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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 310)

Today on Fox News, Nov. 21, 2019

STAY TUNED

On Fox News: 

Stay with Fox News for team coverage of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings all day Thursday, on all platforms.

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst.

Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Juan Williams, co-host of “The Five.”

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: Bombshells or “Presumptions? Gordon Sondland Testimony Divides DC – European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a key witness in the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump delivered explosive testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Sondland testified there was a “quid pro quo” regarding Ukraine, with the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani taking a leading role on the administration’s dealings with that nation. However, Republicans point to Sondland’s testimony that he “never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement” of investigations. Fox News Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt discusses key takeaways of Sondland’s testimony and if the President committed an impeachable offense.

Also on the Rundown: Recent developments surrounding the death of high-profile financier and sex offender  Jeffery Epstein appear to be fueling conspiracy theories. According to a recently filed indictment, the two guards that were supposed to watch Jeffrey Epstein’s cell on the night of his death “failed to complete mandated counts of prisoners.” FOX’s Bryan Llenas has been covering the story from the beginning and explains why these conspiracy theories won’t be going away anytime soon.

Plus, commentary by Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Nov. 21, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 8adc33b6-e079-5f71-85c5-9ccc3829c2e4   Westlake Legal Group fox-news-channel-logo Today on Fox News, Nov. 21, 2019 fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/media fnc article 8adc33b6-e079-5f71-85c5-9ccc3829c2e4

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Republicans Seek to Muddy Impeachment Evidence as Their Defense of Trump

Westlake Legal Group 20DC-REPUBS-facebookJumbo Republicans Seek to Muddy Impeachment Evidence as Their Defense of Trump United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sondland, Gordon D (1957- ) Schiff, Adam B Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Republican Party Nunes, Devin G impeachment House Committee on Intelligence Foreign Aid Ethics and Official Misconduct Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — Republicans mounted an array of defenses of President Trump at this week’s impeachment hearings — making arguments that at times seemed to conflict with one another logically, but that dovetailed in a key way: All served to undermine Democrats’ allegations that Mr. Trump abused his power.

In angry statements from the hearing dais, lines of questioning to witnesses and comments during breaks to reporters, Republicans sought to poke holes in the strength of evidence that Mr. Trump personally put a condition on the government committing official acts — namely, that Ukraine publicize investigations that could benefit him.

But at other times, Republicans suggested that Mr. Trump’s pursuit of those investigations was justified — reading into the record related facts and allegations about Ukrainian actions in 2016 and about the Ukrainian gas company Burisma and its decision to give Hunter Biden, the son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a lucrative board seat.

Republicans’ tactics seemed geared to play to different audiences — independent voters, hard-core Trump supporters and the president himself. The approach underscored a political asymmetry about the proceedings: The Democrats are trying to paint a coherent picture, while Republicans need only muddy it — and they have lots of ways to do so.

Indeed, at still other times, Republicans dismissed the entire impeachment inquiry as a witch hunt and tried to associate it with the fact that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, found insufficient evidence of any criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia’s 2016 election manipulation operation.

“You have to keep that history in mind as you consider the Democrats’ latest catalog of supposed Trump outrages,” the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Devin Nunes of California, said on Wednesday.

The Republicans sharpened their counterarguments and defenses as Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, delivered damaging testimony about what he witnessed as one of the Trump proxies orbiting Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, as they pushed Ukraine to announce the investigations.

Mr. Sondland said there was a clear quid pro quo that attached a condition — a public announcement of the investigations — to a potential official action by Mr. Trump, inviting President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to the White House. But Mr. Sondland said no one told him that Mr. Trump was also holding up a package of military aid to Ukraine for the same purpose, though he assumed that was the explanation.

In opening questioning to Mr. Sondland, Mr. Nunes seemed to make the case that Mr. Trump had good reason to seek investigations. He asked Mr. Sondland whether he was aware of a series of facts and various allegations about Hunter Biden and Burisma, and about Ukrainians who expressed support for Hillary Clinton or opposition to Mr. Trump.

“So knowing all these facts from high-ranking Ukrainian officials, ambassador, it probably makes a little more sense now as to why the president may think that there’s problems with Ukraine and that Ukraine was out to get him?” Mr. Nunes asked Mr. Sondland.

