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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 306)

Diplomat David Holmes Outlines Corruption, Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown

Westlake Legal Group 5dd6b2ad1f0000300edef178 Diplomat David Holmes Outlines Corruption, Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown

WASHINGTON ― The career foreign service official who overheard President Donald Trump speaking with his donor-turned-ambassador about investigations that would benefit Trump’s political campaign said Thursday that the Trump administration’s effort to pull the Ukrainian government into American politics made United States government officials look like hypocrites. 

David Holmes, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, pointed out the irony in the U.S. government pushing the Ukrainians to operate with integrity while the president of the United States and his personal attorney pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take actions to damage former Vice President Joe Biden, who Trump considered his chief political rival.

“While we had advised our Ukrainian counterparts to voice a commitment to following the rule of law and generally investigating credible corruption allegations, this was a demand that President Zelensky personally commit, on a cable news channel, to a specific investigation of President Trump’s political rival,” Holmes testified Thursday.

“They can recognize hypocrisy when they see it?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked Thursday.

“It’s hard to explain why we would do that,” said Holmes. 

It was Holmes who recalled hearing a phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the Trump donor turned diplomat who others placed at the center of the impeachment scandal. This conversation came a day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which Trump pressed his counterpart to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Trump’s 2020 presidential rival. 

Holmes told impeachment investigators on Thursday that Trump was talking so loudly on the call that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear. During the conversation, which took place at a restaurant in Ukraine, according to Holmes, Sondland told Trump that Zelensky “loves your ass,” and the U.S. president responded, “So, he’s going to do the investigation?”

“He’s going to do it,” Sondland responded, according to Holmes.

The phone call is yet more evidence that Trump was directly involved in pressuring the Ukrainian government to open investigations into the Bidens. During Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, Sondland said that “we followed the president’s orders” on Ukraine.

Trump reacted in real time on Thursday morning as Holmes delivered a lengthy opening statement on Capitol Hill. The president argued on Twitter that it would be difficult to overhear a conversation while someone was not on speakerphone, at least from his personal experience.

“Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail,” 73-year-old Trump, who is known for talking loudly, wrote in a tweet, urging his followers to try for themselves.

Holmes, meanwhile, testified that it was difficult to forget such a “distinctive experience.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my foreign service career,” he said Thursday, referring to hearing the president’s conversation with Sondland. “Very colorful language was used. They were directly addressing something I had been working on for weeks, months.”

Sondland did not recall the details of the conversation when asked about it on Wednesday, but he also didn’t dispute Holmes’ account. When asked about the “loves your ass” remark recalled by Holmes, Sondland said it sounded “like something I would say… That’s how President Trump and I communicate — a lot of four-letter words.”  

In her testimony before the committee, former Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council Fiona Hill asserted that any talk that Russia did not target the U.S. during the 2016 elections “is a fictional narrative” promoted by Russian forces. Trump and his Republican defenders have repeatedly pushed the baseless theory that Ukraine was to blame instead.

Thursday’s proceedings capped off the second week of public impeachment hearings that featured bombshell testimony from nine witnesses who shed new light on Trump’s attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine. Their accounts dismantled nearly every argument Republicans had mounted in defense of the president, implicating him and other senior Trump administration officials in the scheme. Despite this, Trump and GOP lawmakers continue to insist the president did nothing wrong by seeking dirt on a political rival by holding up financial assistance to Ukraine.

The impeachment inquiry is expected to pause next week as Congress leaves town for the Thanksgiving holiday, and pick up again next month in the House Judiciary Committee. 

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

Why Pete Buttigieg’s Lack of Black Support May Limit His 2020 Potential

Westlake Legal Group 20breakout-buttigieg-race-PH-facebookJumbo Why Pete Buttigieg’s Lack of Black Support May Limit His 2020 Potential Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Debates (Political) Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Blacks

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 154 endorsements from current or former black or Hispanic elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris has 93. Senator Bernie Sanders has 91. Senator Cory Booker has 50. Senator Elizabeth Warren has 43.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has six.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor has surged to first place in some Iowa polls and has built a big-money fund-raising operation that is the strongest in the Democratic presidential field.

