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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 331)

Sondland’s Ukraine Policy Was Known As ‘The Gordon Problem,’ Witness Says

Westlake Legal Group 5dd4888f2500000d12d2d990 Sondland’s Ukraine Policy Was Known As ‘The Gordon Problem,’ Witness Says

Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s role in forming President Donald Trump’s Ukraine policy was known as “the Gordon problem,” former National Security Council member Tim Morrison said in his testimony Tuesday about the Republican donor who became U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Morrison, who served as a top Russia expert on Trump’s NSC until resigning last month, said during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing that the term was used by his predecessor, Fiona Hill, in discussing Sondland’s influence on Ukraine policy.

“I think she might have coined it ‘the Gordon problem,’ and I decided to keep track of what Ambassador Sondland was doing,” said Morrison, who has also testified that Sondland claimed to have a mandate from Trump to work on a second Ukraine channel with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.

“I didn’t necessarily always act on things Gordon suggested he believed were important,” Morrison continued. 

His remarks echo ones he made during a previous closed-door testimony, in which he said Hill warned him to stay away from Sondland’s backchannel communications and anything to do with launching an investigation into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that Hunter Biden, son of Trump’s political rival Joe Biden, once worked with. 

Morrison’s comments Tuesday came in response to questions from the Democrats’ lawyer Daniel Goldman, who pressed Morrison to say what he knew of Sondland’s effort to promote the Burisma investigation.

When presented with emails Sondland sent him saying “any hampered investigations will be allowed to move forward transparently,” Morrison said he didn’t necessarily associate that with a probe into Burisma. 

Sondland is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning.

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GOP lawmaker slams Schiff during impeachment hearing, demands proof of whistleblower ‘immunity’

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132186808746750000 GOP lawmaker slams Schiff during impeachment hearing, demands proof of whistleblower 'immunity' fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3aa5db19-6fa8-5648-9ace-9bc8935af104

House Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway, R-Texas, criticized Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as Conaway completed his questioning of witnesses during Tuesday’s impeachment inquiry hearing.

Conaway made a “personal request” that Schiff clearly state the legal reasoning for keeping the Ukraine phone call whistleblower “immune” from testifying, even in a secure, closed-door environment that would protect his identity.

“[I want] you and/or one of the members of the committee that are lawyers to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you’ve exerted over and over and over,” Conaway told Schiff. “I don’t think its there,” he said.

“And before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistleblower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you personally of knowing who the whistleblower is,” Conaway, who is also the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, continued.

NUNES: ‘WHATEVER DRUG DEAL THE DEMOCRATS ARE COOKING UP HERE… THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AREN’T BUYING’

As Conaway spoke, Schiff sat largely emotionless in his chair, with his arms crossed and staring straight ahead.

“I get upset every time you… accuse me of — simply because I want to know the whistleblower or we want to know what’s going on — that [Republicans] want to ‘out’ that individual,” the Republican added.

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Conaway told Schiff that he should either prove the whistleblower has the so-called “immunity” the Texas Republican characterized or “level the playing field.”

“I know that you’ve overruled my request for a closed-door subpoena [of the whistleblower],” he said. “I do think it’s important you put in to record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute right to anonymity of the whistleblower.”

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The Republican went on to claim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had penned a Sept. 23 “Dear Colleague” letter to all 435 elected representatives that asserted whistleblowers are “required by law to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.”

Therefore, Conaway claimed, Schiff is either “defying” Pelosi, and thereby federal law, or Pelosi has the legal standard incorrect.

“At least set the record straight,” he added. “Is the whistleblower required by law, as the speaker said, to testify to us or not, and what is this absolute right to anonymity?”

After Conaway yielded back to Schiff, the chairman referenced the federal whistleblower statute, and then asked Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., to begin her questioning.

Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132186808746750000 GOP lawmaker slams Schiff during impeachment hearing, demands proof of whistleblower 'immunity' fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3aa5db19-6fa8-5648-9ace-9bc8935af104   Westlake Legal Group ENC3_132186808746750000 GOP lawmaker slams Schiff during impeachment hearing, demands proof of whistleblower 'immunity' fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc Charles Creitz article 3aa5db19-6fa8-5648-9ace-9bc8935af104

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Impeachment Hearings Updates: Vindman, Williams, Morrison and Volker Testify

Video

Westlake Legal Group merlin_164689263_28ffafe0-8471-4a47-ad5a-8b705181a4cc-superJumbo Impeachment Hearings Updates: Vindman, Williams, Morrison and Volker Testify Zelensky, Volodymyr Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Whistle-Blowers Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party National Security Council impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Timothy Morrison, a former top National Security Council official will deliver testimony to the impeachment inquiry. Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified earlier.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164686602_0783266c-b6f6-4967-9791-356423e9f9d3-articleLarge Impeachment Hearings Updates: Vindman, Williams, Morrison and Volker Testify Zelensky, Volodymyr Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Whistle-Blowers Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party National Security Council impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Ethics and Official Misconduct Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Jennifer Williams, after testifying on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Vice President Mike Pence’s two senior most aides pushed back against their colleague, Jennifer Williams, on Tuesday after she testified that she considered President Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president “unusual” because of its focus on domestic politics.

