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Discussion Thread: Day Five of House Public Impeachment Hearings – 11/21/2019 | Fiona Hill and David Holmes – Part IV

This morning the House Intelligence Committee will hold their seventh round of public hearings in preparation for possible Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Testifying today are Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia adviser and David Holmes, an aide to top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor.

Fiona Hill’s Opening Statement can be read here

David Holmes’ Opening Statement car be read here

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:00m EST. You can watch live online on CSPAN or PBS. Most major networks will also air live coverage.)

You can listen online via C-Span or download the C-Span Radio App

For a great overview of the Impeachment Process, check out PBS News Hour’s Guide to the Impeachment Hearings


Today’s hearing is expected to follow the format for Impeachment Hearings as laid out in H.R. 660

  • Opening statements by Chairman Adam Schiff, Ranking Member Devin Nunes, Fiona Hill and David Holmes, followed by:

  • Two continuous 45 minutes sessions of questioning, largely led by staff counsel, followed by:

  • Committee Members each allowed 5 minutes of time for questions and statements, alternating from Dem to Rep, followed by:

  • Closing statements by Ranking Member Devin Nunes and Chairman Adam Schiff


Day One archives – William Taylor and George Kent:

Day Two archives – Marie Yovanovitch:

Day Three archives – Morning Session – Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams:

Day Three archives – Afternoon Session – Kurt Vokler and Tim Morrison

Day Four archives – Morning Session – Gordon Sondland

Day Four archives – Afternoon Session – Laura Cooper and David Hale

  • Full video can be found on C-Span. Full transcript can be found HERE (TBD)

  • r/politics Discussion Threads: Part I


Upcoming Hearings:


Discussion Thread Part I

Discussion Thread Part II, AKA C-Span Callers

Discussion Thread Part III

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California Supreme Court rejects law requiring Trump to release tax returns to get on ballot

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106225738001_6106232374001-vs California Supreme Court rejects law requiring Trump to release tax returns to get on ballot fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 4096304c-f4f4-5462-92ed-276053ea04a8

The California Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a state law that would have required President Trump to release his tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Justices in Sacramento said that the law – which required all candidates for president and governor to submit five years’ worth of personal income tax returns in order to be included on primary ballots – was unconstitutional.

“Whatever authority the Legislature may have in defining how presidential primaries are to occur in this state, the challenged sections of the act exceed such authority and are unenforceable,” California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the opinion.

TRUMP ATTORNEY JAY SEKULOW SAYS CALIFORNIA TRIED TO ‘SHRED CONSTITUTION’ AFTER COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF PRESIDENT 

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had signed the bill into law in July.

The state Republican Party and Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson challenged the bill, while the state has defended the law by arguing tax returns are a simple way for voters to weigh candidates’ financial status.

The ruling by the state’s highest court – which is a rare win for Trump in the Democratically controlled state – comes more than a month-and-a-half after a federal judge temporarily blocked the state law in response to a different lawsuit.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla appealed the federal judge’s ruling, in a legal dispute that remains ongoing.  The state court’s decision, however, means the tax return requirement cannot be enforced, even if it were found to be constitutional under federal law.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Jesse Melgar, the governor’s spokeswoman, previously told the Los Angeles Times that Newsom supported an appeal, adding: “States have a legal and moral duty to restore public confidence in government and ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards.”

The deadline for submitting tax returns to get on the primary ballot under the bill, though, is next week.

Under California’s so-called jungle primary system, all candidates, regardless of party, vie for the same elected office and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election. Since it was implemented in California in 2010, this system has often ensured a Democrat-vs.-Democrat general election battle in all but California’s most conservative areas.