But as his campaign has grown exponentially beyond the small band of loyalists who began it in January, Mr. Buttigieg has failed to demonstrate even minimal support among African-Americans and Hispanics, critical voting blocs that will have a much larger say after Iowa and New Hampshire, and their nearly all-white electorates, begin the presidential nominating calendar.

On Wednesday night, debate moderators questioned Mr. Buttigieg’s record on racial issues while rivals including Mr. Booker, of New Jersey, and Ms. Harris, of California, suggested he needed on-the-job training in talking to black audiences.

Mr. Buttigieg’s weakness with voters of color — he registered zero percent among black South Carolina Democrats in a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday — limits his potential in the 2020 campaign. A donor-class favorite who draws capacity crowds across Iowa, Mr. Buttigieg counts as his highest-profile black supporter either the man who lost a 2018 election to be Florida’s attorney general or the former mayor of Kansas City, Mo.

No Democrat in modern times has won the party’s nomination without claiming majorities of black voters, the most crucial voting bloc in South Carolina and in an array of delegate-rich Southern states.

“He needs to get out into the communities and countryside and let people know who he is,” said Sly James, the former Kansas City mayor, who endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September. “That means some travel to the South, more time and exposure there and finding some key African-American leaders who can open doors for him and endorse him.”

Mr. Buttigieg has so few black elected officials and former elected officials backing him that they could all fit into a single S.U.V. The issue emerged during a meeting he held this summer with Congressional Black Caucus members who pressed him about why he did not have black officials from South Bend vouching for him on the campaign trail.

Of the black elected officials and former elected officials who have endorsed him, only Sean Shaw, a former one-term Florida state representative who lost his statewide race last year, has been to South Carolina on his behalf.

Mr. Buttigieg has far more help from surrogates on the fund-raising circuit.

Since Oct. 1, his campaign has held fund-raisers or donor gatherings with at least 13 separate campaign surrogates, including the actress Mandy Moore and the tech entrepreneur Matt Rogers, who co-founded the Nest home security company and is married to Swati Mylavarapu, the chairwoman of Mr. Buttigieg’s fund-raising apparatus.

Mr. Buttigieg has acknowledged his weakness with voters of color when he’s been asked about it along the campaign trail. He and his supporters have argued for months that he will start doing better among black voters once they learn more about him and his plans.

Win Iowa, this plan goes, and he’ll win attention and perhaps support from black voters that has so far gone to Mr. Biden.

“I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me,” Mr. Buttigieg said during Wednesday’s debate. “As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low income, for eight years I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of a community where far too many people live with the consequences of racial inequity that has built up over centuries but been compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory.”

Mr. Buttigieg took only light jabs from his opponents on issues of race during the debate. Ms. Harris passed on a chance to repeat criticisms of him she made last weekend. Mr. Booker said that he had a full understanding of issues concerning black voters.

“I have a lifetime of experience with black voters,” Mr. Booker said. “I’ve been one since I was 18. Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear from African-American voters.”

More attacks on Mr. Buttigieg’s record on race are coming. Our Revolution, a political organization backing Mr. Sanders, is planning a Dec. 7 rally in South Bend that will highlight Mr. Buttigieg’s handling of the June police shooting and feature a black South Bend Common Council member aggrieved that two of her properties were razed by Mr. Buttigieg’s municipal government.

“When you can’t even take care of the needs of black folks in your own city, I don’t think you are in any position to be the president of the United States of America,” Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who is a national co-chairwoman of the Sanders campaign, said at a Sanders campaign fund-raiser Tuesday in Atlanta.

As his campaign took flight, Mr. Buttigieg was not always as responsive to inquiries from black officials as they would have liked.

Cordelia Lewis-Burks, a Democratic National Committee member from Indianapolis, said that shortly after Mr. Buttigieg announced his exploratory committee in January, she asked him to speak at a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Indianapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.

Weeks later she had received no response. In April, a Buttigieg campaign staff member called and invited her to his official campaign launch in South Bend.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve been trying to get the mayor to be the speaker for two months,’” Ms. Lewis-Burks said. Twenty minutes later, she said, she got word that Mr. Buttigieg would indeed speak at the N.A.A.C.P. dinner, which he did in October.

