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Week 5 observations: Clemson is ranked No. 1 but it isn’t the best college football team

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Week 5 observations: Clemson is ranked No. 1 but it isn't the best college football team

SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg provides his opinion of the top three programs in the history of college football. USA TODAY

Clemson is the defending national champion and the No. 1 team in the Amway Coaches Poll, but the Tigers aren’t the best team in the country right now and probably shouldn’t be ranked that way.  

The Tigers are 5-0 after holding off North Carolina, 21-20, but there are issues.  

First, a caveat: Clemson has kind of pulled this underwhelming act before early in the year, revved up the engines by November and then blasted off in the College Football Playoff for a pair of national titles. Based on that track record and nothing else, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about how the Tigers look right now. 

But, boy, they sure don’t look like they’d be ready to compete today with the likes of Ohio State and Georgia, much less Alabama. And the reason is, oddly, because of the Clemson offense, which is laboring to move the football despite bringing back most of the key pieces that boat-raced Alabama in January. 

More: Clemson barely survives wake-up call from North Carolina

More: Winners and losers from Week 5 in college football, led by Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has moments where he looks like the No. 1 draft pick in 2021, but he follows them with too many moments where he makes questionable decisions or his mechanics break down in ways they didn’t last season. (What’s up with all the throws off his back foot?) Running back Travis Etienne had just 67 yards on 14 carries against the Tar Heels, and generally Clemson just isn’t getting enough done with the running game. 

What’s really carrying Clemson right now is its defense, which was a question mark coming into the season because of the losses up front but has held up well with new personnel. North Carolina gained just 290 yards but still had a two-point conversion try to take the lead with 1:17 remaining. For some reason, the Tar Heels called an option play and Clemson read it the entire way for a rather routine stop. 

After the game, coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged that Clemson had been outplayed and outcoached and was fortunate to win. It’s certainly not the first time, as Clemson has survived a few of these close calls over the years against teams that appear overmatched on paper. 

You have to think that Clemson’s offensive talent is eventually going to play to its level and this will look like the No. 1 team in the country by the end. But for now, the Tigers have given plenty of justification to be moved down in the polls. 

Here are nine other observations from the college football weekend: 

Ohio State looks scary

The schedule has not yet offered the Buckeyes a legitimate test in Ryan Day’s first season as head coach, but my goodness do they look like a machine right now. Ohio State’s string of blowouts to begin this season continued at Nebraska in a 48-7 win that looked laughably easy on every front. 

The biggest difference for the Buckeyes this year is the defense, which held Nebraska to 76 yards of offense in the first half (231 for the entire game) and created three turnovers. Even bad teams were able to score on Ohio State last season, but this year the Buckeyes have been air tight against teams with less talent, allowing just 10 points to Indiana, five to Miami of Ohio and none to Cincinnati.

But there’s also this: Quarterback Justin Fields looks absolutely phenomenal, to the point where you kind of have to wonder if Georgia will regret letting him go. 

Fields, who some believed was the nation’s top quarterback prospect in the recruiting class of 2018, made almost no impact as a freshman at Georgia last year playing behind Jake Fromm. Though Kirby Smart gave him some specialty packages to work with in almost exclusively running situations, the Georgia offense didn’t flatter his skillset and it was clear that he wasn’t going to supplant Fromm as the starter. 

So Fields transferred to Ohio State and has already proven he can throw the ball — he’s got 16 touchdown passes with no interceptions so far — while looking more comfortable every week. Though the level of competition will go up soon, Fields is looking like the player he was supposed to be coming out of high school, which means Ohio State has a real chance to win a national championship. 

Auburn might be the best team in the SEC

Don’t worry, that rumbling in your stomach isn’t a virus or motion sickness bubbling up. It’s the familiar feeling that this is one of those odd-numbered “Auburn years” where the Tigers not only get the breaks, but they’re good enough to take advantage of them. 