“I heard nothing wrong or improper on the call,” Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, the vice president’s national security adviser, said in a written statement released after her testimony. “I had and have no concerns. Ms. Williams was also on the call, and as she testified, she never reported any personal or professional concerns to me, her direct supervisor, regarding the call.

“In fact,” he added, “she never reported any personal or professional concerns to any other member of the vice president’s staff, including our chief of staff and the vice president.”

Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, went on Fox News to make the same point. “She said she found the call unusual yet she never raised any concerns with her supervisor General Kellogg, she never raised any concerns with the chief of staff, she never raised any concerns with the vice president,” he said.

He added: “We have impeachment in pursuit of a crime.”

Mr. Trump attacked Ms. Williams on Twitter on Sunday, writing that she should read the transcript of the call and then “meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”

The two former officials testifying on the afternoon panel were both originally on the Republican witness list in hopes that their accounts would provide testimony that would be more useful to President Trump’s defense. But while neither was as damning as the morning witnesses, both highlighted how unusual the president’s actions were.

“I don’t think that raising 2016 elections or Vice President Biden or these things I consider to be conspiracy theories that have been circulated by the Ukrainians” were “things that we should be pursuing as part of our national security strategy with Ukraine,” Kurt D. Volker, the president’s former special envoy for Ukraine, told the House Intelligence Committee.

“We should be supporting Ukraine’s democracy, reforms, its own fight against corruption domestically and the struggle against Russia and defense capabilities and these are at the heart of what we should be doing and I don’t think pursuing these things serves a national interest,” he added.

Timothy Morrison, the former senior director for Europe and Ukraine at the National Security Council, said he did not think the president’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine was inherently wrong or illegal, but feared it would ignite a political storm if it became public.

“I feared at the time of the call on July 25 how its disclosure would play in Washington’s climate,” he said. “My fears have been realized. I understand the gravity of these proceedings, but beg you not to lose sighted of the military conflict underway in Ukraine today.”

During later questioning, Daniel S. Goldman, the Democratic counsel, asked: “But you would agree, right, that asking a foreign government to investigate a domestic political rival is inappropriate, would you not?”

“It is not what we recommend the president discuss,” Mr. Morrison replied curtly.

Mr. Volker portrayed himself as left out of key moments and unaware that others working for Mr. Trump were linking the release of American security aid to Ukraine committing to investigations of Democrats.

Opening the second panel of the day, Mr. Volker sought to reconcile his original closed-door testimony with the accounts of other witnesses who came after him. “I have learned many things that I did not know at the time of the events in question,” he said in his opening statement.

Among other things, he said that at the time he worked with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, to seek assurances from Ukraine about investigations he was pushing, he did not understand those investigations to include former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a target nor did he know that they would be tied to release of the frozen security aid.

“I did not know of any linkage between the hold on security assistance and Ukraine pursuing investigations,” Mr. Volker said. “No one had ever said that to me — and I never conveyed such a linkage to the Ukrainians.” He recalled telling the Ukrainians “the opposite,” that they did not need to do anything to get the hold lifted and that it would be taken care of. “I did not know others were conveying a different message to them around the same time,” he said.

Mr. Volker sought to clarify why his testimony about the now-famous July 10 meeting at the White House differed from those of Fiona Hill, then the senior director for Europe and Russia at the National Security Council, and Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, her Ukraine policy deputy.

Ms. Hill and Colonel Vindman testified that John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, ended the meeting abruptly when Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, brought up the investigations and that some in the room took the conversation downstairs where it turned heated. Mr. Volker mentioned none of that in his original testimony.

“As I remember, the meeting was essentially over when Ambassador Sondland made a general comment about investigations,” he said on Tuesday. “I think all of us thought it was inappropriate. The conversation did not continue and the meeting concluded. Later on, in the Ward Room, I may have been engaged in a side conversation or had already left the complex, because I do not recall further discussion regarding investigations or Burisma.”

More generally, he said he did not interpret the word Burisma to be tantamount to Mr. Biden. “In hindsight, I now understand that others saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company Burisma as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden. I saw them as very different — the former being appropriate and unremarkable, the latter being unacceptable. In retrospect, I should have seen that connection differently, and had I done so, I would have raised my own objections.”

Mr. Volker expressed annoyance at being lumped together with Mr. Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry as “three amigos,” as if they were somehow indistinguishable, and he rejected the notion that he was part of an irregular foreign policy channel.