A Buttigieg aide said the campaign was not aware of the invitation until after his formal campaign launch.

Prominent black and Hispanic Democrats say they know few, if any, people of color who are supporting Mr. Buttigieg. Marc Morial, the former New Orleans mayor who is president of the National Urban League, said he knew of no one. Henry R. Muñoz III, a former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee, said he knew of just one Latina donor.

Adrianne Shropshire, the executive director of BlackPAC, a super PAC, said her organization had conducted focus groups of a few dozen black voters in six cities since August. In straw polls of the focus group participants, Mr. Buttigieg has not received a single vote.

“The missteps that get into the press, the South Carolina thing and the thing with the photograph, those are problematic because they become part of the narrative around him,” Ms. Shropshire said. “They become data points on this ongoing narrative about his inability to attract black voters.”

Even in Iowa, where Mr. Buttigieg opened a nine-point lead over the field in the latest Des Moines Register poll, the enthusiasm for his candidacy is not shared by the state’s small black and Latino community. Paula Martinez, a member of the Iowa Democratic Party’s state central committee and co-chairwoman of the state’s Brown & Black Forum, said she didn’t know of any black or Hispanic Iowans who supported Mr. Buttigieg.

“For African-American voters, familiarity and trust is extremely important because of the tendency and habits of politicians to say one thing and do another,” Mr. Morial said. “Sometimes there’s a reluctance to follow a new face who has no record of delivering.”

Black officials who have endorsed Mr. Buttigieg said they thought he had time in the three months before the Feb. 29 South Carolina primary to build a relationship with African-American voters.

Mr. Shaw, the former Florida lawmaker, said he planned to make more campaign trips to South Carolina for Mr. Buttigieg.

“The African-American community has a very long-term relationship with Joe Biden and it’s going to take some doing to get at that,” Mr. Shaw said. “But there are a lot of candidates who need to be doing better in African-American communities.”

Lamont Robinson, an Illinois state representative, said he talks up Mr. Buttigieg to constituents in Chicago, but he hasn’t come across any other black officials who back him.

“We have to be able to focus in on a comprehensive plan for the African-American community and that’s in the Douglass Plan,” Mr. Robinson said. “Surrogates like myself, we’re working toward getting that plan out to people.”

And Mark Barbee, the first black mayor of Bridgeport, Pa., is, like Mr. Buttigieg, an openly gay millennial mayor. He endorsed Mr. Buttigieg in September and said the 2020 campaign was too unpredictable to write off Mr. Buttigieg’s ability to win over black voters.

“We’re in an age where anything can happen,” said Mr. Barbee, who leads a community of about 4,600 people. “Pete Buttigieg could drop a song with Beyoncé tomorrow and change the game. You just never know!”

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

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

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

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Career Diplomat Outlines Corruption, Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown

Westlake Legal Group 5dd6b2ad1f0000300edef178 Career Diplomat Outlines Corruption, Hypocrisy Of Trump’s Ukraine Shakedown

WASHINGTON ― The career foreign service official who overheard President Donald Trump speaking with his donor-turned-ambassador about investigations that would benefit Trump’s political campaign said Thursday that the Trump administration’s effort to pull the Ukrainian government into American politics made United States government officials look like hypocrites. 

David Holmes, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, pointed out the irony in the U.S. government pushing the Ukrainians to operate with integrity while the president of the United States and his personal attorney pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take actions to damage former Vice President Joe Biden, who Trump considered his chief political rival.

“While we had advised our Ukrainian counterparts to voice a commitment to following the rule of law and generally investigating credible corruption allegations, this was a demand that President Zelensky personally commit, on a cable news channel, to a specific investigation of President Trump’s political rival,” Holmes testified Thursday.

“They can recognize hypocrisy when they see it?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) asked Thursday.

“It’s hard to explain why we would do that,” said Holmes. 

It was Holmes who recalled hearing a phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, the Trump donor turned diplomat who others placed at the center of the impeachment scandal. This conversation came a day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which Trump pressed his counterpart to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Trump’s 2020 presidential rival. 

