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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 317)

Tesla’s Winding Road to Berlin

GRÜNHEIDE, Germany — The visitors from Palo Alto, Calif., were shown how Berlin, a hive of tech start-ups that likens itself to Silicon Valley, is just a short commute away.

They were promised building permits in four weeks rather than the customary 11 months.

And they were taken aloft in a 44-year-old Russian biplane for a leisurely tour of the site.

And it worked. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, decided to build the carmaker’s first major European factory in Grünheide, a village just outside Berlin and surrounded by undeveloped tracts.

Mr. Musk made the announcement during seemingly impromptu remarks at an automotive awards ceremony in Berlin last week.

But the decision was months in the making, involving an elaborate courtship by local officials eager to attract not only the jobs that Tesla would bring — an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 within two years and eventually as many as 7,000 — but also the prestige. Somehow, the officials managed to keep the negotiations secret until Mr. Musk sprang the news.

A lot of things could still go wrong. Tesla, which has opposed unionization at its plant in Fremont, Calif., may chafe at German labor laws that give workers a say in management and limit overtime. Environmental groups may object to manufacturing on land near a nature preserve. The notoriously unpredictable Mr. Musk could change his mind.

Still, the decision was hugely significant for Germany, where cars are the biggest export and the backbone of the economy.

The news has temporarily quieted rising alarm that the German auto industry faces serious disruption from a transition to battery-powered cars like those made by Tesla.

A recent government study concluded that the switch to electric vehicles could cost Germany 114,000 jobs by 2035 and shave 0.6 percent from its gross domestic product. That is because electric cars have fewer moving parts and are simpler to make.

Grünheide’s mayor, Arne Christiani, pointing out the factory site on a land-use plan in his office.Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times A vehicle charging station in Grünheide. Tesla’s Model 3 is the best-selling battery-powered car in Europe.Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

In addition, battery cells are made almost exclusively outside Germany and must be imported. German suppliers of parts for internal combustion engines, like pistons, ignition systems or emissions control equipment, face declines in sales.

Tesla’s assembly plant would offset some of the job losses, and the company also plans to build batteries in Germany.

Based in Palo Alto, Tesla has already been taking market share from the German manufacturers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars. The Tesla Model 3 has become best-selling battery-powered car in Europe, a segment that is small but growing fast.

With Tesla near Berlin, the established German carmakers “will have a better view of what Tesla is doing,” said Felipe Munoz, a senior analyst at the market research firm JATO Dynamics. “They will need to accelerate their electrification plans.”

Tesla did not respond this week to requests for comment, but Mr. Musk indicated that one attraction of Germany was its automaking tradition and deep pool of engineering expertise. That could be a reason he did not choose a country like Poland or the Czech Republic, where labor costs are much lower.

Tesla is ahead of the German carmakers in designing electric cars that people want to buy, but Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen can teach it a lot about how to churn out cars by the millions. While Tesla has had well-documented problems scaling up its manufacturing, Volkswagen has just begun mass producing an electric hatchback in Zwickau that will undercut the Model 3 on price.

“Some of the best cars in the world are made in Germany,” Mr. Musk said while appearing at an industry event in Berlin last week alongside Herbert Diess, the chief executive of Volkswagen. “Everyone knows that German engineering is outstanding, for sure.”

The state of Brandenburg, which includes Grünheide and was once part of East Germany, was a long shot to win the Tesla plant. The center of gravity of the German auto industry is in the southern states of Bavaria, home of BMW, and Baden-Württemberg, home of Daimler. Brandenburg, on the other hand, is known by some as the home of Berlin’s new airport, whose construction has been plagued by technical problems and cost overruns and is seven years behind schedule.

The local effort to persuade Tesla officials was led by Jörg Steinbach, the economics minister of Brandenburg and a member of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party. He set out to prove that the sometimes ponderous state bureaucracy could move at Silicon Valley speed, and he was the one who promised the expedited permits.

Mr. Steinbach also chartered the Antonov biplane to sell executives on the virtues of the proposed factory site. (The plane seats up to 12 people, and Antonovs are maneuverable enough to be used as crop dusters.) It helped that the site had already been approved for a factory that BMW decided to build in Leipzig instead.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164684256_103d9292-cc4b-4a4d-8229-b1f7588b7e7c-articleLarge Tesla’s Winding Road to Berlin Tesla Motors Inc Musk, Elon Factories and Manufacturing Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Berlin (Germany) Automobiles

Mr. Christiani, on the Tesla site, said local officials hoped the factory would lure working-age people back from the cities.Credit…Andreas Meichsner for The New York Times

Arne Christiani, the mayor of Grünheide, said officials had strained to be helpful because they hoped the factory would lure back working-age people who had left for the cities. He joked that Teslas could be rolling off the assembly line sooner than planes begin taking off from Berlin’s much-delayed new airport.

“We’ve been making bets on what happens first,” he said.

There was a tense moment when, during a conference call between German officials and Tesla executives, it emerged that Mr. Musk was under the impression that the site was in Berlin proper.

“I told him, ‘Well, not quite,’” Mr. Steinbach recalled. “‘It’s actually in Brandenburg.’”