“I understand your — I understand your point, yes, Mr. Chairman,” Mr. Sondland replied.

But if the premise of Mr. Nunes’s line of questioning was that it was righteous to seek the investigations, a line of questioning that followed, by the Republicans’ top staff lawyer, Stephen R. Castor, pointed to a different conclusion: The important point was that there was no clear proof that Mr. Trump himself was behind the pressure.

Mr. Castor marched Mr. Sondland through a lengthy series of questions to emphasize the point that Mr. Trump never personally told him there was any quid pro quo — highlighting that Mr. Sondland had no clear proof that the president was personally orchestrating anything untoward.

“So the president never told you about any preconditions for aid to be released?” Mr. Castor asked.

“No,” Mr. Sondland replied.

“The president never told you about preconditions for a White House meeting?” Mr. Castor followed up.

“Personally, no,” Mr. Sondland said.

Mr. Sondland said his understanding that Mr. Trump was offering a White House meeting to Mr. Zelensky on the condition that he announce investigations was based on what Mr. Giuliani told him. Pressed on how he could know that, Mr. Sondland replied that Mr. Trump had directed him to talk to Mr. Giuliani about the matter.

Other Republican lawmakers including, Elise Stefanik of New York, repeated Mr. Castor’s line of questioning and its implication that no direct evidence of Mr. Trump’s motivations had emerged.

Left unsaid was that Mr. Trump was keeping other potential witnesses whom he spoke to about Ukraine from testifying — including Mr. Giuliani; his former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who was opposed to blocking the aid and met one on one with Mr. Trump about it in August; and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who relayed the order to block the aid to the bureaucracy.

Later in the hearing, Representative Adam B. Schiff, the California Democrat who leads the Intelligence Committee, pushed back against any suggestion that Mr. Trump’s proxies were carrying out a rogue Ukraine policy.

“I do not believe that the president would allow himself to be led by the nose by Rudy Giuliani or Ambassador Sondland or anybody else,” Mr. Schiff asserted. “I think the president was the one who decided whether a meeting would happen, whether aid would be lifted, not anyone who worked for him.”

Several Republicans pushed Mr. Sondland to reiterate his account of a conversation he had with Mr. Trump on Sept. 9. Mr. Sondland recounted that he directly asked Mr. Trump what he wanted from Ukraine, and the president, in a surly mood, responded that he wanted “nothing” from Mr. Zelensky, wanted no quid pro quo, and only wanted Mr. Zelensky to do “the right thing” that he had run for office on — apparently a reference to fighting corruption.

On Sept. 11, two days after that conversation, Mr. Trump finally released the aid to Ukraine. Because Mr. Zelensky had not announced any investigations, defenders of Mr. Trump have said that means there was no quid pro quo.

Critics have responded that Mr. Trump released the security assistance only after he learned that a whistle-blower was trying to tell Congress that the president was using his official powers to force Ukraine to do something for his own personal benefit, noting that someone who gets caught trying to commit a crime is still guilty even if the plot is discovered and thwarted.

But Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and a fierce defender of Mr. Trump, tried that argument again on Wednesday. He thunderously demanded that Mr. Sondland tell him when Mr. Zelensky made an announcement of investigations as part of the quid pro quo, leading Mr. Sondland to reply that it never happened.

“They didn’t have to do anything,” Mr. Jordan said in disgust. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

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Deval Patrick campaign event canceled at Atlanta college; only 2 people reportedly show up

Westlake Legal Group Deval-Patrick-AP Deval Patrick campaign event canceled at Atlanta college; only 2 people reportedly show up fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/politics/state-and-local/governors fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 20007e79-bcef-5159-a298-1681a562f720

A campaign event for former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who launched a late Democratic presidential bid last week, reportedly was canceled Wednesday evening when only two people showed up.

Patrick was scheduled to speak at Morehouse College in Atlanta, a historically black men’s college located not far from the site of Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. The event was organized by students from the New Deal Democrats.

DEVAL PATRICK ON HIS FELLOW DEMS: ‘I LOVE THAT WE ARE THE PARTY OF THE WOKE’

The student organization told ABC News it was given only given 24 hours’ notice about the event and the campaign said Patrick canceled because he was late from another event and had to catch a flight.