Holmes told impeachment investigators on Thursday that Trump was talking so loudly on the call that Sondland had to hold the phone away from his ear. During the conversation, which took place at a restaurant in Ukraine, according to Holmes, Sondland told Trump that Zelensky “loves your ass,” and the U.S. president responded, “So, he’s going to do the investigation?”

“He’s going to do it,” Sondland responded, according to Holmes.

The phone call is yet more evidence that Trump was directly involved in pressuring the Ukrainian government to open investigations into the Bidens. During Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, Sondland said that “we followed the president’s orders” on Ukraine.

Trump reacted in real time on Thursday morning as Holmes delivered a lengthy opening statement on Capitol Hill. The president argued on Twitter that it would be difficult to overhear a conversation while someone was not on speakerphone, at least from his personal experience.

“Never have I been watching a person making a call, which was not on speakerphone, and been able to hear or understand a conversation. I’ve even tried, but to no avail,” 73-year-old Trump, who is known for talking loudly, wrote in a tweet, urging his followers to try for themselves.

Holmes, meanwhile, testified that it was difficult to forget such a “distinctive experience.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my foreign service career,” he said Thursday, referring to hearing the president’s conversation with Sondland. “Very colorful language was used. They were directly addressing something I had been working on for weeks, months.”

Sondland did not recall the details of the conversation when asked about it on Wednesday, but he also didn’t dispute Holmes’ account. When asked about the “loves your ass” remark recalled by Holmes, Sondland said it sounded “like something I would say… That’s how President Trump and I communicate — a lot of four-letter words.”  

In her testimony before the committee, former Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council Fiona Hill asserted that any talk that Russia did not target the U.S. during the 2016 elections “is a fictional narrative” promoted by Russian forces. Trump and his Republican defenders have repeatedly pushed the baseless theory that Ukraine was to blame instead.

Thursday’s proceedings capped off the second week of public impeachment hearings that featured bombshell testimony from nine witnesses who shed new light on Trump’s attempted quid pro quo with Ukraine. Their accounts dismantled nearly every argument Republicans had mounted in defense of the president, implicating him and other senior Trump administration officials in the scheme. Despite this, Trump and GOP lawmakers continue to insist the president did nothing wrong by seeking dirt on a political rival by holding up financial assistance to Ukraine.

The impeachment inquiry is expected to pause next week as Congress leaves town for the Thanksgiving holiday, and pick up again next month in the House Judiciary Committee. 

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

Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Denounces ‘Fictional’ Claim of Ukraine Meddling in 2016

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_164784546_6bf160e3-f114-45ac-af1c-2e4095bc0b78-superJumbo Impeachment Inquiry Live Updates: Fiona Hill Denounces ‘Fictional’ Claim of Ukraine Meddling in 2016 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 Denounces ‘Fictional’ Claim of Ukraine Meddling in 2016 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, 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 Ms. 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,” Ms. 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 former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and the claim that Ukraine conspired to help Democrats in the 2016 election.

Ms. 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,” Ms. Hill said. “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”

Without naming Mr. Trump, Ms. 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,” Ms. 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.

Mr. Holmes told lawmakers that it remains critical for the United States to support Ukraine in its efforts to confront Russian aggression, saying: “Now is not the time to retreat from our relationship with Ukraine, but rather to double down on it.”

As Mr. Holmes began testifying, President Trump took aim at his credibility, suggesting there was no way he could have heard what he claims to have picked up in a loud cellphone conversation between Mr. Trump and Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union.

In his testimony on Thursday, Mr. Holmes was repeating an account he has given impeachment investigators privately of a call he overheard in which the president was asking Mr. Sondland whether Ukraine was going to do the investigations he wanted, and Mr. Sondland said they were.

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. Holmes is testifying a week after Mr. Taylor, the top American diplomat 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.

In previous closed-door testimony, Ms. Hill described in detail a July 10 White House meeting during which Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, told Mr. Bolton that 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.