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, Berlin has spawned a thriving arts and start-up scene. It was obviously important to Mr. Musk to be there, Mr. Steinbach said, noting that the plant would be called Gigafactory Berlin in the Greater Berlin Region.

On Nov. 12, Mr. Musk met with the team from Brandenburg in the Hotel Adlon, which once stood in the shadow of the Berlin Wall and is freighted with history. Tesla and the local officials signed a one-and-a-half page letter of intent. Hours later, Mr. Musk delivered the news while receiving a Golden Steering Wheel award from the Bild newspaper.

“I actually have an announcement, which I think will be hopefully well received,” Mr. Musk said from the stage. “We’ve decided to put the Tesla Gigafactory Europe in the Berlin area.” The audience gasped and applauded.

Questions remain, particularly about how Tesla’s high-intensity, 24/7 work ethic will adapt to Germany, where factory managers are expected to consult with employee representatives before making major decisions.

“The labor laws are distinctly different here,” said Olivier Höbel, head of the IG Metall union in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony, which represents autoworkers.

But he added, “We are very happy about the decision.” The union will work with Tesla, he said, “to create the perfect climate that the project becomes a full success.”

Christopher F. Schuetze reported from Grünheide, and Jack Ewing from Frankfurt.

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Trump fires back at ‘corrupt’ Schiff, ‘phony’ mainstream media during fiery remarks on impeachment

Westlake Legal Group ENC2_132187607670650000-1 Trump fires back at 'corrupt' Schiff, 'phony' mainstream media during fiery remarks on impeachment fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 569e66d8-5590-5187-9e0a-6685bedcc426

President Trump slammed Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as “shifty” and a “corrupt politician” Thursday in response to the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry hearings on Capitol Hill.

The president was touring an Apple plant in Austin, Texas with company CEO Tim Cook and others when he was asked about the hearings back in Washington. He responded by attacking the media and House Democratic leadership, reminding reporters of a parody account of the president’s call with Ukraine’s leader that Schiff shared before Congress in September.

“Nancy Pelosi has done a terrible job as Speaker [of the House]. There’s never been a speaker that’s done so little, and she’s totally incompetent,” Trump said. “And shifty Schiff, he stands up and he tells lies all day long … We have no due process.”

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: LIVE UPDATES FROM DAY FOUR

Trump also called out what he said were incorrect and conflicting reports of his discussion with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — Schiff’s first witness of the day Wednesday — about the Ukraine matter.

“He [Sondland] asked me what should he do — I said ‘I want nothing’ — and then I repeated — ‘I want nothing. I want no quid-pro-quo. Tell the president [of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky] to do the right thing,’ and then he finished off, he said, ‘this is the final word from the president of the United States’,” Trump told the assembled media before taking aim at their coverage.

More from Media

The president claimed there has been some “fair” coverage of the inquiry before going on to claim, “Not only did we win today, it’s over.”

“Some of the fair press, of which there isn’t too much, said ‘this thing is over,” Trump continued.

“We have a phony press — they’re dishonest. Most of them — we have some fine people, fine journalists and reporters,” he later said, calling several outlets, including ABC News, CNN and the Washington Post “fake papers [and] fake press” that “hurt our country.”

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When asked about the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower, Trump claimed the individual is a “political operative” and that their account of the July 25 call with Zelensky largely became moot after he released the transcript of the conversation.

“The whistleblower’s not a whistleblower, he’s a fake.”

Questioned about any potential Biden family connection to the situation, the president responded by slamming Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president, criticizing his 2013 discharge from the U.S. Navy.

“When you talk about corruption … All of a sudden he’s getting millions and millions of dollars from Ukraine, from China … This guy made nothing. He got thrown out of the Navy, he couldn’t get a job, and then his father becomes vice president and the press doesn’t want to report it because the press is dishonest,” Trump said.

Westlake Legal Group ENC2_132187607670650000-1 Trump fires back at 'corrupt' Schiff, 'phony' mainstream media during fiery remarks on impeachment fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 569e66d8-5590-5187-9e0a-6685bedcc426   Westlake Legal Group ENC2_132187607670650000-1 Trump fires back at 'corrupt' Schiff, 'phony' mainstream media during fiery remarks on impeachment fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/tech/companies/apple fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/regulation/business fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 569e66d8-5590-5187-9e0a-6685bedcc426

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G.M. Sues Rival Over Bribery Scheme as Union Scandal Expands

General Motors on Wednesday accused its rival Fiat Chrysler of bribing United Auto Workers officials to gain competitive advantages in contract negotiations.

Hours after G.M. leveled that accusation, in a federal lawsuit, the union’s president was reported to have resigned as the U.A.W. took steps to oust him.

The day’s events stem from long-running Justice Department investigations into financial wrongdoing at the union that has now embroiled two of the world’s largest automakers in one of the most acrimonious legal battles in industry history.

Federal prosecutors have already secured guilty pleas from three former Fiat Chrysler executives and several U.A.W. officers. Those cases have revealed a cozy back-scratching culture in which corporate and union leaders siphoned off millions of dollars — some of which was dedicated for a training center — to pay for Rolex watches and lavish personal travel and meals.