The campaign added that Patrick would reschedule his Morehouse visit, Haslett reported.

Patrick filed Nov. 14 to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot in February.

It’s not the first time Patrick has had trouble filling a room. New York Times reporter Jennifer Medina tweeted a photo of a nearly empty room at another event on Monday.

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Both Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg have spoken at the historically black college. Bernie Sanders is scheduled there Thursday.

Westlake Legal Group Deval-Patrick-AP Deval Patrick campaign event canceled at Atlanta college; only 2 people reportedly show up fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/politics/state-and-local/governors fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 20007e79-bcef-5159-a298-1681a562f720   Westlake Legal Group Deval-Patrick-AP Deval Patrick campaign event canceled at Atlanta college; only 2 people reportedly show up fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/massachusetts fox-news/politics/state-and-local/governors fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 20007e79-bcef-5159-a298-1681a562f720

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Why Money (Usually) Can’t Buy You A Successful Campaign

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-463152078_wide-361066c94f8f964dac316725204a7ff46c06f8b1-s1100-c15 Why Money (Usually) Can't Buy You A Successful Campaign

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is weighing a 2020 presidential run. He’d join two other wealthy, self-funding Democrats in the primary: John Delaney and Tom Steyer. Monica Schipper/Getty Images hide caption

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Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Why Money (Usually) Can't Buy You A Successful Campaign

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is weighing a 2020 presidential run. He’d join two other wealthy, self-funding Democrats in the primary: John Delaney and Tom Steyer.

Monica Schipper/Getty Images

It turns out running for president isn’t typically a good investment.

Only one major self-funding candidate — Donald Trump — has ever won the Oval Office. Still, some Democratic hopefuls are trying.

The primary already features two wealthy businessmen almost entirely self-funding their campaigns: Tom Steyer and John Delaney. Another billionaire, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is looking at jumping into the race. Nonetheless, history shows that whether running for the White House or another office, candidates bankrolling their own bids are rarely successful.

“Money is not going to cast a ballot on Election Day,” said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. “You still have to have people out there that are hearing the message your money is buying and making a connection to their own lives and to their own future.”

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President Trump’s success may have been unique given that it wasn’t his money that gave him a leg up, but rather his ubiquitous name and image. He ended up using a fraction of his own fortune to pull off the upset in 2016, and he doesn’t appear likely to dip into his own pockets at all for 2020.

“Really what drove his campaign was not the money he was spending, but rather the media coverage he was getting and his ability to generate an enormous amount of public attention,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert and professor at Colby College. “He entered the race as a major celebrity, and therefore he didn’t really need to spend money to become known to the electorate.”

Small-dollar donations have become one of the best barometers to measure growing enthusiasm for a candidate, starting perhaps with Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign into the present day. The Democratic National Committee instituted a minimum number of donors as a requirement to qualify for this year’s debates.

The biggest self-funder in the 2020 race, Steyer, has spent heavily to get the requisite donors and reach the polling benchmarks to make the debates. He has spent the most of his own money by far of any candidate running for president — even Trump. By the end of September, the billionaire environmentalist and philanthropist had put almost $48 million into his campaign, accounting for 96% of his fundraising.

But in Steyer’s first debate performance, last month, where a record-setting 12 candidates graced the stage, the candidate had little to show for it. Per an analysis by The Wall Street Journal, he ended up spending about $37,000 for each word he spoke — which was the least words of any candidate. In Wednesday’s debate, he was again near the bottom, or around $95,427 per second.

Delaney has spent more judiciously than Steyer but also has much less to show for it, despite being the first candidate to enter the race. The former Maryland congressman has given his campaign only around $400,000, which accounts for just under half of his total fundraising. But Delaney also hasn’t qualified for a debate since July and still barely registers in polls.

Then there’s the uncertainty of a possible Bloomberg run. He spent heavily in his successful mayoral bids — $102 million in his last reelection campaign, in 2009 — and is expected to spend heavily if he gets in now. However, given the late date, spending his own money may be the only way to be competitive. And he likely has better name ID than even Steyer, who will have been in two televised debates and will have run millions of dollars in ads by the time Bloomberg decides.