The term “three amigos” has come to characterize how the usual foreign policy process was warped by Mr. Trump’s interest in obtaining damaging information about Democrats from Ukraine. It originated from an interview Mr. Sondland gave to Ukrainian television when he said “we have what are called the three amigos,” naming Mr. Volker, Mr. Perry and himself.

Mr. Volker in his testimony objected to the name and the implication. “I’ve never used that term and frankly cringe when I hear it,” he said. In his mind, he said, he associated the phrase with his mentor, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who died last year, and two allies who supported a troop surge in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, who has since left the Senate.

Mr. Volker said he was not part of a shadow foreign policy because he was the officially designated diplomat assigned to help resolve Ukraine’s war with Russia. “My role was not some irregular channel, but the official channel,” he said, noting that he reported to Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state who appointed him, and Mike Pompeo, his successor, and coordinated with diplomats and White House officials.

Democratic lawmakers responded angrily to attacks on Colonel Vindman, who testified during the morning session, as the White House and Republicans sought to discredit the colonel in real time during his appearance before the committee.

“There’s been a lot of insinuations and there’s been a lot suggestions, maybe, that your service is somehow not to be trusted,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York. He accused Republicans of trying to “air out some allegations with no basis and proof, but they just want to get them out there and hope maybe some of those strands of spaghetti I guess will stick on the wall if they keep throwing them.”

His angry remarks came after the official, taxpayer-funded Twitter account of the White House posted a critical quote about Colonel Vindman from Mr. Morrison, his former boss at the National Security Council, who testified later in the day on a separate panel.

Earlier, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio had cited that comment as well as criticism from Ms. Hill, Colonel Vindman’s former boss at the National Security Council.

“Any idea why they have those impressions?” Mr. Jordan inquired. Colonel Vindman, who apparently came prepared for the criticism, pulled out a copy the performance evaluation Ms. Hill wrote about him in July and read aloud from it.

“Alex is a top one percent military officer and the best army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service,” Colonel Vindman said, quoting Ms. Hill. “He is brilliant, unflappable, and exercises excellent judgment.”

Republicans also questioned the loyalty of Colonel Vindman, an American citizen and decorated Army combat veteran who was born in Ukraine, by asking him about three instances when Oleksandr Danylyuk, the director of Ukraine’s national security council, had approached to offer him the job of defense minister in Kyiv.

Under questioning by the committee’s Republican counsel, Colonel Vindman confirmed the offers and testified that he repeatedly declined, dismissing the idea out of hand and reporting the approaches to his superiors and to counterintelligence officials.

The line of questioning seemed to be designed, at least in part, to feed doubts about Colonel Vindman’s commitment to the United States, the subject of a wave of character attacks on him by Mr. Trump’s allies. Fox News quickly picked up on the tactic, sending out a news alert moments after Mr. Castor finished: “Vindman says Ukrainian official offered him the job of Ukrainian defense minister.”

Mr. Maloney said he was particularly outraged by questions from a Republican lawmaker questioning why Colonel Vindman wore his Army dress uniform to the hearing.

“That dress uniform includes a breast plate that has a combat infantryman badge on it and a purple ribbon,” Mr. Maloney said. “It seems if there is someone who should wear that uniform, it’s someone who has a breast plate on it.”

Two senior national security officials at the White House challenged Mr. Trump’s description of his call with the Ukraine president as “perfect,” testifying on Tuesday about how concerned they were as they listened in real time to Mr. Trump appealing for an investigation of Mr. Biden.

Colonel Vindman testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he said under questioning about his first thoughts when he heard Mr. Trump’s mention of investigations into Mr. Biden and an unproven theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. “It was probably an element of shock, that maybe in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukraine policy could play out was playing out, and how this was likely to have significant implications for U.S. national security.”

Earlier, Colonel Vindman explained why he felt it was his “duty” to report his concerns to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”

Ms. Williams, a national security aide to Mr. Pence, said she found the president’s call unusual because it included discussion of a “domestic political matter.”

Their testimony kicked off three days of hearings featuring nine diplomats and national security officials as Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee continue to build their case that Mr. Trump abused his power by trying to enlist Ukraine to publicly commit to investigations that would discredit Mr. Biden, a leading political rival, and other Democrats.

In a cabinet meeting as the hearing unfolded, Mr. Trump praised his allies and dismissed the hearings as a “kangaroo court,” saying, “Republicans are absolutely killing it, because it’s a big scam.”

Colonel Vindman and Ms. Williams both testified that they were never aware of any other national security officials in the United States government who supported the decision to withhold nearly $400 million in security aid for Ukraine, which both said was directed by the White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

Both witnesses said withholding the military assistance from Ukraine was damaging to relations between the two countries and to Ukraine’s ability to confront Russian aggression. Representative Mike Quigley of Illinois asked Colonel Vindman whether anyone else supported the decision to freeze the aid.

“No one from the national security?” Mr. Quigley asked.

“None,” Colonel Vindman said.

“No one from the State Department?”

“Correct.”