In its lawsuit, G.M. asserts that the corruption went far beyond garden-variety embezzlement and personal enrichment. The company argues that the illegal activity was authorized by Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive at the time, Sergio Marchionne, and helped Fiat Chrysler win union acceptance of cost concessions that were denied to G.M. in labor contracts in 2011 and 2015. The suit also contends that executives used bribes to secure union support for Fiat Chrysler’s highly public effort to pressure G.M. into a merger in 2015.

The suit is hardly the first epic legal battle in the auto industry, or even the first one between G.M. and Fiat. In the 1990s, G.M. tangled with Volkswagen after that company hired a key G.M. executive, who took confidential cost-cutting data with him. In 2003, Fiat and G.M. were partners and Fiat had the right to force G.M. to acquire Fiat. After a bitter legal battle, Mr. Marchionne, who died in 2018, forced G.M. to pay $2 billion to end the partnership.

Mr. Marchionne later engineered Fiat’s merger with Chrysler and in 2015 publicly announced he wanted Fiat Chrysler to merge with G.M., an offer G.M. rebuffed.

G.M. said on Wednesday that it would seek billions of dollars in damages, without giving a specific amount. The suit names Fiat Chrysler and the three convicted former executives as defendants, but no current Fiat executives.

“F.C.A. was able to obtain unique advantages, different and distinct, and in fact denied to G.M.,” said Craig Glidden, G.M.’s general counsel, said during a conference call with reporters.

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it was “astonished” by the lawsuit. “We can only assume this was intended to disrupt our proposed merger with PSA as well as our negotiations with the U.A.W.,” the company said, referring to its deal with the maker of Peugeot and Citroën cars. “We intend to vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit and pursue all legal remedies in response to it.”

G.M. v. Fiat Chrysler

Here’s the lawsuit G.M. filed in federal court.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail G.M. Sues Rival Over Bribery Scheme as Union Scandal Expands United Automobile Workers Suits and Litigation (Civil) Racketeering and Racketeers Organized Labor General Motors Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Automobiles   95 pages, 1.25 MB

G.M.’s suit asserts that the effort to manipulate union talks was carried out by Fiat Chrysler’s former head of labor relations, Alphons Iacobelli, who pleaded guilty and is now serving a five-and-a-half year sentence in prison.

Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the auto industry, said the lawsuit was a serious matter for Fiat Chrysler. “This is not just G.M. trying to throw a log into the works of a competitor,” he said.

Professor Gordon added that it might not be easy for G.M. to prove its allegations in court. “They have to show G.M. got a different deal with the union because of the illegal payments that were going on with Fiat Chrysler,” he said. “It could be tough to get a jury to connect those dots.”

Barring a settlement, the lawsuit could take years to resolve and could reveal details about the inner workings of both companies.

G.M. did not sue the union, which recently reached a new agreement with G.M. after a 40-day strike and is in the middle of negotiating a new contract with Fiat Chrysler.

In the suit, G.M. claimed Fiat Chrysler gained competitive advantages through the union’s agreement to support its long-term business plan and a major overhaul of its manufacturing system. The lawsuit also says that the union agreements allowed Fiat Chrysler to hire more temporary workers at entry-level wages than G.M.

G.M. said it was seeking billions of dollars in damages but did not specify an amount. The company said it would reinvest the money into its operations in the United States.

The autoworkers union said in a statement that it was “confident” that the terms of its contracts with Fiat Chrysler were not affected by “Iacobelli’s misconduct nor that of any U.A.W. officials involved in the misuse of Joint Program funds at F.C.A.”

Just a few hours after that statement, the union issued a second statement saying that its board was seeking to remove its president, Gary Jones, and another official, Vance Pearson, for the “submission of false, misleading and inaccurate expense records.” After that, a lawyer for Mr. Jones told The Detroit News that he was resigning.

Mr. Jones went on a leave of absence this month after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home in August.

Shares of G.M. fell about 3 percent on Wednesday, and Fiat Chrysler stock ended 3.7 percent lower.

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Ken Starr says he’s ‘stunned’ by Sondland omission of Trump claim he wanted no ‘quid pro quo’

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-20-at-4.38.29-PM Ken Starr says he's 'stunned' by Sondland omission of Trump claim he wanted no 'quid pro quo' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 69c9a202-1476-58ff-88f9-58a517254172

Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr said on Wednesday that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had made a “shocking omission” from his testimony by omitting the fact that President Trump told him: “I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo.”

“I’m stunned that that comment would have not have come out in the opening statement,” Starr told “America’s Newsroom.” “Why? Are you trying to be fair? Are you trying to be complete?”

JORDAN SLAMS SONDLAND FOR OMITTING TRUMP’S ‘NO QUID PRO QUO’ CLAIM FROM STATEMENT

“There is no excuse for this ambassador appointed by this president to leave out such a material omission,” Starr added.

The story of the Sept. 9 exchange between Trump and Sondland emerged as a key moment for Republicans defending Trump’s actions surrounding military aid to Ukraine. The president himself argued that the ambassador’s testimony should exonerate him from any claims of wrongdoing in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

KEN STARR ON GORDON SONDLAND’S IMPEACHMENT HEARING TESTIMONY: ‘ONE OF THOSE BOMBSHELL DAYS’

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn before departing on a scheduled trip to Texas, Trump claimed that Sondland’s testimony means “it’s all over” for the proceedings before reading from handwritten notes made during Sondland’s testimony.