While Alabama and LSU look awesome on offense, Auburn looks like the most classic SEC team of the group. Not only are the Tigers predictably stout on defense, but they’re getting better every week with freshman Bo Nix at quarterback and had a lot of their game clicking Saturday in a blowout win over Mississippi State. Sure, it was just Mississippi State, but Auburn had control of it from the jump, pilling up 328 yards of offense and 42 points in the first half alone. And unlike Alabama, which hasn’t played anyone of consequence yet, the Tigers already have wins banked over Oregon and on the road at Texas A&M. 

Auburn has tough road tests remaining at Florida and LSU, but this is one of those years where the Tigers play Georgia and Alabama at home, which theoretically should give them a little margin for error in the SEC West and the playoff race. So far, Auburn has been as impressive as anyone in the SEC.  

The Pac-12 isn’t dead

You wouldn’t necessarily predict it as of today, but there’s still a chance for the Pac-12 to get into the College Football Playoff. The bottom line is this: The Oregon-Washington game in Seattle on Oct. 19 will eliminate the lower and give the winner a shot if they can go undefeated the rest of the way. That’s a narrow path, admittedly, but it’s a path — particularly for Oregon, whose 27-21 loss to Auburn in the season opener looks better by the day.

Washington still doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in big games, but its 20-19 loss to Cal doesn’t seem quite as bad as it did at the time, and the Huskies have bounced back nicely, including Saturday’s 28-14 win over USC. If they can beat Oregon, that’s a signature win that should carry some weight with the selection committee if Clemson or a Big 12 team stumbles. 

Fans getting frustrated with Fuente

Of the 28 coaching changes that followed the 2015 season, none received more acclaim than Virginia Tech hiring Justin Fuente. And after a strong debut season that included a trip to the ACC championship game, it seemed like the transition out of the Frank Beamer era was going to be unusually smooth.

But the stability didn’t last long, and now Fuente finds himself embattled if not fully on the hot seat in Year 4. Friday’s 45-10 loss to Duke was ugly, the kind of game Virginia Tech fans aren’t used to seeing at Lane Stadium, which was once among the nation’s most difficult places to play. 

This is a delicate situation for athletics director Whit Babcock. After starting out 17-5 in Blacksburg, Fuente is just 10-12 since with a lot of roster churn that was supposed to reset the locker room culture this season. And of course, this is the problem with following a legend: Fans only remember the program at its best, even though Beamer’s last four years were decidedly average and the Hokies had already slipped out of the nation’s elite.  

Virginia Tech isn’t as easy a place to win as Beamer made it look, but Fuente hasn’t made enough recruiting inroads in the state and he hasn’t done a good job of developing a quarterback to run his system.

Fuente’s turnaround job at Memphis wasn’t a fluke. He took over a program that was arguably the worst in the country and made it into one of the best among the Group of Five largely through terrific evaluation of recruits and superior in-game coaching. But so far, that hasn’t translated and the Hokies’ streak of 26 straight bowl games is in serious jeopardy. Don’t expect Babcock to make any big moves, but the heat is definitely cranking up on a hire that seemed foolproof a few years ago. 

We should be talking more about Penn State

In a Big Ten where Ohio State’s dominance, Michigan’s struggles and Wisconsin’s efficiency have gotten all the attention, it feels like the Nittany Lions are a little too under-the-radar. To be fair, it’s hard to get a gauge on how good James Franklin’s team really is because the lineup of opponents it has faced so far might be as weak as anyone in the top 25. 

Still, Friday’s 59-0 win at Maryland was as thoroughly one-sided a game as you’ll see between two Power Five opponents. Penn State out-gained Maryland 619-128, created three turnovers and once again got good quarterback play from quarterback Sean Clifford, who was an unknown quantity coming into the year. Also of note: The Nittany Lions’ defense has yielded just 30 points total on the season.  

Penn State’s schedule really begins in two weeks when it travels to Iowa, and things will get tougher from there with Michigan coming to Happy Valley and a trip to Michigan State on successive Saturdays. But beating the bad teams by these impressive margins should definitely give the Nittany Lions a lot of confidence going forward. 