And in this campaign, the idea of multimillionaires or billionaires in the Democratic primary seems especially incongruous with where the party is moving, as two of its leading candidates — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — consistently attack the wealth concentrated in the country’s upper echelons.

The idea of wealthy candidates is one that Republicans are far more comfortable and successful with. In recent cycles, GOP hopefuls have usually outpaced Democrats who are funding their own campaigns, though in last year’s midterms the numbers did reach near parity.

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The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll bears out how uncomfortable Democrats are with a wealthy self-funding candidate possibly leading their ticket. When asked what type of candidate they’d be most excited about as a presidential candidate, a majority of Republicans said a business executive. Among Democrats, that choice was near the bottom.

Texas billionaire Ross Perot was probably the most consequential self-funder up until Trump. He ran as an independent in 1992 and ended up taking about 19% of the vote, and many Republicans blamed him for President George H.W. Bush’s loss to Democrat Bill Clinton.

But as Walter Shapiro, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a reporter for The New Republic, pointed out in a column this year, Perot was at least successful in pushing the importance of a balanced budget amendment despite his loss. Likewise, even though $45 million of Mitt Romney’s own money didn’t help him win the Republican nomination in 2008, it helped him build a foundation that he used to claim the Republican ticket four years later.

Ultimately, failure is far more common than success among self-funding candidates for any office. Among candidates who bankrolled at least half of their own House or Senate campaigns in 2016, only about a quarter ended up winning. In 2018, that success rate plummeted to just 18%.

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MSNBC contributor warns about liberal candidates, says ‘sociopath’ beats a ‘socialist’

Republican strategist and MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt Wednesday evening warned that Democratic presidential candidates that lean to the extreme left may not be able to beat President Trump in 2020.

“I do think there is a danger when you look at some of the ideology that we’ve seen front and center in this field,” Schmidt said during the network’s coverage before the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta. “In America, a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week and twice on Sunday.”

BUTTIGIEG FENDS OFF ATTACKS, TAKES ON FAR-LEFT FLANK AT DEBATE; BIDEN STUMBLES WITH HARRIS GAFFE

Westlake Legal Group schmidt MSNBC contributor warns about liberal candidates, says ‘sociopath’ beats a ‘socialist’ fox-news/politics fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 39460164-ab59-5de0-b49e-072f92e5b37b

MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt (MSNBC)

He said to win the presidency a nominee would need to “assemble the broadest, widest possible political coalition” with Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Schmidt added that impeachment followed by acquittal in the Senate was likely, meaning voters would decide Trump’s fate.

“Nobody should underestimate Donald Trump’s ability to frame an argument, to demagogue an opponent,” he said.

He said if Trump is re-elected in 2020 he would be a “completely lawless and unchecked president who would know that he would be able to survive basically any level of wrongdoing.”

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Schmidt added that he thinks 2020 will be one of the most “consequential” elections in decades, Mediaite reported.

Westlake Legal Group schmidt MSNBC contributor warns about liberal candidates, says ‘sociopath’ beats a ‘socialist’ fox-news/politics fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 39460164-ab59-5de0-b49e-072f92e5b37b   Westlake Legal Group schmidt MSNBC contributor warns about liberal candidates, says ‘sociopath’ beats a ‘socialist’ fox-news/politics fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 39460164-ab59-5de0-b49e-072f92e5b37b

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Leslie Marshall: To defeat Trump, Democrats should listen to Obama

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6105591396001_6105589032001-vs Leslie Marshall: To defeat Trump, Democrats should listen to Obama Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 92dc7926-c0cc-5f60-b752-180266295c4f

Candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination would be wise to listen to former President Barack Obama, who recently warned Democrats not to “lean too far left.”

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” Obama said. He said Americans “like seeing things improved. But the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that.”

It seems clear that President Obama was directing his comments at the two farthest-left major Democratic presidential candidates – Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont – as well as the four freshmen congresswomen collectively known as “the Squad.”

OBAMA TAKES VEILED SHOT AT WARREN AND SANDERS, WARNS 2020 DEMS AMERICANS DON’T WANT TO ‘TEAR DOWN THE SYSTEM’

Obama is right. We had an American Revolution in 1776 that changed history for the better and gave birth to our great nation. But many Americans are alarmed by talk of a second revolution that will move America so far left that millions of people will feel left out.