Sondland testified that on Sept. 9, he asked Trump what he wanted from Ukraine.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“And it was a very short, abrupt conversation,” the ambassador said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’ Something to that effect.”

Sondland, however, testified that he and others in the administration understood that a meeting at the White House and a phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky would happen only if Zelensky agreed to an investigation into the 2016 U.S. election and the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-20-at-4.38.29-PM Ken Starr says he's 'stunned' by Sondland omission of Trump claim he wanted no 'quid pro quo' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 69c9a202-1476-58ff-88f9-58a517254172   Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-20-at-4.38.29-PM Ken Starr says he's 'stunned' by Sondland omission of Trump claim he wanted no 'quid pro quo' Joshua Nelson fox-news/shows/americas-newsroom fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 69c9a202-1476-58ff-88f9-58a517254172

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Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next

Video

transcript

Trump Impeachment Hearings: Sondland Testimony Highlights

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.

Secretary Perry Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the President of the United States. We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. We were playing the hand, we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr. Giuliani we would lose a very important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing the investigations of the 2016 election VNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States. And we knew these investigations were important to the president. Members of this committee. Frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question, was there a quid pro quo. As I testify previously with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting the answer is yes, we all understood that these prerequisites for the White House call and the right White House meeting reflected President Trump’s desires and requirements. One of the things that you. Now remember is the discussion that you had with President Trump on July 26 in that restaurant in Kiev right. Yeah What triggered my memory was someone’s reference to a A$AP Rocky which was I believe the primary purpose of the phone call. You called President Trump from your cell phone from the restaurant is that right. That’s right. You confirmed to President Trump that you were in Ukraine at the time and that President Zelensky quote loves your ass unquote. Do you recall saying that it sounds like something I would say you said, President Trump had directed you to talk you and the others to talk to Rudy Giuliani at the Oval Office on May 23rd if we wanted to get anything done with Ukraine. It was apparent to us. We needed to talk to Rudy right. You understood that Mr. Giuliani spoke for the president, correct. That’s correct. You testified that Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the president, correct. That’s our understanding. How did you know that. Who told you. Well, when the president says talk to my personal attorneys. And then Mr. Giuliani as his personal attorney makes certain requests or demands we assume it’s coming from the president. You don’t have records you don’t have your notes because you didn’t take notes. You don’t have a lot of recollections. I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability isn’t that true. What I’m trying to do today is to use the limited information I have to be as forthcoming as possible with you and the rest of the committee and as these recollections have been refreshed by subsequent testimony by some texts and emails that I’ve now had access to I think I filled in a lot of blanks and it was Ambassador Bolton, who made the comment that he didn’t want to be part of any drug deal that Ambassador Sunland and Mulvaney were cooking up the investigations to get the meeting was not something he wanted to be a part of. It’s the reference to Mulvaney that I want to ask you about. You’ve testified that Mulvaney was aware of this quid pro quo of this condition that the Ukrainians had to meet that is announcing this public investigations to get the White House meeting is that right. Yeah, a lot of people were aware of it and including about including Mr. Mulvaney correct. Have you seen the acting chief of staff’s press conference in which he acknowledged that the military aid was withheld in part because of a desire to get that 2016 investigation. You’ve talked about. I don’t think I saw it live. I saw it later. Yeah So you saw him acknowledge publicly what you have confirmed to that Mr. Mulvaney understood that 2 plus 2 equals 4. Is that right. Well, again, I didn’t know that the aid was conclusively tied. I was presuming he was in a position to say, yes, it was or no it wasn’t because. And he said, yes, it was. And he said, yes, it was. Your testimony is just simply in a pre-meeting with a group of Americans before the bilateral meeting. You referenced the fact that Ukraine needed to do these investigations in order to lift the aid. I think I referenced I didn’t say that Ukraine had to do the investigations. I think I said that, we heard from Mr. Giuliani that that was the case. So it wasn’t really a presumption. You heard from Mr. Giuliani. No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.

Westlake Legal Group 20dc-impeach-hilightsvid-promo2-videoSixteenByNine3000-v3 Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164734779_c97aeaf6-6518-4314-ad69-ba4c8649b94d-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

President Trump speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

President Trump distanced himself from Gordon D. Sondland, a top donor he appointed as ambassador to the European Union, after the diplomat told lawmakers that he and other advisers pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats at the president’s “express direction.”

As he headed to Marine One to depart on a trip to Texas, Mr. Trump stopped to talk with reporters briefly and pointed out that Mr. Sondland had testified that the president had told him at one point that he wanted nothing from Ukraine and there was no quid pro quo.

“That means it’s all over,” Mr. Trump said, shouting over the roar of helicopter rotors and reading from handwritten notes scrawled out in large block letters. “This is the final word from the president of the United States: ‘I want nothing.’ ”

In a tweet later Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Trump declared the “impeachment witch hunt” to be over, quoting Mr. Sondland’s testimony in all caps.

The president’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, later issued a statement emphasizing those points. “Ambassador Sondland’s testimony made clear that in one of the few brief phone calls he had with President Trump, the president clearly stated that he ‘wanted nothing’ from Ukraine and repeated ‘no quid pro quo over and over again,’” she said.