“No one from the Department of Defense?

“Correct.”

Ms. Williams testified that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Vice President Mike Pence during a Sept. 1 meeting that continuing to withhold the aid would indicate that United States support for Ukraine was wavering, giving Russia a boost in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

“Any signal or sign that U.S. support was wavering would be construed by Russia as potentially an opportunity for them to strengthen their own hand in Ukraine,” Ms. Williams said, relating what Mr. Zelensky told Mr. Pence.

Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee, sought to turn the focus away from Mr. Trump to Mr. Biden, leading the witnesses through a series of questions intended to suggest that the former vice president had intervened in Ukraine’s domestic affairs to benefit his son, Hunter Biden, despite the lack of evidence.

Mr. Biden, as vice president, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was seen as tolerating corruption in keeping with the policy of the United States, European allies and international financial organizations at the time. But Mr. Nunes suggested that Mr. Biden was acting to benefit his son, who was on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption.

“Did you know that Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Poroshenko at least three times in February 2016 after the president and owner of Burisma’s home was raided on February 2 by the state prosecutor’s office?” Mr. Nunes asked, referring to Petro O. Poroshenko, then the president.

“Not at the time,” Ms. Williams answered. She added: “I’ve become aware of that through this proceeding.”

Mr. Nunes asked a series of similar questions and then repeated them for Colonel Vindman. Neither witness was working on the issue at the time, so neither could offer information to about it. But Mr. Nunes used the opportunity to introduce his allegations, anyway. He also tried repeatedly to extract information from Colonel Vindman about the identity of the whistle-blower who filed a complaint about Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, drawing objections from the colonel’s lawyer.

At one point, things turned testy when Mr. Nunes addressed Colonel Vindman as “Mr. Vindman.”

“Ranking member, it’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” he shot back.

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Kentucky high school students allegedly attacked autistic teen in bathroom, leaving him unconscious in pool of blood, reports say

An autistic teen was found in a pool of blood after he was allegedly beaten and knocked unconscious by several students at a Kentucky high school last Thursday, according to local reports.

Court records say three students followed the victim into a bathroom at Louisville’s Iroquois High School while one stood watch at the door.

Westlake Legal Group kentucky Kentucky high school students allegedly attacked autistic teen in bathroom, leaving him unconscious in pool of blood, reports say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 16af0495-f343-5eb5-bb1a-64799c072b43

Damon Simmons is facing multiple charges in connection with the alleged beating of an autistic high school student. (Louisville Metro Corrections Department)

The court records say the students “beat the victim with their hands and feet until he was knocked unconscious.”

Another student later found the victim lying on the floor in a pool of blood, Louisville’s WAVE 3 reported.

Emergency responders transferred the victim to an area hospital where he underwent surgery to repair his fractured jaw which had several teeth knocked loose, the sheriff’s deputy said.

Damon Simmons, 18, has been arrested in connection with the alleged beating, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. He has been charged with second-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief. Simmons has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

CALIFORNIA STUDENTS CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER IN BEATING OF 13-YEAR-OLD WHO LATER DIED, REPORTS SAY

Court records indicate he is being held at the Louisville Metro Department of Correction on $25,000 bond.

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The other alleged perpetrators, who are juveniles, are facing first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, and second-degree assault – all of which are felonies, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Westlake Legal Group kentucky Kentucky high school students allegedly attacked autistic teen in bathroom, leaving him unconscious in pool of blood, reports say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 16af0495-f343-5eb5-bb1a-64799c072b43   Westlake Legal Group kentucky Kentucky high school students allegedly attacked autistic teen in bathroom, leaving him unconscious in pool of blood, reports say fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/kentucky fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Bradford Betz article 16af0495-f343-5eb5-bb1a-64799c072b43

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These Key Witnesses Won’t Appear At The Impeachment Hearings

Westlake Legal Group 5dd466d3250000a111d2d979 These Key Witnesses Won’t Appear At The Impeachment Hearings

The House impeachment inquiry has already featured top diplomats and national security officials sharing damning testimony about President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to secure a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine’s government. When the hearings conclude, we will have heard from numerous administration officials about the scandal ― but there are many others we won’t hear from. 

The White House declared in early October that it won’t cooperate with the hearings. Top officials have ignored congressional subpoenas and the State Department has ordered employees not to testify. Although some officials have defied the White House and met with investigators, the administration’s effort to stymie the inquiry has succeeded in blocking access to several important witnesses. Many of these are officials who could provide the kind of firsthand accounts of Trump’s actions that Republicans have accused the inquiry of lacking. 

These are some of the most important figures in impeachment who you likely won’t see in the hearings:

National Security Officials

Several top national security officials have not agreed to testify in the hearings, including former national security adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman. Bolton was extremely wary of Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, according to testimony from other officials, and sought to distance himself from being implicated in it. 