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Americans want sound solutions – not simply solutions that sound good – that will make major improvements to our country. But they want the equivalent of a home remodeling for our nation’s government – not a demolition that will blow up what works as well as what needs replacing.

You can be sure that President Trump will work to demonize whoever the Democrats nominate to run against him next year. Trump will call his opponent a wild-eyed socialist who will raise taxes sky-high on everyone, impose crazy new regulations, destroy our economy and take away our freedoms. Democrats need to nominate someone who can show such Trump claims are nonsense, and can appeal to centrist voters as well as those on the far left.

The polls back up Obama’s advice for Democrats to avoid extremism.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg is surging in the polls in the nomination race because he is seen as progressive but not radical by many voters. The 37-year-old military veteran is seen as the future of the Democratic Party by many – and if he doesn’t get the nomination next year has plenty of time to compete in the years ahead.

Buttigieg has taken sizeable leads over the other top-tier candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden, Warren and Sanders – in some polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first two nominating contests will be held in February. A lot can change between now the first votes, but Mayor Pete is clearly a strong contender.

Like Biden and many of the second-tier candidates, Buttigieg is taking the path recommended by Obama – seeking evolution rather than revolution.

While the revolutionary faction of the Democratic Party wants “Medicare-for-all,” Buttigieg favors Medicare “for all who want it.” Under this plan, people who want to keep their employer-provided health insurance can do so. But an affordable, comprehensive public alternative for health insurance would be available for all who want it.

When it comes to guns, Mayor Pete supports a voluntary gun buyback program that voters have voiced strong support for. He rejects mandatory confiscation of assault weapons, like the plan proposed by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas. That idea was so unpopular it may have contributed to O’Rourke’s decision to end his presidential candidacy not long after he proposed it.

On the issue of immigration, Buttigieg again sides with the majority of voters. He wants citizenship for Dreamers – immigrants brought to the U.S. without legal authorization as children. About 77 percent of voters favor this sensible plan

At the same time, Buttigieg wants to enforce our immigration laws, but with less severe penalties and without separating immigrant children from their parents. And the mayor rejects calls from some Democrats to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. He understands our immigration problems are being caused by the wrong policies, not by the people who enforce those policies.

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Like Biden and some candidates in the back of the pack of Democratic contenders, Buttigieg wants to fix what’s broken in our country and unite us around our common goals and aspirations – the exact opposite of what President Trump has tried to do by fanning the flames of division and spewing hateful rhetoric in his speeches and tweets.

Not too long ago, “experts” thought a black presidential candidate couldn’t be elected until the far future. Barack Obama waged a brilliant presidential campaign and proved them wrong, and then won reelection against all odds. So he has the best credentials of anyone to know what Democrats need to do to send Trump into a well-deserved political retirement.

There are no silver medals for the second-place finishers in presidential elections. The losing candidate can write a book about what might have been, but can’t accomplish anything for the American people. All his or her brilliant plans will amount to nothing.

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Democrats need to focus on the need to defeat President Trump as their top priority. To do this they have to nominate a pragmatic candidate who can appeal to moderate Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans turned off by Trump’s conduct in office.

Democratic candidates need to remember that Obama got to the White House by calling for change – not revolution.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY LESLIE MARSHALL

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6105591396001_6105589032001-vs Leslie Marshall: To defeat Trump, Democrats should listen to Obama Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 92dc7926-c0cc-5f60-b752-180266295c4f   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6105591396001_6105589032001-vs Leslie Marshall: To defeat Trump, Democrats should listen to Obama Leslie Marshall fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/pete-buttigieg fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/person/barack-obama fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 92dc7926-c0cc-5f60-b752-180266295c4f

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Trump hosted secret White House dinner with Zuckerberg

Westlake Legal Group mark-zucerkberg-election-security Trump hosted secret White House dinner with Zuckerberg New York Post fox-news/politics fox-news/person/mark-zuckerberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fnc/politics fnc article a71a6da9-0a3a-5bb8-affb-86f0383bd0e5

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended a secret dinner at the White House last month with President Trump and tech investor Peter Thiel, the social media company confirmed on Wednesday night.