Despite that, Mr. Sondland told the House Intelligence Committee on the fourth day of public impeachment hearings that it was clear to him that the president was intently interested in having the Ukrainians publicly commit to investigating Democrats, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose son served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Trump often disavows knowing advisers once they become problematic for him. Just last month, Mr. Trump called Mr. Sondland, who gave the president’s inaugural fund $1 million, “a really good man and great American.”

But on Wednesday he said: “I don’t know him very well. I have not spoken to him much. This is not a man I know well. He seems like a nice guy though.” Ms. Grisham’s statement amplified that by referring to “the few brief phone calls” she said the two men have had.

Mr. Sondland portrayed their relationship differently, describing it as a chummy one that ranged even beyond the issues at hand. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with the president about completely unrelated matters that have nothing to do with Ukraine,” he said. Their conversations, he testified, featured, “a lot of four-letter words.”

After Mr. Sondland testified that everyone from Mr. Trump on down was aware of the pressure campaign on Ukraine, House Democrats quickly declared that he had bolstered their case for impeachment.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mr. Sondland’s testimony “among the most significant evidence to date,” saying he described “a basic quid pro quo” that conditioned American security aid on Ukraine agreeing to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Mr. Schiff mocked Republican attempts to undermine Mr. Sondland’s testimony, saying that his colleagues on the Intelligence Committee “seem to be under impression that unless the president spoke the words, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I am bribing the Ukrainian president,’ that there’s no evidence of bribery. If he didn’t say, ‘Ambassador Sondland, I’m telling you I’m not going to give the aid unless they do this,’ that there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo.”

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Schiff said, “you have given us a lot of evidence of precisely that conditionality.”

Republicans scoffed. Representative Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, pressed Mr. Sondland to acknowledge that he was never explicitly told that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted.

“No one told you? Not just the president — Giuliani didn’t tell you, Mulvaney didn’t tell you, nobody,” Mr. Turner said. “Pompeo didn’t tell you?

“No one on this planet told you that President Trump was tying aid to investigations,” Mr. Turner added. “Yes or no?”

“Yes,” Mr. Sondland answered.

Mr. Sondland told the committee that he and other advisers to Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Democrats “because the president directed us to do so.”

Mr. Sondland said that he, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy for Ukraine, were reluctant to work with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, on the pressure campaign and agreed only at Mr. Trump’s insistence.

“Secretary Perry, Ambassador Volker and I worked with Mr. Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters at the express direction of the president of the United States,” Mr. Sondland told the committee. “We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani. Simply put, we were playing the hand we were dealt.” With no alternative, he said, “we followed the president’s orders.”

Mr. Sondland confirmed what has already been known, that there was a clear “quid pro quo” linking a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president to the investigations Mr. Trump wanted. And he said he was concerned about “a potential quid pro quo” linking $391 million in security aid that Mr. Trump suspended to the investigations he desired.

But under questioning, Mr. Sondland acknowledged that Mr. Trump never told him that. “I never heard from President Trump that aid was conditioned on an announcement of investigations,” he testified.

And he was asked by Republicans to repeat a conversation he had with Mr. Trump that he has previously described in which he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine. “It was a very short, abrupt conversation,” Mr. Sondland said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’”

The conversation took place after the White House had already learned a whistle-blower had come forward with a complaint alleging that the president was abusing his power to try to enlist Ukraine to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election.

Mr. Giuliani challenged Mr. Sondland in a tweet, saying the ambassador was “speculating based on VERY little contact. I never met him and had very few calls with him, mostly with Volker. Volker testified I answered their questions and described them as my opinions, NOT demands. I.E. no quid pro quo.”

He later deleted the tweet.

Mr. Perry also took issue with Mr. Sondland, issuing a statement through his department saying that the testimony “misrepresented both Secretary Perry’s interaction with Rudy Giuliani and direction the secretary received from President Trump.”

The statement said Mr. Perry spoke with Mr. Giuliani only once. “At no point before, during or after that phone call did the words ‘Biden’ or ‘Burisma’ ever come up in the presence of Secretary Perry,” the statement said.

Westlake Legal Group GORDON-SONDLAND-OPENING-STATEMENT-UKRAINE-articleLarge Impeachment Hearing Live Updates: Laura Cooper and David Hale Up Next United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party

Read Gordon Sondland’s Opening Statement

The United States ambassador to the European Union testified that he pressured Ukraine for investigations at President Trump’s “express direction.”

Mr. Sondland testified that he told Vice President Mike Pence in late August that he feared the military aid withheld from Ukraine was tied to the investigations Mr. Trump sought and that he kept Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apprised of his efforts to pressure Ukraine.

The revelations suggested that Mr. Sondland has decided to publicly implicate the senior-most members of Mr. Trump’s administration in the matter, including Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and he provided a series of text messages and emails to buttress his account.

“Everyone was in the loop,” he said told the committee. “It was no secret.”

If other officials were concerned that he was doing something wrong, as testimony now indicates, Mr. Sondland said they did not tell him at the time. “Everyone’s hair was on fire,” he said, “but no one decided to talk to us.”