Mr. Bolton was so disturbed that he abruptly ended the meeting and instructed Ms. Hill to tell the National Security Council’s top lawyer about what Mr. Sondland, Mr. Giuliani and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, were up to, Ms. Hill has testified. Mr. Bolton told Ms. Hill that he was not “part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

Later, Ms. Hill said that Mr. Bolton told her that “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Ms. Hill left the White House before the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. But Democrats believe her account could be crucial in helping to establish that top White House officials like Mr. Bolton felt the pressure campaign was inappropriate, and that Mr. Mulvaney was deeply involved in it.

Mr. Sondland said in Wednesday’s hearing that Ms. Hill’s account of the July 10 meeting did not “square with my own.”

  • 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 Denounces ‘Fictional’ Claim of Ukraine Meddling in 2016 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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Judge Blocks Justice Department’s Plan To Resume Federal Executions

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1157407064_wide-d145dc3bb6587b214a732b51bb0dc4986831b3bf-s1100-c15 Judge Blocks Justice Department's Plan To Resume Federal Executions

U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared in July that the Justice Department intended to resume carrying out the death penalty — though those plans are on hold after a federal court decision Wednesday. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

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Westlake Legal Group  Judge Blocks Justice Department's Plan To Resume Federal Executions

U.S. Attorney General William Barr declared in July that the Justice Department intended to resume carrying out the death penalty — though those plans are on hold after a federal court decision Wednesday.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A judge has blocked the U.S. government’s plan to begin executing federal prisoners for the first time in nearly 20 years. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a preliminary injunction Wednesday halting four executions that government officials had planned to carry out starting next month.

In a memorandum issued with her order, Chutkan wrote that at least one of the four death-row inmates — Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Lee Honken — was likely to succeed in his lawsuit against federal agencies.

“Plaintiffs have clearly shown that, absent injunctive relief, they will suffer the irreparable harm of being executed under a potentially unlawful procedure before their claims can be fully adjudicated,” the judge wrote.

The four convicted murderers’ sued the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Prisons over the department’s decision earlier this year to change the federal execution protocol. They argue that the changes — which outline the use of the a single drug, pentobarbital, rather than the three-drug cocktail used in many states — fail to comply with Federal Death Penalty Act.

That 1994 law mandates that the U.S. government follow the execution practices of the state in which the inmate’s sentence was handed down.

“Given that the FDPA expressly requires the federal government to implement executions in the manner prescribed by the state of conviction,” Chutkan wrote, “this court finds Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits as to this claim.”

Given their similarities, the four lawsuits were then consolidated into a single case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. A fifth inmate, Lezmond Mitchell, whose execution had been scheduled for Dec. 11, obtained a stay of his own in a separate split decision last month by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“While the government does have a legitimate interest in the finality of criminal proceedings, the eight years that it waited to establish a new protocol undermines its arguments regarding the urgency and weight of that interest,” according to Chutkan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

The order brings a halt to a process put in motion less than four months ago, when the Justice Department announced its intention to resume capital punishment at the federal level. In a statement issued in July, U.S. Attorney General William Barr maintained that “we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

The Justice Department did not immediately offer a public response to Wednesday’s decision.

Executions have been rare in recent decades, with only three inmates put to death by the U.S. government since the federal death penalty statute was effectively reinstated in 1988 — and none since 2003, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

At the state level, meanwhile, capital punishment is legal in 29 states — though controversy over the means with which it is carried out. Several botched executions in recent years have raised serious questions about the effectiveness of drugs used in lethal injections.

In a statement issued Wednesday after Chutkan’s decision, a lawyer for the four plaintiffs on federal death row celebrated the stay.

“This decision prevents the government from evading accountability and making an end-run around the courts by attempting to execute prisoners under a protocol that has never been authorized by Congress,” Shawn Nolan said.

“By granting the preliminary injunction, the court has made clear that no execution should go forward while there are still so many unanswered questions about the government’s newly announced execution method.”

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‘This is corruption’: Warren blasts Zuckerberg’s secret dinner with Trump

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Hong Kong standoff nearing end as more protesters surrender to police

The standoff between police and anti-government protesters inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University appeared to inch closer to an end Thursday as more than 20 demonstrators left their positions to surrender to authorities.