The previously undisclosed meeting in October between the social media mogul and the president was first reported by NBC News, who cited a statement from the company.

“As is normal for a CEO of a major U.S. company, Mark accepted an invitation to have dinner with the President and First Lady at the White House,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

FACEBOOK’S MARK ZUCKERBERG USED USERS’ DATA AS A BARGAINING CHIP TO CONSOLIDATE COMPANY’S POWER, LEAKED DOCUMENTS REPORTEDLY REVEAL

It’s not clear why Trump entertained Zuckerberg and Thiel, who was a major donor to the president’s 2016 campaign and one of the most outspoken conservatives in Silicon Vally.

Zuckerberg previously met with Trump in the Oval Office in September, which Facebook later described as a “constructive” meeting.

“He also had a good, constructive meeting with President Trump at the White House today,” the spokesperson said after the Sept. 19 meeting.

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Trump tweeted about the Sept. meeting and included an image from the Oval Office: “Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @Facebook in the Oval Office today.”.

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Westlake Legal Group mark-zucerkberg-election-security Trump hosted secret White House dinner with Zuckerberg New York Post fox-news/politics fox-news/person/mark-zuckerberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fnc/politics fnc article a71a6da9-0a3a-5bb8-affb-86f0383bd0e5   Westlake Legal Group mark-zucerkberg-election-security Trump hosted secret White House dinner with Zuckerberg New York Post fox-news/politics fox-news/person/mark-zuckerberg fox-news/person/donald-trump fnc/politics fnc article a71a6da9-0a3a-5bb8-affb-86f0383bd0e5

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Ann Coulter event at UC Berkeley draws masked protesters; multiple arrests reported

An appearance by conservative writer Ann Coulter at the University of California at Berkeley drew a crowd of protesters Wednesday night, in the latest episode of “cancel culture” on the nation’s college campuses.

“Multiple” mask-wearing protesters were arrested, campus police confirmed on Twitter.

Covering faces is a violation of campus protest policy, the Bay Area’s FOX 2 reported. The station said as many as seven people were arrested.

Video posted online showed Coulter being quickly escorted past protesters into the building where the event, titled, “Adios, America,” was held. It was hosted by the Berkeley campus’ College Republicans.

ART LAFFER SHOUTED OUT OF CAMPUS LECTURE BY PROTESTERS: THEY ‘CLEARLY DON’T WANT FREE SPEECH’

Coulter started speaking about 15 minutes late because attendees had trouble getting through a “human chain” of protesters who tried to block ticketholders from getting inside the building.

“They can protest all they want and shout their slogans – free speech – I’m cool with that, but I am not cool with having somebody block our way getting in,” said Derrick Main, a Marin County Republican Central Committee member. He told FOX 2 he paid $45 for his ticket.

“They can protest all they want and shout their slogans … but I am not cool with having somebody block our way getting in.”

— Derrick Main, speech attendee

Conservative writer Andy Ngo posted video that appeared to show a woman having her ticket stolen.

Some of the protesters said they were there to promote left-wing causes.

“We’re here to show our support for DACA and also to protest white supremacy,” Hamid Hakimi, a student protester, told Berkeleyside.

JEFF SESSIONS ESCORTED FROM NORTHWESTERN U. UNDER HEAVY SECURITY AMID ‘CANCEL CULTURE’ PROTEST

Some protesters said they wanted to see the event shut down, but others agreed Coulter had a right to speak.

“I think it’s important that we hear people like her speak to know that this is real,” a student named Aurora told FOX 2.

Westlake Legal Group 3fac7ff4-GettyImages-675510342 Ann Coulter event at UC Berkeley draws masked protesters; multiple arrests reported fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/first-amendment fox-news/us/education/college fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 6220958b-9be0-5009-9d67-856ab16f12a9

Ann Coulter appears on “The View” in 2017. (Getty Images) 

“What we’re doing by protesting is showing that her specific speech is not welcome here,” student Gianluca Pedrani told the station.

“What we’re doing by protesting is showing that her specific speech is not welcome here.”

— Gianluca Pedrani, student

There were two protesters inside the event, but only one was removed because the other agreed to be silent, FOX 2 reported.