The striking account — a major departure from Mr. Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry last month — also indicated that the ambassador who played a central role in the pressure campaign was eager to demonstrate that he did so only reluctantly with the knowledge and approval of the president and top members of his team.

Mr. Sondland rejected the notion that he was part of an illicit shadow foreign policy that worked around the normal national security process. “The suggestion that we were engaged in some irregular or rogue diplomacy is absolutely false,” he said, pointing to messages and phone calls in which he kept the White House and State Department informed of his actions. He added: “Any claim that I somehow muscled my way into the Ukraine relationship is simply false.”

The ambassador said that he “mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations.” He testified that the conversation occurred shortly before Mr. Pence met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine while they were in Warsaw.

At that meeting, Mr. Zelensky brought up the issue of the withheld aid and Mr. Pence said he would discuss the matter with Mr. Trump. Afterward, Mr. Sondland said he informed Andriy Yermak, a top Ukrainian official, that the money would probably not flow without Mr. Zelensky making a public commitment to the investigations.

Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, issued a statement after his testimony denying Mr. Sondland’s account.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Mr. Short said. “This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened.”

Mr. Sondland also said that “even as late as September,” after the pressure campaign emerged in the news media, “Secretary Pompeo was directing Kurt Volker to speak with Mr. Giuliani.”

In a statement issued from Mr. Pompeo’s plane as he returned to Washington from Brussels, his spokeswoman denied something that Mr. Sondland never testified to.

“Gordon Sondland never told Secretary Pompeo that he believed the president was linking aid to investigations of political opponents,” Morgan Ortagus, the State Department spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is flat out false.”

Under questioning, Mr. Sondland put his finger on a distinction that often gets overlooked in the discussion of Mr. Trump’s interest in Ukraine: For the president, it seemed more important that Ukrainian officials announce that they were investigating Democrats than for them to actually follow through.

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or had to be completed,” Mr. Sondland told Daniel S. Goldman, the top Democratic counsel who questioned him. “The only thing I heard from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise was that they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

The distinction is important because Democrats are arguing that Mr. Trump was not trying to fight corruption, but instead trying to enlist a foreign power to discredit his rivals in a way that would benefit him in the 2020 election. In pressing Mr. Sondland on the matter, Mr. Goldman noted that, “there would be political benefits to a public announcement.”

Mr. Sondland responded, “The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through, so President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that they were going to do these investigations.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations, just that they wanted to announce” them, Mr. Goldman said.

“I didn’t hear either way,” Mr. Sondland said. “I didn’t hear either way.”

Mr. Sondland in his prepared testimony confirmed a conversation with Mr. Trump at a key moment in the timeline that he did not volunteer during his original testimony. But he disputed descriptions by other witnesses of another key meeting.

Mr. Sondland did not challenge the account of a lunch meeting on the outdoor patio of a Kyiv restaurant on July 26, the day after Mr. Trump’s phone call with Mr. Zelensky. David Holmes, the political counselor at the American Embassy in Ukraine, told investigators that he overheard Mr. Trump and Mr. Sondland talking on the phone.

“So, he’s going to do the investigation?” Mr. Trump asked, according to Mr. Holmes. Mr. Sondland told him yes. Mr. Zelensky “loves your ass” and would do “anything you ask him to,” Mr. Sondland said, according to Mr. Holmes’s statement.

But in his testimony Wednesday, Mr. Sondland also denied that a July 10 meeting at the White House with Ukrainian officials turned sharply tense, as others have testified in recent days.

Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and her deputy for Ukraine policy, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, previously told lawmakers that the meeting led to a confrontation over Mr. Sondland’s unconventional role in Ukraine policy.

Mr. Sondland said he did not remember that.

“Their recollections of those events simply don’t square with my own or with those of Ambassador Volker or Secretary Perry,” he said in his prepared testimony.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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U.N. Expert Clarifies Statistic On U.S. Detention Of Migrant Children

Westlake Legal Group facebook-default-wide U.N. Expert Clarifies Statistic On U.S. Detention Of Migrant Children

The author of a sweeping new U.N. study on the detaining and jailing of children worldwide acknowledges that he erred in saying the U.S. is holding more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention. The author, a human rights lawyer Manfred Nowak, says he wasn’t aware at the time that the number was from 2015. He adds that it reflected the number of children detained during the entire year.

Nowak acknowledges that his use of the statistic was misleading, but he also maintains that his main point about the U.S. having high incarceration and detention rates for children still stands. In an interview with NPR on Wednesday, he says he was citing a number from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

“I used the UNHCR data because it was the last UNHCR figure that was published, and that goes back to the year 2015,” Nowak says. “And I haven’t checked it that clearly in the press conference. So that was, of course, misleading.”

Nowak mentioned the number on Monday, as he discussed the U.N.-sponsored Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty at a news conference in Geneva.

Referring to children who were detained by the U.S. after arriving at the border either unaccompanied or with their parents, Nowak said earlier this week:

“The United States is one of the countries with the highest numbers. We have more than, still more than 100,000 children in migration-related detention in the United States of America. So that’s far more than all the other countries where we have reliable figures.”

His comments were reported Tuesday by multiple news outlets, including NPR, which removed its story when Nowak’s error became apparent.