Bolton reportedly told National Security Council official Fiona Hill to speak with White House lawyers about Giuliani’s shadow policy in Ukraine and the problems it was creating, according to Hill’s testimony. He also expressed concern about U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine.

“I’m not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton said, according to Hill.  

Bolton’s lawyer added earlier this month that the former national security adviser and longtime Washington hawk was part of “many relevant meetings and conversations” related to the impeachment inquiry. But Bolton has refused to appear unless a federal judge rules on whether White House officials are obligated to testify or should be granted immunity. House Democrats have so far decided not to subpoena Bolton, fearing it would result in a protracted legal fight.

Deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, who has been a close Bolton ally for decades, also isn’t set to testify after he filed a lawsuit asking a judge whether he should be compelled to comply with a subpoena to appear at the hearings. House Democrats withdrew their subpoena for Kupperman after he filed the suit, seeking to avoid delays in the hearings. Kupperman was on the July 25 call between Zelensky and Trump.

These officials would also potentially have knowledge of why the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call was moved to a highly classified server, in what was a deviation from standard White House practices.

The White House Staff

House investigators subpoenaed Mulvaney earlier this month. He has refused to comply, however, citing a Justice Department argument that current and former senior White House officials should have immunity from congressional subpoenas.

Multiple officials have implicated Mulvaney in seeking a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine, testifying that Mulvaney appeared to have approved a White House meeting between Trump and Zelensky on the condition that Ukraine’s government investigate Biden. Mulvaney also drew attention to himself last month when he told reporters to “get over it” regarding the scandal, and said “we do that all the time” about quid pro quos. He later attempted to backtrack on his admission that there was a quid pro quo. Also refusing to testify is Mulvaney’s senior adviser, Robert Blair, a top White House national security aide who listened in on the July 25 call. 

White House attorney and legal adviser to the National Security Council John Eisenberg has also failed to show up to a deposition and is not scheduled to appear in hearings this week. Eisenberg allegedly moved the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call to a highly classified server after top National Security Council official for Ukraine Lt. Col. Vindman raised concerns about the call, according to Vindman’s testimony.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry similarly refused to show up for closed-door depositions and ignored a congressional subpoena. Perry was one of three officials who allegedly made up an unofficial back channel that the Trump administration used to communicate with Ukrainian officials and push for investigations into the Bidens. Perry was also running a side campaign to connect his American political backers with Ukraine’s government and energy sector, and two of his supporters secured major oil and gas deals during his efforts.

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Illinois woman convicted of murdering boyfriend’s 8-year-old daughter

A woman in Illinois, accused of killing her boyfriend’s 8-year-old daughter by kicking her so hard in the stomach that it tore her intestine, was convicted of first-degree murder, according to reports.

Cynthia Clay, also known as Cynthia Baker, 41, also was found guilty of aggravated battery, endangering the life of a child, and three counts of domestic battery, WEEK reported.

She will be sentenced on February 3, WGLT reported.

She could face life in prison because the jury found the murder to be heinous and with wanton cruelty.

CHICAGO GANG LEADER ACCUSED OF SUPPORTING ISIS

Westlake Legal Group Cynthia-Baker-1 Illinois woman convicted of murdering boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 34aca941-c5b7-5c20-8f10-1bf414422578

Cynthia Clay, also known as Cynthia Baker, 41, accused of killing her boyfriend’s 8-year-old daughter by kicking her so hard in the stomach that it tore her intestine, was convicted of first-degree murder, according to reports. (Normal Police Department)

During the trial, videos were shown of Baker abusing Rica Rountree; one video showed Baker kneeing Rica in the back, then hitting the girl’s head on a wall.

Rica died in January of peritonitis, caused by ruptures of her intestine, forensic pathologist Dr. Scott Denton testified.

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“For most, it’s unthinkable but for Rica, it was normal. In the 407 Stanhope residence, Rica was treated as less than as this defendant’s punching bag and her pain served as entertainment for the entire family,” said Erka Reynolds, McLean County assistant state’s attorney.

Westlake Legal Group Cynthia-Baker-1 Illinois woman convicted of murdering boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 34aca941-c5b7-5c20-8f10-1bf414422578   Westlake Legal Group Cynthia-Baker-1 Illinois woman convicted of murdering boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 34aca941-c5b7-5c20-8f10-1bf414422578

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Baltimore Museum Of Art Will Only Buy Works By Women Next Year

Westlake Legal Group 2018.80_sherald_gallery-a24962c74b9baf987dae4e1b28c7f38682898f33-s1100-c15 Baltimore Museum Of Art Will Only Buy Works By Women Next Year

The Baltimore Museum of Art will only buy works by women next year, as part of a yearlong series exhibiting art by women. Amy Sherald’s Planes, rockets, and the spaces in between (2018) is among the 3,800 works by women in the museum’s collection. The Baltimore Museum of Art hide caption

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The Baltimore Museum of Art

Westlake Legal Group  Baltimore Museum Of Art Will Only Buy Works By Women Next Year

The Baltimore Museum of Art will only buy works by women next year, as part of a yearlong series exhibiting art by women. Amy Sherald’s Planes, rockets, and the spaces in between (2018) is among the 3,800 works by women in the museum’s collection.