The Berkeley campus is frequently the center for free speech debates. in September 2017 a scheduled four-day event dubbed Free Speech Week was canceled over safety concerns. Protesters had sought to silence a featured speaker, provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Earlier that year, Coulter canceled an event on the campus, also over safety concerns. She called the situation “a dark day for free speech in America.”

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“¡Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole,” is a book written by Coulter in 2015.

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Sondland declares quid pro quo, pundits call testimony damaging to Trump

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106776898001_6106779665001-vs Sondland declares quid pro quo, pundits call testimony damaging to Trump Howard Kurtz fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/media fnc article 340c438a-a44f-5074-b191-45d9446dd94e

The Donald Trump mega-donor who was awarded with an ambassadorship stepped into the impeachment spotlight Wednesday and said the president basically did what Democrats are accusing him of doing.

Gordon Sondland, who had already changed his testimony once, delivered a torrent of words, but none more important than these: “Was there a quid pro quo?…The answer is yes.”

What’s more, the ambassador who was once cast as a pro-Trump witness provided a road map to the Ukraine mess, made clear many top officials were involved, and said it was done at the “express direction” of the president. “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.”

HOUSE HEARING A DULL REHASH TILL TRUMP DIPLOMAT CHANGES STORY

It was undoubtedly the most important day of the House impeachment hearings, as no one could say that Sondland had no firsthand knowledge. He was in the thick of it.

Sondland was no John Dean, warning of a cancer on the presidency, as he described himself as a reluctant participant in a scheme whose gravity only gradually dawned on him. He was doing the best he could in a difficult situation to shake loose the military aid to Ukraine.

He was the missing puzzle piece, a Seattle hotel owner who found himself at the center of a national melodrama. He didn’t quite flip as a witness, but he certainly did a pirouette.

Sondland confirmed that the president told him Ukraine “tried to take him down” in 2016. He said he and his colleagues “weren’t happy” when Trump said they had to work with Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine.

He said Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney and Rick Perry were kept briefed, citing an email that they were copied on six days before Trump had the famous call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. In that message, Sondland explained that he “just talked to Zelensky” and got him to commit to the “fully transparent investigation” that Trump wanted.

In case there was any ambiguity, Sondland said they all understood what Trump wanted in exchange for the call and a possible meeting with Ukraine’s president. “Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma.” The latter is the Ukrainian company that gave Hunter Biden a lucrative job.

Sondland did say Trump never directly told him a Zelensky meeting was conditioned on a Ukrainian announcement of investigations, but that Rudy did—and for the ambassador, it was “two plus two equals four.”

Trump, for his part, seized on one part of Sondland’s testimony to say “it is all over.”

The president challenged the “fake news” to report that he told the ambassador late in the game that “I want nothing, want no quid pro quo, tell Zelensky to do the right thing.”

The pundits, on CNN, Fox and MSNBC, said Sondland’s account was damaging to Trump and his top aides. Even Ken Starr on Fox said “it doesn’t look good for the president, substantively,” although Trump “may have covered himself” by not giving explicit instructions. But it may not be true, as MSNBC co-anchor and Trump-basher Nicolle Wallace put it, that “Gordon Sondland’s testimony today changed everything.”

In a normal political environment, Sondland’s testimony would be considered a bombshell. But the country is utterly polarized between those who believe Trump is the victim of a partisan witch hunt and those who believe he extorted a foreign country to go after a political rival. Once again, I think few minds will be changed by these hearings, which dragged on for nearly 12 hours Tuesday. And as with other witnesses, Sondland’s turnaround was blunted by the fact that much of what he had to say had already been leaked or released to the press.

Whether the president’s dealings with Ukraine rise to the level of an impeachable offense, or removal from office, is a whole different question. But Sondland’s emerging account clearly made it harder for Republicans to argue that there’s nothing to see here.

Ranking Republican Devin Nunes ignored the testimony and changed the subject, bringing up allegations that Democrats obtained dirt on the 2016 Trump campaign. But Sondland, who wasn’t in government then, said he knew nothing about it.

GOP counsel Steve Castor grabbed the one lifeline Sondland had left him: “Did the president ever tell you personally about any preconditions for anything?”

The witness said no, but when “the president says talk to my personal attorney,” and Giuliani made demands, he and others assumed it was on Trump’s behalf.