Revelations that the U.S. detention statistic dated to the Obama administration drew intense attention because as he spoke about the detention figure, Nowak also pointedly criticized the Trump administration’s policies of separating children from their parents at the border.

“I would call it inhuman treatment for both the parents and the children,” he said on Monday, adding that he believes the policy runs afoul of several international civil rights treaties.

In the U.S., children who arrive at the border unaccompanied are placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, through its Unaccompanied Alien Children program and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

HHS says that over the 2019 financial year, approximately 69,550 unaccompanied children were referred to the UAC program. In its most recent news release about the number of minors in its care, the agency adds that since 2012, “this number has jumped dramatically.”

HHS currently has approximately 3,900 children in its custody through the UAC program, the agency says in an email to NPR.

“The system-wide average length of care for minors discharged from ORR in the month of September 2019 is 57 days, down from the recent high of 93 days in November 2018,” the agency says.

HHS also lists the number of children it has unified with a sponsor in recent fiscal years, under both the Trump and Obama administrations:

  • 2013-14 – 53,515
  • 2014-15 – 27,840
  • 2015-16 – 52,147
  • 2016-17 – 42,497
  • 2017-18 – 34,815
  • 2018-19 – 72,593

When asked about the latest HHS figures, Nowak says, “So perhaps it’s really down now to 69,000. That’s fine — but again, it’s much higher than other states that detain children in migration-related detention. So it’s still the highest number. So I think the main message remains the same.”

As for how he came to quote data from 2015 — the year before he was selected to lead the U.N.’s global study on child detentions — Nowak said he was trying to answer one of the first questions at Monday’s news conference, which focused on the U.S. detention of children as part of its migration policies.

“I received quick info from my assistant, where he said that’s the latest data that we have,” Nowak says. “But I didn’t know at that moment that it was [from] 2015. If I would have known that, I would not have mentioned it, because that’s sometime ago.”

The 2015 statistic does not appear in his global study’s section on the U.S., Nowak notes. And he adds that he stands by the figures that are compiled in his report.

“Whatever you read in the report is definitely accurate,” Nowak says, adding, “we really checked it very, very well.”

To compile the study, Nowak and his researchers sorted through official records and statistics from advocacy groups and countries’ replies. They also sent out questionnaires. Nowak said on Monday that the U.S. didn’t respond to his team’s official requests for data — but he added that many of the numbers they were seeking were publicly available.

The global study’s release coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. signed the agreement but never ratified it; today, the United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the U.N.’s treaty on children’s rights.

The study includes a key paragraph about the U.S. policy of detaining children in the process of enforcing migration laws, referring to a span that includes both the Trump and Obama administrations:

“In the United States, in a period of 3 years, between 2013 and 2015 immigration authorities detained 278,885 children. Apprehensions (and detention) of children reached a peak between October 2018 and August 2019, the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2019 (fiscal year, FY), when US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended 72,873 unaccompanied children and 457,871 members of ‘family units’ at or near the US-Mexico border. Between 2013 and 2018, the annual number of apprehensions of unaccompanied children varied between ca. 39,000 and ca. 69,000. The annual number of apprehensions of ‘family units’ varied between ca. 15,000 and 107,000 annually.”

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Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks

A police dashcam on Tuesday captured an Amtrak train in New Jersey slamming into the car of an alleged drunken driver who’d gotten stuck on the tracks.

The collision happened around midnight Tuesday underneath the Route #64 Bridge near the Princeton Junction Train Station in West Windsor, police said in a press release.

Westlake Legal Group NJ Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article

The moment after a westbound Amtrak train collided with a disabled vehicle on the tracks.  (WWPD)

Officers, responding to a call about a disabled vehicle on the tracks, found a 2012 Toyota Camry facing east while stuck on the westbound Amtrak track.

The driver, 23-year-old Amna Ahmed, approached one of the officers for assistance. Her father and sister had arrived on the scene in a white BMW to help.

Trains were notified to stop traffic because of the disabled Toyota and multiple people near the tracks.  Still, a westbound Amtrak approached at a high rate of speed, and an officer cautioned those by the tracks to take cover.

The train struck the Toyota, sending debris flying where the officers had been standing. The Toyota was destroyed and pushed into a patrol car which sustained significant damage.

OFF-DUTY NYPD COP KILLED, FDNY MEMBER AMONG 2 CRITICALLY INJURED, IN HORROR EARLY MORNING CRASH

Another patrol car and the white BMW sustained minimal damage after being hit with debris from the Toyota. The train sustained heavy damage to its engine car and numerous other trailing train cars, according to police.

Despite the damage, no injuries were reported. The collision shut down traffic in the surrounding area for several hours.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Police determined Amna had been driving while intoxicated and transported her to police headquarters for processing. She was charged with reckless driving and DWI before being released pending a future appearance at the West Windsor Municipal Court, police said.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106784993001_6106790554001-vs Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6106784993001_6106790554001-vs Police dashcam shows moment Amtrak train slams into car on New Jersey tracks fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox news fnc/us fnc c7b1cbd8-c93b-5c29-ad9a-778e1acaf110 Bradford Betz article

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Here’s how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build

Ford’s hoping the Mustang Mach-E will be a sales hit when it goes on sale late next year, but it definitely won’t be as big as the original pony car

Ford sold over 400,000 Mustangs in the 12 months following its April 1964 debut and more than a million by the end of 1965, but it only has the capability to produce about 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es, regardless of the demand for the all-electric SUV.

Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article

That’s according to Ford President Joe Hinrichs, who said battery availability is the limiting factor for the Mexican-made model, Detroit News reporter Ian Thibodeau reported.

Ford began taking orders on Sunday for the Mustang Mach-E, which has a starting price of $44,995, but hadn’t previously revealed how many would be available.

9 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE MUSTANG MACH-E

Tesla will be ramping up production of the similarly priced Model Y crossover at about the same time the Mustang Mach-E goes on sale. The California factory where the Model Y will be built has a proven capability to manufacture nearly 400,000 cars per year, which could increase in 2020, but Tesla hasn’t said how much of that capacity might be allocated to the Model Y.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article   Westlake Legal Group m7 Here's how many Mustang Mach-Es Ford can build Gary Gastelu fox-news/auto/style/suv fox-news/auto/make/ford fox-news/auto/attributes/performance fox-news/auto/attributes/electric fox news fnc/auto fnc f74d1d2f-a94a-50b9-8889-3805f23eb7c2 article

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Discussion Thread: Day Four of House Public Impeachment Hearings – Afternoon Session – 11/20/2019 | Laura Cooper and David Hale – Estimated Live 4:30pm EST

Westlake Legal Group 8P_eCqT8F6FCrEXr6ZMMab73T8d1ONiem9lbOAOW1HE Discussion Thread: Day Four of House Public Impeachment Hearings – Afternoon Session - 11/20/2019 | Laura Cooper and David Hale – Estimated Live 4:30pm EST r/politics

This morning the House Intelligence Committee will hold their sixth round of public hearings in preparation for possible Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Testifying today are Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and David Hale, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs.

The hearing is estimated to begin at 4:30pm 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, Laura Cooper and David Hale, 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


Upcoming Hearings:

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Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia!

<img data-attachment-id="49938" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2017/10/train-depots-part-1/historic-bristol-train-station/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/04152632/abingdon-train.jpg" data-orig-size="1348,899" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"Historic Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol.\r\rVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"SWVA Cultural Heritage Foundation","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Historic Bristol Train Station","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Historic Bristol Train Station" data-image-description="

Historic Bristol Train Station in downtown Bristol.

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It’s the season when Virginia decks the halls and opens its doors to visitors, with historic home tours across the Commonwealth. Luckily, many of these tours are in places that are served by Amtrak, so you can skip the traffic jams and parking wars and pull right into town. Here’s a sampling of Virginia holiday tours and events that are within a short walk or Lyft ride from an Amtrak station:

 

Pull into this charming town via Amtrak and take a 7-minute walk to the city’s South East neighborhood, where seven historic homes are open for touring. The tour includes the Italianate style Hill Mansion, built in the 1850s. Tickets are available online for $20 or $25 cash in several locations.

Take the train into Williamsburg, walk south a few blocks and enter the setting for an 18th century Christmas. During Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, you can see the town dressed for the holidays, hear musical performances on stages throughout the historic area, and watch a spectacular display of fireworks. No event tickets are required to walk the streets, but you’ll need one to enter buildings.

Just a 10-minute stroll from the train station, this tour winds through the picturesque streets of Fredericksburg, and into homes adorned by professional decorators, designers and artists. Evening tours on Dec. 8; daytime and evening tours Dec. 8th and 9th. Event tickets are $15-$30.

A quick Lyft ride takes you from either of Richmond’s two Amtrak stations to the beautiful Fan District. This year, you can tour 11 historic homes in a variety of architectural styles — and one of them was used in the filming of Homeland. Free trolleys will run along the tour route. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the tour.

 

Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District is about an 8-minute Lyft ride from the Amtrak station — and this year, you can tour a number of this neighborhood’s beautifully decorated homes and public buildings. If you’re up for it after the walking tour, you can walk about 27 minutes (or Lyft it) to Battersea Villa for live music, a bonfire, historic re-enactors and holiday refreshments. Tour tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day-of.

 

To book your train ride to any of these tours, go to the Amtrak website. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a large seat and views of Virginia you can only see on Amtrak. And if it snows while you’re on board, well, that’s the perfect start or finish to any holiday tour.

Now’s the time to plan for a year of exploration.

The year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. In recognition of this milestone year, the Commonwealth of Virginia and several key partners will launch American Evolution™, a statewide series of events, educational programs and summits that will build awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of our country. Learn more about American Evolution, and book your Amtrak tickets to the destinations for these enlightening events now. By booking at least 14 days in advance of each event, you can save 25% on your train ticket.

Westlake Legal Group amtraklogo Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia! Story Ideas

Amtrak Virginia makes it easy to travel within the Commonwealth and throughout the Northeast Corridor. With nine passenger rail routes and 23 stations, Amtrak takes you directly to many of Virginia’s most popular destinations. All trains offer travelers wide, comfortable reclining seats and generous legroom, along with complimentary Wi-Fi service and in-seat power outlets.

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