The Baltimore Museum of Art

Step into one of the nation’s top art museums, and most of the works you’ll see were made by men.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has decided to make a bold step to correct that imbalance: next year, the museum will only purchase works made by female-identifying artists.

“This how you raise awareness and shift the identity of an institution,” museum director Christopher Bedford told The Baltimore Sun. “You don’t just purchase one painting by a female artist of color and hang it on the wall next to a painting by Mark Rothko. To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical.”

The policy will only apply to works purchased by the museum, not gifts. The number of works purchased by the museum each year varies, and works are bought on a rolling basis.

The move is part of a larger initiative launched in October called 2020 Vision, a series of 22 exhibits at the museum celebrating female-identifying artists. The initiative includes 13 solo exhibitions and seven thematic shows, with more being planned. Next year marks a century since women were guaranteed the right to vote in the United States, with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has 95,000 works, including the world’s largest collection of works by Henri Matisse.

Its collections include 3,800 works by women artists and designers – just 4% of its holdings.

A portrait by Sarah Miriam Peale was given to the museum in 1916, two years after the museum’s founding, becoming the first work in its collection by a female artist. Over the last several decades, the museum has added many major works by women, and its collection includes works by Mary Cassatt, Cindy Sherman and Amy Sherald, known for her portrait of Michelle Obama.

A 2019 study of 18 major U.S. art museums found that 87% of artists in their collections are men, and 85% of the artists are white. Another study earlier this year found that up to 10% of art galleries don’t have a single woman among the artists they represent.

The BMA isn’t alone in working to correct this longstanding gender imbalance. The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington has 5,500 objects in its collections and presents 10 exhibits featuring women artists each year.

BMA chief curator Asma Naeem told The Washington Post that the 2020 program is an effort at “re-correcting the canon.”

“The challenges are systemic and widespread, because many of the works in local donors, local patrons’ collections are traditionally made by male artists,” she said. “There are these various subtle but consistent, pervasive markers of what is considered creative achievement, and we are trying to reset all of those markers.”

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Kevin Hart announces new Netflix documentary series about life: It’s ‘real’ and ‘raw’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6024306337001_6024299711001-vs Kevin Hart announces new Netflix documentary series about life: It's 'real' and 'raw' Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kevin-hart fox-news/organization/netflix fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c71a403c-9fbd-5da4-9e67-587291cc304d article

Kevin Hart has had quite the year.

From a number of new movie roles to the controversy surrounding him hosting and then not hosting the Oscars to his recent near-fatal car accident, the comedian has a lot to say as 2019 draws to a close.

The “Jumanji” star, 40, revealed on Tuesday that he is dropping a new documentary series on Netflix. The six-part series titled “Don’t F**k This Up,” is slated to debut on the streaming service December 27.

KEVIN HART THANKFUL TO BE ALIVE DURING FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE SINCE NEAR-FATAL CAR ACCIDENT

The docu-series “reflects on the events that have shaped his life, making him into the person he is today. Viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Kevin’s day-to-day life as he deals with the fallout from the Oscar controversy, his marriage, and his growing career,” according to a press release obtained by Vulture.

It will also include interviews from Hart’s friends and family, stand-up footage, video from his childhood, and commentary from Hart.

KEVIN HART SPEAKS OUT ON NEAR-FATAL CAR CRASH AS INVESTIGATORS SAYS RECKLESSNESS CAUSED ACCIDENT

“It’s as real, as raw, as transparent as you can be. It’s something that I think people need to see,” Hart said on social media “I’m always looking for ways to improve and progress, and this documentary was one of those ways that I felt put me in a position to do just that.”

Hart made his first official public appearance at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards on November 10 following his life-threatening car accident in September. He accepted the trophy for best comedy act of 2019.

“First and foremost, thank God because I definitely don’t have to be here,” he began his acceptance speech (via E! Online). “Being that I am, it makes me appreciate life even more. It makes me appreciate the things that really matter. Family.”

KEVIN HART’S INJURED FRIEND THANKS GOD AFTER NEAR-FATAL CAR ACCIDENT: ‘GRATEFUL AND BLESSED’

He continued: “I want to thank my wife and kids, who really stepped up to the plate for me.”

“You have no idea the effect you have on us as entertainers; your energy, your support. It means the world and I truly want to thank you guys for being there for me in my difficult time,” Hart said to his fans.