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106225738001_6106232374001-vs California Supreme Court rejects law requiring Trump to release tax returns to get on ballot fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 4096304c-f4f4-5462-92ed-276053ea04a8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106225738001_6106232374001-vs California Supreme Court rejects law requiring Trump to release tax returns to get on ballot fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics/judiciary/state-and-local fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article Andrew O'Reilly 4096304c-f4f4-5462-92ed-276053ea04a8

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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son Joseph Baena shows off impressive physique in new Instagram pic

Westlake Legal Group joseph-baena-getty Arnold Schwarzenegger's son Joseph Baena shows off impressive physique in new Instagram pic fox-news/person/arnold-schwarzenegger fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 0f6af7d5-3a2c-5388-a2e3-49e7c189f39d

Joseph Baena is channeling his inner Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Baena, Schwarzenegger’s youngest son, has been following in his “Terminator” father’s footsteps by regularly hitting the gym and packing on muscle mass — much like Schwarzenegger did throughout his bodybuilding career.

Baena recently showed off in an Instagram post the impressive progress he has made.

The 22-year-old announced he was nominated for the “#classicchallenge,” a social media initiative that encourages gymgoers to imitate Schwarzenegger’s classic bodybuilding poses, as he shared two photos showing off his massive upper body.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AMONG STARS FORCED TO EVACUATE HOMES AS CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES RAGE

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AVOIDED CERTAIN ROLES EARLY IN HIS ACTING CAREER

Fans were quick to draw comparison to his father.

“Baby Terminator 😂,” one user commented.

“Beast 💪 you look so much like your father,” another user wrote.

“You definitely got them Arnold chest genetics… incredible. Looking forward to seeing you on a Classic Physique stage. You are the man !!”

‘TERMINATOR: DARK FATE’ STARS LINDA HAMILTON AND ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SHARE A KISS

Prior to his “Terminator” role and his California governor term, father Schwarzenegger was made famous through his bodybuilding career, in which he retired from in 1980.

During Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding career, he was named Mr. Olympia seven times between 1970 and 1980 before slowly breaking his way into Hollywood.

His roles in “Hercules in New York” and “Conan the Barbarian” were strongly tied to his imposing physical presence.

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Schwarzenegger, 72, had son Joseph with Mildred Baena, his former housekeeper while he was still married to Maria Shriver. He shares four children with his ex-wife: Katherine, 29, Christina, 28, Patrick, 26, and Christopher, 22.

Westlake Legal Group joseph-baena-getty Arnold Schwarzenegger's son Joseph Baena shows off impressive physique in new Instagram pic fox-news/person/arnold-schwarzenegger fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 0f6af7d5-3a2c-5388-a2e3-49e7c189f39d   Westlake Legal Group joseph-baena-getty Arnold Schwarzenegger's son Joseph Baena shows off impressive physique in new Instagram pic fox-news/person/arnold-schwarzenegger fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 0f6af7d5-3a2c-5388-a2e3-49e7c189f39d

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Why Isn’t a Rape Allegation Worth an Impeachment Inquiry?

Westlake Legal Group ROpvRvy9zxTdZD5kPdesKNuXTPH4xl8sa4fovS2YsDY Why Isn’t a Rape Allegation Worth an Impeachment Inquiry? r/politics

Which isn’t enough to convince Republicans at all. Either the base, or the politicians.

Trump could shoot a guy on 5th street, and they’d stall for six months before saying, “Sure, there may be a gun, but that gun isn’t smoking now! Can you prove that it was smoking before? That’s conjecture, hearsay, a liberal plot to bring down our great president! It’s the deep-state so-called Justice system that are the real traitors! I yield back the balance of my time.”

While Trump jumps up and down and flings shit like a baboon. “No smoking gun! No smoking gun!”

“LOCK ALL LIBERALS UP,” the base chants.

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Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Calls Ukraine Pressure Campaign a ‘Domestic Political Errand’

Video

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-impeachbriefing-testify-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Calls Ukraine Pressure Campaign a ‘Domestic Political Errand’ Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top adviser on Russia, and David Holmes, an embassy official in Kyiv, will testify in front of the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164784012_55893262-e940-4646-a918-d62d726a225e-articleLarge Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Calls Ukraine Pressure Campaign a ‘Domestic Political Errand’ Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, arriving to testify on Thursday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, said President Trump’s demands for Ukraine to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the 2016 elections amounted to a “domestic political errand” that diverged from American foreign policy goals.