Baylor has redefined itself

Matt Rhule has been painfully close to some big wins since taking on the massive turnaround job at Baylor, but being able to come back and close out Iowa State on Saturday feels like a significant breakthrough. Baylor led the game 20-0, fell behind, lost the lead with 3:45 remaining, then came back and drove 54 yards in 14 plays to set up a game-winning 38-yard field goal by John Mayers.  

Baylor is now 4-0, and the trajectory is unmistakable after Rhule took over a scandal-ridden program in 2017 and went 1-11 in his first season. Though it probably feels like a long road to Rhule, it’s remarkable how quickly he’s changed the entire identity of the program from the Art Briles days when the Bears broke offensive records but couldn’t stop anyone in big games. Now, Baylor plays physical football and defensive coordinator Phil Snow is as good as anyone in the country at slowing down the spread. 

Many in the coaching industry questioned why Rhule took the Baylor job, given some of the options he would have had based on his success at Temple. Though he’s already on a faster timetable than anyone could have expected, it feels like Rhule is on the verge of making himself a true superstar this season. Though Baylor probably isn’t in the same weight class as Oklahoma and Texas, a win next week at Kansas State would give the Bears a claim as the third-best team in the Big 12. 

BYU schedule isn’t sustainable 

The Cougars have been part of two of the season’s most memorable wins, beating Tennessee in overtime after a near-miracle 64-yard pass and backing it up the next week with another overtime win over Southern Cal. But beating those two big name brands hasn’t mattered much in the big picture, as BYU now sits at just 2-3 after a 28-21 loss at Toledo.

This perfectly illustrates the problem BYU faces as an independent. The Cougars want to play as many high-profile teams as possible, but those programs only want to play in September for the most part, which means BYU’s schedule is annually as front-loaded as any team in the country. Who wouldn’t be spent and a bit nicked up after facing Utah, Tennessee, USC and Washington the first four weeks? Though BYU has no desire to join a conference if it’s not Power Five — none of which have shown reciprocal interest — you have to wonder if this is a sustainable model. BYU still has Idaho State, UMass and Liberty coming up so getting to a bowl game won’t be a problem, but the Cougars routinely bite off more than they can chew in September only to fall off the national radar by October. Even if they bank a big win or two, it feels rather meaningless 

Has Kellen Mond regressed? 

Texas A&M’s No. 11 preseason ranking was predicated largely on the theory that quarterback Kellen Mond would take a big step forward in his second year working with Jimbo Fisher. But Mond doesn’t look like the same player, and the Aggies’ inability to run the football may be to blame.  

Texas A&M had just 89 rushing yards Saturday in a game that would be more accurately described as bad loss avoidance rather than a win against Arkansas. The Aggies ran it for 56 yards against Auburn last week and 53 in their Week 2 loss at Clemson. That looks like a trend, and one that demands a reset of expectations in College Station. 

It’s fair to criticize Mond for throwing too many interceptions (four in five games), and even his best game of the year throwing for 335 yards against Auburn was misleading because much of his success came late when the Tigers had the game well in hand. But how much more can you really expect when teams know by now that Texas A&M isn’t going hurt them with the run? 

AAC West looks spicy 

Nov. 2 might be a day to mark on the calendar when SMU visits Memphis. The Mustangs have been one of the nation’s pleasant surprises at 5-0 with notable wins over North Texas and TCU while scoring more than 40 points in four straight games. Memphis has shown significant improvement defensively and looked really good in the second half Thursday against Navy.  

Memphis has a couple tough games coming up, traveling to Temple and hosting suddenly resurgent Tulane. SMU could very well be 8-0 when it visits the Liberty Bowl. 

Though Boise State may be the favorite from the Group of Five to make a New Year’s Six bowl, this looks like a really strong year in the AAC and particularly in the West and the winner may well come from that SMU-Memphis game. 