The comedian was riding in the passenger seat of his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with two other people in the early hours of Sept. 1 when the driver lost control of the vehicle and went careening down an embankment before slamming into a tree. Police report that the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

Hart reportedly fractured his spine in three places, which put him in the hospital for several days and forced him to undergo difficult rehabilitation. The comedian documented some of that rehab in an emotional video posted to Instagram on Oct. 29.

KEVIN HART’S CAR WAS SUPPOSEDLY MISSING KEY SAFETY FEATURES: REPORT

“When God talks, you got to listen,” Hart says over the footage, which shows him taking steps with a walker as health aides assist him.

“In this case, I honestly feel like God told me to sit down. You know, you’re moving too fast, you’re doing too much. Sometimes, you can’t see the things you’re meant to see.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6024306337001_6024299711001-vs Kevin Hart announces new Netflix documentary series about life: It's 'real' and 'raw' Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kevin-hart fox-news/organization/netflix fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c71a403c-9fbd-5da4-9e67-587291cc304d article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6024306337001_6024299711001-vs Kevin Hart announces new Netflix documentary series about life: It's 'real' and 'raw' Jessica Napoli fox-news/person/kevin-hart fox-news/organization/netflix fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c71a403c-9fbd-5da4-9e67-587291cc304d article

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Ohio woman pleads guilty to murdering 3 sons, gets decades in prison

An Ohio woman accused of suffocating her three sons due to jealousy at the attention they received from her husband– who was also her mother’s ex-boyfriend– pleaded guilty Tuesday to the boys’ deaths and received a 37-year prison sentence.

Brittany Pilkington was scheduled for trial next year in Bellefontaine, Ohio but since she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and murder, she removed the possibility of being sentenced to death.

Pilkington, 27, originally was charged with murder of 4-month-old Niall in 2014, 4-year-old Gavin in April 2015 and 3-month old Noah in August 2015. In a taped confession from the day Noah died, Pilkington said she’d smothered the boys with their own blankets because they received more attention from her then husband Joseph Pilkington than she and the couple’s daughter did.

Westlake Legal Group Brittany-Pilkington-2-AP Ohio woman pleads guilty to murdering 3 sons, gets decades in prison Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fa323b5d-d341-5013-a777-31d1e942e23d article

Aug. 26, 2015 file photo, Brittany Pilkington, left.

Joe Pilkington had been at work at the time of all three deaths and had come home to find another one of his sons dead.

‘LET THE BABY DIE’ SIGNS TARGET FAMILY WITH SICK INFANT: REPORT 

Noah died less than a week after he was returned from protective custody on a judge’s order. Authorities didn’t have any evidence of a crime in the deaths of the first two children, and no one could have predicted the remaining son would die, according to prosecutors.

The couple’s 8-year-old daughter Hailey was unharmed and is now being raised by her aunt and uncle, Dave and Judy Grimes.

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The judge threw out the confession as it related to Niall, the first child to pass, as Pilkington has said she accidentally rolled over on the baby and insisted his death was an accident, according to the Columbus Dispatch. In Niall’s death she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Westlake Legal Group Brittany-Pilkington-1-AP Ohio woman pleads guilty to murdering 3 sons, gets decades in prison Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fa323b5d-d341-5013-a777-31d1e942e23d article

FILE -Tuesday, January 8, 2019 file photo, defendant Brittany Pilkington (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, File)

Pilkington’sex- husband pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of sexual imposition for having sex with his wife before they were married, when she was underage. Joseph Pilkington had a romantic relationship with Brittany Pilkington’s mother prior to their relationship, and had been living with her as a sort of stepfather for six years. In 2009 when Brittany was 17, Joseph, two decades her senior, impregnated her.

“Brittany has robbed us all of the chance to watch three beautiful boys grow up,” Grimes, Hailey’s caretaker, said. “Can you ever imagine, the last thing you saw in this world was your mother as she smothered you to death?”

One of Pilkington’s attornies Kort Gatterdam said the mother suffered lead poisoning as a child and years of physical and sexual abuse. As a result, a scan identified brain damage.

“Brittany’s brain is broken,” he said Tuesday. “And no one ever helped her.”

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Attorney Tina McFall read a statement on behalf of Pilkington, saying she “loves and misses all of her children and grieves for them every day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Brittany-Pilkington-2-AP Ohio woman pleads guilty to murdering 3 sons, gets decades in prison Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fa323b5d-d341-5013-a777-31d1e942e23d article   Westlake Legal Group Brittany-Pilkington-2-AP Ohio woman pleads guilty to murdering 3 sons, gets decades in prison Morgan Phillips fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fa323b5d-d341-5013-a777-31d1e942e23d article

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A Purple Heart, Combat Badge and Ranger Tab: Vindman Sends a Message

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-scene1-facebookJumbo A Purple Heart, Combat Badge and Ranger Tab: Vindman Sends a Message Williams, Jennifer (Foreign Service Officer) Vindman, Alexander S United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry National Security Council

WASHINGTON — The uniform made an entrance at the top of the morning.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient and an Iraq war veteran, strode into the hearing room with chest and shoulders trimmed with his Combat Infantry Badge, his Ranger tab and other recognitions of military service.