Her testimony during Thursday’s impeachment hearing made it clear that Dr. Hill, a longtime Russia expert, saw the pressure campaign on Ukraine as a purely political effort that had nothing to do with the longstanding United States goal of confronting corruption in Ukraine, the explanation that Mr. Trump and Republicans have frequently given for his actions.

Under questioning from the top Republican counsel on the House Intelligence Committee, Ms. Hill said she confronted Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, days before she left the White House on July 19 about his failure to coordinate with other members of the administration.

She said she later realized that Mr. Sondland was “being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security, foreign policy — and those two things had just diverged.”

Dr. Hill said she had told Mr. Sondland at the time that, “this is all going to blow up. And here we are.”

Video

transcript

Fiona Hill Calls Claim of Ukraine Interference a ‘Fictional Narrative’

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia, not Ukraine, “systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”

Based on questions and statements I’ve heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies confirmed in bipartisan congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified. The impact of the successful 2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career Foreign Service is being undermined. U.S. support for Ukraine, which continues to face armed Russian aggression, has been politicized. The Russian government’s goal is to weaken our country, to diminish America’s global role and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat to Russian interests. President Putin and the Russian security services aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow wishes to reassert political and economic dominance. I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. I do not think long-term conflict with Russia is either desirable or inevitable. I continue to believe that we need to seek ways of stabilizing our relationship with Moscow even as we counter their efforts to harm us. Right now, Russia’s security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.

Westlake Legal Group 21vid-impeach-clip-sub-videoSixteenByNine3000 Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Calls Ukraine Pressure Campaign a ‘Domestic Political Errand’ Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

Fiona Hill, the former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia, not Ukraine, “systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016.”CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Ms. Hill criticized Republicans on Thursday for propagating what she called a “fictional narrative” that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 elections, denouncing a theory embraced by President Trump.

She argued that the story was planted by Russia and dangerously played into Moscow’s hands, by sowing political divisions in the United States that adversaries are eager to exploit.

“These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” said Dr. Hill, the co-author of a 500-page book analyzing the psyche of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“President Putin and the Russian security services operate like a super PAC,” Dr. Hill explained. “They deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. When we are consumed by partisan rancor, we cannot combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each another, degrade our institutions, and destroy the faith of the American people in our democracy.

The impeachment inquiry centers on the accusation that Mr. Trump withheld a White House visit for Ukraine’s president and security aid for the country as leverage to push the government to announce investigations into Mr. Biden Jr., and the claim that Ukraine conspired to help Democrats in the 2016 election.

Dr. Hill called the claim about Ukraine’s interference a fake story invented by Russian intelligence services to destabilize the United States and deflect attention from their own culpability.

“In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests,” Dr. Hill said. “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”

Without naming Mr. Trump, Dr. Hill made an implicit rebuke of his conduct.

“If the president, or anyone else, impedes or subverts the national security of the United States in order to further domestic political or personal interests, that is more than worthy of your attention,” Dr. Hill said. “But we must not let domestic politics stop us from defending ourselves against the foreign powers who truly wish us harm.”

David Holmes, a top aide in the United States Embassy in Kyiv, told lawmakers on Thursday that he became convinced by the end of August that Mr. Trump had frozen security aid for Ukraine because he was seeking to pressure the country to commit to an investigation into Mr. Biden.

Mr. Holmes said his assessment came after he drafted and sent a cable to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on behalf of William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, attempting to explain the importance of the security assistance to Ukraine.

“By this point,” Mr. Holmes said, “my clear impression was that the security assistance hold was likely intended by the president either as an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.”

Burisma is a Ukrainian energy company that employed Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, on its board.

Dr. Hill and Mr. Holmes said on Thursday that there was zero doubt that mentions of Burisma by Mr. Trump, Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, or others were clearly references to investigations of the Bidens that the president wanted Ukraine to announce.

Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Mr. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, both testified that for many months they believed that mentions of Burisma were merely references to the need to eliminate corruption that was taking place in Ukraine, given the history of corruption at the company.

But both witnesses on Thursday said unequivocally that Burisma was “code” for the Bidens, and that anyone working on Ukraine issues would know that. Dr. Hill said that it was clear in part because Mr. Giuliani had made that linkage “publicly, repeatedly” in his appearances on television.