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Opinion: Impeach William Barr

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John Kelly reportedly used to mute the line during calls with world leaders to urge Trump not to discuss sensitive topics

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‘It doesn’t matter’: Pelosi not concerned if Democrats lose majority over impeachment

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close ‘It doesn’t matter’: Pelosi not concerned if Democrats lose majority over impeachment

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Donald Trump tried to “shake down foreign leaders” and conceal it, undermining national security and forcing Congress to pursue his impeachment. (Sept. 26) AP Domestic

AUSTIN, Texas – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in Texas to cap the most pivotal week in her tenure as the leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, said Saturday Democrats will push ahead with the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump regardless of any political consequences.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pelosi said in the wrap-up event of a weekend festival for politicians and journalists. “Our first responsibility is to the Constitution.”

Pelosi, a California Democrat who reclaimed the gavel in the House after her party captured the majority in the 2018 November elections, spoke just blocks away from the Texas Capitol at the festival put on by the Texas Tribune.

In a conversation with Tribune CEO Evan Smith, Pelosi said the decision to move ahead with the possible impeachment was dictated by the president’s actions.

“This is a sad time for our country,” Pelosi said. “There is no joy in this.”

Pelosi said her early hesitance to move ahead with impeachment was because the facts were insufficient until a whistleblower brought to light a phone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky

In that conversation, a rough transcript released by the White House after the whistleblower’s concerns were made known showed Trump seeking politically damaging information against former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I think right now, there is a coverup of the coverup,” she said.

Trump, meanwhile, has insisted there was nothing improper about the call and dismissed talk of impeachment as “a witch hunt.”

Pelosi also said she would allow the House Intelligence Committee to examine the facts without interference.

Scandal erupts: Trump’s Ukraine call and Nixon’s Watergate are drawing increasing parallels

Asked about Texas’ role in the upcoming 2020 elections, Pelosi said the state is both in play and vital for the Democrats.

“This is it,” she said. “Texas is our hope for the future. I’m not just talking about (for) Democrats. I’m talking about our nation and the world.”

She declined to pick a favorite in the Democratic presidential primaries or in the race for the U.S. Senate for the right to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

Pelosi did, however, said she would support House Democrats being challenged in their primaries.

Pelosi, who was speaker in the final years of President George W. Bush’s administration and during the first two years under President Barack Obama, said impeachment proceedings will not depend on support of House Republicans.

Nor, she added, would it be deterred by the fact that the GOP controls the Senate, making actual removal from office unlikely.

“If the facts are persuasive to the American people,” she said, “maybe they will be to the Republicans.”

Follow John C. Moritz on Twitter: @JohnnieMo.

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Pelosi on Trump impeachment inquiry: ‘No idea how long this will take’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday that she has “no idea” how long House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump will take.

“It’s in the [House Intelligence] committee. I’m not here to talk about how they will do their work [or] what their time table is,” Pelosi said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. “It will take as long as the intelligence committee follows the facts and when they are ready.”

CONWAY ACCUSES PELOSI OF CAPITULATING TO MALE COLLEAGUES ON IMPEACHMENT

Westlake Legal Group PelosiTexas720 Pelosi on Trump impeachment inquiry: 'No idea how long this will take' Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 14c65f00-3b92-50ae-8f86-35f97fe63912

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin Saturday. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

On Tuesday, Pelosi formally announced an impeachment inquiry into Trump over his July 25 phone call with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats have claimed the president threatened to withhold $400 million in military aid unless Ukraine investigated former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their business dealings in the country.

The probe was prompted by a complaint from an intelligence community whistleblower who accused Trump of “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.”

“What happened in that phone conversation, that a president of the United States would withhold military assistance that was paid for by taxpayer money to essentially shake down the leader of another country unless he did him a favor — it is so clear,” Pelosi said Saturday.

The president “did not see it was wrong to do that,” she later said.