Sondland, who says he never takes notes, got peppered with questions about not having records to back up his recollection.

Jim Jordan later yelled at Sondland because in the end the quid pro quo didn’t come off and demanded to know why he didn’t put the “no quid pro quo” Trump assertion in his opening statement. (Sondland said he’d already included it in previous testimony.)

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Another Republican, Mike Turner, bellowed that Sondland had delivered “made-up testimony” because Trump never explicitly told him there was a scheme involving a quid pro quo.

Adam Schiff countered that Republicans seem to be saying there’s no evidence unless the president explicitly confessed to Sondland. Keep in mind that Mulvaney had also told reporters (part of the presser was played at the hearing) there was a quid pro quo and “get over it”–before trying to walk it back.

The high-decibel rebuttals from the GOP could not drown out the fact that Gordon Sondland’s appearance was, to put it mildly, not helpful to the president.

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Free Internet Is Proposed in Britain. Is It Even Possible?

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LONDON — In an election where Britain’s looming exit from the European Union has hung over the campaign, a debate about internet speeds would seem unlikely to enter the race.

But Britain’s Labour Party injected the topic into the contest last week with a surprise plan to provide high-speed fiber internet service to every household and business in the country by 2030. Free.

The proposal raised questions about how a free broadband service would work, and who would pay for it.

The party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the government would take over parts of the country’s largest internet provider, Openreach, a subsidiary of the telecommunications giant BT. The plan would reverse decades of privatization and put the government in charge of an enormous national infrastructure project.

Labour said the plan would cost roughly 20 billion pounds, or about $26 billion, and be paid for as part of a new government spending package. A tax on Facebook, Google and other tech giants would be used to maintain the network. Labour said it would save customers an average of about £30 a month on internet service, or about $39.

The idea amounts to an attempt at creating a new British social service akin to the National Health Service, which provides free medical care to all British residents.

No other country provides free government-run broadband service, said Matthew Howett, the founder and principal analyst at Assembly Research, a firm that studies telecommunications.

To catch up to other countries that have rolled out fiber more quickly, Britain would negotiate the purchase of Openreach, which has more than 32,000 employees and revenue of more than £5 billion, or about $6.5 billion.

The government would take over construction of a project that the telecommunications industry says will cost nearly £35 billion, or about $45 billion — making it one of the country’s largest infrastructure efforts.

The prospects of several other companies that compete with Openreach and have pledged billions in investment for their own initiatives would be thrown into doubt after the debut of a free government-run service.

“They all would disappear,” Mr. Howett said. “There is no way consumers are going to be paying them if they can get it for free from the government.”

The only comparable project is in Australia, where the National Broadband Network has tried to wire the country with fiber internet over the last decade. That project has been roundly criticized for delays, running over budget and not delivering the quality of service that was promised.

Governments elsewhere have taken different approaches. In South Korea and Japan, where more than 95 percent of the households and businesses have fiber broadband, the government played a crucial role, including helping companies secure loans to pay for the costs.

In Latvia and Portugal, other countries with high internet coverage, government grants have helped businesses pay for the buildup. In the United States, a fee on cellphone bills is used to pay for subsidies to businesses to expand broadband in rural areas, though it does not require fiber networks to be built.

“Lagging in fast internet is clearly a problem when the future of the global economy will depend much more on connectivity,” said Kevin Allison, who studies government tech policy with the Eurasia Group in Berlin.

Britain has wide coverage for what was once the fastest internet technology, known as superfast. But it now lags far behind other leading economies in the next-generation networks. The new technology, based on fiber rather than copper cables, delivers information faster and more reliably than the aging systems. A high-definition movie can be downloaded in less than a minute.

“Superfast is good enough for today,” Mr. Howett said. “But it’s not going to be good enough for the world we’re entering in the 2020s and 2030s.”

Only 8 to 10 percent of households and businesses in Britain are connected to full-fiber broadband, trailing the 26 percent average of the 36 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Matthew Evans, a director at techUK, an industry trade group, said Britain’s construction of fiber networks had been accelerating, with companies committing billions to digging up roads and laying new equipment.

But he warned of the political risks of a government takeover. People like free services, he said, but politicians do not like to be blamed for people’s internet problems. “It becomes an absolute political football,” he said.

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