Asked by the Democratic counsel for the House Intelligence Committee whether “anyone involved in Ukraine matters in the spring and summer would understand that as well,” Mr. Holmes had a one-word answer.

“Yes,” he said.

Dr. Hill described in detail an awkward White House meeting with Ukrainian officials on July 10 that ended abruptly after Mr. Sondland said he was working with Mr. Giuliani to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats in exchange for a White House meeting for the country’s new president.

John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, stiffened visibly and sat back in his chair when Mr. Sondland made the comment, apparently so disturbed by it that he quickly cut off the meeting.

She testified that after the meeting ended, Mr. Sondland explained precisely what he was up to: “That he had an agreement with chief of staff Mulvaney that in return for investigations this meeting would get scheduled.”

When she told Mr. Bolton about that exchange, Dr. Hill testified, he instructed her to tell the National Security Council’s top lawyer about what Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Mulvaney were up to, and say that, “I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

“I took it to mean investigations for a meeting,” Dr. Hill added, when asked what Mr. Bolton meant by “drug deal.”

Later, Dr. Hill said that Mr. Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” She understood that to refer to Mr. Giuliani’s “incendiary remarks” on television about Ukraine, and that he was “pushing views that would come back to haunt us.”

“In fact,” she added, “I think that’s where we are today.”

Mr. Holmes testified a week after Mr. Taylor, his boss at the embassy in Ukraine, told lawmakers last week that he had recently become aware of a July cellphone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland that had been overheard by one of his aides.

Mr. Holmes told lawmakers that he could hear Mr. Trump, who was speaking loudly, asking Mr. Sondland whether Mr. Zelensky was “going to do the investigation.” Mr. Sondland told Mr. Trump that Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass,” and would conduct the investigation and do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Holmes said.

In Mr. Holmes’s account, Mr. Sondland later told him that Mr. Trump cared only about “big stuff that benefits the president” like the “Biden investigation.” Mr. Sondland did not dispute that account when he testified on Wednesday, but said he did not recall specifically mentioning Mr. Biden.

Democrats believe the conversation helps establish that the president was preoccupied with persuading Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that benefited him politically.

As Mr. Holmes began testifying, President Trump took aim at his credibility, suggesting there was no way he could have heard what he claimed to have picked up the cellphone conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland.

The call is an important piece of evidence because it demonstrates that Mr. Trump himself was directing members of his administration to push the Ukrainians for the investigations, but the president on Thursday sought to cast doubt on its authenticity.

Even before the day’s hearing began, the president posted a string of angry tweets about Democrats and the impeachment investigation.

The Democrats leading the impeachment investigation are “human scum,” he said.

The public hearings over the last week are “the most unfair hearings in American History.” And, “never in my wildest dreams” did he think his name would be linked to the “ugly word, Impeachment!”

Mr. Trump also revived his complaints about the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign or aides were involved in Russia’s election interference.

  • Mr. Trump repeatedly pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate people and issues of political concern to Mr. Trump, including the former vice president. Here’s a timeline of events since January.

  • A C.I.A. officer who was once detailed to the White House filed a whistle-blower complaint on Mr. Trump’s interactions with Mr. Zelensky. Read the complaint.

Video

transcript

Who Are the Main Characters in the Whistle-Blower’s Complaint?

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.