TRUMP SLAMS DEMOCRATS, WHISTLEBLOWER OVER ‘WITCH HUNT’ IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: ‘OTHERS ENDED IN ASHES!’

A memorandum of the Trump-Zelensky made public Wednesday shows that while Trump sought an investigation into the Biden family for corruption, the president did not explicitly leverage military aid.

Trump has repeatedly defended his conduct of the call with Zelensky and calls the latest Democratic probe “another witch hunt.”

“The Whistleblower’s complaint is completely different and at odds from my actual conversation with the new President of Ukraine. The so-called ‘Whistleblower’ knew practically NOTHING in that those ridiculous charges were far more dramatic & wrong,” Trump tweeted Saturday.

During a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week, Zelensky told reporters that “nobody pushed me” during the call with Trump.

“This is very bad news for our country,” Pelosi said. “If it is as it seems to be, the president engaged in something so far beyond what our founders had in mind.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Trump on Saturday issued a social media blitz attacking Democrats and the whistleblower, telling his supporters that the Democrats are “trying to stop me because I am fighting for you!”

Westlake Legal Group PelosiTexas720 Pelosi on Trump impeachment inquiry: 'No idea how long this will take' Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 14c65f00-3b92-50ae-8f86-35f97fe63912   Westlake Legal Group PelosiTexas720 Pelosi on Trump impeachment inquiry: 'No idea how long this will take' Melissa Leon fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 14c65f00-3b92-50ae-8f86-35f97fe63912

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State Department stepped up Hillary Clinton email probe beginning in August: report

Westlake Legal Group AP19149787793691 State Department stepped up Hillary Clinton email probe beginning in August: report Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article abcb5487-00da-56e1-ad2e-35ee2efb4326

The State Department reportedly has ramped up its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server, potentially reviving an issue that dominated the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The Washington Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, reported late Saturday that as many as 130 current and former officials whose emails found their way into Clinton’s inbox have been contacted by investigators. According to The Post, those officials have received letters notifying them that their emails from years ago have been retroactively classified and their transmission could constitute security violations.

HILLARY CLINTON CALLS TRUMP ‘ILLEGITIMATE PRESIDENT’ AND ‘CORRUPT HUMAN TORNADO’

State Department investigators began contacting the officials around a year and a half ago, then the investigation seemed to fall by the wayside before picking up steam again last month, officials said.

Senior State Department officials denied they were acting at the specific direction of President Trump, who is facing an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats.

“The process is set up in a manner to completely avoid any appearance of political bias,” a senior State Department official told The Post.

“This has nothing to do with who is in the White House,” said a second senior State Department official.“This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails …”

STATE DEPARTMENT IDENTIFIES 23 VIOLATIONS, ‘MULTIPLE SECURITY INCIDENTS’ CONCERNING CLINTON EMAILS

Several of those questioned, however, told the Post that investigators seemed to be pursuing the matter “reluctantly, and under external pressure.”

Jeffrey Feltman, a former assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, told the paper he found the recent retroactive classification of more than 50 of his emails to be out of the ordinary. “I’d like to think that this is just routine, but something strange is going on.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Those being investigated will not face criminal prosecution since the FBI investigation of the Clinton email case closed before the 2016 election.

The FBI began investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server in July 2015 based on a referral from the intelligence community inspector general. In July 2016, then-FBI director James Comey announced he was recommending the case be closed with no charges, saying Clinton and her aides’ handling of classified information was “extremely careless” but not criminal.

Click for more from The Washington Post.

Westlake Legal Group AP19149787793691 State Department stepped up Hillary Clinton email probe beginning in August: report Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article abcb5487-00da-56e1-ad2e-35ee2efb4326   Westlake Legal Group AP19149787793691 State Department stepped up Hillary Clinton email probe beginning in August: report Morgan Phillips fox-news/politics/the-clintons fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article abcb5487-00da-56e1-ad2e-35ee2efb4326

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Former Ukraine Prime Minister says country must investigate Hunter Biden

A former Prime Minister of Ukraine has said that authorities in that country must investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter to establish whether or not his role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company complied with the nation’s laws.