Ten of the protesters, the Associated Press reported, walked out together and were escorted to a police post outside the campus, while three were carried out on stretchers and four taken in wheelchairs. Five other students, believed to be minors, came out with their parents and were allowed to leave after police took their details.

Westlake Legal Group 672d4251-hong-kong-protests Hong Kong standoff nearing end as more protesters surrender to police Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f57793be-1748-51d4-92bc-852c2cd48c0f article

Protesters use clothes and helmets to form “SOS” at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Thursday. (AP)

It is unclear how many protesters are left behind. They are the holdouts from a much larger group that occupied the campus after battling police over the weekend with gasoline bombs and bows and arrows. Some 1,000 protesters have either surrendered or been stopped while trying to flee.

FORMER HONG KONG BRITISH CONSULATE WORKER SAYS HE WAS TORTURED, SHACKLED BY CHINESE DURING DETENTION

Hong Kong’s largest political party on Thursday slammed the flareup in violence over the past week, urging some 4.1 million voters to use the ballot box this Sunday to reject the “black force” that has thrown the semiautonomous Chinese territory into unprecedented turmoil since June.

“The black force say they want to fight for freedom but now people cannot even express their views freely. We have even been stripped of our right to go to school and work,” said Starry Lee, who heads the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Lee and some candidates kicked black footballs at a campaign event in a symbolic banishing of the black-clad protesters.

“If everyone comes out to vote, Hong Kong can be restored and violence can be stopped,” she said.

TRUMP, DESPITE CHINA THREATS, EXPECTED TO SIGN HONG KONG BILL AFTER IT CLEARS HOUSE, SENATE

The party is contesting 181 of the 452 district council seats, a low-level neighborhood election held every four years and dominated by the pro-establishment camp. For the first time, all the seats will be contested. Public anger against the government and police could give a victory to the pro-democracy bloc that would bolster the legitimacy of the protest movement.

Westlake Legal Group c6beedb6-hong-kong Hong Kong standoff nearing end as more protesters surrender to police Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f57793be-1748-51d4-92bc-852c2cd48c0f article

A protester on a stretcher leaves the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Thursday. (AP)

More than 5,000 people have been arrested since the protests started in June over a now-abandoned extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. The protests have since swelled into an anti-China movement as many fear a loss of freedoms guaranteed to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese control in 1997.

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A 12-year-old became the youngest protester to be convicted Thursday after pleading guilty to spraying graffiti outside a police station and subway exit last month, the South China Morning Post reported. A lawyer for the student reportedly said he was remorseful and acted on impulse. The court will sentence him on Dec. 19.

Pressure has ratcheted up on Hong Kong as the U.S. Congress approved legislation late Wednesday to sanction officials who carry out human rights abuses and require an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong. Another bill bans export of tear gas and other non-lethal tools to Hong Kong.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 672d4251-hong-kong-protests Hong Kong standoff nearing end as more protesters surrender to police Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f57793be-1748-51d4-92bc-852c2cd48c0f article   Westlake Legal Group 672d4251-hong-kong-protests Hong Kong standoff nearing end as more protesters surrender to police Greg Norman fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc f57793be-1748-51d4-92bc-852c2cd48c0f article

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Suspect in Connecticut bar owner’s death may have fled to Dominican Republic, police say

A man wanted for questioning following the “suspicious” death of his Connecticut bar owner girlfriend was on the run Thursday — and may have fled to the Dominican Republic.

Alfredo Esmerli Peguero-Gomez, whose car was found at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, is being sought in the death of Janet Avalo-Alvarez, with whom he co-owned a bar with in Waterbury, Conn.

The 26-year-old’s body was found earlier this week in nearby Wolcott. She was last seen at that establishment on Nov. 12.

“The family is going through a lot of pain and they don’t deserve [the] pain they are going through,” Grisella Guerrero, who identified herself as a family friend, said in an interview with WFSB.