Congressman: “Sir, let me repeat my question: Did you ever speak to the president about this complaint?” Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his Democratic rivals. “It’s just a Democrat witch hunt. Here we go again.” At the heart of an impeachment inquiry is a nine-page whistle-blower complaint that names over two dozen people. Not counting the president himself, these are the people that appear the most: First, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani. According to documents and interviews, Giuliani has been involved in shadowy diplomacy on behalf of the president’s interests. He encouraged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Biden family’s activities in the country, plus other avenues that could benefit Trump like whether the Ukrainians intentionally helped the Democrats during the 2016 election. It was an agenda he also pushed on TV. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden.” “Of course I did!” A person Giuliani worked with, Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s former prosecutor general. He pushed for investigations that would also benefit Giuliani and Trump. Lutsenko also discussed conspiracy theories about the Bidens in the U.S. media. But he later walked back his allegations, saying there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens. This is where Hunter Biden comes in, the former vice president’s son. He served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company run by this guy, who’s had some issues with the law. While Biden was in office, he along with others, called for the dismissal of Lutsenko’s predecessor, a prosecutor named Viktor Shokin, whose office was overseeing investigations into the company that Hunter Biden was involved with. Shokin was later voted out by the Ukrainian government. Lutsenko replaced him, but was widely criticized for corruption himself. When a new president took office in May, Volodymyr Zelensky, Zelensky said that he’d replace Lutsenko. Giuliani and Trump? Not happy. They viewed Lutsenko as their ally. During a July 25 call between Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Trump defended him, saying, “I heard you had a prosecutor who is very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.” In that phone call, Trump also allegedly asked his counterpart to continue the investigation into Joe Biden, who is his main rival in the 2020 election. Zelensky has publicly denied feeling pressured by Trump. “In other words, no pressure.” And then finally, Attorney General William Barr, who also came up in the July 25 call. In the reconstructed transcript, Trump repeatedly suggested that Zelensky’s administration could work with Barr and Giuliani to investigate the Bidens and other matters of political interest to Trump. Since the whistle-blower complaint was made public, Democrats have criticized Barr for dismissing allegations that Trump had violated campaign finance laws during his call with Zelensky and not passing along the complaint to Congress. House Democrats have now subpoenaed several people mentioned in the complaint, as an impeachment inquiry into the president’s conduct continues.

Westlake Legal Group vidxx-trump-ukraine-1-videoSixteenByNineJumbo1600 Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Calls Ukraine Pressure Campaign a ‘Domestic Political Errand’ Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- )

President Trump’s personal lawyer. The prosecutor general of Ukraine. Joe Biden’s son. These are just some of the names mentioned in the whistle-blower’s complaint. What were their roles? We break it down.CreditCredit…Illustration by The New York Times

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Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox agree to 4-year contract

Westlake Legal Group Yasmani-Grandal Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox agree to 4-year contract Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/chicago-white-sox fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 96111e10-3a80-5ed5-9eb3-e274946c2b0a

Yasmani Grandal agreed to a four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

The deal between the free-agent catcher and the team is worth $73 million, the White Sox announced. The team said he will receive $18.25 million per year from 2020 to 2023.

SANDERS ECHOES HOUSE MEMBERS’ DISMAY WITH MLB’S REPORTED PLAN TO ELIMINATE MINOR LEAGUE TEAMS

Grandal, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason. He played 153 games with the Brewers and proved he can start at both catcher and first base when needed.

“He’s such a quality guy, and for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path to say I want to be a part of that and I’m going to commit to it early so we can move onto the next thing into the Winter Meetings just shows what kind of character we’re talking about,” White Sox team president Kenny Williams told ESPN.

ORLANDO DREAMERS MLB PITCH SUBJECTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA RIDICULE

He hit .246 with an .848 OPS and a career-high 28 home runs. He struck out 139 times and walked 109 times – with both numbers career highs. The 31-year-old was also selected for his second All-Star game. However, he declined his part of a mutual option to return to Milwaukee.

Grandal was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer so the White Sox did not have to give up draft-pick compensation to Milwaukee to sign him.

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Chicago finished 72-89 last season and missed the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Yasmani-Grandal Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox agree to 4-year contract Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/chicago-white-sox fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 96111e10-3a80-5ed5-9eb3-e274946c2b0a   Westlake Legal Group Yasmani-Grandal Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox agree to 4-year contract Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/mlb/chicago-white-sox fox-news/sports/mlb fox news fnc/sports fnc article 96111e10-3a80-5ed5-9eb3-e274946c2b0a

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Fiona Hill shows how Trump and Republicans function as Putin’s useful idiots

Westlake Legal Group nurysx6hOu1g5Wdg4eW3Vmr4SJTJ47xIA6UP90geDEM Fiona Hill shows how Trump and Republicans function as Putin’s useful idiots r/politics

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Passenger shamed for using plane air vent to dry ‘sweaty socks’

A passenger’s clammy feet have landed them on the wrong side of social media.