“It should be investigated so that the ‘i’s can be dotted and the ‘t’s crossed,” Mykola Azarov told Reuters Saturday, adding: “If he [Hunter Biden] was simply on the books and getting money, then that could be seen as a violation of the law.”

Azarov, a former Prime Minister under Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, did not specify to which laws he was referring. President Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have called on current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Biden family dealings with Ukrainian firm Burisma Holdings Ltd.

Westlake Legal Group 8bb577bc9c5c0c227e0f6a706700bffe Former Ukraine Prime Minister says country must investigate Hunter Biden Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc e2a071d2-ec74-5ea5-bf69-b86658024926 article

Mykola Azarov fled Ukraine in 2014 following the ouster of its pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) (The Associated Press)

US: IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CAN ONLY VISIT SICK COLLEAGUES ON NY TRIP IF IRAN RELEASES HOSTAGE

Burisma reportedly paid Hunter Biden up to $50,000 to sit on its board at the same time as his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Kyiv, and a second private equity firm founded by the younger Biden received $3.4 million from the same company. Trump and Giuliani have alleged that when Ukrainian prosecutors tried to investigate Burisma Holdings for corruption, then-Vice President Biden pressured the government to fire the head prosecutor.

Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said Friday it would investigate Burisma Holdings from 2010 to 2012, but Biden did not sign on until 2014. Biden was a director on Burisma’s board from 2014 until at least 2018. Burisma has faced accusations of tax dodging and improperly securing licenses for gas deposits.

TRUMP SLAMS DEMOCRATS, WHISTLEBLOWER OVER ‘WITCH HUNT’ IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: ‘OTHERS ENDED IN ASHES!’

On Friday, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office said in a radio interview that neither Joe nor Hunter Biden was the subjects of any investigation. Nazar Kholodnitskiy said in the radio interview that the earlier investigation of Burisma was closed for lack of evidence in 2017, but a court in the Ukrainian capital overruled the move the following year. Despite the court’s ruling, the case has remained on hold and the investigation has stalled.

He emphasized that there was no mention of Biden or his son in the Burisma case, which was focused broadly to look into alleged abuse of power by officials in Ukraine’s Ministry of Ecology.

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“As of now, there is nothing there,” he said. “If it comes up, measures will be taken to check the information.”

Azarov resigned as Prime Minister in January 2014 amid popular unrest and anger directed at the Yanukovych government. He initially fled to Austria, then to Russia, where he has remained ever since. An Interpol Red Notice issued in 2015 says he is wanted on charges including embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 8bb577bc9c5c0c227e0f6a706700bffe Former Ukraine Prime Minister says country must investigate Hunter Biden Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc e2a071d2-ec74-5ea5-bf69-b86658024926 article   Westlake Legal Group 8bb577bc9c5c0c227e0f6a706700bffe Former Ukraine Prime Minister says country must investigate Hunter Biden Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/politics fnc e2a071d2-ec74-5ea5-bf69-b86658024926 article

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Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11

How do you honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice? Never forget.

On Sunday, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will hold its 18th annual 5K run and walk, which starts in Brooklyn and traces the final steps of New York City firefighter Stephen Siller, who ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, while wearing 60 pounds of gear. Siller was one of 343 members of the FDNY who were killed that day.

This year, for the first time, banners along the race route will not only depict the firefighters who died on 9/11, but also the nearly 7,000 U.S. military members who have been killed serving their country since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, race organizers told Fox News.

Westlake Legal Group 177230_960461447317275_941518596190957153_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad

FDNY firefighters at the Tunnel to Towers race hold banners honoring fellow firefighters who were killed on 9/11. (Courtesy of Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Clare Photography)

The banners are “a stark reminder of the tremendous sacrifice that has been made on 9/11 and most certainly ever since,” Stephen’s brother and the foundation’s CEO Frank Siller told Fox News on Saturday.