NEW YORK DOG CHEWED OFF OWN LEG WHILE LIVING IN CRATE OUTSIDE, POLICE SAY

Westlake Legal Group Peguero-Gomez-Alvarez Suspect in Connecticut bar owner's death may have fled to Dominican Republic, police say Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/connecticut fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article aa3d2f6c-e393-5c6a-ae2d-4d3fcf6fdc7d

Alfredo Esmerli Peguero-Gomez, whose car was found at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey Friday, is being sought in the death of Janet Avalo-Alvarez. (Waterbury Police Department/Facebook)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC POLICE ARREST 8 FOLLOWING DEATH OF AMERICAN TEACHER

Police have called the death “suspicious” and told WFSB they believe Avalo-Alvarez died from neck compression. She was found strangled to death a few feet from the road, Fox 61 reported.

U.S. marshals are now helping in the search for Peguero-Gomez.

The day after Avalo-Alvarez vanished, police went to the home the couple shared in Waterbury and Peguero-Gomez said he didn’t know where she had gone.

Investigators say he left the home at 1 a.m. the following morning.

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Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo says Peguero-Gomez has family in the Dominican Republic, but it’s unclear if he flew there.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Peguero-Gomez-Alvarez Suspect in Connecticut bar owner's death may have fled to Dominican Republic, police say Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/connecticut fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article aa3d2f6c-e393-5c6a-ae2d-4d3fcf6fdc7d   Westlake Legal Group Peguero-Gomez-Alvarez Suspect in Connecticut bar owner's death may have fled to Dominican Republic, police say Greg Norman fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/connecticut fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article aa3d2f6c-e393-5c6a-ae2d-4d3fcf6fdc7d

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Gwen Stefani shows off new bob hairstyle with bangs

Westlake Legal Group gwen-stefani-the-voice-nbc Gwen Stefani shows off new bob hairstyle with bangs fox-news/person/gwen-stefani fox-news/entertainment/the-voice fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 1c2aad51-ecb7-5c2b-b4c4-b6055682930d

Gwen Stefani just shocked the world with her new hairdo.

The No Doubt vocalist, 50, is known for her fashion prowess and her iconic platinum blonde locks — but the singer took fans by surprise by sporting a new bob hairstyle and bangs on Monday night’s episode of “The Voice.”

Though fans were taken aback by the star’s new hairdo, it was later revealed that Stefani was rocking a wig for a one-night-only appearance.

BLAKE SHELTON SAYS GWEN STEFANI ROMANCE IS A ‘HEAD-SCRATCHER’

Sharing a photo of the hairdo on Instagram, the singer received a mixed reception from fans.

“YUCK! I really DON’T like it at all!” one user wrote.

“She is going to regret those heavy bangs in about 2 weeks,” another user wrote.

“Gwen & bangs don’t mix…” said another user.

BLAKE SHELTON’S ‘VOICE’ SPEECH MAKES GWEN STEFANI CRY

However, not all reaction was negative.

“This hairstyle makes you look young & fresh! Absolutely love it!!” said one user.

“This look with this hair looks good on you. You look much younger, although it never ceases to amaze me that you’re 50. It’s just a number,” another user commented.

Country star RaeLynn also chimed in, saying, “Love this look!!!!”

GWEN STEFANI SAYS BLAKE SHELTON RELATIONSHIP GOT HER OVER HER DIVORCE FROM GAVIN ROSSDALE

Stefani resumed rocking her usual platinum blonde locks following Monday’s episode.

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Known for her keen fashion sense, Stefani recently accepted the 2019 Fashion Icon award at the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles earlier this month.

“Wow, this is hard to digest. I just always, always loved fashion. It was just one of those very instinctual things, I think probably because of my mom. My mom, my grandma, my great-grandma (all) sewed clothes,” Stefani said in her acceptance speech.

Westlake Legal Group gwen-stefani-the-voice-nbc Gwen Stefani shows off new bob hairstyle with bangs fox-news/person/gwen-stefani fox-news/entertainment/the-voice fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 1c2aad51-ecb7-5c2b-b4c4-b6055682930d   Westlake Legal Group gwen-stefani-the-voice-nbc Gwen Stefani shows off new bob hairstyle with bangs fox-news/person/gwen-stefani fox-news/entertainment/the-voice fox-news/entertainment/style fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article Andy Sahadeo 1c2aad51-ecb7-5c2b-b4c4-b6055682930d

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