He stood there fidgeting next to the witness table, forced to linger on his feet while he waited for the morning’s other witness, Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, to arrive. His hands came to rest at his belt and appeared to be shaking slightly.

But what he wore was the star visual.

Colonel Vindman, who still works at the White House as the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testified in the House impeachment inquiry in his Army dress uniform, the ultimate witness power move. Oliver L. North, the lieutenant colonel at the center of the Reagan-era Iran-contra scandal more than three decades ago, would have a varied and checkered career. Yet the most indelible image of him remains the Marine uniform he wore in his televised hearings.

Representative Devin Nunes of California, left, speaking with the Republican counsel, Steve Castor.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times Representative Jim Himes of Connecticut, left, with the counsel for the Democrats, Daniel Goldman, and Representative Eric Swalwell of California.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“It’s Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, please,” Colonel Vindman said, correcting Representative Devin Nunes of California, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, who at one point in the morning had addressed him as “Mr. Vindman.”

This was, depending on your point of view, either a deft pulling of rank or a petty show of arrogance. But there was no missing the subtext beneath so much of Colonel Vindman’s testimony: He was, he said, a patriot, loyal to no partisan interest and driven by no animus to the president.

He was not a “Never Trumper,” as President Trump himself had suggested, using what has become the president’s catchall dismissal in this zero-sum capital that he has loomed over for nearly three years. In today’s Washington, you’re either with the president, or your ability to serve the country may be suspect.

“I’m not sure I know an official definition of a Never Trumper,” Ms. Williams said during what has become a recurring feature of these hearings, the part where a committee member — in this case Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut — is obliged to ask the witness to assess their level of Never Trumpiness.

“I’d call myself Never Partisan,” Colonel Vindman replied to Mr. Himes.

So enough about the president, at least for a bit. This was about Colonel Vindman’s transcendent allegiance, one placed methodically into doubt in the run-up to the hearing.

“The uniform I wear today is that of the United States Army,” Colonel Vindman said in his opening statement. “We do not serve any particular political party; we serve the nation. I am humbled to come before you today as one of many who serve in the most distinguished and able military in the world.”

He described an immigrant’s story: how next month would mark the 40-year anniversary of his family’s arrival to the United States from Ukraine; how Colonel Vindman and his two brothers were instilled with a sense of duty and service to their adopted country; how all three were inspired to enlist in the armed forces.

“Our collective military service is a special part of our family’s story in America,” he said.

Over four and a half hours of inquiry and testimony, Colonel Vindman kept invoking his adopted land, both as a statement of his patriotism and as a shield.

But he was hit with all manner of aspersions about his national devotion, his judgment, even his right to wear his uniform in this setting. Steve Castor, the counsel for the Republicans on the committee, seemed to suggest that the witness held a dual loyalty when he asked Colonel Vindman whether he had considered accepting job offers to serve in his birth country as defense minister of Ukraine.

“I’m an American,” Colonel Vindman said. “I immediately dismissed these offers, did not entertain them.”

A C-Span camera operator watching the hearing.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times The hearing audience included a man in the president’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat.Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

As he testified, a tweet from the official White House account pointed out that Tim Morrison, Colonel Vindman’s former boss on the National Security Council, said he had concerns about his judgment. (Mr. Morrison had raised those concerns in a closed-door deposition on Oct. 31, but did not elaborate.) When Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, raised questions about Colonel Vindman’s job performance, the witness read aloud from a stellar review from another former boss, Fiona Hill, the National Security Council’s former director for Europe and Russia.

Later, when Mr. Jordan pelted the Army officer with questions about why he would report his concerns about a call Mr. Trump had with the president of Ukraine to a White House lawyer and not to his supervisor, Colonel Vindman peered up like he was watching a cloud pass.

“Representative Jordan,” he said in a flat, even tone, “I did my job.”

On a few occasions, Colonel Vindman conveyed thanks to his father for having the courage to immigrate to the United States as a refugee from Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union. To express concerns in the Soviet Union in public testimony “would surely cost me my life,” he said.

This was no small point to make, given that Colonel Vindman has faced threats since he came forward.

“Dad, my sitting here today, in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected professionals, is proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago,” Colonel Vindman said in his opening statement, addressing his father, who was not in the room. “Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.”

Late in the hearing, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, revisited that earlier statement. He asked whether Colonel Vindman’s father was concerned about his son coming forward and subjecting himself to this most severe spotlight.

Yes, his father was “deeply worried,” Colonel Vindman said. “Because in his context it was the ultimate risk.”

But this hearing room was a different context, or at least an ideal Colonel Vindman has spent his professional life fighting for. So no, he said, he was not worried about testifying.

“Because this is America,” he said, as a spontaneous burst of applause rose from the galley.

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