“We’re proud to be the foundation that’s the conduit to bring America together to take care of these great heroes,” he noted.

There are 30,000 participants expected in this year’s run, including 2,500 West Point cadets, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and family members of those who have been killed, organizers said.

Westlake Legal Group ae0ea599-10655185_960459997317420_7009949961153787708_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad

West Point cadets wait to run the Tunnel to Towers race in 2014. (Courtesy of Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Clare Photography)

“It’s enormous because there’s been an enormous sacrifice by so many families in America,” Frank Siller said. “Because we recognized the heroism of people who perform every day for our country and community.”

The run is the “most patriotic and important event in America,” the CEO said, “and it’s incredible to see how the race has grown over 18 years.”

There are 8,000 volunteers who make the event happen, Siller noted.

Westlake Legal Group 10669013_960460473984039_7544721370738047215_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad

Patriotism at the Tunnel to Towers race in 2014. (Courtesy of Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Clare Photography)

While the race is somber, it’s also a moment of celebration to remember “light that can come out of darkness,” race organizers said.

“It’s honoring all those who sacrificed their lives every day to keep us safe at home and abroad — all the brave people who ran toward the tower, like Stephen Siller, but also making sure the names and memories of those who fought to keep us safe are not forgotten, either,” they added.

TUNNEL TO TOWERS CONTINUES TO HELP FAMILIES OF FIRST RESPONDERS AND MILITARY VETERANS

In September 2018 the foundation launched its Gold Star Family Home Program that gives a mortgage-free home to Gold Star families. To date, the foundation says it has given 30 mortgage-free homes to Gold Star families.

On Saturday, the foundation surprised Gold Star wife Shannon Slutman, the widow of Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, with a check to pay off the balance of her mortgage. Christopher Slutman, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan this past April, had been an FDNY firefighter since he was a teenager.

“Chris was a very humble man. He did things because they were the right thing to do, not because it made him look good,” Shannon told Fox & Friends.

“It’s important that we remember as Americans that we make a promise to these families [of men and women] who go out and die for us, that we’re going to take care of their families afterward,” said Frank Siller.

Westlake Legal Group 13055016_1313994548630628_418204665847805510_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Gold Star Family Home Program gives 100-percent mortgage-frees home to Gold Star families. (Courtesy of Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

Shannon said the family’s home is “the house we picked” and is full of memories for her and Chris’ three children.

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“It’s the house that everyone showed up to when Chris passed and helped us prepare for the future,” she said. “To know that we’ll always have that is a big deal.”

Westlake Legal Group 177230_960461447317275_941518596190957153_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad   Westlake Legal Group 177230_960461447317275_941518596190957153_o Tunnel to Towers run honors fallen FDNY firefighters, US troops who have died since 9/11 Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-york fox-news/us/terror/september-11 fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/us/military/military-families fox news fnc/us fnc article 87f8cd29-fb64-57ad-a91a-2b2f9c3128ad

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‘Enough is enough’: Saudi foreign minister warns of danger of appeasing Iran

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters 'Enough is enough': Saudi foreign minister warns of danger of appeasing Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations/general-assembly fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn dd2914d6-5378-55bf-882f-2146e699f819 article

Saudi Arabia‘s top diplomat has sounded a new warning against appeasing Iran.

“The Iranian history of the past 40 years has been one of aggression especially against my country,” Saudi Arabia State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubier told Fox News Wednesday. “Appeasing Iran has only fueled Iran’s aggressive behavior.”

Saudi Arabia has said that the cruise missiles that struck two of the kingdom’s key oil sites earlier this month were manufactured in Iran and came from the direction of Iranian territory. Al-Jubier promised more evidence will be made public.

“We have been calling for a global effort to contain Iran’s aggressive behavior,” he said. “Iran has to decide if it’s a revolution or a nation-state. If it’s a nation-state, it must abide by the rules of international law, the sovereignty of nations, and respect the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries.”