The popular Instagram account Passenger Shaming recently shared a photo of an unidentified passenger holding up their socks to a plane’s air vent.

DELTA FLIGHT ATTENDANT ACCUSED OF BEING NEARLY 7 TIMES OVER ALCOHOL LIMIT

“Drying sweaty socks using the air vent,” text over the image of the passenger holding the socks read.

The photo, which was shared Wednesday, racked up nearly 5,000 likes and hundreds of comments from others disgusted by the strange act.

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Westlake Legal Group passenger-shaming-socks1280 Passenger shamed for using plane air vent to dry ‘sweaty socks’ fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 8b4edc0e-60a3-584c-abdd-298ab7ff9ab9

“Drying sweaty socks using the air vent,” text over the image of the passenger holding the socks read on Instagram. (Passenger Shaming)

“The average passenger is really nothing more than a caveman with a smartphone,” one quipped.

“Underwear or socks, which is worse? I can’t decide,” another wrote, along with a sick-face emoji.

“Just threw up a little,” another wrote.

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“Seriously…what’s wrong with people???” another pondered.

The Passenger Shaming account routinely anonymously calls out travelers for their antics. Most recently, a video of two people on a plane having an argument over a window shade went viral.

The clip of the bizarre exchange goes on for over two minutes showing the two men disagreeing over whether the window shade should be open or shut.

Fox News’ Gerren Gaynor contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group passenger-shaming-socks1280 Passenger shamed for using plane air vent to dry ‘sweaty socks’ fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 8b4edc0e-60a3-584c-abdd-298ab7ff9ab9   Westlake Legal Group passenger-shaming-socks1280 Passenger shamed for using plane air vent to dry ‘sweaty socks’ fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/travel fnc article Alexandra Deabler 8b4edc0e-60a3-584c-abdd-298ab7ff9ab9

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Hill and Holmes Impeachment Hearings: What We’ve Learned So Far

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-hilights-vid-facebookJumbo Hill and Holmes Impeachment Hearings: What We’ve Learned So Far Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Republican Party Nunes, Devin G Holmes, David (Diplomat) Hill, Fiona (1965- ) Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — David Holmes, a career diplomat and political counselor to the United States embassy in Ukraine, and Fiona Hill, a former Europe and Russia expert at the White House, schooled lawmakers on Thursday on the United States’ geopolitical relationship with Ukraine and provided some new details about the efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into President Trump’s political rivals.

They both highlighted their apolitical and nonpartisan expertise and experience in foreign policy, a direct contrast to the witness a day earlier, Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union — a wealthy Republican donor with no diplomatic experience before his 2018 appointment to the plum post in Brussels.

Here are some key points from the testimony so far.

Holmes: “This was a very distinctive experience. I’ve never seen anything like this in my foreign service career, someone at a lunch in a restaurant making a call on a cellphone to the president of the United States, being able to hear his voice, very distinctive personality.”

Mr. Holmes provided more details on Thursday about the now infamous lunch he had with Mr. Sondland and two other State Department staffers on July 26 in Kyiv. It was at this lunch that Mr. Holmes overheard a phone call between Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump — one in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Sondland if the Ukrainian president planned “to do the investigation.”

Mr. Holmes described a relaxed setting at an outdoor terrace with the weather that day in the upper 70s. Mr. Sondland ordered a bottle of wine, he said, which the four of them shared, and discussed marketing strategies for Mr. Sondland’s boutique hotel business.

The additional details add more credibility to Mr. Holmes’s recollection, which Republicans have tried to diminish. Mr. Sondland on Wednesday told lawmakers that he did not remember all of the details of that conversation with Mr. Trump, but he agreed that a friendly comment recalled by Mr. Holmes — Mr. Sondland telling the president that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine “loves your ass” — sounded like something he would say.

Mr. Trump on Thursday said that what Mr. Holmes described — a conversation that was not on speaker phone but could still be overheard — was virtually impossible.

