats and Republicans — will be paralyzed the moment they are elected, before they can even take the oath of office,” Sekulow said. “The bar for impeachment cannot be set this low.”

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