On the same day the Saudi minister spoke to Fox News, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the United Nations General Assembly and criticized Tehran’s regional rival.

‘The security of Saudi Arabia shall be guaranteed with the termination of aggression to Yemen rather than by inviting foreigners,” Rouhani said. “We are ready to spend our national strength and regional credibility and international authority.”

Saudi Arabia will have its chance to answer Rouhani on Monday. But al-Jubier, a veteran diplomat who served as the Kingdom’s ambassador in Washington, D.C. for nearly a decade, knows the long litany of Iranian attacks on his country, and around the globe, all too well.

“The Iranian behavior has to stop,” he said. “They have attacked our embassies, they have tried to disrupt the Hajj [the annual pilgrimage of the Islamic faithful to Mecca], they assassinated our diplomats a number of countries, they have planted terrorist cells in Saudi Arabia, they have blown up the Khobar Towers in 1996 and the list goes on and on and on.

US ENVOY TO GERMANY BLASTS IRAN DIPLOMAT’S ‘HYPOCRISY’ OVER VISITING SICK DIPLOMAT

“Most recently, they have been supplying missiles, 260 ballistic missiles — Iranian-made, Iranian- delivered — launched by the Houthis into Saudi territory. One hundred and fifty drones also. Thank God our air defenses were able to prevent any of those missiles from reaching their intended targets.”

Al-Jubier said that the way to modify Tehran’s behavior to stop what he describes as the appeasement of Iran. His message seems to be aimed at European nations that still do billions of dollars of business with the Islamic Republic, though he did not mention any countries by name.

“We believe that the international community must take a firm response to Iran’s aggressive behavior and say ‘enough is enough'”, he told Fox News.

“When people talk about setting up a parallel system to SWIFT [the global method used by banks for sending and receiving money], that’s appeasement,” Al-Jubier said. “When people talk about giving Iran credit lines, that’s appeasement, that just emboldens the Iranians. When people talk to Iran but don’t beef that talk with firm action … that’s appeasement.

“When people seek to do business with Iran when Iran is murdering people and disrupting the international order, that’s appeasement,” he added. “So the first step has to be [to] stop the appeasement, make it clear to Iran that if you want to be a nation in good standing conduct yourself as a nation that behaves itself according to international norms and international laws.”

Al-Jubier says that Iran will continue on its destructive path unless something changes.

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“You cannot have relations with a country that has been engaging in a rampage of death and destruction against my country and against countries in the region,” he said.

“That cannot stand. That must come to an end.”

Fox News’ Marta Dhanis contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters 'Enough is enough': Saudi foreign minister warns of danger of appeasing Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations/general-assembly fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn dd2914d6-5378-55bf-882f-2146e699f819 article   Westlake Legal Group aramco-fire-Reuters 'Enough is enough': Saudi foreign minister warns of danger of appeasing Iran fox-news/world/world-regions/saudi-arabia fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations/general-assembly fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn dd2914d6-5378-55bf-882f-2146e699f819 article

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Mets’ Pete Alonso breaks Aaron Judge’s single-season rookie record with 53rd home run

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Mets' Pete Alonso breaks Aaron Judge's single-season rookie record with 53rd home run

What Im Hearing: Sports Reporter Bob Nightengale gives his predictions for MLB’s individual awards. USA TODAY

The Polar Bear stands alone.

The New York Mets’ Pete Alonso hit his 53rd home run Saturday to set the rookie record for homers in a season.

The blast off the Atlanta Braves’ Mike Foltynewicz in the thirdinning broke a tie with the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who hit 52 homers in 2017. 

“I can’t think of a happier time in my life playing baseball,” Alonso said Friday after hitting No. 52. “That’s what dreams, for me, are made of.”

The 24-year-old, drafted by the Mets out of the University of Florida in the second round in 2016, is the clear favorite to win the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

“To think that, as a rookie, I hit more homers than everyone, except for one guy, it’s nuts,” Alonso said after Friday’s game. “It’s crazy.”

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