Holmes: “Specifically, the three priorities of security, economy, and justice, and our support for Ukrainian democratic resistance to Russian aggression, became overshadowed by a political agenda promoted by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a cadre of officials operating with a direct channel to the White House.”

Mr. Holmes describes what other witnesses have disclosed — that the sudden involvement of President Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in foreign policy involving Ukraine was disruptive and damaging to the American goal of helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia. While Mr. Holmes described how the Giuliani-led campaign evolved starting in March, Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the ranking member on the House Intelligence committee, focused on one date — July 25 — when Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky spoke to each other by phone. That call was at the center of the whistle-blower complaint that led to the current impeachment inquiry.

Hill: “Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”

Hill: “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Dr. Hill bluntly stated that Russia was behind the 2016 election interference and theft of Democrats’ emails. American intelligence agencies and congressional panels came to the same conclusion years ago. One of the investigations that Mr. Trump sought Ukraine to initiative was one looking into a debunked theory that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Hill: “I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine — not Russia — attacked us in 2016.”

One of the Republican defenses for Mr. Trump’s decision to place a hold on nearly $400 million in military aid is that he was always suspicious of Ukraine because of its systemic corruption. This, Republicans say, is why he wanted a commitment from Mr. Zelensky to pursue corruption investigations. Dr. Hill, in her opening remarks, attempted to shut down this and other theories, often promoted by the committee’s top Republican, Mr. Nunes, who described the impeachment hearings as “bizarre” on Thursday.

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Rugby player takes metaphor to extreme with bizarre interview about getting back in saddle

Westlake Legal Group Joe-Marler-Reuters Rugby player takes metaphor to extreme with bizarre interview about getting back in saddle Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a4f2c2e5-b74a-50fa-81d0-353a6d2976b5

An English rugby player took sports clichés to an entirely different level Wednesday when talking about his next match in a bizarre interview which has now gone viral.

Joe Marler, who plays for London-based Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership, was previewing the club’s next match against Bath and essentially said his team needed to get back in the saddle.

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Out of the gate, Marler explained his team’s disappointment following a 53-21 loss to French side Clermont Auvergne.

“I wasn’t hurting as much as the lads who were out there, but I definitely felt it and I know how hard the boys have taken that. They will be disappointed with the account that we put out,” Marler said, a fairly standard response for a sportsman after a bad defeat.

But we have got another week to get back on the horse, you know, and take that horse to the water. And you can ask that horse, you can say ‘hey, horsey, do you want to have a drink, or do you want to swim?’ It’s up to that horse to then realize what he wants to do in his life.

— Joe Marler

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The interview then took a bizarre turn, however, when Marler added: “But we have got another week to get back on the horse, you know, and take that horse to the water. And you can ask that horse, you can say ‘hey, horsey, do you want to have a drink, or do you want to swim?’ It’s up to that horse to then realize what he wants to do in his life.”

He goes onto do an impression of an Irish talking horse that wants to greet fans at the club’s home stadium.

“That horse, at the moment, wants to go out on Saturday, he wants to clippity-clop all the way to The Stoop [the stadium] and he wants to say ‘Hello’ to those fans.

“And he goes ‘I’m sorry about the result last week, but I’m going to give a better performance here at home against Bath.’ He’s a slightly Irish horse. So we are looking forward, like I say, to getting back on that horse.”

Just to be clear, Marler said there’s no way he’s riding that horse.

“I don’t like horses. I can’t ride,” he said.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

The 29-year-old prop has been with the Harlequins since 2009 and has made 193 appearances with the club. He’s also appeared in 62 matches for England’s national team.

Westlake Legal Group Joe-Marler-Reuters Rugby player takes metaphor to extreme with bizarre interview about getting back in saddle Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a4f2c2e5-b74a-50fa-81d0-353a6d2976b5   Westlake Legal Group Joe-Marler-Reuters Rugby player takes metaphor to extreme with bizarre interview about getting back in saddle Ryan Gaydos fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/tech/topics/viral fox-news/sports/rugby fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/sports fnc article a4f2c2e5-b74a-50fa-81d0-353a6d2976b5

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